Pursuit of a Life with Purpose: The Golden Rule

This week we witnessed yet another mass shooting, this one is currently being “recognized” as the largest mass shooting in American history.  And while the local authorities and federal agencies sift through the smallest fragments of this murderer’s life, the reactions around the country have been as diverse as the population itself.  Thoughts and prayers, recognition of the professionalism of the first responders, the dedication and skill of the medical personnel, the bravery of so many in the crowd helping and saving fellow concert goers and the overriding question WHY?

Television network and cable stations have saturated us with coverage, conjecture and recrimination.  Social Media commentary is wall to wall.  And, as expected, politicians are reinforcing their political positions on gun control.

What was this guy’s motivation?  Do we somehow find it easier to understand if this attack was undertaken by a “terrorist” or a “lone wolf” or a garden variety psychopath?  Can any country in the world legislate an end to this kind of tragedy?  The perpetrators of these heinous acts use a variety of weapons including rifles and assault weapons, car bombs and suicide vests, knives and even cars and trucks.  Is there no way to eliminate the threat? Can’t we negotiate a worldwide cease fire?

Wherever you were raised, whatever religious teaching you were exposed to, civil laws or tribal dictates, almost all of you know some version of The Golden Rule.

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” – Protestant

“Love thy neighbor as thy self” – Judaism

“Hurt not others with that which pains yourself” – Buddhism

This is the sum of duty; do naught unto others what you would not have them do unto you” –Hinduism

You shall love your neighbor as yourself” – Catholicism

Serve God, and join not any partners with Him, and do good – to parents, kinfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side, the wayfarer (ye meet), and what your right hand possesses (the slave).  For God loveth not the arrogant, the vainglorious” – Islam

There are some 7.5 billion people on this planet and some 5.6 billion are associated with Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Protestants, Judaism or Buddhism.  Each of these religions or philosophies advocate some form of golden rule.  We recited it as children.  It is likely at the root of most other religions, philosophies and cultures as well.  It is the foundation underpinning civilized society.

So, it’s time to stop looking for a government solution.  We have all been taught the lesson. We all understand the message.  I think it’s up to each of us to choose to follow the golden rule, every day, with everyone, in every circumstance.  In my lifetime no one said it better than President Kennedy.

For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet.  We all breathe the same air.  We all cherish our children’s future.  And we are all mortal”

– John F. Kennedy

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