It is always worth remembering The Golden Rule [^] – “Do to others as you would have them do to you”. Today I had a bit of a jolt as I was reminded that Charity can be scooped-up in the same concept. Charity isn’t just about financial giving, but a realisation that another needs help. The Philosophers’ Mail went a little further in the little further about charity in relationships:
Charity remembers how there might still be goodness amidst a lot of evil. Charity keeps in mind that if someone is tired and stressed, they are liable to behave appallingly … Charity is interested in mitigating circumstances…
…in life as a whole, and especially in relationships, charity is unlikely ever to end up being one-sided: who is weak and who is powerful changes rapidly and frequently. You are likely to be, as it were, a patron in one area and a beggar in another. So we must be kind not only because we are touched by the suffering of others but because we properly understand that we too will soon be in urgent need of an equally vital dose of charity in some other part of life.
The Philosophers’ Mail – Why you need to learn a little charity[^].
Charity is about giving and receiving, and understanding.
Tales of scams seem to be a recurring theme around here. Way back in the early days of this blog, 2006, I had a post about a group of people that were going out of their way to scam the Nigerian Scammers [^]. At the time I said that I wasn’t sure how this would sit with the Golden Rule [^]; which is do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Sarah Lacy at TechCrunch has posted a story about the lives and motivations of the Nigerian scammers [^], and the environment that they live in. After reading that it seems that my initial reaction was the right one. This isn’t something that they do gratuitously or for kicks. These people are doing this to survive, to feed their families, and to try to get ahead.
The interesting thing is that despite legal and technical crackdowns the scams continue, but they’ve evolved: “It’s not the glamorous, quick-money world it used to be. Today being a scammer takes smarts and stamina.” Gone is the quick hit replaced by long cons around online dating.
No it’s not mediaeval battle amour that I don’t like, it’s the sort that can clog-up your inbox. It can range from the sickeningly sweet to vitriolic all in the one document.
I know that chain letters pre-date the internet and email, and probably even chain mail. The only way of dealing with it is the same as we would a virus – send it to digital purgatory. It is everyone’s duty to break the chain, and save your friends some bandwidth.
The sentiment in this one, the Irish friendship wish, is laudable enough. There is no threat of terrible consequences for failing to forward it (in this version), and the promise of good luck, etc if you do. The sentiment would be even nicer without the tacky how much luck, and how fast you get it at the end. If you really care about someone enough to send this go and buy them a fridge magnet, or a T-Shirt (with “been there, done that, got the t-shirt!” printed on the back). If you do think that it will brighten-up a friend’s day do that person a favour and trim the crap off of it first! Remember the Golden Rule [W] – “do to others what you would have them do to you.”
The Urban Legend website has a nice spin on this email here [^], with an in-depth analysis of each line of the “wish”. Sophos [^], the anti-virus and -spam vendor has another version of this email and advice that: “Forwarding unsolicited chain letters wastes time and bandwidth.” Sound advice indeed!
Oh, did you want to read it? Sorry I’m not going to post it, it has already polluted the internet enough, I am not even going to link to it!
The Golden Rule – In other words:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you”
Definitely something worth thinking about, and living by. How much different would life be?