The Golden Rule vs. The Platinum Rule
This is a post from another board I go to someone else made, but I think it's an interesting topic:
For the purpose of this discussion I will formulate the rules as follows:
The Golden Rule: treat others the way we would like them to treat us.
The Platinum Rule: treat others the way they would like us to treat them.
To begin with, it is worth noting that the Platinum Rule can be derived from the Golden Rule by observing that we like to have our values and preferences respected. It follows then that we should extend the same courtesy to others. Therefore both rules encourage us to treat others the way they would like us to treat them.
The difference between the two guidelines is not in the kind of behaviour that they encourage, but in the tools that they provide us with to discern that behaviour. The Golden Rule advises us to apply our personal experience to other people with the assumption that our overarching desires are shared by them. This can be tricky to do, but works well when applied correctly, and is probably indispensable. The Platinum Rule gives us no advice at all. It leaves it entirely up to us to figure out how other people would like us to treat them.
The question that interests me is why would we want to use the Platinum Rule when we have the Golden Rule at our disposal? What does the Platinum Rule give us that the Golden Rule does not? The only advantage I can see is that it is less open to interpretation, and so more difficult to abuse. Does it have any other advantages?
Let's say you start off being nice to a person because that's how you would want to be treated yourself, and they abuse your kindness. Eventually you decide that person doesn't deserve your kindness, so you start acting like an asshole toward them. If (and it's a big if) they actually start respecting you from then on, you can only arrive at the conclusion that they would rather you act like an asshole toward them, so thus establishes the nature of that particular relationship.
Of course, this is all just in theory...
"I'm on the pursuit of happiness and I know, everything that shine ain't always gonna be gold
I'll be fine once I get it...I'll be good...."
- Kid Cudi
You will find that when you do kind and generous things for others, you like them more and have better relationships with them.
Thinking of others first is fundamental to that, and this idea is better captured by the platinum rule, and your relationship would also be better strengthened by following it. However, as was hinted, you can't follow the platinum rule without knowing/understanding them; thus, the golden rule is more of a universal catch-all until you are then able to follow the platinum rule.
Here's a rough application:
G: Each member of a married couple strives each day to be their own ideal person.
P: Each member of a married couple strives each day to be their spouse's ideal person.
Obviously, the first isn't in any way bad--being the kind of person you'd like to be with would be a big improvement in most cases. But the second leads to a better, more custom fit. In general, things that make people happy are universal, which is why the golden rule (and ethics in general) works in the first place. However, since it is generic, it doesn't take advantage of what gives the 'best bang-for-the-buck.'
A deficiency of the overall method, and especially the platinum rule, is that many don't know/understand what will make them happy. Bad things done with good intentions still lead to bad outcomes. There is an implied condition that what you "want" is what will make you happy, but that isn't necessarily the case. So, both rules are just distillations of "Do unto others such that they are happy." If you need to use your own experiences figure out what that is, then so be it, but if you don't have to use yourself as a filter and can work straight off of what makes them happy, so much the better.
Hundreds of years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was,
the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove...
But the world may be different because I did something
so bafflingly crazy that my ruins become a tourist attraction.
The way I see it, they both boil down to "don't be a jerk." Which is kind of obvious except to jerks
The Platinum Rule seems a little too selfless for me. Not really sure how to explain it but it seems like the way I feel about the other person is disregarded completely. If both parties are truly acting in a way that influences an absence of self, are they truly having a relationship?
I dunno...I'm probably wrong...just thinking out loud. Great topic, OP.
"We sleep safe in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." -- George Orwell