While Confucius is credited as the originator of the ‘Silver Rule’ 己所不欲,勿施於人, some version of its better-known cousin, the Golden Rule, can be found tucked away at home in the ethos of nearly every religious and cultural tradition. While there may be slight twists in interpretation, for example the beggar encountered by the title character in Disney’s Aladdin rendering it, “Those who have the gold, make the rules”, the vast majority of interpretations can be understood through the concept of reciprocity.


Reciprocity is the cornerstone of the Rotary interpretation, which was laid down in Rotary’s Code of Ethics in the 1920s as, “All things whatsoever ye would that man should do unto you, do you even so unto them”. The importance of the Golden Rule figured so strongly in Paul Harris’s conception of Rotary that when interviewed he replied, “You newspaper and radio people always like to condense a story into a lead paragraph, I know, and so, if you ask me to do that for our Rotary program, I would say that the Rotary program in all of our clubs throughout the world is the ‘implementing of the Golden Rule’, that is, making it applicable to everyday lives of individuals and nations.”

互惠是對扶輪基石的最佳演繹。1920年代,扶輪的核心價值揭示出﹕『人們為你們所做的一切,你也會為他們做出同樣的回報』。保羅哈裡斯在電台被訪時,展現其理念的核心時曾說:「你們報紙和電台的傳媒人最喜歡把故事濃縮為一句標題或小段摘要,我是理解的,當你們問到扶輪的項目時,在世界各地扶輪社的項目就是實現金科玉律 – 並將其應用於我們個人和邦國的日常生活中。」金科玉律說穿了正是「己之所欲,施之於人」。

Thus, we come to it. This is what sets us apart. We apply the Golden Rule to everyday life. It is as simple as that. But, is it this defining characteristic that we consider first and foremost in our Rotary efforts? Reciprocity courses through the veins of both the Golden Rule and our Four-Way Test. Yet, when we gauge our progress, we are far more likely to look to attendance records and the success of our publicity events. Although such measures have substantive value, being more readily quantifiable than the flourishing of an ethos, they are poor proxies for the sublimity of the Rotary mission. They are but hollow vehicles that carry our ideological zeal.


When we look to bring new Rotarians into the fold, the most grievous blunder we could make would be allowing those vehicles to show up empty. If we do, we won’t be attracting Rotarians, but rather people tantalized by the hollow show and pomp of publicity events. “Birds of a feather flock together” and the Rotarians that we want to flock with us won’t be impressed by our events, no matter how posh, if they can’t feel the Rotary spirit. So, if we want to bring Rotarians to us, we first need to bring the essence, the marrow, and the spirit of Rotary to them. We need to keep in mind that proxies cannot measure the depth or profundity of our mission, and we need to bravely continue flourishing our ethos.