Concepts And Language
Patches of the Golden Rule exist throughout language and religions across history. The oldest written language, Tamil, definitely has words for 'justice' and 'reciprocity,' though they may have been much simpler concepts than by today's standards. Though Christianity's famous 'love thy neighbor' commandment may be the most widely recognized religious example, it is by no means the only one. It is suggested that even the ancient Incas had their own version (source unverified). Truly the idea of reciprocity isn't a new one.
The Golden Rule itself is reported to have first begun in 1604 (wiki here), yet others claim Plato laid out its foundations in a "social contract" (source). Woven through time is the thread of conscience to treat others as we would treat ourselves externally, assuming that no one is truly so masochistic they would actually want atrocities to be committed 'unto' themselves.
But why? What is the benefit of doing such a thing, and why would we have come to this concept to begin with?
The word 'interdependence' wasn't around until Samuel Taylor Coleridge combined 'inter' and 'dependent' in 1817 (though where he coined it seems difficult to find). It means to be mutually dependent on each other, and opposes the stingy view of greedily hoarding resources, information and effort in favor of reciprocation. Interdependence makes sense of the Golden Rule, but again assumes that both parties (or more) are wiling participants.
There are many examples of interdependence all around you, even now. The lifestyle of those fortunate enough to have access to a computer connected to the internet requires interdependence to support. One individual cannot create a computer from absolute scratch themselves. From mining and refining resources to programming an entirely new language (otherwise you're dependent on previously created languages) and even devising the specific engineering plans for every diode, wire, switch, etc. would be an insane task for one person by themselves with absolutely no help to spontaneously achieve.
We live in an interdependent world, and are an interdependent species by nature. In fact, science has been gaining insight on social interdependence since the mid 20th century.
Even Harvard has gotten involved, particularly in a study about cooperation and rivalry. In essence, the conclusion was that ...the best I can do in this world is to play a strategy such that the other person gets the maximum payoff if they always cooperate... if they exploit me, they get a lower payoff than if they fully cooperated." (As quoted by Martin Nowak in the linked article above.)
So while there's no guarantee that anyone WILL cooperate with an interdependent relationship, it seems best to act as if they will. Even though that leaves you vulnerable to exploitation, the other party tends to gain much less by doing so. However, if and when the other party does cooperate, you both stand to gain from the interaction.
Conclusions And Applications
It's hard to allow yourself to be vulnerable to those that would take advantage of a cooperative or interdependent nature. The fear of being used, abused, or betrayed is very real and formidable. But the truth is, we ALL benefit when we have the strength to face that possibility.
In short, HELP EACH OTHER instead of knocking others down to rise up. Because of this concept, Metaphysiology is creating a new subtopic of the Resources blog, called Inter-Addendum. The purpose of this subtopic is to help fill in gaps where others (either by accident or design) have failed to properly inform their audiences. Instead of tearing them down for their misguided or absentminded mistakes, Metaphysiology will seek to support the sharing of knowledge and assistance of other non-metaphysiological audiences.
What are your thoughts on this idea? Comment below or join the discussion at Patreon!
These are posts from previous directions of Metaphysiology. Old blog posts and pages that don't fit the current theme can still be found here.
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