It is something when the message of a book can last well beyond its reading.
Today, I am thinking of Karen Armstrong's take on The Golden Rule as she explains it in The Spiral Staircase. It's a beautiful book that everyone should read.
In it, she discusses leaving the convent she spent seven years living in when she questioned her faith. She goes through some difficult times and through much of it seems to believe that God does not exist. However, by the end she comes to the conclusion that God is unknowable and that religions that say with certitude that God exists and thinks in a certain way are ignoring the history of the Bible and reality.
So if God exists, but is unknowable, what is the role of religion? Armstrong says it boils down to teaching and constantly seeking to live The Golden Rule, which she states as: “Do not treat others as you would not like them to treat you.”
She adds, "One of the chief tasks of our time must surely be to build a global community in which all peoples can live together in mutual respect; yet religion, which should be making a major contribution, is seen as part of the problem. All faiths insist that compassion is the test of true spirituality and that it brings us into relation with the transcendence we call God, Brahman, Nirvana, or Dao. Each has formulated its own version of what is sometimes called the Golden Rule. Further, they all insist that you cannot confine your benevolence to your own group; you must have concern for everybody — even your enemies."
The Golden Rule, is a universal archetype and one that is as powerful as it is simple. Be kind and forgiving.
And, she restates the rule in a way that does not require action other than to be respectful;. It isn't do unto others but don't do to others what you don't want them to do to you.
To simplify again, don't do anything that could hurt another person. The examples in the current day where this lesson is lost abound and begin with the cancer that is our current president. Never has there been someone more dead set against The Golden Rule than Trump. He daily does unto others what he doesn't want them doing to him. And his reasoning is that he harms them to protect himself and his people.
And yet, the religious right applauds this man. They applaud abandoning The Golden Rule and everything Jesus taught.
How do we heal? We practice The Golden Rule.
The lesson to writers in this? As should all people, walk through this world with the wisdom to not treat anyone in a way you don't want to be treated. This is how a writer lives his or her life.