THE GOLDEN RULE REHASHED

When I came home after a late night new year’s celebration at a friend’s house, I briefly thought  about my first post for 2010.  Three things came to mind – the conversation about the virtues of universal ( free) health care in Canada with my buddies during the new year’s eve party , the issue of a friend who complained about not being invited to parties during the holidays and of course, Tiger Woods’ infamous fall from grace that shocked the world. I was wondering if I could blog about them and if my arguments would be in line with popular code of ethics which had become increasingly fuzzier in this day and age.  In my idle time last weekend, I grabbed Carl Sagan’s  Billions and Billions from my modest library to finish the 3rd section of the book and I thought I found something interesting when I came across his essay “Rules of the Game“.  I always go to Sagan for science stuff and much like Einstein, when great scientists talk about morals and society, I am all ears.  As I expected, no explicit answers are given but an analysis of man’s behavior based on the evolutionary nature of the human specie  influenced by the perception of society’s rapidly changing moral values is enough for me to appreciate the author’s  point.

Here’s a couple of excerpts from the article :

“Everything morally right derives from one of four sources : it concerns either full perception of intelligence or intelligent development of what is true; or the preservation of organized society, where every man is rendered his due and all obligations are faithfully discharged; or the greatness and strength of a noble, invincible spirit; or order and moderation in everything said and done, whereby is temperance and self-control.”CICERO, De Officiis, I, 5 (45-44 B.C.)

 

TABLE OF PROPOSED RULES TO LIVE BY

The Golden Rule : Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
The Silver Rule : Do not unto others what you would not have them do unto you.
The Brazen (Brass) Rule : Do unto others as they do unto you.
The Iron Rule : Do unto others as you like, before they do it to you.
The Tit-for-Tat Rule : Cooperate with others first, then do unto them as they do unto you.

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