Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Golden rule; practical matters

I just read on one of my other favorite blogs a short bit about the golden rule.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Don't do anything to others that you wouldn't like yourself.
If you don't like it, why should anyone else?
Think before you act.
Consider other's feelings before you act.
Look both ways before crossing the street.
Watch where you're going.
Et cetera.
We all know that. We all agree that it is a good idea.
It describes an action. Someone wants to something to someone else, this initiates an INTERaction and implies further action. Will the complex of do-unto/done-unto have a positive outcome or a negative one?
Just what is it we are trying to accomplish here any way?
Let's turn it around, someone has done unto me and I don't like it.
Is someone trying to tell me something? Does someone want me to think that what was done to me is something that should be done to that someone? If so, How do I answer?
I don't think that what was done to me was appropriate behavior at all.

So what can I do? How do I get the message across without doing something to another which I don't think should have been done to me?
Or does someone actually consider what was done is an example of decent behavior?
Is this where "turning the other cheek" comes in?
We only have four of them and after a certain point in life they are all badly bruised and we begin to cry for some tolerance, for some understanding, at least for some explanation.
We live in a world awash with mean, ugly, dishonest, reprehensible things "done unto"
others every day.
The fact that "everybody" thinks this rule is "dulce et decorem" doesn't seem to have much effect.
Further considerations;
What was done; Was it deliberate? Was it done out of spite? Was it meant to harm?
Was it accidental? Was it the result of long repressed feelings? Was it done out of momentary loss of temper, not really meant to harm?
Like most metals, gold is pretty when polished. It does not tarnish. It can be hammered into very thin sheets (gold leaf) It is also too soft to be of much structural use. Most gold is alloyed with other metals to strengthen it.
Like it's namesake metal, the rule seems to glow with wisdom, but how do you make it work? What alloys do you add? Who can afford it? How much abuse is one expected to tolerate?
How much "I was abused as a child" must we absorb before we cry "but you are not a child now!"
I personally was not abused as a child. I still hold the (naive?) belief that, no matter what our differences (or similarities, they can be just as divisive), we can all find devices, mechanisms, or contracts that make possible a world in which we all live in harmony.


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