Golden Rule

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Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets. ~ Matthew

The Golden Rule or ethic of reciprocity is an ethical directive which has been expressed in many moral maxims which essentially state that "one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself", or that "one should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated" (in this form it is also known as "the Silver Rule").


Variant expressions of the Golden Rule, sorted alphabetically by author or source
  • An it harm none, do as thou wilt.
  • Jesus offers his disciples a simple rule of thumb which will enable even the least sophisticated of them to tell whether his intercourse with others is on the right lines or not. All he need do is to say “I” instead of “Thou,” and put himself in the other man’s place.
  • πάντα δὲ ὅσα ἐὰν θελήσῃς μὴ γίνεσθαί σοι, καὶ σὺ ἄλλῳ μὴ ποίει.
    • All things whatsoever that thou wouldst not wish to be done to thee, do thou also not to another.
      • The Didache, or Teaching of the Twelve Apostles (c. 135 CE), 1.2 (or 1.5 in the Joseph Barber Lightfoot translation)
  • This is that law of the Gospel; whatsoever you require that others should do to you, that do ye to them.
  • Do not that to another, which thou wouldest not have done to thyself.
  • ἃ πάσχοντες ὑφʹ ἑτέρων ὀργίζεσθε, ταῦτα τοὺς ἄλλους μὴ ποιεῖτε.
    • What thou thyself hatest, do to no man.
  • ὅσα ἐὰν θέλητε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, οὕτως καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς
    • All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.
  • καθὼς θέλετε ἵνα ποιῶσιν ὑμῖν οἱ ἄνθρωποι, καὶ ὑμεῖς ποιεῖτε αὐτοῖς ὁμοίως.
    • As you would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.
    • As ye will that men do to you, and do ye to them in like manner.
  • Fais aux autres ce que tu voudrais qu'ils te fassent dans les mêmes circonstances.
    • Do unto others as you would have others do unto you in like case.
  • Ἐρωτηθεὶς πῶς ἂν τοῖς φίλοις προσφεροίμεθα, ἔφη, « ὡς ἂν εὐξαίμεθα αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν προσφέρεσθαι. »
    • The question was once put to Aristotle how we ought to behave to our friends; and his answer was, "As we should wish them to behave to us."
  • לֹא-תִקֹּם וְלֹא-תִטֹּר אֶת-בְּנֵי עַמֶּךָ, וְאָהַבְתָּ לְרֵעֲךָ כָּמוֹךָ: אֲנִי, יְהוָה
    • οὐκ ἐκδικᾶταί σου ἡ χείρ, καὶ οὐ μηνιεῖς τοῖς υἱοῖς τοῦ λαοῦ σου, καὶ ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν
      • Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but though shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.
  • न तत्परस्य संदध्यात्प्रतिकूलं यदात्मनः।
    एष संक्षेपतो धर्मः कामादन्यः प्रवर्तते ॥
    • na tat parasya saṁdadhyāt pratikūlaṁ yad ātmanaḥ.
      eṣa saṁkṣepato dharmaḥ kāmād anyaḥ pravartate.
  • To do, as one would be done by, and to love one's neighbor as one's self, constitute the ideal perfection of utilitarian morality.
  • Quod malum tibi fieri nolles, à faciendo illud alteri ipse debes abstinere, quoad fieri potest absque tertii alicujus injuria.
    • The evil that you do not wish done to you, you ought to refrain from doing to another, so far as may be done without injury to some third person.
      • Henry More, Enchiridion Ethicum (1667), Chap. 4, Noema XV
  • Sic cum inferiore vivas quemadmodum tecum superiorem velis vivere.
    • Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors.
  • Reason shows me that if my happiness is desirable and a good, the equal happiness of any other person must be equally desirable.
  • When you treat others as you want them to treat you, you liberate yourself.
    • Silo, in Silo's Message (2008) The Book, Chapter XIIIː Principles, Principle 10
  • We make a growing commitment to follow the rule that reminds us to treat others as we want to be treated.
    • Silo, in Silo's Message (2008), The Experience, Recognition Ceremony
  • Learn to treat others in the way that you want to be treated.
    • Silo, in Silo's Message (2008), The Path
  • ...bonum quod unusquisque qui virtutem sectatur, sibi appetit, reliquis hominibus etiam cupiet.
    • The good, which each follower of virtue seeks for himself, he will desire also for others.
      • Baruch Spinoza, Ethica (1667), Part 4, Prop. XXXVII, as translated by R. H. M. Elwes
  • דעלך סני לחברך לא תעביד
    • That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow.
      • Talmud (c. 200 CE), Shabbat 31a
  • Ἐὰν ἃ τοῖς ἄλλοις ἐπιτιμῶμεν, αὐτοὶ μὴ δρῶμεν
    • Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.
  • ὃ μισεῖς, μηδενὶ ποιήσῃς
    • Never do to anyone else anything that you would not want someone to do to you.
  • If a man any ways doubt whether what he is going to do to another man be agreeable to the law of nature, then let him suppose himself to be in that other man's room.
    • John Wise, in A Vindication of the Government of New England Churches (1717)

Quotes about the Golden Rule[edit]

  • "Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you" is the greatest phrase ever written. If everyone followed that creed, this world would be a paradise.
  • Ralph: When she put two potatoes on the table, one big one and one small one, you immediately took the big one without asking me what I wanted.
Norton: What would you have done?
Ralph: I would have taken the small one, of course.
Norton: You would?
Ralph: Yes, I would.
Norton: So, what are you complaining about? You got the small one!
  • [No one should] find the Golden Rule surprising in any way because at its base lies the foundation of most human interactions and exchanges and it can be found in countless texts throughout recorded history and from around the world — a testimony to its universality.
  • Hillel Ha-Babli, in the thirty-first book of The Sabbath in 30 B.C.E., raised the Golden Rule to the ultimate moral principle: "Whatsoever thou wouldst that men should not do unto thee, do not do unto them. This is the whole Law. The rest is explanation."
  • What has become of the Golden Rule? It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church's assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing...It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution-plate, or any of those things. It is never intruded into business; and Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business passion.
  • It is often mistakenly held that the key concept of Jesus' ethic is the "Golden Rule": "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This is stated by Jesus, however, not as the sum of his own teaching but as the center of the law (Mark 12:28-29, Matt. 22:40, citing Lev. 19:15). But Jesus' own "fulfillment" of this thrust of the law, which thereby becomes through his own work a "new commandment" (John 13:34, 15:12, 1 John 2:18) is different, "Do as I have done to you" or "do as the Father did in sending his Son."

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

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