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The Golden Rule, also known as the ethic of reciprocity, is a maxim that describes a reciprocal relationship between one’s self and the others. Essentially, it states that one should treat others as one would like others to treat ones’ self. It involves empathy and considering other people as part of one’s body. Its corollary or cautionary form is known as the Silver Rule.
The term started in the 1670’s in England and Europe, but the concept originated in various world cultures and in various periods as a way to resolve conflicts. Founder of the Institute for Global Ethics, Rushworth Kidder, noted that although it is associated with Christian ethics, its origins can be traced in ancient civilisations and in Asian culture such as Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism.
Its egalitarian message is considered a humanist principle. Humanist writer and activist Adam Lee writes, “Moral directives do not need to be complex or obscure to be worthwhile, and in fact, it is precisely this rule’s simplicity which makes it great. It is easy to come up with, easy to understand, and easy to apply, and these three things are the hallmarks of a strong and healthy moral system.”
However, despite its invaluable effect to humanity, the Golden Rule is still not widely practice. Izzy Kalman, a nationally certified school psychologist believes that it’s due to its religious origin. He argues that it should be considered as a scientific psychological rule instead. He maintains that the Golden Rule is a simple formula “for defusing aggression and creating harmony.”