bird poops on plum branch


Buster Benson

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amendment to the golden rule
bird poops on plum branch
The golden rule has been found in pretty much every religion.  It's also found in pretty much every non-religion.  Even atheists don't really have a problem with it.  Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  A summit of 143 religious leaders from different religions or something signed something about how it was a common principle that tied them together.  When you get into it, though, the golden rule is pretty extreme.  It means loving your enemies.  It means never putting up a guard, even if people are taking advantage of you.

Not only that, but game theorists have found it to be a losing strategy in their iterated prisoner dilemma simulations.  They actually have tournaments that allow alternative strategies to duke it out and see which strategy is best.  The golden rule gets beat every time. 

Here are a list of some of the basic rules to live by:
  1. Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you
  2. Silver Rule: Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you
  3. Brazen Rule: Do unto others as they do unto you
  4. Iron Rule: Do unto others as you like, before they do it unto you
  5. Tit for Tat Rule: Start with the golden rule, continue with the brazen rule
One of my main problems with the golden rule is not that people will take advantage of you, it's that it doesn't take into consideration the different needs and desires of different people.  Just because you want something doesn't mean that everyone else wants it. 

My amendment to the rule is this: Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.  Of course, this doesn't roll off the tongue as easily, and requires that you know the person you're acting upon.  But I think that's a good obstacle.  We shouldn't be doing things unto people that we don't know in some way, that we don't have an empathic connection with.  It leads to annoying self-righteousness and often miscommunication and misunderstanding.

Prerequisites of this rule include: 1) you have to know the person pretty well, 2) both people have to have a pretty good idea of what's best for them (not self-destructive). 

I guess it's all sorta silly, these religious and game theory rules.  I get the sense that the point of establishing rules is so that we don't have to think about situations and use our judgment at every opportunity, when really, using your best judgment at every opportunity is the only way you're ever gonna have any success, or even interest in life.  I learned my lesson I think.

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got that message i sent you?

about the reporter? yes! i'm gonna follow up soon. thank you for that recipe you gave kellianne. :) i wish i had felt better so we could've hung out... when will you be back?

he's actually an editor, kind of big-deal.

so, you tried the concoction? haha. i am not sure when i will be back. everything is a little up in the air except for the fact that i know we will see each other again, some time within the year.

Okay, I'm just so bad at things like this! I'll do this though, it's good to get out of my comfort zone sometimes. Thank you so much for setting it up. :)

Yes, the concoction helped greatly with my first evening of shakes, fever, and lung problems.

he just wants to hang out with you because he's into stuff like 43 things, so think of it as a friend-date except that he's older...

that's funny you drank that stuff while you were sick. very double-down of you.

In game theory, the "tit-for-tat" rule is considered to be the most efficient, right? (I think it has to be coupled with a "forgiveness" element that changes back to the Golden Rule once someone "repents", too)

The problem with doing to other people as they would expect you to do to them is that it takes you completely out of the equation. You're attempting to do what other people want, without considering what might be best for yourself.

Tit for tat works best as long as there's a 1-5% chance you'll forgive someone that went against you previously (so you don't get caught in a negative spiral).

The golden rule only dictates what you do to other people, right? Not what you do to yourself. I think it assumes that you'll treat yourself with your own utmost self-interest no matter what... the difference is in how that self-interest is reflected in your treatment of others. Or I may be misunderstanding it a little.

I think that "tit-for-tat" is actually how a lot of people operate, too. Some people are just pushed from altruistic to self-serving behavior by different levels of negative stimuli.

And the Golden Rule talks about what you do to other people, but it's attempting to get people to shift egocentrism, selfishness and self-interest outwards. It seems like you're right when you say that you need to know the person and you need to know what's best for them, but you also need to factor in yourself in there and give yourself permission to be selfish sometimes.

I see where you're going with this. And I totally agree. For example, in the case of breakups, neither the Golden Rule nor the modified version make sense. It's about taking care of yourself.

i just read this somewhere (argh where where where OH YEAH in a training i did on dealing with difficult library patrons and personal safety in a public service job) as the platinum rule. now that i remember where give me a second to look it up (queue hold music....)

crap...he didn't write it out, but he referred to it as the "platinum rule" and it was something like "do unto others as they wish to be done unto" or whatever.

Cool! Yeah, that's basically what I was proposing above. If you find any more about this, let me know.

the guy who did the training is named steve albrecht and he's written a couple of books. but it looks like it's sort of a general business concept. for example here:

rationality and superrationality

Hofstadter (Metamagical Themas, Godel Escher Bach) has a thing that he calls superrationality -- where if you and the the person you're playing "against" are both trying to maximize for _both_ of you, always cooperate wins.

There's some on the PD wiki page:'s_dilemma#Rationality_and_super-rationality

(Have you read any of Hofstadter's stuff?)

Re: rationality and superrationality

Yes, I love Hofstadter!

Re: rationality and superrationality

I thought you might like it :)

His newest book, I Am A Strange Loop, is pretty good. It's a little more straightforwardly philosophy/psychology/spiritual than the other stuff. You can actually open it up in the middle and not be staring at a bunch of weird looking math or tortoises...

It's interesting... I detect in these posts of yours a consistent sort of... rejection of, or at least indifference to, selflessness. Yet one of the reasons I like you so much is because of what a giving person you are. It's almost as if you do it instinctively, and don't think about it, so you don't account for it. That, or perhaps you do it to please, and therefore secretly resent it and yearn to be free?

Anyway, I believe the inherent lack of personal gain or consideration in the golden rule is what makes it universal, and what makes it golden. The omission of the self is the point. It's the only true answer to the paradox of humanity, and all religions have basically arrived at the same conclusion. The very reason the rule is golden is precisely BECAUSE it would lose in game theory. Game theory is economics. Economics is based on self interest. Religion is based on extra-self-interest.

The golden rule also brilliantly and neatly sidesteps your concerns about not knowing the desires of other's, because in adding their considerations, you are then perverting the golden rule into you thinking you know what's best for someone else, which we so rarely do.

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