Author Topic: "Where is your honor?"  (Read 821 times)

hoping2retire35

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"Where is your honor?"
« on: March 16, 2017, 07:19:45 AM »
So I recently looked up honor, and came across the Art of Manliness series, there really are not that many modern books about this, but it is a pretty good series. It talks about what honor is, its history from ancient times to the 19th century, how it basically disappeared after WWII. The last post discussed why we need to return to having honor codes and finding our own group, and I agree, but something else occurred to me. This is HUGE!

As I read about politics, society, even my own psychology, philosophy, and history I feel like there is a constant fog keeping me from really understanding what happens/ed. Understanding historical honor codes and that we basically do not live in an honor culture has really clarified a lot of things in my mind over the last couple of days.

Anyone else read about this or studied it? It seems like a small, insignificant subject that no one talks about but it is much bigger.

I will write some more once there are some other responses.

edit; bumped a button and posted before I was done...
« Last Edit: March 16, 2017, 07:24:25 AM by hoping2retire35 »

Linda_Norway

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2017, 07:37:27 AM »
Here in western Europe "honor" is often used by certain immigrants who want to prevent their daughters and sisters from living their life the way the local girls do. They sometimes kill their female relative in the name of "honor".

Tasty Pinecones

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2017, 07:43:08 AM »
I used to think honor is what our cultural leaders were obligated to demonstrate but apparently not... ;)

I'll have to read the book b/c I have have found my own way to "manliness" and I'm probably doing it all wrong. 

hoping2retire35

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2017, 07:57:22 AM »
Here in western Europe "honor" is often used by certain immigrants who want to prevent their daughters and sisters from living their life the way the local girls do. They sometimes kill their female relative in the name of "honor".

Lots of different versions of honor throughout the world. Mostly the reason it was outright rejected at the end of the war was due to a lot of the nationalism/pride that came from it. If you are curious I believe there a lot of different systems of honor, some of which exclude more of the violent parts, while retaining the 'good' parts.

hoping2retire35

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2017, 08:01:14 AM »
I used to think honor is what our cultural leaders were obligated to demonstrate but apparently not... ;)

I'll have to read the book b/c I have have found my own way to "manliness" and I'm probably doing it all wrong.

Just a blog, (kinda looks like MMM format, even includes mustaches ;)) but haven't read much of anything else there so I cannot really vouch for it, other than that series. It was 7 parts that will take a couple hours to read (still not done), not on manliness so much as it was about our society (western) in general. 

As to our 'cultural leaders', he didn't talk that much about it, but I was surprised how much it related. I feel like I have a much better understanding of what is going on in the country and why'.

Linda_Norway

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2017, 08:12:13 AM »
I have the impression that in the past producers had honor in the sense of making a good product and getting happy customers. I have the impression that this honor is disappearing in the consumer world. More and more products are produced that are of such low quality that there can't be any honor left in the producer. For example in the case of food production where often money-saving short-cuts are made which don't result in a healthy food product.

It is said that the whole system with AirBnB/Uber/TaskRabbit and that kind of economy will bring back honor, because the seller of the product is getting reviewed by the customer and need good reviews to get more work.

Lis

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2017, 08:21:55 AM »
Ned Stark had honor and look where it got him.

That's mostly a joke, but I think the underlying truth to it is evident. The problem with honor is that it's really easy to take advantage of by those less... honorable. I agree that we live in a less "honorable" society (talking US/Western world here), but I think it's more because we fear being taken advantage of and harmed in the process than actually taking advantage of the system. I think the refugee crisis is the perfect example of this. The concept of saving refugees from war torn countries is "good," right? I don't think anyone could think saving other people's lives is a bad thing; it's pretty honorable. And yet there's a huge push against letting refugees into the country. Why? Not because we don't want to save lives, but because we fear the smaller percentage of people would take advantage of the system (terrorists) and harm us. This is obviously overgeneralized, but it's a good start on how to look at why honor doesn't exist as much anymore.

hoping2retire35

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2017, 08:25:04 AM »
I have the impression that in the past producers had honor in the sense of making a good product and getting happy customers. I have the impression that this honor is disappearing in the consumer world. More and more products are produced that are of such low quality that there can't be any honor left in the producer. For example in the case of food production where often money-saving short-cuts are made which don't result in a healthy food product.

It is said that the whole system with AirBnB/Uber/TaskRabbit and that kind of economy will bring back honor, because the seller of the product is getting reviewed by the customer and need good reviews to get more work.
A big critique he offered was that due to our anti-honor society is that there is not much accountability therefore corruption and ineptitude are the lowest common denominator; whereas in an honor culture, most people have a type of baseline honor that they try to maintain; more complicated than that but that was the jest.

I'm going to read the whole thing again when I am done. oOdering a few cheap books too.

hoping2retire35

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2017, 08:36:39 AM »
Ned Stark had honor and look where it got him.

That's mostly a joke, but I think the underlying truth to it is evident. The problem with honor is that it's really easy to take advantage of by those less... honorable. I agree that we live in a less "honorable" society (talking US/Western world here), but I think it's more because we fear being taken advantage of and harmed in the process than actually taking advantage of the system. I think the refugee crisis is the perfect example of this. The concept of saving refugees from war torn countries is "good," right? I don't think anyone could think saving other people's lives is a bad thing; it's pretty honorable. And yet there's a huge push against letting refugees into the country. Why? Not because we don't want to save lives, but because we fear the smaller percentage of people would take advantage of the system (terrorists) and harm us. This is obviously overgeneralized, but it's a good start on how to look at why honor doesn't exist as much anymore.

Ned Stark...Never really got why someone was ok dying in battle as long as it was done with honor. I think i get it now.

Yes, it talks about this some in the series. Basically the western (now anachronistic, but some remnants remain) and middle eastern honor cultures are too different to coexist (my take). He talks about this some and how the North during the Civil War had a hard time because there were two sets of honor cultures in the region. Older, established families versus the new irish immigrants.

Notice I did not say coexistence is too difficult due to religion but different honor cultures.

spartana

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #9 on: March 16, 2017, 08:58:39 AM »
The concept of honor is still pretty strong in.the military and that manifests in many ways. Mostly good IMHO but it has been used to influence people to act in manners that can cause harm to themselves and others. Then you get things like the Marine Facebook scandal and how it dishonors and humiliates fellow Marines and just wanna scream "where's your honor?".

I live in a Vietnamese community (I'm Caucasian) and you see a pretty strong honor culture here. It generally revolves around family structure and caretaking - both physical and financial - and the expection to honor tradition.
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matchewed

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2017, 08:58:55 AM »
Honor may just be an antiquated way of talking about sticking with your principles.

I believe that it has gone the way of the dodo bird because that definition is missing. What is honor? It will mean things to different people depending on culture/upbringing and all that. I believe there are many honorable people out there. Given the mashing up of all these different cultures there is no common definition. So when one person may not seem honorable they're just living to different principles. There is no longer a common way to agree on it by pure cultural similarity.

Sailor Sam

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2017, 09:34:19 AM »
Interesting topic. I agree with Spartana; there's still a strong culture of honor in the military, and mostly it's a force for good.

Kris

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2017, 10:15:41 AM »
It is such an interesting concept, "honor."

In theory, it's great. But it's true that it's so culturally charged with meaning that the idea can be used and manipulated in so many devious ways.

Little anecdote: My ex-husband was really fond of the word "honor." Trouble was, he tended to use it as a way to manipulate and control me. I have always been a very independent woman, and when we got married, I found out too late that his beliefs of what made a good girlfriend and what made a good wife were very different. His sense of what a "wife" should be were very traditional, and very based on his own mother, who was a lovely woman but was also very subservient.

So, whenever I did something that he didn't like, instead of being able to have an actual conversation about it, he would say that I wasn't "honoring" the marriage. It was a devious little tactic, and also kind of genius. Because with that one word, he got to shift the conversation away from his emotional reactions, and toward an abstract concept ("marriage"), with which he could "objectively" tell me I was falling short in "honoring."

It drove me crazy.

(And it should probably go without saying that it didn't work the other way around. Honor feels like a very masculinized concept, somehow.)

I prefer "integrity" as a concept. It feels less charged. And more like something you decide for yourself than something that is imposed upon you from "above".
"Well I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation."   - David St. Hubins, This is Spinal Tap

shelivesthedream

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2017, 11:50:12 AM »
I read an interesting article a while ago about guilt and shame. Guilt, it said, is internal. It is to do with your feeling that you have failed yourself and not lived up to the code of behaviour you have set yourself. Shame, on the other hand, is external. You have transgressed society's codes and feel shame at the thought of what others will think of you.

So perhaps the counterpoints to guilt and shame are integrity and honour? Honour is keeping to society's code of a good life and keeping your promises to other people. Integrity is behaving consistently with your own moral code and according to your own conscience.

My personal feeling is that there has been a downgrade in the importance of honour as we have separated commercial relationships from personal ones (you don't know who grew your apple any more than you know who actually owns the shop you bought it in) and also perhaps as we have separated personal relationships geographically (you won't have five generations of your family growing up next door to five generations of my family - it's less important to form a tight, mutually respectful social bond if one of us might move countries in a few years time). So you can't have your own honour code - it's necessarily linked to the society you live in. But you can have your own integrity, and that is perhaps what we have failed to retain from days of yore.

Interestingly, I also read recently about Victorian self-help books, and how they're all about "How to Build Your Character", "Weakness of Character and How to Overcome It", "Ten Easy Steps to Character" (totally made up titles) but by the inter-war period they'd moved on to modelling your personal life on business ("How to Win Friends and Influence People" was cited). I think the article was about how self-help books illuminate the preoccupations of an era.

Kris

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #14 on: March 16, 2017, 12:33:37 PM »
I read an interesting article a while ago about guilt and shame. Guilt, it said, is internal. It is to do with your feeling that you have failed yourself and not lived up to the code of behaviour you have set yourself. Shame, on the other hand, is external. You have transgressed society's codes and feel shame at the thought of what others will think of you.

So perhaps the counterpoints to guilt and shame are integrity and honour? Honour is keeping to society's code of a good life and keeping your promises to other people. Integrity is behaving consistently with your own moral code and according to your own conscience.

My personal feeling is that there has been a downgrade in the importance of honour as we have separated commercial relationships from personal ones (you don't know who grew your apple any more than you know who actually owns the shop you bought it in) and also perhaps as we have separated personal relationships geographically (you won't have five generations of your family growing up next door to five generations of my family - it's less important to form a tight, mutually respectful social bond if one of us might move countries in a few years time). So you can't have your own honour code - it's necessarily linked to the society you live in. But you can have your own integrity, and that is perhaps what we have failed to retain from days of yore.

Interestingly, I also read recently about Victorian self-help books, and how they're all about "How to Build Your Character", "Weakness of Character and How to Overcome It", "Ten Easy Steps to Character" (totally made up titles) but by the inter-war period they'd moved on to modelling your personal life on business ("How to Win Friends and Influence People" was cited). I think the article was about how self-help books illuminate the preoccupations of an era.

Interesting observations all. Thanks.
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hoping2retire35

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #15 on: March 16, 2017, 12:47:35 PM »
SLTD, integrity and honor; precisely. Most decent people you meet have some integrity, but for the most part we are unhonorable not to be confused with dishonorable. Similar to the difference between amoral and immoral. There is simply no framework for anyone to have honor or shame, it is just a void.

I would say some people leave the military or once they move away from their peer group then the ability to maintain or gain honor ceases. They may continue to behave in an honorable way, (to a certain extent they may maintain it through coworkers or something). I have thought a lot about this even before I heard of MMM urban tribe and some other bloggers talking about other types of community.

I knew that in order to have successful, for lack of a better word, urban tribe thing there would have to be some way to 'police the borders' of behavior or something. This would have to come from a group that had either a common belief or goal; reading about honor really help to understand this a lot better.

Travis

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #16 on: March 16, 2017, 01:03:55 PM »
It is such an interesting concept, "honor."

In theory, it's great. But it's true that it's so culturally charged with meaning that the idea can be used and manipulated in so many devious ways.

Little anecdote: My ex-husband was really fond of the word "honor." Trouble was, he tended to use it as a way to manipulate and control me. I have always been a very independent woman, and when we got married, I found out too late that his beliefs of what made a good girlfriend and what made a good wife were very different. His sense of what a "wife" should be were very traditional, and very based on his own mother, who was a lovely woman but was also very subservient.

So, whenever I did something that he didn't like, instead of being able to have an actual conversation about it, he would say that I wasn't "honoring" the marriage. It was a devious little tactic, and also kind of genius. Because with that one word, he got to shift the conversation away from his emotional reactions, and toward an abstract concept ("marriage"), with which he could "objectively" tell me I was falling short in "honoring."

It drove me crazy.

(And it should probably go without saying that it didn't work the other way around. Honor feels like a very masculinized concept, somehow.)

I prefer "integrity" as a concept. It feels less charged. And more like something you decide for yourself than something that is imposed upon you from "above".

It seems like it was your husband's concept of marriage that was skewed more than his concept of honor.  He expected you to honor (or adhere to) a concept that you two had vastly different definitions for; however, he could have said "you're not following the spirit or definition of our marriage" and it would have been grammatically identical.  Where he got you on an emotional level was by using a word that has a much deeper meaning.  As we've seen in examples above, the idea of honor has quite a number of definitions making it a difficult subject to debate.  Your husband wasn't wrong in his use of the word since it has at least 10 different definitions in the dictionary, but because it has some very culturally important definitions to us its use has a big impact.

I've had similar run-ins over the years with people throwing about the term "loyalty."  On the rare occasions where my loyalty was explicitly demanded or it was implied that I was lacking in loyalty, it was because the person making that judgement call was demanding that I help them do something illegal or immoral even according our shared understanding of those concepts. 

Kris

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #17 on: March 16, 2017, 01:18:32 PM »
It is such an interesting concept, "honor."

In theory, it's great. But it's true that it's so culturally charged with meaning that the idea can be used and manipulated in so many devious ways.

Little anecdote: My ex-husband was really fond of the word "honor." Trouble was, he tended to use it as a way to manipulate and control me. I have always been a very independent woman, and when we got married, I found out too late that his beliefs of what made a good girlfriend and what made a good wife were very different. His sense of what a "wife" should be were very traditional, and very based on his own mother, who was a lovely woman but was also very subservient.

So, whenever I did something that he didn't like, instead of being able to have an actual conversation about it, he would say that I wasn't "honoring" the marriage. It was a devious little tactic, and also kind of genius. Because with that one word, he got to shift the conversation away from his emotional reactions, and toward an abstract concept ("marriage"), with which he could "objectively" tell me I was falling short in "honoring."

It drove me crazy.

(And it should probably go without saying that it didn't work the other way around. Honor feels like a very masculinized concept, somehow.)

I prefer "integrity" as a concept. It feels less charged. And more like something you decide for yourself than something that is imposed upon you from "above".

It seems like it was your husband's concept of marriage that was skewed more than his concept of honor.  He expected you to honor (or adhere to) a concept that you two had vastly different definitions for; however, he could have said "you're not following the spirit or definition of our marriage" and it would have been grammatically identical.  Where he got you on an emotional level was by using a word that has a much deeper meaning.  As we've seen in examples above, the idea of honor has quite a number of definitions making it a difficult subject to debate.  Your husband wasn't wrong in his use of the word since it has at least 10 different definitions in the dictionary, but because it has some very culturally important definitions to us its use has a big impact.

I've had similar run-ins over the years with people throwing about the term "loyalty."  On the rare occasions where my loyalty was explicitly demanded or it was implied that I was lacking in loyalty, it was because the person making that judgement call was demanding that I help them do something illegal or immoral even according our shared understanding of those concepts.

Interestingly, he used that term also, in some similar ways.
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Vindicated

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #18 on: March 16, 2017, 02:00:29 PM »
I read an interesting article a while ago about guilt and shame. Guilt, it said, is internal. It is to do with your feeling that you have failed yourself and not lived up to the code of behaviour you have set yourself. Shame, on the other hand, is external. You have transgressed society's codes and feel shame at the thought of what others will think of you.

So perhaps the counterpoints to guilt and shame are integrity and honour? Honour is keeping to society's code of a good life and keeping your promises to other people. Integrity is behaving consistently with your own moral code and according to your own conscience.

I think you nailed it here.  Well said.

I also really liked your comment about how we don't know our neighbors any more, so there is little incentive to build a friendly reputation with them.  This makes perfect sense why there seems to be less "honor" in cultures that aren't as tightly knit.

Personally, I know my neighbors on each side of my house (although one is moving :'(), and we're very friendly with each other.  However, one more home over on each side, I couldn't identify them in a police line-up.  The 3 homes directly across the street I don't know well at all.  I wave if I see them, but that's it... at least I know what they look like.

BlueHouse

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #19 on: March 16, 2017, 02:06:03 PM »
Honor may just be an antiquated way of talking about sticking with your principles.

I believe that it has gone the way of the dodo bird because that definition is missing. What is honor? It will mean things to different people depending on culture/upbringing and all that. I believe there are many honorable people out there. Given the mashing up of all these different cultures there is no common definition. So when one person may not seem honorable they're just living to different principles. There is no longer a common way to agree on it by pure cultural similarity.

This discussion reminds me of the book "The Remains of the Day" where the protagonist tries to define "dignity" and what makes someone a "gentleman".  The reader sees his definition change and become less stringent as the book progresses.   (which is a three-day road trip in the book).

Great book.
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Linda_Norway

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #20 on: March 16, 2017, 02:12:06 PM »
Here in Norway we have a system where people (members) can stay in mountain cabins from a hiking club and they are supposed to register themselves and pay. There is no one to check it. You also need to pay for food that you use. This works quite well and people generally are honest. I've also heard the expression that in the mountains you only meet honest people.
I am now saying honest, but it has to do with honor by the individual.

shelivesthedream

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Re: "Where is your honor?"
« Reply #21 on: March 16, 2017, 02:40:50 PM »
Honor may just be an antiquated way of talking about sticking with your principles.

I believe that it has gone the way of the dodo bird because that definition is missing. What is honor? It will mean things to different people depending on culture/upbringing and all that. I believe there are many honorable people out there. Given the mashing up of all these different cultures there is no common definition. So when one person may not seem honorable they're just living to different principles. There is no longer a common way to agree on it by pure cultural similarity.

This discussion reminds me of the book "The Remains of the Day" where the protagonist tries to define "dignity" and what makes someone a "gentleman".  The reader sees his definition change and become less stringent as the book progresses.   (which is a three-day road trip in the book).

Great book.

YES. Fantastic book, and very relevant to the discussion.