Namaste: If Not Now, When? Chapter 5, Whatever Happened To The Golden Rule?

Chapter 5

Whatever Happened to the Golden Rule?

Edward Arlington Robinson wrote,

Miniver Cheevy
Child of scorn
Wished that he’d never been born
And he had reasons.

The Golden Rule, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is a corollary of Ma’at and a foundational principle of most religions. The Hebrew sage, Rabbi Hillel, who recognized that brotherly love is the fundamental principle of Jewish moral law. (Lev. xix. 18), explained the importance of the Golden Rule when he said,

That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah, ; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.

Matthew, a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth, described the importance of the Golden Rule in the following exchange between Jesus and a Pharisee lawyer questioning his authority.

Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

This is the first and great commandment.

And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

The prophet Mohamed expressed the Golden Rule as,

That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.

The Golden Rule has long recognized what scientists sequencing the human genome have recently confirmed. Humans are 99.5% genetically the same, no matter the color of our skin, the language we speak, our gender, sexual preference, age, race, ethnicity, or religious belief. Some scientists do not believe human genetics support the concept of racial differences. In other words, differences in skin color are no more significant to them than differences in eye or hair color and, therefore, an emphasis on categorizing people by the color of their skin is inherently flawed, reckless, and dangerous. In fact, there is considerably more genetic variation among brown skinned people than there is among white skinned people since Homo Sapiens sapiens originated in southern Africa in the border area between Namibia and South Africa approximately 200,000 years ago and emerged out of northeast Africa about 80,000 years ago. Natural selection favors people with brown skin in the hot sun-drenched tropics. White skin is the result of a genetic mutation that originated in humans after they emerged out of Africa and settled in northern Europe and north central Asia. Differences in skin color have no effect on intelligence. Differences in behavior are due to being raised in different cultures with different values and access to clean water, a nutritious and balanced diet, and education. For all of these reasons, these scientists believe racism is the inevitable result of a long and sorry history of classifying people by skin color. I agree.

Therefore, the “enemy” that our brothers and sisters encounter on a battlefield in a distant foreign land who wears a turban and speaks a foreign language is 99.5% exactly like them. They just look a little different and it does not take a great leap of faith or intuition to realize that they want to be treated by other people the same way our brothers and sisters in uniform want to be treated. They resent the presence of our brothers and sisters in uniform in their country killing their brothers and sisters just as we would resent their presence in our country killing our brothers and sisters. Because we are fundamentally the same, when we demonize the other, we demonize ourselves.Whenever we kill another person, no matter the reason, we kill part of ourselves.

Ubuntu is a Zulu word that describes the foundation of African societies. In essence, it means that a person is a person through other persons. Desmond Tutu said ubuntu is about community:

When we see another, we should recognize ourselves and the God in whom all people are made. My humanity is caught up in your humanity. I am a human being only because you are a human being. There is no such thing as a solitary human being . . . And for that reason, the highest value is accorded to harmony, communal harmony, and anger and revenge and bitterness are corrosive of this harmony. And in a sense, it is the best form of self-interest to forgive you, because if I do not, my anger against you, which goes toward dehumanizing you, dehumanizes me in the process. The minute you are diminished, whether I like it or not, I am diminished. And so if I can enhance your humanity, ipso facto, my humanity is enhanced. When another person is diminished, I am diminished.

Be sure to tune in tomorrow when I present Namaste: Chapter 6, Golden Rule Applications.

Cross-posted at Firedoglake and Smirking Chimp

If Not Now, When? is my intellectual property. I retain full rights to my own work. You may copy it and share it with others, but only if you credit me as the author.
My real name is Frederick Leatherman. I was a criminal-defense lawyer for 30 years specializing in death-penalty defense and forensics. I also was a law professor.

Now I am a writer and I also haul scrap for a living in this insane land.




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