The Golden Rule states to do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you if your positions were reversed. When trying to understand this statement in which every human behavior is based upon, two questions come to mind: What is the Golden Rule? And what does the universality of the Golden Rule imply for the human person?
In whatever conduct one can notice the direct implication of this rule in so many ways, whether through history or personal conduct. We have witnessed the rule repeatedly employed. Why? What is the reason for this compassion to others? The realization that man possess human dignity and deserves respect gives us the reason to treat him with compassion and empathy. Perhaps the understanding of the Rule could be further extended to mean: think of others as you wish them to think of you, as we go further on to understand that living out or practicing the Golden Rule is a reflection of our dignity and the dignity of others. As such, we are able to act with kindness, respect and love for ourselves and others. Henceforth, it would be impossible to injure anyone by “thought” or deed without injuring one’s self; every kind “thought” or deed adds to one’s character.
Understanding the Golden Rule and the great value which it implies can eliminate competition, as cooperation becomes possible, and all ground for enmity is obliterated whether between individuals, classes or nations. We learn to see a person as a “being,” possessing human dignity and deserving respect. The recognition of the value of human dignity is best experienced by all when in relationship with other people, as stated by Buber in his essay I-Thou (from WYA’s Track A reading), on mutual subjectivity; when the objective value which is human dignity is affirmed by a person he sees people as subjects like himself, as his equals .Thus it’s up to the human person to make choices that will ultimately reflect his own dignity to respect this dignity in him and others. This will have an affect on his life and character.
Recognizing the human dignity in a person increases the scale of happiness and well-being in others as well as in us. As stated by the Dalai Lama in his essay Our Global Family: “When we feel love and kindness towards others, it not only makes others feel loved and cared for, but it helps us develop inner happiness and peace.” It begins with respecting others’ human dignity.
By our regional intern, Dima Al Banna, World Youth Alliance Middle East