Let's consider an example of how the rule is used. President Kennedy in 1963 appealed to the golden rule in an anti-segregation speech at the time of the first black enrollment at the University of Alabama. He asked whites to consider what it would be like to be treated as second-class citizens because of skin color. Whites were to imagine themselves being black -- and being told that they couldn't vote, or go to the best public schools, or eat at most public restaurants, or sit in the front of the bus. Would whites be content to be treated that way? He was sure that they wouldn't -- and yet this is how they treated others. He said the "heart of the question is ... whether we are going to treat our fellow Americans as we want to be treated."
The golden rule is best interpreted as saying: "Treat others only as you consent to being treated in the same situation." To apply it, you'd imagine yourself on the receiving end of the action in the exact place of the other person (which includes having the other person's likes and dislikes). If you act in a given way toward another, and yet are unwilling to be treated that way in the same circumstances, then you violate the rule.
To apply the golden rule adequately, we need knowledge and imagination. We need to know what effect our actions have on the lives of others. And we need to be able to imagine ourselves, vividly and accurately, in the other person's place on the receiving end of the action. With knowledge, imagination, and the golden rule, we can progress far in our moral thinking.
The golden rule is best seen as a consistency principle. It doesn't replace regular moral norms. It isn't an infallible guide on which actions are right or wrong; it doesn't give all the answers. It only prescribes consistency -- that we not have our actions (toward another) be out of harmony with our desires (toward a reversed situation action). It tests our moral coherence. If we violate the golden rule, then we're violating the spirit of fairness and concern that lie at the heart of morality.
The golden rule, with roots in a wide range of world cultures, is well suited to be a standard that different cultures can appeal to in resolving conflicts. As the world becomes more and more a single interacting global community, the need for such a common standard is becoming more urgent.
being treated in the same situation.
| • I do A to another. |
• Im unwilling that if I were in the same
situation then A be done to me.
| ⇐ Dont |
|KITA - four elements for using the golden rule wisely|| Know: "How would my action affect others?" |
Imagine: "What would it be like to have this done to
me in the same situation?"
Test for consistency: "Am I willing that if I were in the
same situation then this be done to me?"
Act toward others only as you're willing to be treated
in the same situation.
When I was a little girl, I would go up the people in wheelchairs or people carrying items or people who looked weird to me and ask so many questions. “Why are you sitting there?”, “What’s that you’re carrying?”, “Are you going to make balloons?”, “What’s that on your face?”, “Why do you have two different colors on your face and arms?” One Saturday, Mom took me and my sisters to the park for my mom’s co-worker’s daughter’s birthday party. I really didn’t know the daughter that well; I had just seen her before. I had to introduce myself to everyone who was there. The birthday girl was having a good time, and I was sitting at the table looking at everyone and talking to my sisters about the other people. I went up to the girls’ grandparents and asked them “Why do you have two different colors on your face and arms?” and I kept going on and on. My mom is a social butterfly and was having a good time meeting everyone when she noticed I was talking to the grandparents. My mom also knew I was asking those questions because she knows me.
Then my mother can up to me at the table and told me “Alyssa, you need to treat others how you would want others to treat you.” I didn’t understand what my mom meant, so I kept asking questions. Since I was a little girl I didn’t know right from wrong. Whatever was on mind, I would just say it out loud. Even if the people I talked about could hear me. Every time I asked questions, people would answer in a sad voice because they looked down and pause before they answer. I was also the little girl who would not go to time-out or say sorry to others. I was so mean to my sisters and family. One day, my family was having a party and I was playing tag inside the house. My older sister was chasing me and I ran into the wall and I broke a picture frame.so I ran to tell my parents and I told them that my older sister did it and she got in trouble. I did so many bad things in life and out of the blue, I remembered what my mom had told me. It finally hit me that if I want people to treat me nice with kindness and goodness, then I would need to start treating people with goodness and kindness.
Entering high school my first year, I was having a difficult time difficult because I wanted to make friends so in order for me to do that I needed to treat others with respect. I was trying to keep things to myself and tried to act positive around people. At first it was difficult but within a school year I turned from a negative person to a positive person. I believe that treating others with respect not matter who they are and what they can do. This belief has changed me for who I want to be with others and how I should act towards others. Growing up, I start to realize how bad of a person I was. Now I regret all of the bad things I did and I wish I can go back and start over. Now that I’m getting older I have been treating others how I would like to be treated. I have been teaching my little bothers manners and teaching them how to say nice words to others. I tell them to never say the mean things to say because I don’t want them to do what I did when I was a little girl.