Dagmar (dadi) wrote in linguaphiles,

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The Golden Rule

"Don't do to others....what you don't want done to you"

I was wondering if this actually is something frequently used in English.. I can't remember ever having heard it mention by somebody, as a piece of "daily wisdom".

In Germany, I practically grew up with "Was du nicht willst dass man dir tu, das füg auch keinem Andern zu". It has even been put into rhyme, in order to be more "present" in our lives. I have been told that it is the same in Romanian, for "Ceea ce ţie nu-ţi place, altuia nu-i face". While, on the other side, in Italy, this is not the case, the "concept" exists ("Non fare ad altri quello che non vuoi che sia fatto a te") in its general meaning, but expressed in different ways, not in a "formula".

Now, the thought of avoiding negative actions because of putting oneself into the shoes of the person they are done to is certainly an interesting one, from the point of moral and social development of a population. Just how much could the presence of this "Golden Rule" from the earliest childhood on in a person's brain have to do with the development of a social conscience, I ask myself? Can avoidance of negative actions not for the fear of punishment but out of empathy for the victims be acquired through similar means? 

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