23 January 2011

The Golden Rule

Many religions talk about the golden rule or golden maxim: the principle to live by. The one statement that sums everything up. This quote is probably not as famous as the King James version, but it is easier to understand. I’ll start from here.

“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” Matthew 7:12 NIV

Most of you have encountered the crazy religious person, and often they spew violent vitriol about eternal damnation or some such thing. I totally do not agree with the idea of damnation. I’m not a Christian in the sense most people use. And some people who call themselves Christian are not. I’m not really of any particular religion or thought pattern. That is because there is no one correct religion out there.

But we have this ‘rule’ to live by (in many forms, but I’ll stick with this one).

What does it mean, exactly? Do what to whom, and they’ll do what? No, it doesn’t mean that if you are nice to Steven, that Jill will be nice to you. It doesn’t work like that. It also doesn’t mean that if you punch John, that Adam will kick your butt. What it means is very simple. Live and interact with people as you would to yourself. Why, you might ask? Because everyone and everything is us. If you punch John, you are really punching yourself. If you are nice to Steven, you are being nice to yourself. There really isn’t much but belief that separates us from one another.

In sum the Golden Rule just means treat others as you would yourself, because everyone is you.

It may sound odd or strange, but we are all connected. I will share this story The Egg because it’s almost what I’m talking about. http://www.galactanet.com/oneoff/theegg_mod.html (I’ll wait for you to finish).

While I don’t quite agree with everything he said, it sums up the connection we all have. I like to think of everyone as one entity, the Universe that encompasses everything. Inherently, then, we are not separate, but rather we are all of the same thing. This is everything: humans, plants, animals, the planets and stars. Everything is of the same thing. So when we as humans destroy the earth, really what we are doing is destroying ourselves.

So what does it have to do with living here and now? Everything of course! Do you smile and say hello? Are you rude, or swear while driving? Do you accumulate worthless material objects only to throw them away? Do you care for others? One person has a tremendous impact on the world around them. How you live affects those thousands of miles away, though indirectly in most cases. If you smile at people, they will smile at someone else, starting a chain. If you glare, or curse, that goes around too. What really happens is a change in yourself. When you smile at someone, you smile at yourself, affirming your right to care for yourself. In doing so then, you can care for others better, and in doing that, others begin to change. Love is the answer here, for if you love yourself, you love others, and if you love others you love yourself.

So, what kind of world do you want to live in?

As human beings, our greatness lies not so much in being able to remake the world - that is the myth of the atomic age - as in being able to remake ourselves. -Gandhi