Principle 10 Solidarity 2

Principle 10, second week
This month we are focusing on principle #10. It is also called “The Principle of Solidarity” it says: “When You Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You, You Liberate Yourself.”

At this week’s meeting our focus will be on examples from the past. We will try to clarify issues around and strategies for applying this principle. In the following weeks we’ll emphasize understanding our present situation in light of this idea and finally we’ll turn to considering what all this might mean in foreseeable future scenarios.

First time here? Then you should know:
Every month we focus one of the 12 Principles of Valid Action. These can be found in Chapter 13 of the book, The Inner Look. Each week we look at a different aspect of that month’s principle. These principles, or guidelines, or however you think of them, are elements that we can form into a discipline which can be practiced at every moment and in every circumstance. They are a kind of dynamic meditation. With time and application these efforts will give all my activities a particular tone, mood, and mental direction.  Our goal is to weave these general ideas that you can weave together into a coherent style of life.
Here are some of the considerations about this principle. I’m drawing them from conversations with many people and from materials we created over the years to help illustrate various subjects related to “valid action”. I’m sorry that in most cases I can’t credit specific individuals for their contributions but I will when I can.

Thoughts about this months Principle:
Meanwhile, here’s some personal reflections related to this subject. I hope you find them of some use in triggering your own meditations. Sharing your thoughts can be useful both in forcing you to give them some order but also in clarifying, inspiring or infuriating others — even that last can be useful. Please consider sharing your ideas with us at the meeting or in these notes..

It’s called the Golden Rule. The idea that the highest moral virtue is to treat others as you want to be treated. As discussed last week many, if not most, religious and ethical systems propose some version of it. Generally there are two formulations. One is stated “positively” suggesting that we “do to the other” as we’d like done to us or “treat the other” as we’d like to be treated in their place. The other version is usually “negative” or “passive” suggesting refrain from any action that we wouldn’t want done to us. There are many variants and versions but the thrust is the same.

Of course as is too typical of some of our fellow humans, they often get into arguments about who came up with this idea first. And if they can’t claim some kind of spiritual copyright they try to claim that their version (whether formulated in an active or passive form, etc) is best — ignoring differences in language, custom and style. Almost sadly ignoring the common intent of all these variations. It’s interesting and strangely ironic to observe what lengths they’ll go to in order to deny other factions any claim to the same moral code.

There are critics of the Golden Rule. In general their critiques are similar to that of George Bernard Shaw. That deeply compassionate thinker said that, “the golden rule is that there are no golden rules”. He went against his own clever quip by proposing this version : “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same”. Shaw was a clever guy and surely realized that since most of us would like our tastes, etc to be taken into account, apparently the classical version works.

In any case we propose this as a principle of valid action. That is a guideline, not an ethical or moral rule. Like all our principles we say it should be considered in relation to all the other principles.

Along these lines there is a story told of Rabbi Hillel (a major figure in Jerusalem in the generation before Jesus). One day, it’s said a man appeared before him demanding he explain the whole of the torah (law) while standing on one foot. Hillel replied: “Love your neighbour as yourself. The rest is commentary —now go study”.

Coming up:
In previous weeks we have looked at the structure of the principle, and how it was, or could have been applied in the past. Last week we reflected on how we were, or could be applying it in the present, and what the consequences were, or might have been. This week we’ll focus on how we are applying, (or could apply) this principle in the future, especially the immediate future.

And in Conclusion:
These notes have been sent to the email list of The Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex, and posted on Facebook, as well as on my blog at

We’d all love to hear your comments, thoughts about, considerations of, or artwork inspired by, any of this.

Remember you can find The Inner Look and Silo’s Commentaries on the Message, along with the rest of Silo’s writings (in many languages) on You can also find information and materials about Silo’s Message and its activities around the world at