Al Jazeera Brings Encouraging News; Obligation Defined with the Help of Wikipedia; The Golden Rule Quoted and Seen in the Context of the Islamic Faith with the Help of Wikipedia; An Instagram Reel Revealing a Possible Nervous Tic; Text with Ghana Guy; Some Humour Provided By Cartoons 

My Inbox brought encouraging words from Al Jazeera which shall now be conveyed to you. It was speaking of agreements reached between Saudi Arabia and Iran. This agreement has been blessed by China. 

“Removing misunderstandings and the future-oriented views in relations between Tehran and Riyadh will definitely lead to improving regional stability and security as well as increasing cooperation among Persian Gulf nations and the world of Islam for managing current challenges,” Shamkhani was quoted as saying.

The portion of the quote that I found most encouraging was this: “increasing cooperation among Persian Gulf nations and the world of Islam” Now, I do admit that I am a Canadian but nonetheless appreciate that the Persian Gulf nations and the World of Islam will be One. I very much doubt, and actually pray, that North America will not become one. Do not want Canada to become aligned with the United States, although I receive my livelihood from the USA  and pay USA taxes. Paying taxes is my obligation and I honor my obligations. 

What is an obligation? It is an act or course of action to which a person is morally or legally bound; a duty or commitment. It is a duty, commitment, responsibility, moral imperative; task, job, chore, burden, charge, onus, liability, accountability. 

Wikipedia has an excellent summary of this complex topic. An obligation is a course of action that someone is required to take, whether legal or moral. Obligations are constraints; they limit freedom. People who are under obligations may choose to freely act under obligations. Obligation exists when there is a choice to do what is morally good and what is morally unacceptable.[There are also obligations in other normative contexts, such as obligations of etiquette, social obligations, religious, and possibly in terms of politics, where obligations are requirements which must be fulfilled. These are generally legal obligations, which can incur a penalty for non-fulfilment, although certain people are obliged to carry out certain actions for other reasons as well, whether as a tradition or for social reasons.

Obligations vary from person to person: for example, a person holding a political office will generally have far more obligations than an average adult citizen, who themselves will have more obligations than a child.[2] Obligations are generally granted in return for an increase in an individual’s rights or power.

On a personal level, I  do admit to having difficulty with some people in my life. They are not meeting their obligations towards me, although I am accountable to them. After much frustration, stress and anxiety I have reached a solution. Draw up an enforceable contract or agreement that spells everything out. In simple words – you do what you are supposed to do, in a timely fashion and I will pay you. You do not, I will not. Moreover, all of occur actions toward one another are those found within the agreement. 

I am a nice person – seen by most as being kind hearted and generous. Always conducted my life according to   a simple principle – one found in most religions. I was born a Christian, so the one, most familiar is: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Then Do Onto You. 

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” is also known as the “Golden Rule”. The actual quote from the Bible is from Luke 6:31, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Simply put, this phrase means to treat others the way we want them to treat us.

As usual Wikipedia has a great deal to say about the matter, some wisdom will be repeated on this blog. 

The Golden Rule is the principle of treating others as one wants to be treated. Various expressions of this rule can be found in the tenets of most religions and creeds through the ages.[1] It can be considered an ethic of reciprocity in some religions, although different religions treat it differently.

The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BCE), according to Rushworth Kidder, who identifies the concept appearing prominently in BuddhismChristianityHinduismIslamJudaismTaoismZoroastrianism, and “the rest of the world’s major religions”.[2] As part of the 1993 “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic“, 143 leaders of the world’s major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule.[3][4] According to Greg M. Epstein, it is “a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely”, but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it.[5] Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition”.

The Chrstian teachings are familiar but not those of the Islamic Faith, so it was fascinating to read the following. 

The Arabian peninsula was known to not practice the golden rule prior to the advent of Islam. According to Th. Emil Homerin: “Pre-Islamic Arabs regarded the survival of the tribe, as most essential and to be ensured by the ancient rite of blood vengeance.  Homerin goes on to say:

Similar examples of the golden rule are found in the hadith of the prophet Muhammad. The hadith recount what the prophet is believed to have said and done, and traditionally Muslims regard the hadith as second to only the Qur’an as a guide to correct belief and action.[52]

From the hadith, the collected oral and written accounts of Muhammad and his teachings during his lifetime:

A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]”

— Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146

None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himever.

— Sukhanan-i-Muhammad (Teheran, 1938)[54]

That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.[54]

The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself. 

Ali ibn Abi Talib (4th Caliph in Sunni Islam, and first Imam in Shia Islam) says:

O my child, make yourself the measure (for dealings) between you and others. Thus, you should desire for others what you desire for yourself and hate for others what you hate for yourself. Do not oppress as you do not like to be oppressed. Do good to others as you would like good to be done to you. Regard bad for yourself whatever you regard bad for others. Accept that (treatment) from others which you would like others to accept from you … Do not say to others what you do not like to be said to you.

— Nahjul Balaghah, Letter 31. 

I urge you to read the entire Wikipedia entry because it speaks to the wisdom of this as it is applied to all faiths and belief systems . There has been some criticism, this is also addressed:   Mr Bernard Shaw’s remark “Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may be different” is no doubt a smart saying. But it seems to overlook the fact that “doing as you would be done by” includes taking into account your neighbour’s tastes as you would that he should take yours into account. Thus the “golden rule” might still express the essence of a universal morality even if no two men in the world had any needs or tastes in common…”

“In his book on the golden rule, Jeffrey Wattles makes the similar observation that such objections typically arise while applying the golden rule in certain general ways (namely, ignoring differences in taste, in situation, and so forth). But if we apply the golden rule to our own method of using it, asking in effect if we would want other people to apply the golden rule in such ways, the answer would typically be no, since it is quite predictable that others’ ignoring of such factors will lead to behavior which we object to. It follows that we should not do so ourselves—according to the golden rule. In this way, the golden rule may be self-correcting.[100] An article by Jouni Reinikainen develops this suggestion in greater detail.[101]

It is possible, then, that the golden rule can itself guide us in identifying which differences of situation are morally relevant. We would often want other people to ignore any prejudice against our race or nationality when deciding how to act towards us, but would also want them to not ignore our differing preferences in food, desire for aggressiveness, and so on. This principle of “doing unto others, wherever possible, as they would be done by…” has sometimes been termed the platinum rule.” 

Back to the original news which brought forth this lengthy blog. The signing of the agreement between Saudi Arabia and Iran. An Instagram reel of MBS was shown, with no English translation. It did seem obvious that MBS was signing an important document. I sent the reel to the Ghana Guy, he immediately responded. 

He: My idol

Me: I know. Mine too! I made make a positive public response to the reel But it is interesting that MBS appears to have a tic. Look at his involuntary head gestures. Do you know the meaning of tic? 

He: No I do not. 

Me: I will do some research and perhaps put it on my blog. 

Met my obligation of doing as I said I would. Discovering the following: 

“Tics are uncontrollable muscle movements that occur in a repetitive, irregular motion. Motor tics can present in various parts of the body, while vocal tics manifest through throat clearing, sniffing, grunting, and other repetitive sounds.

Nervous tics, on the other hand, are repetitive non-rhythmic, involuntary movements or sounds that occur in sudden bursts. Nervous tics are to be distinguished from nervous habits, such as biting your fingernails, which can be a response to anxiety.” 

More research revealed that he has a nervous motor tic that is probably caused by anxiety. “Anxiety triggers the release of neurotransmitters or chemicals used by the body to send messages to the muscles. When you experience anxiety, the release of these chemicals triggers muscle movement despite there being no need for it. As a result, your muscles move or twitch.” 

With the above information texted Ghana Guy.

Me: Did the research. It is probably a nervous tic caused by anxiety. Read more about it on the blog. But that makes MBS even more human, and at the same time, admirable. Of course, he is anxious. He  is signing a document which may change the world – we are at the brink of a catastrophic world war and this agreement, in all likelihood, will avert it.  

But now I shall do onto others as I would have them do onto me. I will add some humour to this extremely serious blog by the insertion of cartoons from the best of The New Yorker