Before I begin, I want to clarify and point out that the Golden Rule is not an illusion. I'm saying just security is.
*Warning, post may be depressing and/or may induce irrational fears or paranoia about death and perceived securities.*
I remember being in elementary school, and there were bugs on the ground and children were stomping on them. One child exclaimed, "Stop! How would you feel if you were that bug?" It's a very good question; one a child won't likely have a thoughtful answer toward.
There's really only two answers: You shouldn't squish a bug out of fear the same misfortune may happen to you or you can squish the bug because you're stronger than it and it can't do anything to you.
The first answer is, of course, the principle behind the Golden Rule, and the second answer is somewhat of a bastardization of Darwin's Natural Selection with an ethical spin on it.
What a travesty it is to encounter a being who would destroy those weaker than itself simply because it can! It's truly a frightening thought that any of us could be at the mercy of someone who truly thought they had the right to kill you simply because they could. If everyone thought that way, why there would be no security in the world, would there?
In my experience, the concepts of death and dying are very rarely discussed in America (I would say Western societies, but I cannot verify such a claim however, death is the most integral part of life and there are far too many people who are crippled at dealing with death and the dying. Why? Is it because we're too safe and we die at a much lower rate than the entire history of humankind?
On one hand, I think so, but on the other I would disagree. While we are indeed "safer" from harm, I argue that much of our perception of safety is based on a combination of ignorance, lack of exposure to death, and flawed world views like the Golden Rule.
With no disrespect intended, 9/11 is a perfect example. Many Americans, in their ignorance of those who were begrudged to the States were completely and utterly shocked, many to their cores, that there were those who would attack the United States out of the blue. Because they had (and wanted to do) no harm to others, they found it unfathomable that others would want to do harm to them. Many confided in a sense of security that wasn't there--one provided by their ideals.
I like the Golden Rule, personally, and I wish it was universalizeable. Unfortunately, it's just not congruent with reality. The strong survive by the virtue of being strong and the weak are at the mercy of the strong. Of course, groups of the weak can form into something strong. The strong can join that group and eventually it will look unrecognizable and incredibly powerful and unlikely to be destroyed unless by another group. The likelihood of this is very small, and thus the individuals of the group take solace in that. What they overlook is that they are ultimately still weak individuals and are still susceptible to the will of strong ones.
What our societies thrive on is the probability that the number of toxic individuals to appear will be low and thus be easily managed via the judicial system. For the most part, this is an efficient system, but it only comes into effect in the aftermath of a problem. There is no proactive solution...and since there is no proactive solution, everyone is at risk of toxic individuals.
If everyone is at risk, then can there be any hope of true security and peace of mind? I argue there is not and that any thought of true security is thus a falsehood.
Is there a solution to this problem? Yes and no. The solution is to come to accept that security is an illusion. There are no guarantees to live and there is no way to absolutely avoid harm or death. While the Golden Rule is nice, it fails at being pragmatic, where the survival of the fittest reigns supreme.