We have just passed the celebration of Remembrance Day.
We are asked to honour our dead. On the other hand, our recent election, if nothing else, begs the question of how we honour others.
As any good researcher would, I turned to Wikipedia
to see what kind of definition one might find 🙂
Some write-ups on Wikipedia are easily understood – sometimes to the point of being simplistic – sometimes quite the opposite. Try this partial definition of honour on for size:
“the idea of a bond between an individual and a society as a quality of a person that is both of social teaching and of personal ethos, that manifests itself as a code of conduct, and has various elements such as valor, chivalry, honesty, and compassion.”
Let me break that down. This is about an honourable person – someone who is versed in a society’s best qualities and who personally carries the weight of being righteousness – as acted out in the way they live. Interestingly the definition suggests that some of those qualities are valor, chivalry, honesty and compassion.
The first two qualities seem to be outdated words. I’m not sure mom asks her child if they were chivalrous today. Or what act of valor they performed. The next two words are perhaps more common – but our society tends to teach a love of selfishness which chips away at integrity and love for others.
Which brings me to a discipline that is seldom taught today.
I call it the discipline of formality. “OK, Boomer!”
I appreciate that note of distrust in an older generation and their random spewing of wisdom. My generation also distrusted an older generation. So, honour me for a moment.
Honour is not being a milque-toast (an old expression meaning you overlook injustice in order to stay in someone’s good graces). Honour is not behind-the- back disgust while showing a fake smile and giving the required hugs. Between those two extremes we find the golden mean (not meant as a pun!) of an honourable person.
I love to be loved. But others also love to be loved. In order to show love, we can honour others through formality. Formality bases itself in “forms”. Forms of conduct, speech, and approach – the liturgies of life. A subset would be etiquette and civility.
What is the honourable thing to do – in our social media presence? In our daily interactions with others? In our service to others? In just plain living?
Maybe an old statement of formality can give us a start.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
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