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The Platinum Rule

Brian Johnson 12-17

“Why the double standard, the generosity toward our neighbor and the miserliness where we ourselves are concerned? And so I propose that we add a new rule, which we can call the Platinum Rule, to our moral code: ‘Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.’” ~ Tal Ben-Shahar from The Pursuit of Perfect

So, we all know the Golden Rule, eh?

It’s echoed across basically all moral codes and goes something to the effect of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”

Of course, that’s wonderful wisdom.

However, it presupposes a very important idea: That we actually love ourselves!!!

Recognizing that need, I love Tal’s Platinum Rule: “Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.”

If your friend/loved one made some mistakes in a big presentation at work or on an exam or whatever, would you YELL at her throughout her presentation and then all the way home and then all night? Telling her what an idiot she is and all that jazz?

Riiiiiight… We’d *never* do that.

So, why do that to ourselves?!?

Fact is, we simply can’t give what we don’t have. Tal quotes Ayn Rand who, in The Fountainhead reminds us: “To say ‘I love you’ one must know first how to say the ‘I’.”

And he offers this wisdom as well: “When the Dalai Lama was then asked to clarify whether indeed the object of compassion may be the self, he responded: ‘Yourself first, and then in a more advanced way the aspiration will embrace others. In a way, high levels of compassion are nothing but an advanced state of that self-interest. That’s why it is hard for people who have a strong sense of self-hatred to have genuine compassion toward others. There is no anchor, no basis to start from.’”

So, let’s remember the Platinum Rule as we go out and rock our greatest Optimalist lives: “Do not do unto yourself what you would not do unto others.”


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