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Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter: SPECIAL EDITION
Number 32 – 14 February 2006
Copyright 2006 Meru Foundation
Edited by Levanah Tenen

I hope everyone had a good holiday season.

We are continuing our 5-DVD special on www.meetingtent.com -- all five Meru Foundation 2-hour lecture DVD's for $119.95 (plus shipping). See http://www.meetingtent.com/MeruVideo-DVD.html for information on each lecture, and to order this 5-DVD set.

Dance of the Hebrew Letters (Meru video, 1992) is also being released on DVD, combined with FIRST LIGHT, a newly-compiled half-hour introductory video sampler. FIRST LIGHT is an easy-to-follow tour of our primary findings -- a good way to introduce our Project to friends and colleagues. Watch for release date and price in our next eTORUS.

The Golden Rule underlies of all our spiritual and philosophical traditions -- and is a guiding principle for our work.

In November 2004, we published Stan's essay, "To Do or Not To Do," on the "positive" and "negative" formulations of the Golden Rule. (See http://www.meru.org/Newsletter/number25.html.)

The essay below was written in January 2006 -- before the recent Moslem protests.

(c)2006 Stan Tenen

In Judaism, it is said that all of Torah is summarized by "Torah on one foot" -- the Golden Rule -- "Don't do to others what is hateful to you. The rest is commentary; go and study." This Golden Rule stated "in the negative" is required to stop violence, vengeance, and chains of abuse dead in their tracks.

In Christianity, the Golden Rule is also supreme: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The Golden Rule is central to every spiritual tradition.

The Golden Rule is also central to the "theory of mind" that makes us human. (This "objective" rational validation has been discussed by arch-skeptic, scholar, and scientist, Michael Shermer, in his columns in Scientific American, and in interviews and discussions on PBS.)

The public idiom also includes the centrality of the Golden Rule, because everyone -- everyone indeed -- knows that "What goes around comes around." (Except, it seems sometimes, overly fervent "politicians". <sigh>)

Religious people bemoan the secularization and bowdlerization of our society, and long for the teaching of their tradition's spiritual rules so as to bring a semblance of peace and sanity that is lacking in the exploitive, commercial (read "ungodly") world.

Secularists and people who believe that religion is best served when it's kept completely separate from the state, also bemoan what's happening to our society. However, they refuse to impose one group's religious beliefs on another in response, because they know that this would be counterproductive, and lead only to more strife.

The fact is that fervent advocates of their own faith (or politics) are not following the Golden Rule, because they certainly would not want themselves or their children to be subject to such advocacy in turn. In other words, fervent proselytization rejects the understanding that it's a law of nature that "what goes around comes around". The Golden Rule tells us that those selling one faith will find themselves and their children sold another.

Proselytization of the Golden Rule itself -- the root principle of all our faiths and sciences -- leads to respect for each and every one of us, and for each and every faith and tradition.

The world has never been, and certainly is not now, a monoculture.

---Except in one regard:

We all believe -- religious people and secular people alike, scientists and scholars alike, capitalists and socialists alike -- the Golden Rule.

This is because, while it is our religious traditions who have most voiced this teaching, its original source is in all of us. All but the most unintelligent primate knows that others have feelings, and deserve the same respect and treatment that they wish for themselves.

So, here's my proposal. Public schools (such as those in the US, where this is a current issue) should not teach the particular principles of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, or Buddhism (other than to mature students in comparative religion classes).

Instead, they should teach the root principle underlying all of these traditions, and the traditions of skepticism, science, and scholarship as well. We don't teach the Ten Commandments; we teach that people who believe in the Ten Commandments should be respected by people who do not, and vice-versa -- because this is the Golden Rule.

As a side-benefit, as it turns out, the Ten Commandments and the great principles of the other faiths of the world can be logically derived from the Golden Rule.

It's not the gilded, greed-driven "invisible hand" of Adam Smith that guides the affairs of mice and men, but rather, the Golden Rule from the Hand of God and the mind of man coequally, that is the natural "temple" of intelligent and caring people. This, we can teach ourselves and our children.

This is the idea that changed the world: "I speak for myself by what I do."

Stan Tenen
Sharon, MA
31 Jan 2006



I hope you enjoy this Meru Foundation eTORUS(tm) Newsletter.

We welcome your comments and suggestions, and would like the opportunity to speak with you personally.

If you have comments or questions, please send an email to Levanah Tenen at <meru@meru.org> with your phone number and a good time to call -- or, please call us at 781-784-8902 (Boston area).

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