Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Golden Rule... Get Real

The Golden Rule is like a trusty map to be pulled out when lost. It’s an action guideline: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yet, the Golden Rule does not take into account other people’s perspective or how they are feeling. It only applies to what you would want to have done to yourself.

Say you are an extremely touchy person hanging out with an extremely non-physical person. You express yourself through hugs, shoulder touches, and high-5’s while the other person dislikes being touched physically. Is it a wise idea to start hugging them and giving them shoulder massages? Yes it is – according to the Golden Rule. Since you would like to be hugged and have your shoulders rubbed, you should hug and rub the other person. But this is silly!!!

If you follow the Golden Rule, you will not be taking the best course of action because you are not taking into consideration the other person’s wants.

****Maybe on a general level like murdering and stealing the old golden rule applies, but for regular everyday type of social interaction, it does not.

Ok so what about the Platinum Rule - Do unto others as they would like have done to them? This rule is considerate of the other person because you would have to be aware of their mental-emotional state in order to please them. Like how you act differently with a quiet, conservative person than with a loud, jokester person . But again, in regular everyday type of social interactions, this rule does not hold up. This is because if I treated every person the way they wanted to be treated I would be acting so fake. FAKE. There needs to be some personal expression in my actions, not just catering to what others want. Think about those people that just want to talk about themselves. If I tried to please those people by endlessly putting up with their self-aggrandizement, then I’d end up seething with repressed anger.

Hence there is need of a new guideline for commonplace interactions. The golden has you acting in accordance with yourself while the platinum rule has you acting in accordance with others. But both these Rules do not stand by themselves. I feel the Middle Guideline, one that I’m making up right now, is more applicable and complete. It has two parts and goes like this:
Be unto others as you would be unto yourself.
Would I want to be around myself?

First off, screw doing. Doing implies a specific right action. Do this, do that. No, screw doing. Rather – be – when you’re with another person don’t concentrate on what you’re doing, concentrate on what type of energy you are being. Be attentive, be relaxed, be engaged. Then just open up to the situation and let the ‘doing’ come out of the ‘being’.

Next, the golden is gone. There’s just not enough incentive. In this day and age, humans see themselves as separate entities with no direct link. If we are separate entities with no direct link - why waste energy doing to another when they might not do back to you? There needs to be a re-phrasing. Hence, be unto others as you would be unto yourself.

Ok Jared, I hear you, be unto others as you would be unto yourself. But what the hell does that mean???

I’ll try to answer that right now, but first, answer this question: Would you want to be around yourself, right now? Like right now, if you were a different person in the same room who was completely tuned into your mind state, would that person want to be hanging out with you? For me, when I started asking myself this question I found that why no, I would not want to be hanging out with myself. I tend to always slightly critiquing thing because things are never perfect. I have a habit of subtly gritting my teeth when people act in ways that I don’t want them to act. My biggest personal habit I’m trying to challenge is not caring too much about what other people think of me. So when I’m catch myself acting in these manners I ask myself, do I want to hang out this dude? When I honestly answer my question, I am then able to change.

What happens is that when I ask myself would I want to be around myself? I see myself in an objective light. My perspective is now the perspective of someone I am hanging out with. I see my thought patterns as if I was someone else, and being someone else, I can objectively say whether I would want to hang out with the person who owned those thought patterns (Me). Then it’s like OF COURSE, I want to be around fun, relaxed, loving people. Let me be like those people. Let me cultivate that energy.

So now, back to be unto others as you would be unto yourself. If you ask yourself, Would I want to be around myself, you’ll intuitively know how you would want to be unto yourself. You see yourself in this objective perspective. If you like what you see, if you would like to hang out with that person, then go be that person around others. If they don’t dig it, move on. Learn to let go of others opinion!!!

And if you wouldn’t like hanging out with yourself, then do something about it. Try being the person you would want to hang out with. Whenever I find myself in a mood where I wouldn’t want to hang out with myself, I try to be that person who, despite being in a bad mood, makes the best of something.
So the Middle Rule is all about awareness. Awareness of your mental state by asking an objectifying question, then either carrying that mental state on with others, or doing something to change it.

Then it’s about beingness. Being that person you want to be.


Anonymous said...

I won't be able to thank you fully for the articles on your web-site. I know you'd put a lot of time and energy into all of them and hope you know how much I appreciate it. I hope I could do the same for someone else sometime.

Jared Levenson said...

Ahh, why thank you. I can tell that you mean that. I do put time and energy into what I write. I also try to write naturally, so just whatever comes to mind I try to write about.

But hey, You can do the same for someone else. It doesn't have to be writing. Just putting forth quality effort towards helping another person, even in regular every-day things (preparing food, cleaning, various social interactions), is just as important, hell, its even more important than the articles I write.

Thank you for your feedback :)