Confucius had some astute things to say. One of them was: Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire. About five hundred years later a Hebrew prophet named Jesus came along who phrased the sentiment this way: Do unto others as you would have them do to you. Either way it is worded, it is absolutely astounding – at least to me – how so many folks act to the contrary.
It would seem self-evident that if I wish to be accorded respect, it makes sense to accord others with such. Empirical observation reveals that treating another with disrespect, disregard, and indignity most often results in a return of the same. Like spitting into the wind.
I don’t get it. Life in any society is overall better for all if and when relationships are acted out with mutual respect, love, and care. The fact that the opposite is all too often the case results in . . . well, the evening news. I know that self-interest is part of the core of personhood, but you’d think one would recognize that everybody treating everybody else with genuine care and respect would be to the benefit of the self. The ancient prophet Jeremiah acknowledged this when he encouraged the Hebrews in Babylon to seek the welfare of the city in which they were exiled, “for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” Why people cannot seem to grasp this and act accordingly is one of life’s mysteries.
While considering all others as worthy as oneself (see the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights) can be a self-serving act, it is also purely and simply right. There is something intrinsically good, constructive, appropriate, and proper about operating on the principle of loving respect . . . for everybody.
As more people realize this and act accordingly, planet Earth will be a much more pleasant place upon which to live.