Skip to main content





In the June 30th newsletter our ED, Marilyn Turkovich, invited our members to consider helping to address a new code of ethics that we may apply to the twenty-first lesson.  Below is the invitation, followed by responses. We want to keep this activity going so please contribute your thoughts. Send them to and we'll get them up as we receive them. Thanks for your participation.


When Karen Armstrong had the idea that we needed a Charter for Compassion to help guide our way forward into the 21st century, the TED organization asked the world to contribute their ideas about what should be in such a Charter. When we were a little more grounded in our ideas about helping to create compassionate communities, we asked people who were engaged in addressing the grave concerns of their cities what they needed. These two online requests resulted in a document and a process. Now it is time for another landmark adventure; the creation of a set of principles that speak to decent behavior. Would you please direct your thoughts towards this goal and send us your ideas? We'd like to publish them online and then arrive at a point where we do something with the information. I'm taking a risk, and offering up a few ideas:

  • Refrain from stealing (other people's property, country, or personhood)
  • Give back what has been stolen (make reparations)
  • Do no harm (e.g., don't direct bombs where innocent people gather, or challenge an individual's right to choose whom they love)
  • Dismantle weapons of mass destruction
  • Strive for excellence but don't expect to obtain it. Be kind to yourself
  • Be a trusted ally and act in solidarity with others
  • Take direction from those who are oppressed
  • Use your voice to speak out against injustice
  • Act as the Mayans, thank the land before you take a hoe to it
  • Recognize that we are all part of the web of nature, and act thoughtfully, and with care
  • Demand that those you select to speak on your behalf do just that.

Please don't write and tell me these are lofty pie-in-the-sky, idealist principles. I know that. Though at times I feel a bit daft, I also know that we can aim for the ideal and settle for what is more suitable to what we are enduring right now.

Remember, stretch your imagination, and send us your thoughts.


Amy Aspell

“Smile.”  And “Help others.”

 I want to suggest we do the classic "Keep It Simple" exercise -- so people don't get too bogged down in so many possibilities that they don't put many, if any, into practice.

Craig Cline

I believe there's one "set of principles" which create the all-encompassing, universal standard for "decent behavior."  You're familiar with them by virtue of your awareness of the overarching ethic embodied in GoldenRuleism.

The two essential sentences underlying GoldenRuleism are what I call "Two Principal Principles."  I'll state them here for convenience's sake:

"Do for all others, both directly and indirectly, what you would want to be done for you."  "Don't do to any others, either directly or indirectly, what you wouldn't want doing to you."

That's about as simple as a set of principles to live and love by can be.  They could even be the "main heading" under which other principles fall.  That's because if a person practices the two principal principles of GoldenRuleism, he or she is well on the way toward practicing almost all other forms of decent behavior.

LJ Revilock, Chaplain at William and Mary

Recently I’ve been pondering values. There certainly is a range of gradation of them from human values to moral values to spiritual values. How they are defined and prioritized is unique to each of us.

Thinking about a set of principles from within the Charter for Compassion, to me they would be based on love. Beginning with recognizing the love in ourselves and seeing that it is in everyone, no matter who they are. Love is the real power.

Unselfishness is also a key that led me to think about Ubuntu. One of the best definitions I’ve heard for Ubuntu was “we are at our finest when we are enabling others to achieve their finest.” It is caring, sharing, collaborating, respect and unselfishness.

Going back to your list. I think we can strive for and obtain excellence. Maybe not perfection but excellence is achievable. I’m kind of just writing as I’m thinking now. I’m not sure whether hope can be considered a principle. But it is so vital for mental wellness and to fortify our outlook and actions.


←  Go back                                                  Next page