I often see people make reference to the Golden Rule. That is, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
This is often refered to as a reliable axiom in ethical matters, and in all respect I do see at first glance how that can seem so.
In fact, I agree that it can be very reliable and useful within a certain context
when the other is of the same tribe as yourself.
If they have the same background and culture, they were instilled young with the same values, then this axiom can be quite useful!
BUT it fails miserably if applied in exchanges with people from other cultures, other backgrounds, or even just other social classes.
Values are different- what YOU would like to recieve is not necessarily what the OTHER would like to recieve!
This is even a great source of misunderstanding between men and women!
The guy tries to follow it and she is going to get a 6 pack of beer, a pizza, and an afternoon of football on tv for her birthday,
The girl tries and he is going to get roses, a poem, and a diamond bracelet for his birthday.
Efforts to express care and concern are misunderstood this way, sometimes as being the exact opposite!
Maybe this is more clear to me because my husband is of a different background and culture, but this is the biggest source of our conflicts earlier in
On the other hand, I think it is something we do anyway, subconsciously even, systematically, at the beginning of any exchange.
We try at first to treat the other as we'd like them to treat us... that gives them a clue.
It is sometimes a matter of who will agree to bend and respond according to the desires of the other.
Who will copy?
One person wants to have an exchange of friendliness and merging,
the other wants to have an exchange of challenge and conflict,
which one shall give in? That is usually seen rather quickly and the exchange goes on in those terms.
Some like to say that sticking to your own principles no matter what is best....(turn the other cheek) and religion aside, that is what can lead to
things like martyrism and relations of tyrant-victim. Like the spouse who remains sweet and passive and giving, to the other who is violent and
Somewhere you need to ask yourself , "What is more important?" that I feel self rightious with myself ? Or that I have exchange with this other person
that is meaningful ?"
I do not think there is a "right" answer to that, it may vary accordingly- perhaps it is a matter of "pick your battles carefully", I don't know.
But I have seen females especially run into this problem- thinking that through what they do for the other, it is clear what they themselves would
want. They don't NEED to voice it clearly. The old "if you loved me you wouldn't need me to ASK" problem.
My point is
1- the Golden Rule is very limited as a reliable axiom for ethical behavior.
It does not eliminate the necessity of actually paying very close attention to the other and being receptive ot who they are. Just listening to your
inner voices commands are not enough for effective exchanges!
2- Much of the time, we ARE doing what we'd like to recieve
, at least at first. It is part of our oldest instincts, our sympathetic nervous
system, and our mirror neurons. Only, part of our psychology being subconscious we are not always completely aware of what it is we want and don't
recognize our own repeated invitations!
edit on 12-11-2012 by Bluesma because: (no reason given)