Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Normalization, Universality, Harmony: The Three-Layer Implications of the Golden Rule

Academic journal article Cross - Cultural Communication

Normalization, Universality, Harmony: The Three-Layer Implications of the Golden Rule

Article excerpt

Abstract

The Golden Rule has long been well-known and echo across the centuries. We can find the similar expressions in many civilizations and religions. Viewing from the various interpretations of and debates on the Golden Rule, it is obvious that the discussion is carried out from three perspectives: firstly, the "law" aspect of the Golden Rule, which functions in forms of moral laws, principles and norms; secondly, the "golden" aspect of the Golden Rule, namely, how to understand its priority and universal significance in moral rules and principles; thirdly, the harmony in the relationships of self-other, individual-individual, human-object and human-nature. The different interpretations from above three perspectives of the Golden Rule in classic theories of moral philosophy facilitate us with rich theoretical resources from , but cause the dilemma, including Christian theology, Kant's practical reason, empiricism (such as egoism, utilitarianism, sympathetic ethics) and analytic ethics. From the perspectives of practical philosophy, virtue ethics and the Confucian "loyalty and forgiveness" thought, the harmonious relationships of norms and inherent spirit, particularity and universality, self and other, manifested in the Golden Rule could be more justifiably explained.

Key words: The golden rule; Normalization; Universality; Harmony

INTRODUCTION

The Golden Rule could be interpreted by Biblical creeds, such as "Do unto others as you would have done unto you", "Don't unto others as you would have them don't unto you" or "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself'; it could also be interpreted by sayings of Confucius, such as suo bu yu, wu shi yu ren; Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you) and " B$CjMB$Ci¿Wi¿Á"(Ji yu li er li ren, ji yu da er da ren; A man of humanity, wishing to establish his own character, also establishes the character of others, and wishing to be prominent himself, also helps others to be prominent). Actually, many similar expressions could be found in others civilizations and religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam. In a nutshell, the ideas in the Golden Rule have long been well-known and echo across the centuries.

In the early 1990s, the discussion over the Global Ethnics triggered a heated debate on Golden Rule. Some scholars began to search for the Golden Rule from numerous religious cultures so as to establish universal principles of ethnics. However, great divergence exists on whether the Golden Rule could be utilized as the "universal ethnical" principles with values of universality, whether it is able to regulate the interpersonal moral behaviors, or whether the Golden Rule contains any significance or value for the present. As a matter of fact, this divergence is tightly related to the way people interpret the Golden Rule.

One so-called "absolute" modernized thought holds that anything belonging to the past or being traditional should be abandoned, and views this as the upgrading and updating. To this thought, I could hardly show agreement. The Chinese famous scholar Ch'ien Mu once said that, "The real strong opponents of all real progresses are those who despise the past history in a revolutionary manner. The present could only be understood with the full knowledge of the past; improvement of the present could only be done on a real understanding of the present. So valuing the knowledge of history, we not only learn from the past, but also do our duty to breeding and guiding the future" (Mu, 1994, p.2).

Viewing from the various interpretations of and debates on the Golden Rule, it is obvious that the discussion is carried out from three perspectives: firstly, the "law" aspect of the Golden Rule, which functions in forms of moral laws, principles and norms; secondly, the "golden" aspect of the Golden Rule, namely, how to understand its priority and universal significance in moral rules and principles; thirdly, the harmony in the relationships of self-other, individual-individual, humanobject and human-nature. …

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