Friday, May 24, 2013

365 day challenge - day 144 / Bushido - Day 6

Bushido - Day 6

(6) Honour - 名誉

Definition / Formal Thoughts

Of the six virtues of Bushido (and their definitions) I have written about thus far, I must say this was the most interesting (i.e. - I've never thought of honor as:  an "abstract concept"; " being as real"; or having "several senses")

From Wikipedia:  Honor or honour (see spelling differences; from the Latin word honos, honoris) is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation. Accordingly, individuals (or corporate bodies) are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions with a specific code of honour, and the moral code of the society at large.

Honour can be viewed in the light of Psychological nativism as being as real to the human condition as love, and likewise deriving from the formative personal bonds that establish one's personal dignity and character. From the point of moral relativism, honour is perceived as arising from universal concerns for material circumstance and status, rather than fundamental differences in principle between those who hold different honour codes.

Dr Samuel Johnson, in his A Dictionary of the English Language (1755), defined honour as having several senses, the first of which was "nobility of soul, magnanimity, and a scorn of meanness." This sort of honour derives from the perceived virtuous conduct and personal integrity of the person endowed with it. On the other hand, Johnson also defined honour in relationship to "reputation" and "fame"; to "privileges of rank or birth", and as "respect" of the kind which "places an individual socially and determines his right to precedence." This sort of honour is not so much a function of moral or ethical excellence, as it is a consequence of power. Finally, with respect to women, honour has traditionally been associated with (or identical to) "chastity" or "virginity", or in case of a married woman, "fidelity". Some have argued that honour should be seen more as a rhetoric, or set of possible actions, than as a code.

According to Bushido, the Code of the Warrior in feudal Japan, honour was always seen as a duty by Samurai. When one lost their honour or the situation made them lose it, the only way to save their dignity was by death. Seppuku (vulgarly called "harakiri", or "belly-cutting") was the most honourable death in that situation. The only way for a Samurai to die more honourably was to be killed in a battle by a sword.

Personal Thoughts

I would agree with the thought that honor resembles credibility ("In the end it boils down to credibility" - Submarines, Lumineers). If you have no honor, you have no credibility and visa versa...amongst your family, friends, community and society as a whole.

After giving this some thought, I need to add "Honor/Credibility" to my list of virtues to focus. Myself and our society in a whole could benefit greatly on renewed focus on this virtue. At least in America, it seems we've lost our way when it comes to Honor and Credibility and are celebrating the opposite of these virtues in our mainstream media. We've become a society where the more mean (see Gordon Ramsay), less ethical (see Lance Armstrong), or more vulgar (see Two and a Half Men) you are the more of a "reputation" and "fame" you garner.

Point being, it would be nice to see more honor injected into our daily lives.

365 day challenge - day 144

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