Reciprocity And The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule is said to be based on reciprocity. The word reciprocal is derived from the Latin word 'reciprocus' meaning going backward and forward. When it comes to the Golden Rule I find that I have been doing exactly that and the conclusion I have come to is that it doing unto others as you would have them do unto you is simply not possible unless and until you have examined an upgraded that which you do unto yourself.
Nature, relationships, commerce, are all based on exchange. That is it is reciprocal, something is recieved and something is given (notice it is based on going backward and forward - in and out). Our bodies take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide and the plant life around us take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. It is a natural exchange and it is a reciprocation that sustains life. What I do not have, I cannot give.
The common denominator in all religions around the globe besides the belief in a Supreme Being is that each religion has, at it's foundation, the Golden Rule. Buddhism has "Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." In Christianity it is stated, "Whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them." Confucianism is "Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you." The Golden Rule of Islam is, "No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself." And on it goes throughout the world's religions, each one ascribing to the law of reciprocity, the Golden Rule.
Every rule every made throughout history to our present time has been made as a result of a problem encountered by mankind. Before cars were invented there were no traffic regulations, no 'rules of the road'. As the automobile became the prevalent means of getting about problems were created, traffic problems. In a response to those problems, traffic rules were made and implemented with the result being that in this century of millions of vehicles capable of traveling at ever increasing speeds we have an abundance of traffic laws. For all those laws, without each and every driver behind the wheel of each and every vehicle applying the Golden Rule all the traffic regulations in the world cannot ensure our roads are safe to travel.
The Golden Rule as I see it was created for the same reason every other rule has ever been created. There was a problem, the peoples of the day were given to looting, plundering, pillaging and invading. Who wants to put up with that? Solution? Make a rule, and make it a Golden One. Did it solve the problem? No, it did not. Does the problem still exist? Yes, it does. Firstly it is only the religions, Christianity and Islam who use the word 'man' where religions such as Buddhism and Confucianism use the word 'others'. Historically both Christianity and Islam could have used a little attitude adjustment when it comes to women, children, plants, animals and the environment at large rather than leaving them at the mercy of 'man' or the lack thereof. It is of note that in the present day it is only the extremes of these two religions that cling to the concept that women and children are mere chattel. However, the changes that have taken place in the attitudes have only done so in the last century and the residual effects of the wording are still felt today.
The second problem I have with the Golden Rule is that in not doing to others what you would not like done to yourself one is left guessing at what the other may or may not like. If you do onto others what you like to have done to you then you are at risk of trespassing. My idea of heaven may well be the idea of hell to another.
The way I see it the Golden Rule needs to be revised and the sooner the better. To my eyes it would be much better stated as "Do unto me that which I would have others do unto me." Or, I do unto self as I would have others do unto me." Another alternative is to simply go with the Golden Rule of the First Nations Peoples, "Respect for all life is the foundation."
Before you ridge on the word change consider this, as you sit in your seat on any airplane in the world listening to the flight attendant go through the instructions to the passengers prior to take-off what do they tell you about the oxygen mask? They tell you to put your mask on first before assisting another. Why? The answer is simple common sense, if you expire due to a lack of oxygen your fellow passenger who is struggling with their oxygen mask will not receive the benefit of your assistance. You will not be able to apply the Golden Rule and do unto the other as you would have done unto you because you will have moved off the mortal coil. So much for the Golden Rule.
Does it not stand to reason then that in your doing unto self what you would have others do unto you that you will actually be able to apply what should be demoted to the Silver Rule? What would the consequences be if you respected yourself first, appreciated yourself first, tolerated yourself first, believed in yourself first and loved yourself first. Would you not then find yourself better able to respect, appreciate, tolerate, believe in and love others? Methinks you would. How can you possible give something that you do not first possess? You cannot.
When my oldest daughter was seven and her younger brother was four years old I asked each of them this question, "If I could give you anything you wanted no matter how much it cost, what is it that you would want?" I was actually expecting that their answers would most likely be related to something that had caught their eye in a toy store or on the television. Neither of them asked for a toy and neither of them asked for all the chocolate cake in the world or an endless supply of ice cream.
My daughter answered in one word, "Respect." Her brother also answered the question with one word, "Understanding". Having had neither respect nor understanding when I was a child, this lack had followed me into my adult life. In order for me to give my children what they each asked for I had no choice but to involve myself in a thorough self-examination. If my daughter wanted to have respect then I had to have self-respect for if I could not respect myself how could I possibly be her role model? How could I teach her to gain respect if I myself did not know how? There was nothing for it but to learn. In order to do anything you first have to be and then and only then can you have.
Fulfilling my son's answer, "Understanding", was no easier an undertaking. The four year old's answer to my question, "If I could give you anything...." plunged me in to a journey of self-discovery from which I have yet to emerge. Again, I have to be willing to understand, to learn and to know before I can impart understanding or be understanding of another. I must have the ability to comprehend, grasp and to realize. I have to have the ability to deal with life and with people. The word understand is a derived from Old English; to stand among, to observe, to get the idea of, to know.
There are many times through this journey that I have had reason to wish they asked me for a Barbie House and a giant Transformer and many more times that I have been blessed and grateful for the fact that they did not.
According to our indigenous peoples "Respect for all life is the foundation." You are the foundation for your life. The foundation, the part that the other parts rest on for support. It is only when you breath in that you can breath out. It is only through your taking in that breath of life that you can reciprocate.
Every golden nugget of wisdom, knowledge, experience, that you take in you are free to share with others as you so choose. But you have to take it on board first.
So collect your golden nuggets, build your foundation, grow your self worth and hold yourself in esteem in order that you may inspire others to do the same.
What would be the consequences if your new Golden Rule was "I do unto myself as I
What could the consequences be if your Golden Rule was I do unto self as I would have others do unto me?"
It is possible that the Pot Of Gold you find at the end of your rainbow just may well be
When YOU are at your best you naturally give your best to others and in your so doing each and every time you connect with another or others a Golden Moment is created.
Links To My Nuggets
- Do You Put People On A Pedestal?
Whether it is your boss, a movie star, a friend, your partner, your spouse, or your children putting people on a pedestal is much different than holding someone in high regard. While there may be many...
- Do You Dumb Yourself Down?
One of the most harmful things that you can do to yourself is to dumb yourself down. There are any number of twists and turns in the road between birth and death and many traps you can fall into along...
- How To Get Into A Pickle
The most important thing that you have to know in order to get into a pickle is that you must start from a positive position . If you are not in a positive position before you get into a pickle then you are...