THE GOLDEN RULE AND FREEDOM OF SPEECH
Izzy Kalman has been the most ardent advocate of the Golden Rule and Freedom of Speech in the field of mental health. He has written and spoken profusely about these principles
The Golden Rule
While bullying researchers have been struggling for decades to find a way to protect children from bullying, only to observe that it continues to be a serious problem, the solution has been right under our noses. After all, intelligent human beings have been contemplating the problems of life for time immemorial, and they have come up with
solutions long ago.
The overarching solution to bullying is the Golden Rule, something never studied in academic psychology because it is thought of as a religious rule or a nice rule for moral behavior. But they don’t consider it as a scientific concept. In recent years, some bullying experts have, indeed, been referring to the Golden Rule as the solution to bullying. However, they have failed to use it with particular success because they tend to misunderstand what it comes to teach us. They think it means, “Don’t be a bully.”
Sure, it’s bad to be a bully. But we don’t need the Golden Rule to teach us such an obvious message. Furthermore, few of us think we are bullies, so when we hear the message, “Don’t be a bully,” most of us think, “That’s right! They should stop bullying me!”
What we really need the Golden Rule for is to teach us what to do when people are mean to us. The natural inclination is to be mean back. But the Golden Rule answer is, “Be nice to them.” This can be difficult to do because it is contrary to our nature. We are prone to think that only “losers” would be nice to those who are mean to us.
Izzy Kalman is possibly the first psychological professional to analyze the Golden Rule as a scientific, psychological concept. Using the framework of evolutionary psychology, he developed a unique explanation of how the Golden Rule works. He explains why our default programming for reciprocity–treating others as they treat us–is a good adaptation for winning in the lawless world of nature, which is what we are designed for but is often counterproductive under the “unnatural” conditions of law-bound life in civilization. Kalman shows how the Golden Rule takes advantage of other’s biological programming for reciprocity for our own benefit. Once we understand how it works, it becomes easy to apply because we realize it is not a recipe for being a loser. On the contrary, it makes us winners, and creates win/win situations.
Today, thanks to Izzy Kalman, many other bullying experts are teaching how to use the Golden Rule to stop being a victim.
Freedom of Speech
The Golden Rule is the overriding solution to bullying. It’s corollary, Freedom of Speech, is the solution to verbal bullying. As he says, “Freedom of Speech is the Constitutional version of the ‘sticks and stones’ slogan.” Since most physical aggression begins with words, knowing how to defuse verbal attacks also prevents most physical aggression from occurring.
Unfortunately, the value of Freedom of Speech is rarely taught in universities. In fact, academic psychology sees Freedom of Speech today as a problem, as the factor that makes bullying possible in the first place. They believe that since we are free to say whatever we want, it makes it permissible for us to bully people. Thus, they have concluded that Freedom of Speech is a mistake and have fought for anti-bullying policies that actually outlaw freedom of speech, the cornerstone of modern democracy.
The simple truth is that Freedom of Speech is the solution to verbal bullying. When we try to stop others from insulting us, they are likely to continue. But they dislike and disrespect us because of our efforts to dictate what they can and cannot say. On the other hand, when we allow people the freedom to say whatever they want to us, no matter how nasty, they quickly stop insulting us. And they like and respect us more because of the mature way we treat them.
Izzy Kalman has written more about the importance of Freedom of Speech for mental health and social harmony than any other psychological professional in the world. He uses his Golden Rule/Freedom of Speech Game to teach people its simple power, and has developed a science experiment that even students can do to test its effectiveness. Kids who use this experiment as a school science project can even end up solving the bullying problem in their class or school.