WHAT IS HONOUR?
Honour is a concept that seems to be native to most people. But what is it? I we could define honour as being that which a person has when he is worth respect. It is not having pride, but rather having respect and that respect being worth having.
The western world has often been said to be composed of materialist intentions and ambitions, and spiritual values are of little importance. In the east, honour is far more important. In fact, in Japan, where I lived for ten years, there is criminal law that forbids someone bringing about the loss of social honour to another person. Honour is very important there, as is politeness and manners, which are somehow intertwined.
Honour is a spiritual value, but for many in the West not understood and of little use.
So what if you really are a spirit, and not a decomposition of mud as the western schools of thought say. What if you really were something other than matter. Maybe that life force which animates your body does have certain properties that are separate to physical universe. Maybe, just maybe, honour is one of those properties, and you are that life-force.
If that was so, then what could honour be composed of? Could one measure this elusive spiritual property. People have been said to die for it. In times gone by, in less materialistic times, people have been known to sacrifice all, for honour.
So what could an honourable person be said to be? How would such a one act?
In Scientology there is a code, called the Code of Honour. It is not an enforced code, but rather an optional code. Such a code could never be enforced, for it is not a moral code, but an ethical code. That means it has to be self adopted, and is not something that society or any group can impose upon an individual.
So let us look at what a few of the salient points of this code:
Never desert a comrade in need, in danger or in trouble.
Never desert a group to which you owe your support.
Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today, and you make your tomorrow.
Be true to your own goals.
Do you feel safe around someone who deserts his friends? How do you feel when you desert someone who needed you? You feel bad and that bad memory carries forward with you in time, doesn’t it? The same when you desert a group who helped you or you owe your help to. And what about those people who are always complaining about yesterday, and how bad it is now because of how bad the world turned out for them. Are they good to be around? Do you value them highly? Or do you wish they would just stop talking all together? You place little worth on them, unfortunately. And what about people who are not true to their own goals, but spend their time doing only what others tell them to o? Can you respect them?
Look at these four points, would you trust someone who followed these four points? I think so. Would such a person be worthy of your respect? Probably he would.
There are fifteen points in the Code of Honour, not just the four above. It was written in November 1954. That someone wrote such a code is somewhat amazing.
Honour is important. For those who have it, they live a happier life. For those who do not, their lives are poorer for it.
Nick Broadhurst is the author of science fiction books, children’s picture books, and comics. He also writes articles on contemporary philosophy. For a living he is an architect, building contractor, building inspector, and worked in many countries.