One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneselfThe quote above is from the Wikipedia entry on The Golden Rule. This is a standard that I have tried to live my life by. It is a standard I was raised with. In the rural Midwest almost everyone I knew was familiar with this concept and most tried to live this as best they could.
One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated
Being a Christian, I associate this rule with my faith. However, this is a tenet in most major religions and philosophies in the world, ancient and current. It is a rule you can apply if you are an atheist, a deist, an agnositic, a Muslim, a Christian, a Hindu, a Wiccan, or any other belief system. A child can understand this, an adult can understand this.
Also called the ethic of reciprocity, applying this rule to daily life and interactions with others relies on empathy for others, reflecting our behavior towards others onto ourselves and feeling the effects that behavior would have as if we were the ones on the receiving end. For this ethic to work most effectively, each person should feel empathy for others.
How do we get people in this self centered self serving world to be empathetic? How do we get close minded people to understand when they hurt others with words or actions they are actually hurting themselves? They are caught up in the "moment" absorbed with inconsequential celebrity. Their own hubris drives their actions, with their inconsideration of others amplified by their own inflated sense of importance. Humble has become a term of weakness rather than strength. Caring for others is a weapon to turn against someone. Popularity rules. Bullies win. This is WRONG.
I wish I had an answer for this. I was taught these rules from a young age. I fear the distractability of technology is diluting this message each generation. I see the reach of the bullies and the name callers and the haters extended and magnified by technology, to the point that those being bullied feel surrounded with no way to escape. Yet I see my great nieces and nephews and young nieces and nephews living loving and caring lives, practicing the Golden Rule (even if they don't call it that!) in their everyday life.
Wishing there was a way to magnify and extend empathy that was as popular as as all the hate talk. A recent post from Sue at InnerDorothy about the play "The Laramie Project" was inspiring. Thoughtful empathetic adults found a way to turn the tragic torture and murder of a young gay man in Laramie Wyoming into a teaching opportunity. Hoping they continue with their efforts and the education continues. This is the kind of hate crime that following the Golden Rule would prevent.
Try searching the internet using the term The Golden Rule and see where the net takes you. There are serious philosophy research papers done on this, organizations based on this, essays searching for the answer to these questions that have been with us from the beginning of time. Happy voyaging. Hoping that YOU will be the one that changes the life of another by applying the Golden Rule and better your life in the bargain.