Brother Miguel's "Platinum" Rule
Posted by Pancho Ramos Stierle on Jan 8, 2018
Sometimes if we get too caught up in the Golden Rule we assume that we can understand what other people want without asking them to tell us what their suffering is. And that can lead us to problematic territory.
My dad used to tell me this story when I was a kid. His dad worked at a restaurant when he was in college and became a chef. He was a very active political leftist. So part of the benefits of working there was that they were able to prepare a meal for themselves and everyone who worked there. The chefs could get steak filet mignon or lobster or whatever choice cuts they wanted. But the owner was really adamant that they give the bus boys only hamburgers. So my dad tried to do a revolutionary activity and started insisting that all the bus boys take filet mignon. And after about a month one of the bus boys came to him really timidly and said, "I really appreciate what you're doing for everyone. But honestly, I prefer hamburgers."
So my dad said, "Sure! The comrade prefers hamburgers. Great! I'm going to make him the best hamburger he's ever had."
And he starts mixing all these gourmet spices and ingredients into it. Another month goes by and the kid comes to him even more timidly and says, "I know that you're really just trying to do the best for me. But my momma raised me really simple, and I really just prefer plain hamburgers." :)
So the moral that my dad was teaching me when he told me this as a kid was that you have to try to strive to live life by the Platinum Rule -- which is not, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But it's to "do unto others as they would have you do unto them," within reason of course.