“preach.” And some days, all we have to do is listen to the news. And
that can be enough to make us wish that the Golden Rule were alive and
well and living in the hearts of all.
We virtually all know it — or some version of it: Do unto others as
you would have others do unto you.
So while the rule is totally ignored as people continue to cheat, kill
and steal, and we’re practically so used to war that we don’t even
think of it in terms of how we’re treating each other, we still feel
it when one NFL player says things to another NFL player that are
beyond unacceptable. How does anyone feel that such verbal abuse is
not only okay, but that one can just spew it at anyone, anywhere, and
the public will accept it as part of “doing business” in the game of
Sure, no one expects church school behavior in a locker room, but
rough and tumble behavior and talk is totally different than mean,
cruel, unkind, and downright inhumane acts of bullying.
It doesn’t matter if you learn the Golden Rule in the teachings of
Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Humanism, or come upon it from any
other religious or nonreligious source. It is called “Golden” for a
reason (not to be thought inferior to platinum or any other substance
that apparently has great value) and it is well worth revisiting,
especially these days, when so many people try to interpret it
according to their own “I’m sure I’m right” viewpoint.
Let’s face it: If it has been called the “Golden” rule, it must have
had some unique value above all the other “rules” that have come down
to us over the years. It must be the KING of rules!
Of course, in order to be the “king” of rules, it must of necessity
apply to all. That in itself might require some explanation to address
all those who are trying in some way to tarnish its image by making it
appear to be a useless rule for today, putting forth that tired old
objection that it can’t be done since we are all so different, one
from the other.
The basic objection to the Golden Rule is apparently that not all
people want the same things. In other words, those who stand behind
this objection say, it can only work if we know what the other person
wants, if we know how they want to be treated. Some people say that
the Golden Rule is just a bunch of words strung together to sound
Since I’m a big fan of the axiom, I will do my best to present it in
its most shining light — from my own point of view of course — hoping
to bring it back to mind as being suitable for all, no exceptions to
First of all, we might need to agree that this rule was and is
intended to address — or bridge — the ever-widening gap between what
we do to others and what others do to us. It’s simply about how we
treat each other. We need to acknowledge that we DO do things to
others that cause them unnecessary problems, pain or suffering, and
others DO do things to us that cause us the same or even worse kinds
of misery. That is easy to grasp: We do things that affect others, and
others do things that affect us — both consciously and/or
unconsciously; deliberately and/or unthinkingly. Some things hurt
temporarily; some hurt irrevocably.
The divergence of agreement probably stems from believing that it is
about the particular thing we do, or that others do to us. It is not.
Just as any doctor’s good advice to his or her patients might be “Eat
better and exercise more,” that in no way is stating what any
particular person should or should not eat, or in what way any
particular person should exercise for the sole purpose of staying — or
getting — in good shape. Each person’s needs are particular to that
person. HOWEVER, doctors can always safely say to eat better (or with
one’s health in mind) and exercise more (or properly, if that’s what
it takes to build up one’s body for better health) as a general rule
for maintaining or achieving optimal health. The goal is good health.
When it comes to the Golden Rule, it is about achieving optimal
goodwill consciousness toward our fellow beings. It is about putting
yourself in the other person’s shoes to see if you would be okay with
what you plan to do, whether or not you know the other person at all.
We do not have to know another person to know that he or she would not
like us to steal their wallet or purse, run them off the road for no
good reason, or lie about them to cause them disgrace in their
community. The particular act does not matter. If anyone can find even
one person who would like to have his wallet stolen, or have his job
put in jeopardy because of mean-spirited lies, or have his home burned
down because someone does not like his politics or his religion,
please let me know.
Of course we are all individuals with different likes and dislikes.
And even those who don’t mind being physically hurt in some way still
cannot possibly say they wouldn’t mind if someone threw a bomb into
their home, or randomly shot at them while out with their family for
Sunday brunch, maybe even killing one of their loved ones.
It is not about 1,001 (or even 1,000,001) different things for the
same number of different people. It is very simply about being human
and very tuned in to the nature of our humanity and our brotherhood.
We are all human beings, brothers and sisters, in the human family. We
know what hurts other humans because we know what hurts us. We know
what we would not want done to us. Yes, it’s that simple.
If you must make it a bit more difficult and find yet some other way
to complicate this rule or need some other way to understand it,
simply ask yourself if what you are about to do or say is so okay that
if somehow your words or plans or actions got all turned around, and
the end result was that it was all aimed back at you instead of at
that stranger down the street, or your political adversary, or your
harshest competitor, or your worst enemy — or even your teammate —
that it wouldn’t bother you at all.
I know we’ll still get people who will try to either improve on the
Golden Rule (even upping its name, perhaps, to something like the
Platinum Rule), or toss it aside as useless or impossible to follow in
these times, but just as eating right and exercising for one’s health
will always be good advice, NO MATTER WHAT THE PARTICULARS ARE, so too
is our time-tested Golden Rule.
Following it seems like a very good idea — for anyone and everyone! I
still think it’s worth its weight in gold!
Maramis Choufani is the Managing Editor of the Las Vegas Tribune. She
writes a weekly column in this newspaper. To contact Maramis, email
her at firstname.lastname@example.org.