We’ve all heard the Golden Rule before: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and its many variations. But, how valid is this rule and it’s impact on leading a happy, healthy and morally sound life? I look at lessons in homeopathy and ayurvedic philosophy for insight.
Ayurvedic philosophy states that the reason for abstaining from morally unsound deeds (lying, stealing, killing, etc.) is because, once one begins to engage in these acts, one begins to create a world in which these acts become feasible. In essence, the ayurvedic philosophers claim that we create our own reality: once we begin to steal and lie, we create a reality in which stealing and lying becomes possible and we run the risk of other people beginning to steal and lie to us.
This concept of creating your own reality is inherent in homeopathic theory as well. In homeopathy, in order to understand the case that a patient presents with we must examine every minute detail about the patient. If someone expresses a frustration about something or someone that appears distinct from themself (“people are liars” or “you can’t trust anyone”) they are really expressing a statement about themselves. Our professor Dr. Nadia Bakir tells us that in order to recognize something about our environment we are really recognizing it from a point deep within ourself. If we didn’t already embody this characteristic then we wouldn’t be able to observe it in others – it wouldn’t be a part of our reality. In some ways it makes sense, those who embody the characteristic of cynicism tend to see the negative side of life, ignoring the positive and even managing to manifest negative outcomes in their own life situations.
This means that, in order to live in a world where people are honest, thoughtful and generally concerned about others we must first work to cultivate those characteristics in ourselves. As Gandhi says “Be the change you wish to see in the world”.
It must be said that these concepts can be dangerous if we take them a step further and claim that people who are the victims of unfortunate accidents or deadly diseases “brought it on themselves”. However, there is some evidence that suggests people who think positively about their cancer diagnoses, for example, experience greater quality of life and a better prognosis.
This philosophy is not meant to undermine those who have experienced loss or are going through a difficult time. It only serves as an inspiration for those who wish to cultivate a better world and take some responsibility for their outlook on life. It’s important to understand that we don’t each live in our glass bubble. Our personal views manifest as actions and our actions affect other people, which in turn affect how those people react to us. So, in a sense there is some truth to “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”