The Golden Rule is Wrong

Everyone in the western world knows the Golden Rule: “Treat others as you want to be treated,” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Now, I’ve been a follower of this rule for most of my life and through experience have come to realize that it is absolutely ridiculous. How could human interaction be defined by such a simple rule of reciprocity? Answer: It can’t. Here’s argument against the Golden Rule, followed by a way that it should be applied for best results:

The simple argument against the Golden Rule: We are all different. I said simple, and it is.

Humans are not automatons programmed with some spiffy code for interaction. We all react to input differently. Treating others as we’d like to be treated ourselves is a fallacy that can only lead to misunderstanding. Instead we must take people’s differences into account when we interact. Some methods that this can be done? Let me count the ways…

1) Observe : Notice how others interact with the person in question. See what works and what doesn’t. If that person complains about someone doing something that annoys him/her, that’s probably not the best thing for you to do, even if the same action doesn’t annoy you. Invoking the Golden Rule there would only net you a lost connection

2) Be Tactful : Just an example, notice when certain subjects make someone uncomfortable and stay away from them until the time is right, if ever it is. I’ve struggled and still struggle with tact; Golden Rule thinking has always been my Achilles heel; see, I always expect tough, honest criticism; when someone reads my poetry, or sees a show that I’ve stage-managed, I want their unbridled opinion, as bad as it gets. I don’t want none of that sugar-coated talk to make me feel good. I already feel good, I want the truth, I can handle the truth. This is not so for most people. Even if they say they want the truth, they don’t, they want you to be tactful. Men, if a woman asks you if she’s fat, she wants you to be tactful. Ladies, if a man asks if he’s better than the previous man, he wants you to be tactful. It suffices to say that the reason tact exists is the existence of feelings, a mysterious zone where the simplistic Golden Rule does not apply.

3) Treat others as they’d like to be treated, not as you’d like to be treated : That is the Diamond Rule. Just because you don’t feel weird about something doesn’t mean others don’t. How do you know what’s weird? Ask! Ask! Ask! Ever think something like “I wonder if my vegetarian friend minds if I eat meat around him?” or “I wonder what Bartholomew wants for his birthday” or “I wonder if I can pet her dog” Anytime you wonder how to treat somebody, ask! You don’t have to ask the person in question, but ask somebody who knows, a family member, a friend, whoever. It’s important to make others feel comfortable in the world. They won’t always return the favor, but I guess that’s another downfall of the Golden Rule.

So do we throw out the Golden Rule completely? Answer: No! In matters of basic etiquette, the Golden Rule is vital. Mostly everyone want others to be courteous to them; say please, thank you, excuse me, pardon me, good morning, good evening, good night, hello, for the theists travelers out there: godspeed, top of the mornin’ to ya, welcome, sincerely, and including/but not limited to

Your’s Truly,
OLEG KAGAN | email: lifein{insertmyfirstname}

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1 Response to The Golden Rule is Wrong

  1. Neville Barnes says:

    We must distinguish between the Golden Rule, which seems humanist in origin, and Christ’s comment that we should, “Love God, and our neighbour as ourselves”. If we understand love (Gk: agape) to means unselfishness (rather than some vague feeling) I think it covers all the ethical bases, because it implies we must understand people’s differences. Love (an unselfish concern for others) cannot, surely, justify inflicting something inappropriate on other people.

    This “law of love” is vulnernable to ignorance–we are not omniscient–but remains the best ethical guideline available, with the best possible motive at its heart.

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