The idea of Honor
If you ask people about honor today, they would answer “Honor? I prefer iPhone!” or something similar. The idea of honor has vanished. We live in the age of the ego where higher values are not necessary for life.
Over thousands of years honor was a central term, a crucial quality for people, deciding over life and death. The idea of honor was connected to a diversity of important virtues, all beyond the ego, serving society. Selfish behavior was perceived as something of low or lowest quality, a threat to society and its prosperity. A honorable person was dedicated to higher ideals, to the wellbeing of society and all people, dedicated to the king and to God, noble in character, generous, always willing to serve, always ready for sacrifices to protect society, true and honest in words and deeds, respectful, etc. It is the image of the noble king, the noble knight, the noble businessman, the noble lady but in general also the “simple” man or woman with honor. Honor means also to take responsibility for all you do, to be modest for your victories and to do your best to balance your mistakes.
Losing your honor in society meant the greatest suffering, the total loss of all what counts in life. And so, persons who lost their honor often committed suicide or were exiled which was nearly the same as the death penalty.
Today, we find the idea of honor still alive in Japan, maybe also in other Asian countries.
Honor is also an obligation towards your company, your customers, your followers, etc. It is a duty. It is the basis for a vital society and order.
When we look at society, politicians, entrepreneurs, leaders of religion, etc., I cannot see nearly anyone with honor. I see big egos. I see the gravediggers of human values, of society, of all what is good.
In conclusion, we need to understand that the idea of honor in connection with all kinds of virtues is a crucial basis for a vital society and order. Without going beyond the ego, without serving society and higher ideals, mankind is doomed. We can witness this daily when we look at all the problems of society today. Indeed, we do not need to wait until death to experience hell. We have hell on earth already, not heaven like our forefathers dreamt of.
There is only one way into future, to become honorable individuals again, working for the higher good in society, showing virtues and following ideals.