The Deeper Meaning Of Honor...  

wistfuljester 65M
1259 posts
6/23/2006 2:03 am

Last Read:
6/25/2006 12:21 am

The Deeper Meaning Of Honor...

We've all heard a lot in our lives about what being honorable really means.

It's about being faithful, being honest and being true to our word; it's about standing up for what we believe in, no matter what the cost; it's about respect, and dignity.

All societies have mutually agreed-upon written and unwritten codes of acceptable and unacceptable behavior--at least, they do if they want to last, and to live in peace. People who adhere to those codes are often said to be honorable.

Bravery on the battlefield is also often described as honorable.

As commendable as those sentiments may be, do they really get to the heart of what honor means? In my opinion, they only do so to a limited degree.

You see, it is up to each of us to decide what we VALUE. While there is some similarity between what we value and "having values", they are not totally the same thing.

"Having values" usually means having a set core of beliefs that govern our actions and opinions. Clearly, these values can differ from person to person, although only fools claim that all values are so strictly "relative" that it is impossible to judge ANY behavior as being bad or good, right or wrong.

As a curious side note, many people in these modern times seem to have lost the ability to understand the difference between judging a person's behavior and judging the person. At the slightest mention of any disapproval of a certain behavior, these people will immediately cry, "Only God can judge me! If I'm going to Hell, you are too!", and similar incoherent nonsense. This is a classic example of the inability to engage in critical thinking. No one has said that "they" are going to Hell; one has simply disagreed with their behavior. At what point in our society did it become fashionable to deliberately "confuse" the two?

Obviously, if we carried their argument to its logical extreme, we would have no right to enforce laws that prohibit lying, cheating, stealing, and murder.

If you're still with me, you will understand why I choose to limit responses to my blog--most people on this site simply do not have the patience or the intellect to read and comprehend this post, so they would have already posted a comment. They would miss that there is much more to come.

Here it is: in order to live a true life of honor, you first have to examine yourself and determine what it is that you value. This is not the same thing as "having values", although moral principles certainly play an important part.

What is it you want and need? Do you value your family? Do you value the fulfillment you feel when pursuing a certain interest or occupation? Is sexual pleasure high on your list, or low? Do you need physical and economic security? If so, how much? Do you crave attention from others? Is religion important to you? How do you define integrity?

Only each individual can answer these questions, and in so doing discover more about his or her self.

This is important, because most of us live very conflicted lives, compromising between what we value and how we live. Since we abhor the pain of that conflict, we tend to distract ourselves with any number of addictions and pastimes--only some of which are considered by the public at large to be addictive, antisocial or destructive.

For example: my greatest loves have always been poetry and music. Because i accepted the viewpoint that I could never achieve at those arts, I became conflicted when I chose something else for an occupation. To distract myself from the pain of that, I pursued pot, booze and isolation in my younger years. Under those influences, I sometimes also compromised my moral values...

We don't get that the pain of confronting our compromises can be a great teacher, IF we are willing to work through it. The pain doesn't last, unless we refuse to face it. If we do, it inflates beyond recognition, and warps us as we search for a thousand different ways to distracting ourselves from our inner conflicts.

I said all that to say this: it is when we are willing to learn what it is that we truly value, and to make a promise to ourselves to live according to our values, that we begin to live truly honorable lives.

Everything flows from that self-examination and determination.


And that, my friends, is the deeper meaning of true honor...

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