The Golden Rule

The ethic of reciprocity or the Golden Rule is a fundamental moral value which simply means "treat others as you would like to be treated." It is arguably the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights.

General Remarks RegardingEdit

  • Do not do unto others as you expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.
  • (no one should) find the Golden Rule surprising in any way because at its base lies the foundation of most human interactions and exchanges and it can be found in countless texts throughout recorded history and from around the world — a testimony to its universality.
  • Hillel HA-Babli, in the thirty-first book of The Sabbath in 30 B.C., raised the Golden Rule to the ultimate moral principle: 'Whatsoever thou wouldst that men should not do unto thee, do not do unto them. This is the whole Law. The rest is explanation.'
  • What has become of the Golden Rule? It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church's assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing...It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of those things. It is never intruded into business; and Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business passion.

Historical and Universal ExpressionEdit

  • Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.
  • Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
    • Leviticus 19:18, c. 550-400 BCE
  • What you do not want others to do to you, do not do unto others.
  • Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors.
  • Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.
  • What thou thyself hatest, do to no man.
    • Tobias 4:15, c. 180 BCE
  • The question was once put to Aristotle how we ought to behave to our friends; and his answer was, "As we should wish them to behave to us."
    • Diogenes Laertus, Lives of the Philosophers, c. 150 BCE
  • This is the sum of all true righteousness: deal with others as thou wouldst thyself be dealt by. Do nothing to thy neighbor which thou wouldst not have him do to thee hereafter.
    • The Mahabharata, c. 150 BCE
  • All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
    • Matthew 7:12, c. first century CE
  • As you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
    • Luke 6:31, c. first century CE
  • What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others.
  • All things whatsoever that thou wouldst not wish to be done to thee, do thou also not to another.
    • The Didache, or Teaching og the Twelve Apostles, c. 135 CE
  • As ye will that men do to you, and do ye to them in like manner.
  • Do as ye wald be done to.
    • David Ferguson, Scottish Proverbs (1641)
  • This is that law of the Gospel; whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them.
  • Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thyself.
  • My duty towards my neighbor is to love him as myself, and to do to all men as I would they should do unto me.
    • The Book of Common Prayer (catechism), 1662
  • The evil which you do not wish done to you, you ought to refrain from doing to another, so far as may be done without injury to some third person.
    • Henry More, Enchiridion ethicum, 4, 1667
  • Desire nothing for yourself which you do not desire for others.
  • If a man any ways doubt whether what he is going to do to another man be agreeable to the law of nature, then let him suppose himself to be in that other man's room.
    • John Wise, A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches, 1717
  • To do, as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbor as one's self, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.
  • Reason shows me that if my happiness is desirable and a good, the equal happiness of any other person must be equally desirable.
    • Henry Sidgwick, The Methods of Ethics, 1874
  • Do unto others as you would have others do unto you in like case.
  • Do what thou will but harm none
    • Wiccan Creed
  • Tzu-kung asked, 'Is there a single word which can be a guide to conduct throughout one's life?' The Master said, 'It is perhaps the word 'shu.' Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.
    • Confucius 6th century bc Chinese sage and founder of Confucianism from The Analects
  • When you treat others as you want them to treat you, you liberate yourself.
    • Silo, Silo's Message, The Book, Chapter XIII Principles, Principle 10th
  • We make a growing commitment to follow the rule that reminds us to treat others as we want to be treated.
    • Silo, Silo's Message, The Experience, Recognition Ceremony
  • Learn to treat others in the way that you want to be treated.
    • Silo, Silo's Message, The Path

Ralph: When she put two potatoes on the table, one big one and one small one, you immediately took the big one without asking me what I wanted.
Norton: What would you have done?
Ralph: I would have taken the small one, of course.
Norton: You would?
Ralph: Yes, I would.
Norton: So, what are you complaining about? You got the small one!
  • The Honeymooners, as quoted in The Science of Good and Evil : Why People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share, and Follow the Golden Rule (2004) by Michael Shermer
Last modified on 15 April 2014, at 09:02