platinum rule?

Mere sentiment without moral action can be a deadend. We may weep at a preformance of Les Miserables but spurn the panhandler outside the theater. Or perhaps we do hand him some money (because his misery gives us a twinge), but its more akin to putting a coin in an expiring parking meter. We want to avoid the aversive stimulus of a guilt ticket. (To act out of guilt can be better than doing nothing, of course – just ask the man who’s been given enough coins for a meal.)
But the prime example of perspective-taking, even of compassion itself, is often held to the Golden Rule, regarded in most religions as a benchmark of moral development.
the Hindu – “Do not do to others, what would cause pain if done to you.”
Confucius – “What I do not wish men to do to me, I also wish not to do to them.”
Jesus – “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.”
Mohammed – “None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
The Golden Rule is an ethical stanchion, a virtual 11th commandment. But what is it really saying? It does acknowledge that others are subjective beings, just as I am, placing us all under the same big tent. But the central tent pole is, well… me. I start with what I would want, assuming that another would want the same thing. One of my favorite quotes is by G.B. Shaw, “Do not do unto others as they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.” If you really think about it the Golden Rule is less like putting ourselves into another’s shoes than imagining our own head transplanted onto their shoulders. Dont get me wrong: I’d rate it as a moral triumph and ample reason to hang up my selfish-girl spurs if I could really live by it. But I cant help but feel that empathy contains yet greater mysteries.
Perhaps a Platinum Rule; “Do unto others as they would like to be done unto.”
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“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

The Dalai Lama has often claimed he is a simple person. Though this may come off a little coy, on one level it rings true. Isnt our image of holiness just a place holder for what we all might be if our best moments were multiplied to an nth degree of consistency? The religious icons of compassion reach out to us in an apotheosis of recognizably human caring. The chinese goddess Kwan Yin weeps as she extends her thousand-armed embrace to those who need comfort. The Hindi deity Hauman, depicted as 1/2 ape, 1/2 god, cleaves open his chest to reveal his naked, undefended heart. The sacred heart of Jesus, son of man, is pierced with thorns, bleeds real blood. Vulnerability, these images say, is holy. It is our capacity to be profoundly moved by each other that makes us whole.

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