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"Do unto others" or "Do not do unto others" ?

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posted on May, 23 2010 @ 11:21 PM
Most of you are familiar with the so-called "golden rule," which is found in most religions and ethical codes around the world. Wikipedia has the following to say on the topic:

[The golden rule] exists in both positive (generally structured in the form of "do to others what you would like to be done to you") and negative form (structured in the form of "do not do to others what you would not like to be done to you"). While similar, these forms are not strictly the same. They differ in that the negative form, known as the Silver Rule, does not compel you to act in any positive way, but rather restricts your behavior with regards to acts in which you consider harmful. Whereas the positive form compels you to explicitly act on to others as you would like to be treated.

Which do you feel is more "righteous?" Personally, think the negative form ("do not do unto others...") is wider in scope despite its more "restrictive" verbal format, because what I want to do might not be what others want to do. I feel more harm can be avoided by NOT doing certain things than by acting proactively, although of course this is not always the case (i.e., medical emergencies demand action, etc.).

It's an interesting dicchotomy. Any observations welcome.

posted on May, 23 2010 @ 11:58 PM
Aren’t the most nagging regrets usually tied to what one didn’t do rather than what one did…even if that action yielded some negative? In this instance, I'm not referring to the "big" no-nos (ie" murder, etc.).

To me, inaction very often equates to apathy. To answer your inquiry, in my book a double negative doesn’t equal a positive. A simple example: I wouldn’t NOT rob someone because I don’t want to be robbed. I would, however, hold the door for an extended period if I saw someone coming because I think this is kind and friendly gesture; one I appreciate when done for me.

I wouldn't even go so far as to label it 'righteous.' It just feels good - which is its own reward. It's an internal motivator and compass all in one.

posted on May, 24 2010 @ 01:13 AM
The OP, logically speaking, sums to the question; What is more righteous, the left road or the right road? What a wise man understands is not simply where the roads lead through, but he also understands where he is going and which road will provide the most productive journey. That which simply appears to be righteous is far less important than that which also expresses righteousness. Each mysterious crossroad in life should be wrestled with. As a physical body has a sense of balance and equilibrium, the spiritual body has a similar tool. It is not magic, although many people play with such toys as chakras, meditations, etc, but it is truly real, and unseen. No amount of exercise can improve your spiritual tools, just as no amount of exercise can alter a direction. We are truly led astray by our own lack, even so, by our own desires.

posted on May, 24 2010 @ 09:00 PM
This is a very interesting topic! I suppose it really boils down to whether there are positive moral obligations, negative obligations, or both. I actually presented a paper on that very subject at a recent conference (Pride makes me want to say more, but I also value my privacy. But, let's just say I was rather honored to have my paper accepted to the conference.).

My paper was framed somewhat differently, though. It was about utilitarianism, the view that what makes a state-of-affairs morally good is the amount of pleasure instantiated, and bad is pain. Some have suggested that we ought only take pains into account, and minimize those, but I attempt to show that this view has highly counterintuitive results.

As far as the "golden rule" vs the "silver rule." I guess I can see both sides. I have a friend who is definitely a silver rule person, she thinks our only obligations to other people are not to hurt them (negative obligations), but we have no obligations to help them (positive obligations). I think we have both positive obligations and negative ones; we ought to help people in distress, and we also ought not put them in distress (Both of these of course require a caveat about countervailing moral considerations.).

[edit on 24-5-2010 by FrostyPhilosopher]

posted on May, 24 2010 @ 09:17 PM
I always thought the golden rule of 'do unto others as you would like them to do unto you' implied the silver rule wheras the reverse is not true. The silver rule would be the bare minimum to get by in life.

Of course there's also 'do unto others before they do unto you' and also the simple 'do unto others'.
[edit on 24-5-2010 by BlankSlate]

[edit on 24-5-2010 by BlankSlate]

posted on May, 24 2010 @ 09:21 PM
reply to post by silent thunder

You should always treat people the way you
would want to be treated.
When someone is in a bad mood,it spreads to
When someone is depressed,it spreads to others.
When someone is angry,it spreads to others.
When someone smiles,it spreads to others.
When someone laughs,it spreads to others.

A beautiful mod on this board has the best signature...
Post unto others as you would have them post unto you!
If everyone would follow the message of that signature.
I don't think we would have so many members banned here!

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