What is this thing called honor? We seem to throw it around quite a bit in our modern society and give it a lot of lip service. Ask someone what honor is, and you’ll most likely get a puzzled look and maybe a head scratch. We tend to think we know what it means but often finds it difficult to articulate the meaning of the word. Many will tell you that honor means being true to a set of personal ideals, or being a man of integrity.
The definition of honor, while correct in our modern use of the word, does not capture the concept of honor that Homer wrote about, that countless duelist died for, and that our Founding Fathers swore upon the Bible to create our guidelines. Except for a few pockets of society like the military, fire department, and criminal gangs, honor, as millions of men from the past understood it, barely exists in our modern world today.
In America and other Western countries, the decline of manhood can be traced in part to a lack of a positive notion and a healthy outlook, about what it truly means. The appreciation of the kind of distinguished honor that compelled and checked our noble ancestors, it seems to be put far back on the backburner. The best way to check into this thinking is to begin by exploring what honor is and, lay the foundation for it in today’s society.
One of the best explanations of honor and how it applies to each of us is listed here, and it reads like this: “Honor is the value of a person in his own eyes, but also in the eyes of his society. It is his estimation of his worth, his claim to pride, but it is also the acknowledgment of that claim, his excellence recognized by society, his right to pride”. So we have uncovered that honor is a reputation worthy of respect and admiration, and you earn that reputation by allegiance to an honor code.
The question that naturally arises after the definition above are what code of honor must a man abide by to have respect from people, to be thought of as a man, and to be included in the group of men that hold honor near and dear? While reputation is universal to both men and women, its standards have historically been gendered. While codes of honor have varied across time and cultures, in its most primitive form, recognition has meant chastity for women and courage for men.
How did this connection between manhood, bravery, and honor evolve? No doubt you know that this is an ongoing subject even to this day. Hopefully, you have now gained a working framework for understanding what honor is, and how it operates not only today but long ago. When you probe into the study of courage, you will see how it is still a code of honor that motivates men and women to become the best they can be.
How important is the honor of old to you and why? Do you think that it is relevant today?
Until the next time take good care, be and stay well.
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