Friday, October 28, 2016

The Golden Rule (part I)

by J. Davies 

"The golden rule"
As taken from the bible, it is mentioned in several books and the Gospels. Simply put,
"Do to others what you would want them to do to you." --Luke 6:31
Also called, according to Wikipedia, the law of reciprocity it is the basis for much of modern civilization. Interestingly, versions of it predate the biblical references. In reality it could even be boiled down to evolutionary survival skills. We as humans survive partially on account of social kindness to one another. Economically, in being kind I get social approval and increased chances of kindness passed my way when I might need a helping hand.
These days it is difficult to see how people could possibly be living according to the rule. From the election, to Syria, to our deteriorating relations with other countries, to belligerent blogs and facebook posts that essentially say "if you're a ________ supporter/believer, then you're a ________(insert Shakespearian insult or modern day judgement here) and deserve to be _______(insert fate worse than death here)"
The problem I run into is that I know a number of people from a number of different walks of life. Of different cultures. Of different upbringing. Of different social and economic status. I have a thing for hierarchies and structure as much as I have a thing for data. I have said stupidly insensitive things and have been blatantly ignorant of other people. I have caused hurt and likely judgement to be passed my way.
At the end of the day, however, I don't think I've ever come across a person who is truly evil. This is despite social media claiming they're out there and in droves. Sure people respond to incentives. Sure part of the "American dream" or anyone's dream is to finish life with a little more than with what you started.
That's not to say there aren't a few people who value security in money and power more than compassion for others. People who seek to cast blame and want to punish. By and large though I tend to think that most people want to live their lives in peace and believe that their certain paths forward are the best paths, because they it has served them well.
Instead of trying to prove people who disagree wrong (which 99.9% of the time you will never do), I try to understand a person's stance. It is okay to challenge, but I would say actually challenge through asking questions and learning about beliefs, not just taking the tact that they are wrong and should be denigrated for being themselves. One should also form one's own beliefs and not be afraid to have them challenged. For me to have inner-peace my beliefs need to be ductile. They need to be open to new truths and new ideas, but I must be strong enough to challenge the new ideas before incorporating them and modifying my beliefs.
This post was meant to be entirely different, but sometimes I just let my typing fingers and stream of consciousness lead me. I am thus calling this (part 1). To sum things up. We live in a complicated world where beliefs meet policy meet perception meet fantasy meet marketing meet profit motives. 
We aren't other people so don't always have the pleasure of knowing their upbringing, their system, their culture. I think many issues posed as "race" are really that of "culture" and inability to understand one another's viewpoints.
It's time to take a moment and value people for the good they possess and to work with attain understanding so that we may best do onto others as we would have them do onto us. Try it, it may just alter the way you see the world.

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