Should I Treat Others as they Treat Me?
I treat others as they treat me.
This statement may be a Q1 violation if you have standards of inter-personal behavior that do not rely on how other people act towards you.
This statement is a Q2 violation if you do not think that standards of interpersonal behavior should be based on the behavior of whoever acts first. With this belief, if someone is rude to you, you will be rude in return, and you expect your rude behavior to act as a signal to the other person that you want to be treated rudely.
This type of belief is sometimes used as an extension of the Golden Rule — "Everyone should treat others as they want to be treated. You are treating me badly. Therefore you must want to be treated badly." But may just be an excuse for bad behavior in the face of bad behavior — it’s much more likely that someone is not obeying the Golden Rule than that they want to be mistreated.
Someone believing this statement would also be inviting the escalation of misunderstandings into serious altercations. If you inadvertently insult someone — perhaps because they misunderstand you — then by following this rule they will be insulting in return and you will reciprocate. Any further misunderstandings will only make the situation worse.
Even so, someone’s behavior might tell you how they want to be treated. For example, would you agree with these statements?
- If someone invites you to dinner, perhaps they would like you to reciprocate.
- If someone calls you by your first name, perhaps they would like you to use their first name.
- If someone is a serial killer, perhaps it is morally acceptable to kill him.
You are encouraged to leave your answers to the questions posed in this post in the comments section. This post is based on an excerpt from Ask Yourself to be Moral, by D. Cancilla, available at LuLu.com and Amazon.com. See the 2Q system page for details of the philosophical system mentioned in this post.