Speaking of the Golden Rule, it’s interesting to find that it is in the teachings of practically all religions and philosophies:

  • The Greeks had it: Plato said, “May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me.” Socrates said, “Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you.”
  • And the Romans: Epictetus said, “What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others.”
  • Confucianism has three ways of stating the rule:
    • “Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you.”
    • When asked, “Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?” Confucius answered, “It is the word ‘she’ — reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.”
    • “Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.”
  • Christians: it’s in the gospels of Matthew and Luke. But best said in the Gospel of Thomas, a gospel that never made it into the bible: “Don’t do what you hate.”
  • The favorite of we Dull Men is the Unitarian’s — it’s the dullest: “We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent of all existence of which we are a part.”


Epictetus has been mentioned twice so far in this posting. We read up on him and found several things he said that are aligned with living an ordinary life:

  • Control thy passions lest they take vengeance on thee [we hadn’t realized Epictetus sometimes spoke like a Quaker until we researched for this blog posting]
  • Freedom is the right to live as we wish [which means to us Dull Men “even if it’s an ordinary life”]
  • Freedom is not procured by a full enjoyment of what is desired, but by controlling the desire [which for us Dull Men includes controlling a desire for more, more more]
  • Difficulties are things that show a person what they are