The Golden Rule

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The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is a maxim, ethical code, or morality that essentially states the following:
One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
or simpler
Treat others as you would like others to treat you.
A key element of the Golden Rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats everyone with consideration, not just members of his or her in-group. The Golden Rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures, and is a standard way that different cultures use to resolve conflicts.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_rule#Global_ethic

My question is, if you try to live by this rule, how do you choose how far this rule extends?

Andyba
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
If a person is true to him/herself then they will live by this rule. I don't think there is a question of how far it extends, as it is about not being hypocrite. But in specific situations it might be difficult to judge.
Nucleus
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
It would extend as far as the individual in question, seeing this behaviour as a weakness, and attempting to exploit your consideration.
Dillon
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
Dillon, what do you mean, can you give an example of attempt to exploit someone following this rule?

Nucleus wrote: I don't think there is a question of how far it extends, as it is about not being hypocrite.

Well people don't like to consider them self hypocrites, so it is easier to talk about how far the rule can extend. :)
During war for example it's quite difficult to follow this rule even if you are usually not a hypocrite.
Andyba
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
The way I see it, the Golden Rule is a philosophical or religious expression of empathy. Empathy is a very complex skill, which cannot be taught. Sure lots of people can mimic it, but it the real understanding behind cannot be taught. In general, my empathy for others stops at me. This is fluid though. For (direct) family and (close) friends the will of sacrifice can be very extensive, for strangers it stops at me. I am the most important person for me. If showing empathy or implementing the Golden Rule is bad for me, thats where it stops. Dillon, put it in other words, but the Golden Rule shouldn't make a doormat out of you.
Flying Dutchman
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 05, 2011
Flying Dutchman wrote:Empathy is a very complex skill, which cannot be taught.

Actually Buddhists teach it through various mental practices, but that is a different story.

Imho, The Golden Rule is not about sacrifice. I don't want people to make sacrifices for me, because it is harmful for me in the long run. For me the ideal in following The Golden Rule is to seek a win-win solution to the conflicting situation.
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
I try to live my life by an extention to the Golden Rule - what I call the Platinum Rule:

Treat others as they would want to be treated.

This stems from the Philosophy within Islam which says that there are 3 levels of empathy that believers must extend to others. The lowest level is called Absolute Justice (Adl) - where you treat others fairly. This is the lowest level of virtue - to do anything unjust to others would be against Islam.

The next level up is Kindness (to grant someone more than his due) - (Ihsan). I.e. you give them more than what they are due from their actions - you are kind to people.

The highest level is (Ita'i Dhil-Qurba) - 'Kindred' - to treat others as you would treat family, i.e. give them love etc without any regard for how they actually behave towards you/others - as you would treat your child/parents/siblings.

This is encapsulated in 16.90 of the Quran:
Allah commands justice, the doing of good, and liberality to kith and kin, and He forbids all shameful deeds, and injustice and rebellion: He instructs you, that ye may receive admonition.

I agree with the Golden rule being win-win, the Platinum rule is to ensure that the other person feels like it is win-win, and requires that one is empathetic rather than projecting what I think the other person wants onto them. That does require extra effort and it means dropping assumptions one has about situations, and asking lots of questions.

Acting with justice does mean that you provide support to the weak and oppose those who are committing injustices themselves, but there are also Just, Kind and Benevolent ways of countering injustice.

When it comes to debating with people with different views, be it about religion or any other topic, I find this instruction from the Quran (16.125) to be a helpful guide:
Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best, who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.


I often fall short of these goals, but to err is human.

Cheers,
Shafique
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Andyba wrote:For me the ideal in following The Golden Rule is to seek a win-win solution to the conflicting situation.


There is no such scenario as win-win, it’s a turn of phrase used to psychologically, give the impression in a discussion, conflict or dispute situation than no-one has to concede or accept defeat, it’s a state of mind. Assertiveness and or Empathy are the principal theme’s of Conflict and Dispute resolution and win-win isn’t a strategy.

Discussions, conflict or disputes are like the transfer of energy, it can be manipulated, change function and form, but someone or something always ends up with more than the other by way of accommodating, avoiding, compromising, cooperating or fighting for it.

:)
Dillon
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
I feel it is a sad state of affairs to have to refer to a book to tell you have to behave with one another.
I prefer to use my heart and my gut instinct.

Self righteousness is a very unattractive feature in a man.
Bethsmum
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Bethsmum wrote:I feel it is a sad state of affairs to have to refer to a book to tell you have to behave with one another.
I prefer to use my heart and my gut instinct.

Self righteousness is a very unattractive feature in a man.


You are very right, you cannot get he true concept of empathy from a book!
Flying Dutchman
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Dillon wrote:There is no such scenario as win-win

Well there is. When you go to a shop and buy something you both win. If the shop would provide something for an unfair price ie the "shop wins-you lose" in an environment with healthy competition the shop will not survive for long.
So there are situations were win-win is the only way.

It is not applicable to all situations and conflicts, especially it's difficult to apply if the other party has a strong "win-lose" attitude.
But if both are oriented towards a win-win resolution it is much easier to achieve.
Empathy has everything to do with a win-win mentality.
For me win-win is when both parties are happy with the final result or agreement. It's not about "equilibrium of energies" or some "absolute fairness", there are no such things. If both parties are happy it's win-win.
Andyba
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Looking for win-win is calculating behavior, true empathy is not.
Flying Dutchman
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
shafique wrote:Treat others as they would want to be treated.

This is a great rule in some situations, but not always.
If I would have always treated my 2 years old son as he wanted to be treated (allow him to play with the electric socket, climb on windows, eat everything he finds, play with the knife and other dangerous things) he would not survive for long.

Looking for win-win is calculating behavior, true empathy is not.

What do you mean by calculating behavior? And what actually is true empathy?
Andyba
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Well back to my initial question - do you extend the golden rule toward those that mean nothing for you, to those that can not return back the favor?
To total strangers with whom you interact accidentally, to different races, to different species etc..
Andyba
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Re: The Golden Rule Dec 06, 2011
Yes.

I agree you can construct situations where not fulfilling the other person's desire is beneficial to them - other examples are not fulfilling a person's addictions, or dangerous/inappropriate habits - or indeed helping criminally insane guys to commit their crimes.

But as a general rule, I do think it is a great guide and one that can be followed. You absolutely need empathy to follow it.

I'm amused that some people have such an aversion to books. :)

Cheers,
Shafique
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