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Codes to Live By...

life Apr 10, 2021

A charming article in the NY Times this morning caught my attention.

In the Opinion section, April 10, 2021 The Codes that Drive our Lives is the article if you have access to the NYT.

These were all letters written in by readers, and while all were meaningful, three in particular I thought were worth sharing.

The first was from a Kristy McCray in Columbus, Ohio.

She has updated the Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.) to what she calls the Platinum Rule, which states, 

“Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.”

Her point is that the Golden Rule remains focused on me, my reality, and my needs. That may have been a more useful approach at a time when cultures were more homogenous, although I doubt it, but in today’s world where, cultural, ethnic, racial, economic, and even gender diversity have become the norm, not so much. 

The Platinum Rule requires us to meet people where they are, to at least make the effort to appreciate the attitudes, beliefs, and life experience that shapes their needs rather than either thoughtlessly imposing our reality on them or worse, presuming that our reality is the only one that matters.

I’ll be addressing this issue in future blog posts, but being guided by the Platinum Rule would make the world a much safer, happier, and comfortable place for all. Thank you. Kristy.

The second Code was shared by a William Dock in Seattle, Washington.

He included a photo of a sign on a dock in the harbor on Fidalgo Island, a gateway to the San Juan Islands. The sign says simply this - 

“Your wake defines you.”

Having lived on a sailboat in my late 20s and suffered the results of thoughtless speeding power boaters near docks and anchorages, I particularly resonated with this statement. 

As Mr. Dock explains, “No matter what I am doing, I always pay attention to the impact my choices have on others — from close relationships to what goes in my trash. If my impact is too destructive, I change course and find another way to achieve my goal — or, when necessary, forgo that goal altogether.

That’s not always easy, for shortcuts are tempting and some opportunities are tough to pass up. And, granted, there are at times impacts that you cannot see. However, if we constantly place value and attention on increasing the benefits that others get from our existence, or on reducing our negative impacts, the world would be a more habitable — and more humane — place.” Bravo William. Thank you.

Finally, from Michael Zentman in New York, while simple and humorous, Mr. Zentman's Code still strikes a deep chord. Thank you Michael.

“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”

This might be a good time to reflect on what Code orders your life.