Whitaker's Current Articles February 21, 2004

 

February 21, 2004 -- There is Nothing Simple About the Golden Rule

February 21, 2004 -- The Golden Rule in the Orient 

February 21, 2004 -- Theology Requires Knowledge, the Golden Rule Requires a Conscience

 

Fun Quote:

"You're ugly, your feet stink, and you don't love Jesus."

--North Carolina saying

 

                             There is Nothing Simple About the Golden Rule                                


I was a discussant at an economics convention, and I was standing in front of a blackboard filled with highly complex calculus equations.   As I looked at that board full of advanced math, it occurred to me once again that that entire mass of math was based on three words: "supply and demand." 

Supply and demand is all that microeconomics is based on.

This computer I am working with does miracles.  But the entire computer language is based on two things, the number 0 and the number 1.

The Wisdom of the Orient consists of Wise Men saying silly things that sound obscure but are actually meaningless.  They sit around spouting Great Wisdom while children are dying a hundred feet away of worms and malnutrition.

In the West, we take simple truths and follow them like a bloodhound.   We don't sit around trying to impress people by saying silly ass things.  We impress the world by DOING things that no one else has ever imagined doing.

There is nothing simple about computer science, though it is based on 0 and 1.  There is nothing simple about microeconomics, though it is just supply and demand.

And there is nothing simple about the Golden Rule.  If you follow it ruthlessly, it is as complicated as a moon rocket.

 

                                              The Golden Rule in the Orient                                               

 

Our Golden Rule says, "Do unto other as you would have them do unto you."

Confucius said, "Do not do unto another what you would not have him do unto you."

Political Correctness uses this to prove that the Orient is just like the West.

Actually, these two statements are worlds apart.

I gave the example of an Oriental Wise Man sitting and saying obscure things while children around him were hungry and had worms in their guts.   But from the point of view of Confucius, that is all right.  The Oriental Wise Man is not doing anything TO those children.  So he is doing nothing to them that he would not have them do unto him, as Confucius said.

But the Western version of the Golden Rule is entirely different.   You must stop talking crap and use your mind to do something FOR those children.  You must DO something.

This is a very practical matter.  In Japan in earlier times, no one was required to save the life of someone in danger.  The Japanese rule was that if you saved a person's life, you were responsible for what they did after that.  Throughout the very different cultures of Asia, this attitude is very common.

In the West, you have to take action.

The Orient is passive.  The West is active.

Please see

 

                 Theology Requires Knowledge, the Golden Rule Requires a Conscience         

 

Theologians never mention the fact that Jesus never condemned anybody for not reading the Bible enough.

He condemned many who were Biblical experts, like the scribes and the prideful high priests of the Temple.

There have always been many who substituted theology for a conscience.

At the end of the eighteenth century, Doctor Jenner came up with a means of ending the deadly scourge of smallpox.  He found that if you gave a person a shot of cowpox, it would make them immune to the deadly smallpox.

Practically every preacher in London started screaming about how evil this man Jenner was.  They quoted the Old Testament about how the human body was the temple of the soul.  They said putting cow germs into humans was something no Christian would do.

As a direct result of that campaign against vaccinations by the preachers, thousands of people died of smallpox.  Thousands more were horribly disfigured for life.

There is no record of any preacher ever feeling the slightest bit guilty for this.  If you've got your nose stuck in the Old Testament, you don't need a conscience.

So theologians find everything easy.   There are millions of people in wheelchairs for life.  Maybe developing embryos and using them to replace cells could put those on their feet.  If I were the embryo, I wouldn't mind at all.  But if you can just quote the right theology, you can block it, and if you are a good theologian, the real people in the real wheelchairs won't bother you a bit.

No matter what happens no theologian will ever feel guilty about mere human beings.  But if you are stuck with the Golden Rule, the world is a very complicated place.  You can't stick your nose in the Old Testament and forget that people exist.

If you are stuck with the Golden Rule, you can't ignore anybody.  If you are stuck with the Golden Rule, you have to try to realize exactly how others think and what other people want.

Life is much simpler if you can ignore the Golden Rule and look for a good quote in the Old Testament that saves you from having to think and feel.

 

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Editor: Rick Rowland
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