Golden rule

From Anthroposophy

The Golden Rule is the single short statement that love is the only and highest law for humanity, and every human being is to love another person as one's self.

This statement has been at the basis of all religions worldwide across cultures and millennia. There are various formulations both positive and negative, e.g. 'do not treat others like you would not like to be treated yourself'.

Christ-Jesus gave "Love your neighbor as yourself" as his only main message and the single and highest teaching, replacing all other moral laws (such as the ten commandments).

To understand why this is so, why humanity got this guidance, and why it represents a spiritual scientific truth with the greatest possible implications for mankind, see the aspects below.


  • the Golden rule got renewed attention in popular media worldwide through the Charter of Compassion, an initiative by Karen Armstrong that started in 2008, see Note 1 in the Discussion area below
  • the spiritual scientific foundation for the golden rule can be approached from various perspectives (that are obviously very related):
    • [1] - the principle and law of karma: the fact that all humans are part of the same group soul (see Monad and Second Adam, and/or the nature of the true spiritual I on Human 'I' and Man's higher triad), implies that what one does towards another is done to oneself. However that is not clear for the majority of incarnate human beings with limited contemporary waking consciousness on Earth, as each identifies with their physical-material body in daily reality experience (see Cosmic fractal). It is different however for initiates with higher stages of consciousness (re: Stages of clairvoyance) reaching up to the higher spirit world, and also for all human beings between death and a new birth.
    • [2] - the nature of the cosmos, spiritual in nature, is intrinsically moral. See also: Moral ideals, Virtues, and the Good in Truth Beauty Good
    • [3] - a characteristic of the Cosmic fractal is that all entities are part of the evolutionary dynamic whereby they evolve and rise through the ladder of Twelve Conditions of Consciousness (see also IAO - eg Schema FMC00.329, and/or related Cosmic breath of Brahma). This evolutionary path includes going from 'receiving' to 'giving', and 'wanting to give' (rather than receive) is the essence of love, even upto sacrifice.
  • the laws of karma


Schema FMC00.474 depicts the fact that contemporary waking consciousness is related to our physical senses and bodily constitution, and acts as a bandpass filter only showing part of the complete (spiritual) reality. This results in a limited worldview (of mineral science), and waking consciousness triggers the feeling of separate-ness as we feel our self is enclosed and corresponding to our physical body.

However hat at the same time Man's structure includes higher components part of the astral world, lower and higher spirit worlds (see green or blue lines). Although Man is not aware, he is really part of a group soul and monad, and all actions towards another person are therefore in a way to one's self. See also FMC00.479


FMC00.479 illustrates how Man lives in the three worlds. On the right is shown how the worlds interpenetrate and Man lives in all three worlds. On the left is the typical spiritual scientific concept drawing of Man's bodily principles, whereby it requires deeper study to detach from the limitations of the conceptual representation and grasp the realities it represents. In the middle, as a way of mapping or transposing between both, is shown how both the formative forces of the Elementary Kingdoms (EKi) and all spiritual beings involved to generate our reality experience in the physical world called the Cosmic fractal, whereby the spectrum of elements and ethers .


Lecture coverage and references

Golden rule

Bible - New testament

Matthew 7:12

Do to others what you want them to do to you. This is the meaning of the law of Moses and the teaching of the prophets.

or, other translation:

So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

Luke 6:31

And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise

Luke 10:25

Behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested him, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?"

He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read it?"

He answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind; and love your neighbor as yourself."

He said to him, "You have answered correctly. Do this, and you will live."

Mark 12:31

30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.

Paul in Galateans 5:14

13 For you, brothers, were called to freedom; but do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh. Rather, serve one another in love.

14 The entire law is fulfilled in a single decree: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

15 But if you keep on biting and devouring one another, watch out, or you will be consumed by one another.

or, other translation:

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Paul in Romans 13:8-10

8 Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

10 Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.


We speak of reincarnation and the law of karma. One can tell oneself: I don't believe in reincarnation, but I can assume that it exists. I'll act as if my assumption is true and wait to see what comes of it.

A Man who thinks and acts like this will make amazing discoveries. In everything that happens to him he'll think: I caused this in a past life and now bear the consequences of my own deeds. If such a Man unconsciously did something foolish and he's punished for it, he'll think:

I'll make myself aware of this foolishness, so that I can see that I was the one who brought on these ugly consequences.

This is the real meaning of: Whoever hits you on the right cheek, turn the other one to him also.


Note 1 - Charter of Compassion

A contemporary example that exemplifies working the core message of Christianity as a global concept for the whole of humanity (as opposed to one of multiple religions), is the work of Karen Armstrong (1944-).

A common theme in her work has been to rise above the differences between ancient religions and find the common essence that they share.

In 2008 Karen Armstrong, at age 64, used her TED prize to use the TED platform to create a 'Charter of compassion', which was launched in 2009. Two TED talks are on youtube, see:

and also short 2' promotional video captures the key message.

In her life work and published books, she explored the various great religions and traditions and finds the essence in all of them is the Golden Rule: 'do not treat others like you would not like to be treated yourself'.

In the book 'The Great Transformation' (see below) she also notices that Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jeremiah, Lao Tzu and others all emerged in a timespan of a few centuries with very similar ideas regarding and common messages for humanity.

As Rudolf Steiner pointed out about a century before, the common link is the White Lodge, and the timing has to do with the preparatory work for the Christ Impulse and the Mystery of Golgotha, and the development of the I.

The interesting element here is that this initiative puts the same old wine in a new bottle, the essential key message now broadcasted to the world in the new clothe of youtube, TED and social media. As background it's interesting to also look at Armstrong's biography and life development.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Karen Armstrong: 'The Great Transformation: The World in the Time of Buddha, Socrates, Confucius and Jeremiah' (2006)
  • Karen Armstrong: 'Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life' (2010)
    .. why did Socrates, Buddha, Confucius, Jeremiah, Lao Tzu and others all emerge in this five-hundred-year span? And why do they have such similar ideas about humanity?

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