The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
One Golden Rule For Everything
Whether you are a follower of religion, trying to set rules for your children, or running a business with a set of standards, you could write five rules, ten rules, twenty rules, but how many do you actually need? In Judaism, there are 613 Mitzvot or commandments that are meant to be followed. Could we get away with just one commandment that would cover everything?
I am not here to bash religion and I am certainly not arguing against the 10 Commandments, as George Carlin spoke about in his comedy standup. There are so many rules and laws that could be broken up, analyzed, bargained, modified, re-written, and discussed for years. However, in our modern world where most books could probably be written in three chapters, and more seems to always be less, which is what we desire, whether we receive our news feeds in a few lines, a summary of our emails, to our smaller and thinner cell phones and television sets, why are there so many rules that we have to memorize and follow? From childhood to adulthood to every walk of life, from being students to employees, we are given rules to follow. Why not just have one rule?
This rule says a lot, doesn’t it?
Do no harm to yourself or others.
Let’s analyze the sentence:
Do No Harm: Cause no pain, hurt, stress, or implied pressure.
To Yourself: I, me, myself, my individual person, my ego, my body, my soul.
Or Others: Those who are not you, including humans and animals.
How hard is this rule to follow? Almost 100% of all humans have yet to follow it because it is one of the hardest and most difficult rules in the world to follow since the beginning of time. It is because this rule is so hard to follow that we need ten, a dozen, or a hundred other rules to try and follow because we cannot follow this one rule.
It is certainly not a simple rule to follow because harming oneself or others is nearly impossible, but to try and aim towards not breaking this rule and living by this rule can set you on a path to greatness, and is guaranteed, no matter what you believe in and no matter what religion you are, to get you to where you want to be.
This one rule implies that you:
- cannot murder because you would be causing harm and suffering to the other.
- cannot steal property or money because you would be causing the pain and suffering to the other who would feel a loss.
- cannot call other people bad names including your parents which causes harm to the other.
- cannot commit adultery, cheat, or have an affair with another person because you would be causing harm to the other.
- cannot lie or accuse the other of something that is false because it would cause harm and stress to the other.
- cannot hurt yourself or commit suicide because you would be causing harm to yourself and the other.
- cannot cause harm to animals because you would be harming the other.
- cannot cause harm to the Earth because you would be harming yourself and the other.
This one rule implies that you:
- help others
- think of others before yourself
- perform acts of loving-kindness
- perform acts of charity
- give to charity
- be selfless
Sure, there are some additional rules that people need to follow, but this one rule says it all, and can imply human ethics, business ethics, and probably all codes of ethics, yet almost every human being on this planet has failed to follow it. In fact, all humans are expected to fail in following it. It is nearly impossible to go through life without causing some harm or pain towards oneself or another, even if done unintentionally.
A wife and her husband may get into an argument, calling each other names, and thus, have violated the golden rule. A child mad at their parents might utter the words, “I hate you”, though they may not mean it, they have violated the golden rule. A girlfriend may ask her boyfriend if she looks fat in something, setting up the ultimate contradiction of not just harming oneself, but harming the other violating the golden rule.
Going to war clearly violates this one law. The individuals who are part of a corrupt government are also in violation, not only harming others, but unknowingly harming themselves. This golden rule extends to all walks of life and is the one and only commandment necessary that is one of the hardest commandments to follow, but should be the ultimate aim and goal of all human beings.
Whether you are trying to teach your children to be wise young souls, or running a business sets standard rules for employees to follow, this is the one golden rule you need to have listed on your Code of Ethics. For this golden rule, try to bring an awareness of it, and have your children or employees count how many times they violate the rule each day. We often hardly think about how we hurt ourselves or others, but if we did a better job of following this golden rule, the world might be a better place for everyone.