The basic ethical principle of empathetic reciprocity — in one form, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” — appears in many different religions and philosophies. Following are some of those versions, and some quotations from those pondering the importance and validity of this principle, which was named The Golden Rule about the 17th century in Anglican usage.

The religions of humanity should be a unifying force, for all the great religions reveal a basic unity in ethics. Whether it be Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism or Confucianism, all grow out of a sense of the sacredness of human life. This moral sensitivity to the sacredness of human personality — the Commandments not to kill, not to hurt, not to put a stumbling block in the path of the blind, not to neglect the widow or the fatherless, not to exploit the servant or the worker — all this can be found in the Bibles of humanity, in all the sacred books. All teach in substance: ‘Do unto others as you would that others should do unto you.’

— Algernon Black

Do as you will, but harm no one. What you give will be returned to you threefold.

— Alice Hoffman, Magic Lessons

None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.

— An-Nawawi, Forty Hadith 13

And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself.

— Bahá’u’lláh

Do to no one what you yourself dislike.

— Bible, Tobit 4:15

Recognize that your neighbor feels as you do, and keep in mind your own dislikes.

— Bible, Sirach 31:15

Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.

— Bible, Matthew 7:12

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.

— Bible, Luke 6:31

Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.

— Buddha, Udanavarga 5:18

Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.

— Confucius

The long-run goal is, I think, the same for every human being, that politically he or she may be allowed to live free from fear, insecurity, terror, and oppression, free also from the possibility of exercising unequal or unjust domination over others.

— Edward W. Said, The Question of Palestine

I sometimes think there’s two sides to the commandment; and that we may say, ‘Let others do unto you, as you would do unto them,’ for pride often prevents our giving others a great deal of pleasure, in not letting them be kind, when their hearts are longing to help; and when we ourselves should wish to do just the same, if we were in their place.

— Elizabeth Gaskell

The essence of the Torah is the command: Do not do unto others as you should not want them to do unto you—the rest is commentary. Go and study.

— Erich Fromm

It is unwise to do unto others as you would that they do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

— George Bernard Shaw

That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the entire Torah, and the rest is its commentary. Now go and study.

— Hillel the Elder

A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.

— Jain tradition

When we say that man chooses for himself, we do mean that every one of us must choose himself; but by that we also mean that in choosing for himself he chooses for all men. For in effect, of all the actions a man may take in order to create himself as he wills to be, there is not one which is not creative, at the same time, of an image of man such as he believes he ought to be. To choose between this or that is at the same time to affirm the value of that which is chosen; for we are unable ever to choose the worse. What we choose is always the better; and nothing can be better for us unless it is better for all.

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Existentialism is a Humanism

Why should I have to hide the fact that I don’t believe there’s a supreme being? There’s no proof of it. There’s no harm in saying you’re an atheist. It doesn’t mean you treat people any differently. I live by the Golden Rule to do unto others, as you’d want to be treated.

— Jesse Ventura

Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.

— Laozi (Lao Tzu), T’ai Shang Kan Ying P’ien

I have something that I call my Golden Rule. It goes something like this: ‘Do unto others twenty-five percent better than you expect them to do unto you.’ … The twenty-five percent is for error.

— Linus Pauling

One should never do something to others that one would regard as an injury to one’s own self. In brief, this is dharma. Anything else is succumbing to desire.

— Mahābhārata

Do nothing unto anyone that you would not like to have done unto yourself. Seek peace, and never be the aggressor—but if anyone attacks you, we do not teach you to turn the other cheek.

— Malcolm X

Do unto others as they wish, but with imagination.

— Marcel Duchamp

Remember the Golden Rule? “Treat people as you would like to be treated.” The best managers break the Golden Rule every day. They would say don’t treat people as you would like to be treated. This presupposes that everyone breathes the same psychological oxygen as you. For example, if you are competitive, everyone must be similarly competitive. If you like to be praised in public, everyone else must, too. Everyone must share your hatred of micromanagement.

— Marcus Buckingham

Trying to live according to the Golden Rule means trying to empathise with other people, including those who may be very different from us. Empathy is at the root of kindness, compassion, understanding and respect – qualities that we all appreciate being shown, whoever we are, whatever we think and wherever we come from. And although it isn’t possible to know what it really feels like to be a different person or live in different circumstances and have different life experiences, it isn’t difficult for most of us to imagine what would cause us suffering and to try to avoid causing suffering to others. For this reason many people find the Golden Rule’s corollary – “do not treat people in a way you would not wish to be treated yourself” – more pragmatic.

— Maria MacLachlan, Think Humanism

Don’t do what should not be done, and don’t desire what should not be desired. Abide by this one precept, and everything else will follow.

— Mencius

Sometimes the opposite of great wisdom is more great wisdom. When it comes to virtues such as kindness, respect, and fairness, you should treat others how you want to be treated. When you do that, those virtues will be returned to you in abundance. But when you share information, provide instructions, or offer praise, you should treat others how they want to be treated. You see, both statements are true.

— Merrick Rosenberg

We treat others badly not because we don’t understand how people should be treated but because we don’t really consider them people

— Michael Austin, We Must Not Be Enemies: Restoring America’s Civic Tradition

What if everyone did it?

— Mom

That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.

— Muhammed

The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.

— Muhammed

A rational person understands that rationally he ought to treat others well if he wants them to treat him well. “Do as you would be done by” is a rational, not a moral, assertion. An immoral person couldn’t care less about treating others as he wants to be treated; in fact, he’s determined that he shouldn’t be treated that way. He wants complete asymmetry. Only a rational person will truly obey the Golden Rule. Why? Simply because it’s the rational thing to do. If you don’t treat others well, there’s no reason for them to treat you well. If you want a nice, civilized life, make sure you offer it to everyone else. If you don’t, the people having horrible lives will have something to say about it in due course.

— Ranty McRanterson

But what’s worse is that we have been taught and retaught the Golden Rule so many times that we internally justify this method of behavior as invincible, despite the fact that it fails constantly. We believe that our intentions are more important than the outcomes of our actions, because ‘it’s the though that counts,’ right?

— Sam Killermann, The Social Justice Advocate’s Handbook: A Guide to Gender

Treat your inferior as you would wish your superior to treat you.

— Seneca the Younger

What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either.

— Sextus the Pythagorean

Do not do to others what angers you if done to you by others.

— Socrates

Want to keep Christ in Christmas? Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, forgive the guilty, welcome the unwanted, care for the ill, love your enemies, and do unto others as you would have done unto you.

— Steve Maraboli

Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well and that if they do wrong you will do wrong. But (instead) accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong if they do evil.

— The Prophet Muhammed, Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 1325

A person is a person through other people.

— Ubuntu philosophy

Jonathan Swift made a soul for the gentlemen of this city by hating his neighbor as himself.

— W. B. Yeats

The Golden Rule is intolerable; if millions did to others whatever they wished others to do to them, few would be safe from molestation. The Golden Rule shows anything but moral genius, and the claim by which it is followed in the Sermon on the Mount — ‘this is the Law and the Prophets’ — makes little sense.

— Walter Kaufmann, Without Guilt and Justice: From Decidophobia to Autonomy

Mr Bernard Shaw’s remark “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different” is no doubt a smart saying. But it seems to overlook the fact that “doing as you would be done by” includes taking into account your neighbour’s tastes as you would that he should take yours into account. Thus the “golden rule” might still express the essence of a universal morality even if no two men in the world had any needs or tastes in common.

— Walter Terence Stace, The Concept of Morals

Do unto those downstream as you would have those upstream do to you.

— Wendell Berry

One who is going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.

— Yoruba tradition

That nature alone is good which refrains from doing to another whatsoever is not good for itself.

— Zoroastrianism, Pahlavi Texts
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