The Management Violence Inherent In The Golden Rule
I’ve never had much time for compassion. For me, the concept seems too violent, too manipulative to embrace it. I’m all for “connecting with others in meaningful ways”, and for generosity, and kindness, (although, niceness, not so much). And for a life of meaning and purpose, too.
1. a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering.
I just don’t find it useful to lump all these ideas together under the banner of “compassion”.
Of course, compassion, especially compassion in the workplace, is going to be better than a lack of compassion. I just feel we can, if we but think about it for a moment, do so much better.
The Golden Rule is a great example of what I’m talking about.
It’s the sheer, brazen unilateralism of the Golden Rule that bugs me. At least, as it is most often, simplistically, perceived. Oh, and the violence inherent in the very notion of “rules”, too.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
George Bernard Shaw spotted the flaw:
“Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different.”
~ G. B. Shaw
So To The Platinum Question
And thus the Platinum Rule (or here, the Platinum Question) comes into sight:
“How about treating others the way they want to be treated?”
Of course, this means finding out how others might actually want to be treated. Which opens a whole new can of worms regarding dialogue, enquiry, empathy and, yes, humane relationships.
So how about we eschew compassion in favour of empathy and non-violence? How about we consider other folks’ tastes in relating to us, and others? How about we embrace not the Golden Rule, but the Platinum Question?
Would you be willing to give this a go in your workplace, with your colleagues, peers and (God forbid you have any) higher-ups?