Thursday, December 26, 2013

The ethic of reciprocity or prime directive

The ethic of reciprocity, more commonly referred to as the Golden Rule, is a wonderful life guide. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is the way most of us have heard it. Wonderful concept it is and it can be found in many different religions, although belief in any god, does not seem to be part of this principle.

Islam is one place where this concept shows up a lot. Look to The Quran and read “Woe to those who, when they have to receive by measure from men, they demand exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due” (Surah 83 vv. 1–4) There are numerous other references in The Quran that deal with the Golden Rule, without calling it that.

In Jewish custom we find it too. In the book Leviticus it says “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against your kinsfolk. Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Taoism gives us the same principle. “Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.” (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien)

Christians get it in many forms, but Saint Paul’s letter to the Galatians probably says it best: “For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” We hear Jesus preaching this principle in the gospels.

It would seem to me that this ethic is so very basic, that it should be our prime directive. (Yes, just like on Star Trek). How wonderful it would be if we all followed this rule!

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