In the common dynamics of our behaviour and interactions with the world, one is rather faced with two choices: either to hurt others or to be hurt by them. The middle way which would encompass neither being hurt, nor hurting others, appears to lie beyond the common understanding or attitude towards one's self and others. Even if you live by the highest standards of morality, even if you watch your behaviours closely, there is no guarantee that nobody will be hurt by your actions. And in the same way, even if your skin is thick, even if you take the best measures of protecting yourself, you won't be able to predict when and how you will get hurt. Perhaps a mere state of being alive indicates that you are bound to be hurt.
To hurt or to be hurt is actually one and the same mechanism, reflected through two contrasting conditions. This is because to be hurt by someone requires our desire to not be hurt - to be respected, admired, understood and listened to. And, in the mirror state of this, to hurt others also requires our desire to be respected, admired, understood and listened to. In the first condition, one expects to satisfy these desires through faith in the good will of others, passivity, servitude or submissiveness. In the second, one expects to satisfy these desires by imposition of one's will, force, domination or demonstration of superiority.
In both states, one exercises a certain amount of control. Even submissiveness is a control of the other because we expect them to play the role that fits to our role.
The so called morality isn't precisely the answer either. If you aim at not hurting others, that is, desiring that you won't hurt anyone, you are also desiring not to get hurt. This is because hurting others will violate your moral code and therefore, even your tiniest mistake will hurt you.
In the same way, embracing something like self-preservation instinct where you value not getting hurt above not hurting others, will not prove to be entirely useful in avoiding this whole mess either. Assuming it's an extreme situation and one doesn't have conscience and therefore won't feel remorse for hurting others, one will place all its focus on not getting hurt. Since one desires not to get hurt and therefore desires to collect all the so called rewards from the state of not being hurt, one will hurt others in the process and in turn, doing so will automatically prevent one from collecting the desired feelings which come from a state of not being hurt, such as respect or admiration.
Having a conscience will simplify this matter completely because desiring not to get hurt above hurting others will imply that one will hurt others often quite involuntary because when faced with a choice of either getting hurt or hurting others, one will select the second option and therefore, one's conscience will make one to receive this hurt indirectly.
Getting rid of one's ego isn't precisely the answer either because losing one's ego means that the ego takes certain actions towards losing itself, and therefore the ego cannot be lost. That's why it is difficult to determine whether losing one's ego or building it provides us with a path towards some liberation.
Perhaps taking more systematic approach could prove to be more successful than deciding whether one should do this or one should do that?
The common denominator in both conditions of either being hurt or hurting others is the desire to have something - to be respected, admired, seen, acknowledged and alike. By taking an approach of either serving others or dominating them, we strive to satisfy these desires. If not these desires, there would be no reason to act on the first place, and if there is no reason to act, to either serve or to expect being served, how could one then get hurt or hurt others?
Furthermore, by not desiring to get anything from others, one then doesn't filter social interactions through some filter of what is desired and what is not desired, but rather responds to them accordingly in a rather neutral tone. One can then see people how they are, not how we want them to be.
People hurt each other because they assume certain roles of the so called hurter and the hurt - the predator and the victim. We certainly play our roles very well. If I offend you, I expect you to play the role of the hurt. If you offend me, I suppose you are the hurter. If I'm hurt, I need someone to play the role of the one inflicting the hurt - God, society, people. If there is the hurt, there must also be the hurter. How else could I play my role?
But, if we don't desire anything from people, why should we interact with anyone on the first place? This question is rather pointless - it is the same as asking, why should I be alive? Why should I eat? Why should I blink my eyes? Well, actually you shouldn't. You don't have to, and neither anyone is forcing you. You can stop blinking at any point you like, and I dare you to do it.
But let's remain on the subject. If you don't desire anything from others, you allow them to be as they are. You can walk away if you don't enjoy their show, or you can appreciate it. And this is exactly what's left if we don't allow our desires towards others to cloud our vision: we can interact with others for the pure sake of enjoyment - not to gain or lose something, but to simply embrace the interaction as it is - and the role we are currently playing.
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