Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Reciprocity

"There is one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one's life - reciprocity." - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"Tsze-kung asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not Reciprocity such a word? What you do not want don’t to yourself, do not to others.”" - Confucius, aka Kong Qiu, Zhongni, K'ung Fu-tzu or Kong Fuzi NULL

"All substances, in so far as they can be perceived to coexist in space, are in thoroughgoing reciprocity." - Immanuel Kant

"The rules of ordinary international morality imply reciprocity. But barbarians will not reciprocate. They cannot be depended on for observing any rules. Their minds are not capable of so great an effort, nor their will sufficiently under the influence of distant motives. In the next place, nations which are still barbarous have not got beyond the period during which it is likely to be for their benefit that they should be conquered and held in subjection by foreigners." - John Stuart Mill

"Man’s task is to reconcile liberty with service, reason with faith. This is the deepest wisdom man can attain. It is our destiny to serve, to surrender. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for this act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"The deepest wisdom man can attain is to know that his destiny is to aid, to serve. We have to conquer in order to succumb; we have to acquire in order to give away; we have to triumph in order to be overwhelmed. Man has to understand in order to believe, to know in order to accept. The aspiration is to obtain; the perfection is to dispense. This is the meaning of death: the ultimate self-dedication to the divine. Death so understood will not be distorted by the craving for immortality, for the act of giving away is reciprocity on man’s part for God’s gift of life. For the pious man it is a privilege to die." - Abraham Joshua Heschel

"One reason the Golden Rule is so popular is that it seems to require no specific faith and no specific religious beliefs. Men may argue over many questions, but often they can agree on the Golden Rule. Religious teachers all over the world, many of them long before Jesus, taught one form or another of the Golden Rule. Look at a few examples. 1. The Hindu Mahabharata teaches: "Men gifted with intelligence and purified souls should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated." 2. A Jainist writing, also from India, says: "A man should wander about treating all creatures in the world as he himself would be treated." 3. When Confucius was asked for a single word to sum up the rules of life, he answered: "Is not reciprocity such a word ? What you do not want done to yourself, do not do to others." 4. The Taoists taught: "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and regard your neighbor's loss as your own loss." 5. In the generation before Jesus a man asked the great Rabbi Hillel to teach him the Law while standing on one foot. Hillel answered: "What thou thyself hatest, do not to thy neighbor. This is the whole Law. The rest is commentary. Go and learn it."" - Roger L. Shinn, fully Roger Lincoln Shinn

"It is not in giving life but in risking life that man is raised above the animal that is why superiority has been accorded in humanity not to the sex that brings forth but to that which kills." - Simone de Beauvoir, fully Simone-Ernestine-Lucie-Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir