Thursday, August 13, 2009

The problem with The Golden Rule:
Jim Styro's Meaning of Life, Part 13

I can't say that I love Jesus
That would be a hollow claim
He did make some observations
And I'm quoting them today

"Judge not, lest ye be judged"
What a beautiful refrain
The studio audience disagrees
Have his lambs all gone astray?

-- New Test Leper by R.E.M.

Everybody knows that the world would be a better place if we all followed The Golden Rule, right? And everybody knows that The Rule is commonly stated as:
"Do to others as you would have them do to you."


But - and here's where the whole question of judgment comes in - doesn't The Golden Rule only work if the way I prefer to be treated and the way you prefer to be treated are (at least close to) the same thing?

Of course, as the world becomes a smaller place and we begin to learn things we never knew about distant countries, unfamiliar cultures, different preferences in human interaction - it becomes clear that presuming other people want to be treated the way that we want to be treated has a high probability of inaccuracy.

Maybe the New Golden Rule will need to be:
Try to treat other people the way they want to be treated.
It's a tougher rule to follow - because it means you actually need to understand another person, rather than simply assume that person is like you. But isn't that the underlying idea - having as much consideration for those around you as you have for yourself - of the original Golden Rule anyway?

Anyway, that's what I was thinking. Now I'll be quiet and listen to what those around me have to say.

Take care.


Pamela said...

And here I was, thinking the problem with the golden rule was not with the golden rule, but that people don't practice what they preach.

sunshine said...

To me the golden rule is better if you try to apply it by the 4 agreements, ever hear of them?

The Book is by Don Miguel Ruiz whose ideas come from ancient Toltec wisdom of the native people of Mexico. These agreements are very simple when you read them, but SO NOT easy to apply everyday... I read the book a long time ago and I still try to apply it on my daily life.

More info on the agreements visit

Let me know what you think?

BTW, thanks for the movie recommendations, I will look for them and tell u what I think after I watch them.

Sara said...

Any post on the meaning of life that quotes New Test Leper catches my attention right away.

That being said, I agree wholeheartedly.

Jim Styro said...

Pamela: Hopefully, you've seen that you inspired today's post. If not, may I respectfully request that you - read the damn post!

Sunshine: I have NOT heard of the four agreements previously. But I will check out the link you suggested and comment (or perhaps do a post) on what I find there.

And don't think that I didn't notice that you changed your profile picture again. I did. And if I was as lovely as you, I might change my picture too.

Sara: I am all about getting people's attention. That is why I SPEAK IN CAPS! Thanks for your support.

sunshine said...

Hey Jim! Yes I changed my picture again, I like this one much better, thanks for noticing :)

And yes, let me know what you think of that little introduction to the agreements, it's much better to read to book though. (I can get you a copy if you are ever interested)

Pamela said...

aaaaaahhhhh....argh. email.