08 March 2010

A Universal Golden Rule?

I came across the figure on a facebook UU page. It's from a poster that can be obtained in larger sizes, presumably large enough to be able to read the different translations of the golden rule in the various faiths and philosophies. Or you can get the texts here. But the idea is plain enough. To me it echoes the message of a bumper sticker I like and have on my car, showing several of these symbols in a row that spells out "Coexist". I used to have a bumper sticker that says "Slow for Tailgaters," but replaced it with this one when I found it.

The quality of the drivers in Maryland disappoints me greatly. This week at the first stop light I come to on my way to work, there were two cars in front of me. The first in line was timid about turning on red, because of oncoming traffic. The second in line beeped his horn at the first car several times. Finally, the driver of the first car opened his door and got out, stood up, and looked back at the second car driver reprovingly. Whereupon, the second car pulled to the left around the first car and then made the right turn on red that he so fervently wanted, getting some rubber as he sped off. The standing driver of the first car stood there and watched him drive off, perhaps making a gesture at him, though I'm a bit foggy about that detail. By this time I was getting antsy and considering whether some additional horn blowing was called for! But then we were off into the morning rush hour traffic with reconsidered priorities.

I guess I'm just offering this as an example of coarse behavior that could certainly benefit from a more universal adherence to the golden rule in everyday life. It is so easy for selfish behavior to turn into anger and retaliation, and worse. Clearly it is anything but instinctive for us to exercise golden rule consideration for others. We need to be taught and to learn the advantages of that approach. Most faiths teach it, but sadly few individuals can see the advantage to it when faced with bad behavior.

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