July 9th, 2010

"Sermon" Meditation VI, Do unto others....

"...As you want people to treat you, do the same to them...." Q1

It is worth noting that the scholars who reconstructed Q placed Jesus' version of the golden rule smack in the middle of a group of related  sayings around the theme: Love your enemies.  I think this adds a dimension to the rule, that i sometimes miss (See "Sermon" Meditation III, Love your enemies, July, 5, 2010).  The inclusion of enemies in the category "people" reinforces the notion that the term includes everybody.  (Right now, there about seven billion of us--not counting the deceased and the unborn.)

How do i treat people as i want to be treated by them?  This aphorism seems so simple, consisting of "universal  prime concepts" and expressing one apparently simple idea, that analysis of it seems redundant and unnecessary..  Its like: "what part of this do i not understand?"  But taking the rule too literally could cause problems.  As a teen aged boy, i would have wanted a girl to make a pass at me (one finally did, yay!).  Then wouldn't it have been alright for make passes at them?  Since i was a little shy and autistic, a subtle pass would have gone unnoticed, so i would have appreciated a more aggressive come on.  Therefore wouldn't it be all right for me to do the same?  I would be treating another as i would like to be treated.

There is a saying that what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander (although i don't think either goose or gander would appreciate that much, but the meaning, i think, is that if one person likes something, another should like it also.)  The falseness of that idea is becoming clearer by the day.  Another aphorism is: one person's meat is another person's poison  (which seems a little extreme, but is sometimes literally true--as with food allergies, etc.  The Confucian version, i believe, is expressed in the negative.  Don't do unto others what you would not want done unto you.  That, at least, seems safer.  The positive version requires empathy, the ability to put myself in another's moccasins.  It requires subtlety and common sense, a lot of open heartedness and open mindedness.  The basic rule is easyy , any one can play.  But their is no end to the subtlety of mastering it.

I should give to and do for others what they would have me give and do for them if they were in their right minds and knew what was good for them.

The basics: love, honesty, forgiveness, tolerance, gratitude, comfort, caring, respect, no violence, no put downs, no adding to heavy burdens, no assumptions about what a person needs....and i'm sure there are some etceteras.

Teach me, guide me, in love, to love, and to demonstrate it appropriately.