Golden Alliance

Living the Golden Rule

Helping ourselves live by the Golden Rule

We all profess the Golden Rule, but too often we seem to live by the law of the jungle. Why is this so, and what can we do about it? Why doesn’t the Golden Rule work more often?

In the simplest terms:

  1. Fear is primal – it evolved to allow us to survive scarcity.
  2. The golden rule is intellectual
  3. Too often we are too scared to think straight.

Humans survived for millions of years by mastering the law of the jungle—kill or be killed. But the hopeful among us also preached and professed, in every major religion and culture, another rule, the Golden Rule—where we encourage ourselves to treat others as we wish to be treated, or better yet, as they wish to be treated

The Golden Rule is skittish and timid. Too often the law of the jungle scares off the golden rule, quickly sending it back into hiding. Shout “fire!” and the art gallery quickly empties. Set the threat level to orange and we gladly take our shoes off at the airport, distrust Muslims, buy guns, and approve additional defense spending. Brandish a gun and the high school is overcome with panic. The asymmetry is stunning, but we have the capacity for restraint, we can decide to avoid conflict. Eventually we learn to act for others and with others instead of to others. We can learn to cope with abundance. How can we get there?

We can begin a transformation very simply by declaring our own intent. Pledge to yourself to “Treat others only as you consent to being treated in the same situation, to the best of my ability, every time, at every opportunity”. Then as we go about our lives we are gratified by following the Golden Rule, and also notice whenever we fail to follow the Golden Rule. Reflect on this and ask “why did this lapse occur?” Were we:

  • Unaware or unobservant,
  • Impatient, under time pressure, or overloaded,
  • Distracted, or preoccupied,
  • Fearful, intimidated, or coerced
  • Angry or vengeful,
  • Filling a traditional role within the organizational hierarchy,
  • Completing a transaction, negotiating, making a deal, or establishing a contingency
  • Trying to “teach him a lesson”,
  • In a predatory environment,
  • Contending for scarce resources, facing limited options, engaged in a zero-sum game, or thinking that Sometimes life is tough,
  • Complacent, exhausted, or habituated,
  • Greedy, embarrassed, self-involved, chose to cheat,
  • a victim of power-over (of you)
  • exerting power-over (by you)

We can keep a journal of each event. Record what happened, when, who, our immediate thoughts and actions, and our reflections on how we could have acted differently to have lived by the Golden Rule in this instance. Later we can review this journal and use it as an aid to our own learning and growth. We can accumulate solutions.

We can share our stories. We can share our own experiences and learning with others who want to live by the Golden Rule rather than the law of the jungle. We can choose a partner to encourage and assist us in keeping the journal, analyzing the journal, and encouraging each other to live by the Golden Rule.

As we learn more and gain strength from our experience, wisdom, and growing numbers, we can align our efforts, form an alliance, and begin to help others follow the Golden Rule. Eventually we can create a context, or at least a community, where fear mongering becomes unacceptable, and the golden rule is expected.

Together we can ensure the Golden Rule prevails over the law of the jungle.


  • “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” ~ Chinese philosopher Laozi
  • “Think Globally, Act Locally” ~ Patrick Geddes
  • “My religion is kindness.” ~ The 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
  • “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor. This is the whole Torah; all the rest is commentary. Go and learn it.” ~ Hillel
  • “In everything, do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” ~ Jesus of Nazareth
  • “Compassion is in each of us, all we need to do is get our egos out of the way.” ~ Imam Faisal Abdul Rauf

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The content of these web pages is copyright © 2009 by Leland R. Beaumont
All rights reserved. © 2009 by Leland R. Beaumont. Living the Golden Rule.