The Golden Rule

During a Book World Live online conversation (1st October 2008), the science-fantasy novelist Terry Pratchett was asked about a “theme that seems to run through many of your novels,” which “is the conception that good is relative but evil is the absolute inability to care about other living things, be they golems, people, or cats.” 

The endearingly wise Terry replied: “All I am really promoting in the books is the Golden Rule, which I hope everybody knows to be “do as you would be done by.” It has one or 2 flaws, but it is a good soundbite. Evil starts when you treat other people as things. There are perhaps worse crimes, but they begin when you treat other people as things.”

Around 450 BC, the first versions of what we know today as the Analects of Confucius began to be put together somewhere in modern-day China. In Chapter 12 (“Confucius: The Analects”, translated by Arthur Waley), we read what are probably the earliest recorded words pointing to the Golden Rule: “Do not do to others what you would not like yourself.” 

Towards the end of her Talk to the class of 1989 at Michigan Technological University, the 76 years old Rosa Parks, mother of the Civil Rights movement in the USA, draws on a lifetime of struggle for human rights, and gives each of us a message —

“we do need to go back to what we’ve always thought of as the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.””

Peace 😊

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