First Do No Harm!

Question: What can you teach me right now, that if applied or used correctly can change my life within the next 6 months?

Answer: While I do not claim to be even close to “Old Hillel”, I would give you the same advice to “changing life”, what he gave to the student who wanted to learn the Torah while “standing on one leg”: “Do not do to others what you hate for yourself”.

It might not make sense at first how such an advice could change your life in the Western society in the 21st century. But when we examine our life a bit deeper and analyze what determines the successes and failures, we find that wherever we look, whatever we try at the end everything comes down to the relationships we build with other people.

And while it was always true since Human beings from the very beginning lived in different groups, tribes, societies, today in the globally integrated and fully interdependent world we evolved into it is even more so.

And since we are all driven by an inherently proud, individualistic, self-serving and egoistic nature, since we instinctively try succeeding at the expense of each other due to the ruthless, exclusive competition our Human bubble is built, the way we relate to each other right now is destructive, constantly driving us into dead ends, crisis situations both on the personal and on the collective level.

Thus we need to learn how to build different, positive, mutually responsible and mutually complementing relationships, cooperation with each other in order to solve problems and survive. And since for this we have to rise above our instinctive attitude, actions and reactions, the first stage of this change is the “do no harm” principle “Old Hillel” expressed in that poetic way.

After that first stage we can start learning how to make the mutual connections mutually, proactively constructive as expressed in another archaic, poetic principle, “love your neighbor as yourself”. But that is already a very high degree of Human development.

So first we need to learn to at least not to cause harm to one another, the rest will unfold from that.

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