While gold doesn’t tarnish – the golden rule is definitely tarnished and most likely fool’s gold to boot.
It’s commonly thought to be a bible commandment – one that didn’t make the tablets but is at their heart or overriding them, depending on what flavour of xtian you hear it from. But this idea is not from the buybull because the concept got around a lot of cultures, many predating the buybull.
But it’s a sort of a simple rule from a much simpler time.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Some people don’t mind being treated badly. Certainly xtians who fundraise and campaign against gays and lesbians having legal rights as individuals or legal definition and protection of their families.
They are telling everyone to strip them of their rights, aren’t they?
Some people don’t mind being treated badly in lesser ways – rudeness, inconsideration, dismissal, discrimination, violence.
And some people, when they have been treated poorly by others, genuine come to be more comfortable being abused than treated kindly.
I am not willing to treat people badly – not because I don’t want to be treated in kind or because it’s how they are comfortable being treated – but because it’s not comfortable for me to treat others badly as a general conduct.
I am not saying that I can’t be mean or rude or a bully – I can and have used these types of interactions both thoughtlessly and sometimes intentionally for an outcome I thought that the time justified whatever means it took.
Treating others so they treat you back in the same way is no different than being a religious believer in order to avoid the bad afterlife vs the good afterlife – there’s no real thought, intent, understanding, compassion or even consideration of the other person.
The golden rule keeps your attention and concern on yourself and your interests – and it’s not moral or ethical, it’s no better than response/stimulae of single celled organisms.
The golden rule has for some replaced has for some replaced by the platinum rule for some time in workshops for team-building and conflict reduction. I haven’t heard many people talk or reflect this outside of that context.
The Platinum Rule is: Do Unto Others As They Would Do Unto Themselves.
Now, this is somewhat better because in order to follow this – you have to extend effort to actually get to know and understand the other person. You have to understand what influence their various group identity signifiers mean – gender, age, ethnicity, belief, and all the other factors that come into play that create stereotypes.
But the bottom line is once you get beyond those cultural trappings to the person, you see them as a person and you will treat them better.
Much like people who know that they know a gay person, is less likely to be anti-gay. However, even people who know that they know gay people, have voted against gay marriage, because they still aren’t seeing that gay person as a person – they are just seeing the gay.
People think Homosexual and the emphasis is on the sexual all the while forgetting that there’s sexual in hetero too.
Back to the platinum rule:
do unto others as they want done unto them
This is mildly superior to the golden rule because it requires that you develop actual understanding of other people instead of imposing your own narrow view of good and proper conduct on those who likely don’t share it.
But again, the fall down is that some people don’t treat themselves well, either. Some people like to be treated badly, and I am not talking about recreationally with a safe word. I mean they don’t think they are deserving of kind treatment or consideration.
Back to the workshops and Hark! Behold! Onto the the Double Platinum Rule. As a side note, I would have expected a metal upgrade in the name, like titanium – since it’s a more durable metal that can withstand more heat. The Double Platinum rule is
treat others the way they don’t even know they want to be treated
So, this takes into account knowing and understand what the person wants, seeing them as a person and going that step beyond what they think they want to what you see that they need from you.
Which is good I suppose if you have an amazing intellect and insight and know better than a person what they need. Okay, sometimes you do, especially since most people focus on the immediate what they want done and rather consider the outcome they want and reverse engineer the steps to get there from here.
I have over the years had a lot of people come to me with a problem and ask what they should do, when what they really want is for me to validate what they have already decided they want and are in fact going to do.
So I have developed a short cut to save me the effort of problem solving a situation that the person doesn’t really want solved by me. I ask a question:
Do you want my opinion of what you should do or do you just want me to validate what you’ve already decided (or think or feel) about the situation?
That allows the person in question to determine what they need from you and allows you to decide if you can offer it.
While being in service to other people is noble blah blah, there comes a certain point that which your needs require consideration and caretaking by yourself and sometimes you need help from others.
So, it’s not really about being in service in accordance to these rules at all.
It’s about being in relationship with people – and relationships can vary from negotiating the sidewalk with strangers many of whom are avoiding that relationship responsibility with headphones, cell phones, texting or other distractions to actual conversations in a coffee shop with a stranger, all the way to more meaningful friends and family relationships.
There’s only one rule and it’s very flexible – so it’s not named after cold shiny metals – it’s flesh and blood and warm and fuzzy:
Think and Care
Think about what you know about the people you are interacting with
Think about what people are saying and what they are omitting
Think about communication, consequences and continuing relationships
Think about what’s required and appropriate in the situation
Care enough about yourself and others to make as many situations as you can be win-win – or at least win a little and not lose too much.
Think and Care
I cannot stress and harp on this point too much:
If a person is unable to understand what’s moral and not moral without resorting to an external authority – then they aren’t moral – they are only following orders.
And we know how that works out for society.