“When You Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You, You Liberate Yourself.”.
Here’s somethings to consider this week. Besides the opportunity to participate in the weekly experiences, our next meeting will be a chance for an interchange about your thoughts, insights, examples and questions.
You’ll receive a reminder the day before the meeting. We hope you can join us.
As always: if you no longer wish to receive these mailings or if you know people who would like to be included in them just let me know.
Last time: The Other
This time: Others and Even Other Critters Too?
Principle of Valid Action 10. The Principle of Solidarity. Week 4
“When You Treat Others As You Would Have Them Treat You, You Liberate Yourself.”
In the last three weeks we focused on the general structure of the principle, and what the application of this principle meant or could have meant in our past and our present. This week we turn to the future.
First some thoughts from Mariana Garcia Morteo (Mani)
It can happen that when you meet another person, you suddenly see in them the object of your desire. You cling to the other, because he or she seems to fit perfectly into your own project. In fact, sometimes the they seem to be the very thing that can save your life.
Such an encounter is very exciting, the other person seems to allow you to develop and advance toward what you longs for, or need.
On occasion the other person also seems to be enchanted by you — you fit into their reveries as well.
But later, after that magnificent moment, one begin to realise that the other person does not really solve anything. It may be that you blame them for that, that you hold them responsible for the failure of your project, for not being what you needed, and not being what you were led to believe they were. Was it all a fraud?
It may also become possible to see that in reality the situation has nothing to do with the other person, that the solution does not depend on what they do, or do not do.
Freeing them from you expectations is to free yourself. Take what the other can give and wants togive. Allow them to exist in their own project and with kindness offer them what you can give.
What follows are my reflections. I make no greater claim for them but offer them in the spirit of exchange and dialogue.
I hope you find these of some use in your own meditations. I find sharing my thoughts on these themes useful because it forces me to give them some order, but of course I’m also very happy to think this sharing might help to clarify, inspire — or infuriate others — even that last can be useful. I look forward to seeing you at our meeting on Wednesdays.
We can spend a lot of time thinking about the other: how they see us, and how they treat us, even how we should treat them. We can even think about how we want to be treated.
However, all that assumes we know where the dividing line between me and you is drawn. We rarely consider that we may be mistaken about the, seemingly obvious, division between oneself and others. Even more rarely we have experiences that change that topography.
I have written previously a few times about the biological roots of our behaviour, ethics. I think it’s an interesting and important topic that certainly has given me important insights into myself and others. Those old biological roots are complex and have shaped us in ways that are far from universal negative. All this is what I have at other times referred to as “monkey business”
If you are a regular visitor to this website you may have already checked out the entry monkey business in my Glossary https://dzuckerbrot.com/m-is-
for/. It’s a term I use for all those biologically based behaviours, and cultural values, that we sometimes refer to as “mechanical” or “automatisms”. Gotta love that monkey biz!
It seems that other animals have their own versions of these “ethical” behavioural and “moral” values. That is not to say these are as elaborate or complex as those of humans. No one should be surprised to find similarities — or differences — between species. Just as there are important differences between monkeys and chimps (as we will see), there are important differences between chimps and human beings. However, the similarities should not be ignored.
Here’s a couple of minutes of video of a presentation by Dr. Frans de Waal of Emory University. It shows an interesting experiment about fairness they did with monkeys. I have presented this video clip before. If you have seen it you know how cool it is, if not, it’s well worth checking out: http://tinyurl.com/pz98orq
And here you’ll find a longer version of de Waal’s TED Talk from 2011. I’m not a huge fan of the TED Talks but I find his work intriguing and thought provoking. Let us know what you think.
In any case, as the short video makes clear, the monkey’s seem to have something like a sense of fairness. Dr. Waal says the same thing has been found with many (social) animals from certain birds, and other creatures, not surprisingly dogs. He also told me when I interviewed him a few years ago that while the “underpaid” monkey will protest its own treatment, something different happens with Chimpanzees. Along with Bonobo apes, chimps are our closest non-human relatives. If you do the same experiment but replace the monkeys with chimps who know each other, the “higher paid” one will not only protest any unfairness to itself, but also to its companion. That seems to me to be a step beyond the monkey’s awareness of unfairness to itself. This is a situation where the chimp not only recognizes what is fair, it wants the other treated fairly as well. That certainly feels like it’s a step closer to the Golden Rule!
And so as not to be too primate-centric check out this article about compassion among birds.
A few minutes of reflection everyday is about as simple a procedure as there could be, but it can produce wonderful and unexpected results.
Next week we start a new month of reflection an we will turn to Principle 11, the Negation of Opposites.
“Here the worldly is not opposed to the eternal”.
The Inner Look 1:4
These notes have been posted on our Facebook page (Community of Silo’s Message Toronto Annex), sent to our email list, and are also on my webpage at www.dzuckerbrot.com
Until Next Time …