Quotations about   reciprocation

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The question was once put to him, how we ought to behave to our friends; and the answer he gave was, “As we should wish our friends to behave to us.”

[ἐρωτηθεὶς πῶς ἂν τοῖς φίλοις προσφεροίμεθα, ἔφη, “ὡς ἂν εὐξαίμεθα αὐτοὺς ἡμῖν προσφέρεσθαι.”]

Aristotle (384-322 BC) Greek philosopher
Attributed in Diogenes Laërtius, Lives and Opinions of Eminent Philosophers [Vitae Philosophorum], Book 5, sec. 11 [tr. Yonge (1853)]
    (Source)

(Source (Greek)). Alternate translations:

To the question how we should behave to friends, he answered, "As we should wish them to behave to us."
[tr. Hicks (1925), sec. 21]

When asked how we should act towards friends, he said “as we would pray they act towards us!”
[tr. @sentantiq (2016)]

When asked how we should behave to friends, he said, "As we would wish them to behave to us."
[tr. Mensch (2018)]

Added on 21-Sep-21 | Last updated 21-Sep-21
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You ask me why I have no verses sent?
For fear you should return the compliment.

[Cur non mitto meos tibi, Pontiliane, libellos?
Ne mihi tu mittas, Pontiliane, tuos.]

Martial (AD c.39-c.103) Spanish Roman poet, satirist, epigrammatist [Marcus Valerius Martialis]
Epigrams [Epigrammata], Book 7, epigram 3 [tr. Hay (1755)]
    (Source)

(Souce (Latin)). Alternate translations:

Why I send thee, Pontilian, not one of my writings?
It is lest thou, too gen'rous, return thine enditings.
[tr. Elphinston (1782), 12.10]

Why, sir, I don't my verses send you,
Pray, would you have the reason known?
The reason is -- for fear, my friend, you
Should send me, in return, your own.
[tr. Webb (1879)]

Why do I not send you my books, Pontilianus? Lest you should send me yours, Pontilianus.
[tr. Bohn's Classical (1897)]

Why do I not send you my works, Pontilianus? That you, Pontilianus, may not send yours to me.
[tr. Ker (1919)]

You ask me why my books were never sent?
For fear you might return the compliment.
[tr. Pott & Wright (1921)]

Pontilianus asks why I omit
To send him all the poetry that is mine;
The reason is that in return for it,
Pontilianus, thou might'st send me thine.
[tr. Duff (1929)]

You ask me why I send you not my book?
For fear you'll say, "Here's my work -- take a look."
[tr. Wills (2007)]

Why send I not to thee these books of mine?
'Cause I, Pontilian, would be free from thine.
[tr. Wright]

Added on 17-Sep-21 | Last updated 17-Sep-21
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A man’s tongue is a glib and twisty thing …
plenty of words there are, all kinds at its command —
with all the room in the world for talk to range and stray.
And the sort you use is just the sort you’ll hear.

[Στρεπτὴ δὲ γλῶσσ᾽ ἐστὶ βροτῶν, πολέες δ᾽ ἔνι μῦθοι
παντοῖοι, ἐπέων δὲ πολὺς νομὸς ἔνθα καὶ ἔνθα.
ὁπποῖόν κ᾽ εἴπῃσθα ἔπος, τοῖόν κ᾽ ἐπακούσαις.]

Homer (fl. 7th-8th C. BC) Greek author
The Iliad [Ἰλιάς], Book 20, l. 248ff (20.248) [Aeneas] (c. 750 BC) [tr. Fagles (1990), l. 287ff]
    (Source)

Original Greek. Alternate translations:

A man’s tongue is voluble, and pours
Words out of all sorts ev’ry way. Such as you speak you hear.
[tr. Chapman (1611), ll. 228-29]

Armed or with truth or falsehood, right or wrong,
So voluble a weapon is the tongue;
Wounded, we wound; and neither side can fail,
For every man has equal strength to rail.
[tr. Pope (1715-20)]

The tongue of man is voluble, hath words
For every theme, nor wants wide field and long,
And as he speaks so shall he hear again.
[tr. Cowper (1791), ll. 309-11]

The language of mortals is voluble, and the discourses in it numerous and varied: and vast is the distribution of words here and there. Whatsoever word thou mayest speak, such also wilt thou hear.
[tr. Buckley (1860)]

For glibly runs the tongue, and can at will
Give utt’rance to discourse in ev’ry vein;
Wide is the range of language; and such words
As one may speak, another may return.
[tr. Derby (1864)]

Glib is the tongue of man, and many words are therein of every kind, and wide is the range of his speech hither and thither. Whatsoever word thou speak, such wilt thou hear in answer.
[tr. Leaf/Lang/Myers (1891)]

The tongue can run all whithers and talk all wise; it can go here and there, and as a man says, so shall he be gainsaid.
[tr. Butler (1898)]

Glib is the tongue of mortals, and words there be therein many and manifold, and of speech the range is wide on this side and on that. Whatsoever word thou speakest, such shalt thou also hear.
[tr. Murray (1924)]

The tongue of man is a twisty thing, there are plenty of words there
of every kind, the range of words is wide, and their variance.
The sort of thing you say is the thing that will be said to you.
[tr. Lattimore (1951)]

Men have twisty tongues, and on them speech of all kinds; wide is the grazing land of words, both east and west. The manner of speech you use, the same you are apt to hear.
[tr. Fitzgerald (1974)]

Pliant and glib is the tongue men have, and the speeches in it are many and various -- far do the words range hither and thither; such as the word you speak is the word which you will be hearing.
[tr. Merrill (2007)]

Added on 17-Feb-21 | Last updated 1-Dec-21
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Make a careful list of all things done to you that you abhorred. Don’t do them to others, ever. Make another list of things done for you that you loved. Do them for others, always.

Dee W. Hock (b. 1929) American businessman
In M. Mitchell Waldrop, “Dee Hock on Management,” Fast Company (Oct/Nov 1996)
Added on 23-Oct-15 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Men are more prone to revenge Injuries, than to requite Kindnesses.

Thomas Fuller (1654-1734) English writer, physician
Gnomologia: Adages and Proverbs, #3389 (1732)
    (Source)
Added on 16-Oct-13 | Last updated 26-Jan-21
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A man’s character is most evident by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or reciprocate.

Paul Eldridge (1888-1982) American educator, novelist, poet
“Lanterns in the Night,” Maxim 41, The Jewish Forum (Aug 1948)

Restated by Eldridge in Maxims for a Modern Man, #1198 (1965): "A man is most accurately judged by how he treats those who are not in a position either to retaliate or to reciprocate."

The same sentiment is also made or attributed to Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren, Malcolm Forbes, James Miles, and (without any reference found) Goethe and Samuel Johnson. A more convoluted version can be found in the 19th Century by Charles Spurgeon.

More examination of this quotation:
Added on 10-Apr-12 | Last updated 12-Nov-21
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You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.

Malcolm Forbes (1919-1990) American billionaire
(Attributed)

Quoted in Earl Wilson, "Coco Offered Fatty Arbuckle Role," Hartford Courant (6 Aug 1972); earliest reference found for Forbes. A variant is found in The Sayings of Chairman Malcolm (1978): “You can easily judge the character of others by how they treat those who can do nothing for them or to them.”

The earliest version of the sentiment appears to be Paul Eldridge.
Added on 3-Nov-11 | Last updated 12-Nov-21
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If you would be loved, love and be lovable.

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) American statesman, scientist, philosopher
Poor Richard’s Almanack (Feb 1755)

Earlier given, "If you'd be beloved, make yourself amiable." (Nov 1744). See Ovid.
Added on 25-Jul-11 | Last updated 8-Jul-21
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Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

Jesus - do unto others - wist_info quote

The Bible (14th C BC - 2nd C AD) Christian sacred scripture
Matthew 7:12 (KJV)

Variants:
  • Popularly, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."
  • NIV: "So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets."
  • NRSV: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets."
  • TEV: "Do for others what you want them to do for you: this is the meaning of the Law of Moses and of the teachings of the prophets."


Note: The "Golden Rule" has been expressed in many ways by many religious and philosophical teachers. Several of these in WIST are or will be cross-referenced to this quotation (as trackbacks), not to lend it primacy, but because this is the most well-known formulation of it in the Western world, and to simplify the cross-referencing to one central point.
Added on 13-Sep-10 | Last updated 23-Apr-19
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Do not do unto others as you would that they should do unto you. Their tastes may not be the same.

George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) British playwright and critic
Man and Superman, “Maxims for Revolutionists,” “The Golden Rule” (1903)
    (Source)

See Matthew.

Added on 17-Jun-08 | Last updated 23-Oct-15
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Deal with the faults of others as gently as with your own.

(Other Authors and Sources)
Chinese proverb
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 11-Feb-20
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