Friday, May 8, 2020

Mask Fashion and the Golden Rule

The more things change, the more they stay the same. It is somehow, oddly reassuring to see fashion mavens and tiktok influencers looking good behind safety masks. It is only natural that the young and hip will assert their fashion statement on the pandemic zeitgeist. And thus persona evolves. I suppose in these rapidly morphing times, Pop Future will not be denied!

Viral glamour aside, the lowly medical safety mask has become a street-tek necessity in our daily forays into our brave noö public spaces. The concept of wearing a safety mask in public, is a powerful precaution in "flattening the curve" of the spread of covid 19. It is an essential tool, recommended by all health organizations across the planet.

As most of us are aware, rather than being a personal safety protection device, it is a social protection strategy that safeguards your friends, family, and acquaintances. It is a strategy that protects, not you... but the people you meet (please keep your spittle to yourself, thank you very much!).

So here amidst a global pandemic, we are witnessing one of the most profound expressions of the "Golden Rule" ever seen in modern times.

As the astute reader of this blog knows, the Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity is an anciently occurring ethical code of conduct. It expresses the most essential basis for the modern concept of human rights, in which each individual has a right to just treatment and a responsibility to ensure justice for others. A key element of the Golden Rule is that a person attempting to live by this rule treats all people, not just members of his or her peer group or tribe... with consideration.

The Golden Rule has its roots in a wide range of world cultures and is a standard that different cultures use to resolve conflicts. It is in this sense a truly global (if not universal) system of ethical behavior and as such serves as a cornerstone of human unity. What an elegant proposition... Treat others the way you would want others to treat you.

And in these pandemic days, the golden rule has never been more necessary. Strange reactions from some quarters have been cropping up here in the good ole U S of A. Certain factions have gathered to protest various State Governmental stay-at-home guidelines. Conspiracy theories have been propagated that the pandemic is a hoax... a false flag... a plot to... ?

There have even been armed protests in front of State Capitols, demanding that their duly elected governors cease and desist in their unjust shelter-in-place strategies. Armed gunmen, some... conveniently masked behind bandanas... have begun menacing various government officials. What are these AR-15 packin' protestors gonna do... shoot up their local public health offices?

Is it possible that these guys n gals have misunderstood the fundamental premise of shelter-in-place, is to protect your friends and neighbors? Predictably, counter conspiracy theories have suggested that these armed protests have been organized by White Nationalist Militias... as a recruitment vehicle. That the President of these United States actually dog-whistled and otherwise encouraged these groups through tweeting such slogans as: "Free Michigan!" No President of the United States would incite revolt in specific, sovereign States, would they?

This is not a time for partisan politics. This is not a time for ideological division. Now is not a time to foment conspiracy theories... left or right. Now is the time for us all to come together in strategy (if not in person) to combat a serious, extremely infectious viral threat to humanity. I know stress does weird things to people... but now is a time for a return to the Golden Rule. We are all in this together.

Stay safe, my friends... Let COOLER HEADS prevail! 


Garmr said...

I don't believe that the modern idea of human rights comes from the ancient world but from Immanuel Kant. His ethics share some similarity to the Golden Rule, but he was able to come to the conclusion that humans should never be a means to an end but the end in themselves. Slavery was common in the ancient world with the ever popular Aristotle saying that some people rightly had a "purpose" outside themselves to be slaves. I suppose Plato would say that they embodied the ideal form a slave.

Jack Heart said...

From Wikipedia: Possibly the earliest affirmation of the maxim of reciprocity, reflecting the ancient Egyptian goddess Ma'at, appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant, which dates to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BC): "Now this is the command: Do to the doer to make him do." This proverb embodies the do ut des principle. A Late Period (c. 664–323 BC) papyrus contains an early negative affirmation of the Golden Rule: "That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another."

Garmr said...

Jack, to think that the golden rule leads inevitably to universal human rights is an assumption we can only make because Kant revolutionized thinking on this issue. The golden rule is a rationalist form of morality because it trusts people to have the good sense to use it to reason out what is right from wrong. The problem is that we can rationalize ourselves to some pretty awful conclusions so Kant's non-awful conclusion that humans are not tools for a purpose but the purpose themselves is historically remarkable.

Jack Heart said...

Only death and taxes are inevitable. Slavery is common in the modern world as well. As I said in the post... the golden rule is (merely) a basis for the modern concept of human rights. Per Kant... I An sure that he likewise was deeply influenced by the golden rule. I believe it was Nietzsche who claimed that Kant had theologian blood and was merely a sophisticated apologist for traditional Christian faith...

Garmr said...

Christianity was a huge influence on all of these rich white German dudes. Nietzsche himself had a distinctly Christian panic around the subject of nihilism except he twisted the concept of nihilism as a term of hate against the Christian church for repressing his homosexuality. The Christian were "nihilists" because they stopped him from openly pursuing same sex relationships. Quite sad really. It is obvious why this self loathing turned into rage hits the mark with many conservative thinkers who continue to adore him. Well, that is one interpretation anyway. You need such reading of the runes and entrails when dealing with that man.

Kant worked more methodically to create a type of universal morality that could survive atheism. It is that form of "light enlightenment" morality that survives today as the only thing stopping us from resorting to Utilitarianism in public discourse. When people use terms like dignity, universal rights, or autonomy they are often deploying Kant to resist Utilitarian "good of the many" type arguments.

Jack Heart said...

It makes sense that “Enlightenment Lite” is a surviving moral compass for modernity. It is a fitting “Brand” for contemporary individual agency.

By the way... it is always informative and entertaining to hear from you... Thanks for the comments!

Garmr said...

We could call the competing brand "Liberalism Classic". The version of the golden rule used here says that people must feel compelled, through game theory maybe, to act in their own "enlightened self-interest". The value of everything, including human lives, is judged by how much closer it can get us to the ends decided on by, well, who exactly? Not God, for sure, Ayn Rand wouldn't approve of that.

Dennis/87 said...

Do unto others that which is not hatefully to yourself. Rabbi Hillel to Christ Jesus. To shine forth is key,

Jack Heart said...

Garmr... "Just for the taste of it... Enlightenment Lite!"

Garmr said...

Nietzsche Max, because as a real man you always crush thinking with maximum no compromise brutality.

Unknown Soldier said...

Matthew 10 [42] And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.

Revelation 7 [17] For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

King of kings

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