Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or - treat others as you would like to be treated. You might be familiar with the Golden Rule.
You might identify the Golden Rule as coming from the Christian Bible, and indeed it does. It appears several times in various forms throughout the text, most notably in The Sermon on the Mount. But it is a much older principle.
The Golden Rule can be traced back to Ancient China and Confucius, and it a central instruction in all religious and philosophical beliefs including Hinduism, Buddhism and Zoroastrianism. But it's value lies in the fact that it requires no God to enact. You are the agent and the recipient of the Golden Rule.
In this time of pandemic it can be useful to remember the Golden Rule. For example, in maintaining social distancing, you should give everyone their space and should therefore expect that others will extend the same space to you.
Similarly, it is tedious to be continuously confronted by yet another instruction to sanitise your hands, but remember that it is something that you will be comforted to assume that others are doing.
Furthermore, I would not like to be sneezed near or coughed over, at any time, and so I make sure that I don't cough or sneeze liberally in public, expecting that others will do the same.
There is also an alternate version - the Silver Rule. Do not do to others as you would not have them do to you. Although in spirit, this is much the same as the Golden rule, the double negative is a little more commanding.
As scholars and philosophers have found holes in the universal application of both the Gold and Silver Rules, perhaps it is the Platinum rule that can direct our actions in this time of germs and distance. The Platinum Rule is 'Treat others as they would like to be treated". Even those people carrying the coronavirus deserve our respect and care.
Brandi Galpin is a teacher and atheist
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