Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Primum non nocere


Matthew 7:12 (NKJV) Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. "The Golden Rule is the distilled essence of that ‘fulfilment’ the obligations of man to fellow man; and the requirements or expectations of the man to fellow man relationship as decreed by God (Matthew 5:17) and which is taught in the sermon".
“Woe to those . . . who, when they have to receive by measure from men, exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due”

Primum non nocere means "First, do no harm."

There is a passivity to the negative approach (First, do no harm) which when applied to the concept of the Golden Rule lends itself to the establishment of a posture of non-action. The assumption of the positive application of the Golden Rule is that the other person desires my action or intervention with my understanding that what I believe 'good' is for me is universally applied to all others. In the extreme instance, my decision to invade and dominate your culture is in your best interests as I believe, if in your position, I would desire you to invade and dominate myself

The assumption of a need for rescue, my actions with regard to an other's salvation or my actions with regard to an other's flourishing or well-being (conatus) must be linked to a expressed desire or visible need on the part of the other for that salvation or rescue. Matthew 5:42 "Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you." Attempts without that understanding can lead to opposition and opposition of a nature quite possibly violent in its response.

George Bernard Shaw criticized the golden rule, "Do not do unto others as you would expect they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same."

"The Golden Rule is a good standard which is further improved by doing unto others, wherever possible, as they want to be done by."

This concept has recently been called "The Platinum Rule". Philosophers such as Immanuel Kant, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Bertrand Russell, have objected to the Golden Rule on a variety of grounds. The most serious among these is its application. How does one know how others want to be treated? The obvious way is to ask them, but this cannot be done if one assumes they have not reached a higher level of understanding or acceptance of their need. In the justification of the Golden Rule as applicable to all people in all situations, there must be given consideration for the effects of that action with regard to future endeavours in evangelism or aid of any kind. Applying the Golden Rule as a law of justified action must consider the reasonable and important truth that all peoples have intrinsically the right to freedom and are equal in dignity. Justice is equated with maintaining and ensuring that the health and well-being of individuals within society as respecting that freedom is kept and acts as the final cause or explanatory reason for action.

The proper point of the law (Golden Rule) is not to force upon or subjugate to the destruction of the will of another, but to offer the opportunity for honor and dignity to be restored to the individual and that dignity to reflect upon the glory of God as it is felt in the person as an inherent characteristic and a desired outcome of relationship. It is at that instance when a person decides to accept the 'good' from anothers resources; at anothers initiative; with an understanding of the possibility of harm, (pride must be replaced by humility & gratitude) that they have made a freewill decision and therein lies the strength of the gift and the promotion of the 'good' for the recipient.

The Golden Rule is about selflessness. It does not require specific actions with regard to each situation, but requires an understanding of the nature of the need and requires action in a manner which expresses care and value for the individual over and above any reservations or prejudices. It requires sincerity (clean, pure, sound ,of "one growth", not mixed), mercy (non-requited aid, unwarranted compassion, '...the quality of mercy is not strained'.), and love.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Henry James states, “It is no doubt very tolerable finite or creaturely love to love one’s own in another, to love another for his conformity to one’s self: but nothing can be more flagrant contrast with the creative love, all whose tenderness must be reserved only for what is most bitterly hostile and negative to itself.”

The movement of love is circular, at one and the same impulse projecting creations into independency and drawing them into harmony. This seems complicated when stated so; but it is summed up in the simple formula we call the Golden Rule. This does not, of course, say, Do everything possible to gratify the egoistic impulses of others, but it says, Sacrifice your own perfection to the perfectionment of your neighbor.

The Gospel of Christ says that progress comes from every individual merging his individuality in sympathy with his neighbors.

Anonymous said...

I have come to understand that "love" is not the exchange rate of life in this world and humans don't Love unless they know. Love is a personal word, unlike justice.

Justice is an aspect of love that seeks equality under law, respect, dignity, and value to all people. Justice is blind to difference, because difference in race, religion or "creed of life" are not evaluated in "justice's eyes". Justice is what anyone seeks for "self" and what we need to seek for others. But, justice is measured by law, as laws define and protect justice. Love fulfills the law, because love will not break the law in regards to another's difference of value or choice. Justice is moral because it seeks to give freedom for choice.

While justice is the side to love that is universal, mercy is the side that is personal. Mercy is shown in tangible ways to those whose needs vary. Mercy is not blind, as it sees clearly what the needs are and seeks to meet them. Mercy gives freedom, because it respects another's need for dignity in private moments of despair and discouragement. Mercy reaches out. but doesn't demand to serve or demean in service. Mercy is respectful.

Love is not romanticized in these values of justice or mercy. Justice and mercy seek to alleviate pain, benefit the whole and rectify the wrong.

Anonymous said...

First, in the pharmacopoeia of love, there are many types and various strengths of preparations. Some are easily recognizable and common throughout nature. Eros (or sexual love) sparks and flares. It is showy and demands attention. Philia (or friendship) is strong, long-lasting, and comfortable. It is highly prized for its sustaining power. Storge (or affection) flows from familiarity and leads to a nourishing kindness and respect. These three loves are important, but unfortunately, for some they are unreliable. Their sources, both from within an individual and from without, can be hidden or withheld. Opportunities for their expression may be restricted.

Fortunately, the greatest love is not so fickle. The foundational type of love, that lays the groundwork upon which the others can build and thaws the earth to release the sometimes frozen springs of eros, philia, and storge, is agape. Agape (sometimes known as charity) does not depend on the comings-and-goings of emotions. It is a decision to seek the best for an individual. This type of love challenges our intellect to identify what our loved one truly needs and strengthens our resolve to persist in seeking his advantage even as our emotions waver and costs mount.