“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Which is also known as the Golden Rule. Maybe you’ve heard about it, maybe not. Anyways, this seems like an interesting topic to talk about, so let’s proceed.
The basic implications of this message (aka the law of reciprocity) could be better defined as follows:
- “One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.
- One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated.
- What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself.” (source – wikipedia)
In theory, it sounds simple enough, but in practice, it gets a lot messier. How are you supposed to know how to treat others? What if the way others want to be treated is different from how you want to be treated? The questions are potentially infinite and our space/time here is rather limited.
So, let’s imagine a hypothetical or realistic scenario. Let’s say that you like to be treated in a kind and respectful manner, at all times. Sounds fair enough, right? At the same time, you don’t like to be harassed, abused or insulted, no matter the reason. Which also sounds fairly reasonable. Therefore, if this is true for how you want to be treated, then that’s also how you’re supposed to treat others, pretty much all the time (if possible). At least, that’s what the Golden Rule seems to imply.
It doesn’t take long to realize how impractical and absurd this rationale is. Because sometimes people need to be scolded or reprimanded when they behave badly or poorly. We cannot always be kind, caring and generous with others unless you’re Jesus Christ or something.
And yet, there are some people in the world who are determined to practice this rule, in all its mighty glory. On one hand, it may appear to be a great commitment because the people who follow this rule consistently will end up treating everyone in a very pious and righteous manner. On the other hand, they’ll also be subject to utter humiliation and there will be total backfire when they see that their actions don’t correspond with others.
So, here’s where an alternate version of the Golden Rule comes, its alter ego: the Platinum Rule. It’s purely fictional and theoretical, but this seems to make more sense and have additional practical value. Here’s how it works:
- If someone helps or treats you well, then return the favor multiplied by a factor of 2 or greater. i.e. you give back more love and kindness than received, which will inevitably instill a virtuous cycle and form good relationships/friendships.
- If someone hurts or insults you, then return the favor by making them pay or inflicting the same pain unto them, by a factor of 1 or greater. i.e. you fight with others, inflicting a similar level of damage as received (or higher).
- In the absence of above conditions, just be mindful, respectful and follow your heart or intuition. Works for everyday/general situations.
Now, in the second condition, referring to hurting and pain received/given, it’s a bit tricky. Alternatively, you could decide to take the high road and just ignore the person altogether. But from personal experience, if you do this, the pain will fester and doesn’t go away easily. Emotions may get repressed and come back to bite you later on. On some level, you don’t want to let him/her get away with it, if you know this expression.
Ideally, two people with conflicting interests/ideas/intentions could get together and talk it out. Make peace. Understand one another. Empathize. Perhaps, this could lead to a fruitful friendship, who knows. What a great world that would be.
The optimal condition (in a human being) would be a state of mind and heart where you have no grudges, regrets or remorse about anything or anyone at all. But, it’s extremely unlikely that anyone on this planet feels this way. It almost sounds superhuman, something outside of ordinary conscious experience. Whichever rule you decide to follow, whether it’s Golden, Platinum or from the depths of your own heart, what matters the most is how you feel about yourself. That you end up feeling good about your life, regardless of external conditions.
Thank you for reading. Would love to hear your views on this matter. Are there any rules you follow which guide you in the conduct of everyday life? Also, when dealing with others? Do rules matter at all or is it actually a lot simpler than it looks? Cheers.