10 Quotes by Rodrigue Tremblay on How to Create a Better Global Civilization

10 Quotes by Rodrigue Tremblay on How to Build a Better Global Civilization

Global Problems Call The Need For A Worldwide Human Family

With the current globalization of our problems, we need to extend our circle of empathy and view humanity as a worldwide extended human family. As long as we refrain from facing that challenge, divisiveness and unsolvable conflicts will persist.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “Rodrigue Tremblay C.V. on The Code for Global Ethics


The Need To Establish A Higher Threshold Of Human Morality

[In a more universal civilization], first and foremost, the scope of human empathy would be more universal and more comprehensive, and would not merely apply to some chosen people, to members of a particular religion or to persons belonging to a particular civilization. In practice, this would require that we establish a higher threshold of human morality, beyond the traditional norm of the Golden Rule (“Treat others as you would have others treat you.”) It would require that we adopt what I call a Super Golden Rule of humanist morality that incorporates the humanist rule of empathy: “Not only do to others as you would have them do to you, but also, do to others what you would wish to be done to you, if you were in their place.” — Of course, the corollary also follows: “Don’t do to others what you would not like to be done to you, if you were in their place.”

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


Empathy, Tolerance & Sharing

Three interrelated moral imperatives that have always been sound moral values, but which I feel will become increasingly required for humanity to go forward and survive. And I refer to: – more human EMPATHY, – more interpersonal TOLERANCE, and – more interpersonal SHARING (altruism and generosity) as a foundation for a more harmonious, for a freer and for a more prosperous world.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


The Empathy Principle

According to the empathy principle, one must aim at treating others as if one were in their place, and not necessarily expecting reciprocity as is the case in the traditional Golden rule of morality that one finds in virtually all moral systems (“Do to others as you would have them do to you”).


The empathy principle can thus be framed this way: “Do to others what you would wish to be done to you, if you were in their place.”


That is why I say that empathy can be the solid foundation of a more civilized global society based on the solidarity of all human beings. It is the awareness that other people can suffer, be happy and flourish just as one does, and that one should treat others accordingly.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


We Must Aim To Create The Greatest Good For The Greatest Number Of People

As an economist but also as a humanist, I believe that collectively, we must aim at creating the greatest good for the greatest number of people, not the maximizing of purely selfish personal financial objectives.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


Happiness Is More Than Money & Power

Many economists, and I am one of them, believe along with British philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) that the pursuit of money does not necessarily lead to personal happiness and to general well-being. Happiness is more than money and power.


Indeed, many studies have shown that while it is true that well-being tends to rise with income, it also tends to level off after reaching a certain level. Surveys show, for example, that many people often prefer to earn less rather than be deprived of sleep time, or rather than commute long distances, or rather than living away from friends. This is a reflection of the notion that economics and money are not everything in making people happy and satisfied. There are other values in the moral scale of things, and that’s what I would like to emphasize.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


Living & Surviving On The Same Small Planet

This Super Golden Rule of human morality could indirectly encompass the idea of moral reciprocity, but it goes much further towards genuine altruism, compassion and human empathy. It truly defines our moral obligations to others in positive terms about what should be done—not in negative terms with the implied fear of retaliation for bad behavior (“Don’t do to others what you would not like to be done to you, because they may do it to you if you mistreat them”).


I think that such an approach to morality is likely to impose itself in the future as human beings realize more and more that they are all living on the same small Planet, and that if they want to survive collectively (and not repeat the disastrous experience of the dinosaurs who became extinct some 65 million years ago, after roaming the Earth for close to 200 million years).

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


Humanity Is Globally Interconnected, But In A Competitive Way

As I see it, the world today faces a fundamental moral dilemma.


—On the one hand, we live in an environment in which technology and scientific progress—as we would expect—have made survival somewhat easier for many populations.


—On the other hand, economically, this is done increasingly in a competitive global context, and this could have potentially perverse effects on our tendency to feel empathy for others.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


The Central Question: Education

The central question is: Besides teaching science and general knowledge, can we also teach empathy, compassion and civility, especially to the young?

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization


Simple But Revolutionary Idea: We Live On The Same Planet & We Should Attempt To Survive On This Planet As Members Of The Same Human Race

To reach that new level of global ethics, we may need nothing less than a moral revolution in our thinking, a new moral norm, a global moral revolution, to fit the modern problems we are facing today and in the future. Such a moral revolution may even be needed for our own biological survival as a species.


In general terms, let me say that I firmly believe that we should adopt the simple but somewhat revolutionary idea that we are living on the same small planet and that we should attempt to survive on this planet as members of the same human race.

–Rodrigue Tremblay, in “For a Better Global Civilization

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