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fremen_warrior's avatar

What part does honour play in your life?

Asked by fremen_warrior (5447 points ) October 30th, 2012

I am curious, how important is your “face” or the idea of personal honour, and what part it plays in your life. How far would you be willing to go to make sure that, once the dust settles your honour remains intact? What does honour mean to you – on a personal level – in this respect? Optional: if you do not mind, please state also where you are from, are you male or female, your approximate age, and what the “norm” regarding the subject is in your country – do you consider yourself more honour-sensitive then your countrymen, or perhaps less? What difference does it make in your life, and why? What are the up- and downsides (if any) to (not) being very honourable?

Thank you, in advance, for your thoughts.

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13 Answers

Coloma's avatar

I consider myself an honorable woman of integrity. I have never caused life changing harm to another through lies or betrayals or deceptions that have life altering consequences. I consider honor and integrity to be tantamount to healthy living and well being. I’m not perfect, have told a few white lies in my life, but the hardcore big stuff, stealing, cheating, etc. nope.

I like the woman in the mirror and want to keep my relationship with myself intact. The quickest way to lose my love or friendship is to play games and lie, and then deny your bullshit. See ya…don’t let the door whap you in the ass on your way out. lol

Female
age 52.8
Live in the U.S. in California

wonderingwhy's avatar

I feel honor is important in maintaining congruence between our actions and our beliefs; it helps define how we see ourselves and how the world sees us. I’ve found personal honor quite meaningful over the years in better defining my priorities, why I hold my beliefs, and even changing them. At it’s heart I think honor is doing what one believes is right because they believe it’s right – I think that is very important.

I don’t agree with acting solely for the sake of honor, that too easily puts the effort on defending an ideal without analyzing whether or not it’s worth defending. But I’m willing to sacrifice, and have sacrificed, ease and comfort and in some cases significantly more to stand up for what I believe is right.

Male, Eastern US, I’ve no idea what the “norm” is in the US – my personal experience is too biased to be meaningful, my professional experience says the norm is honor is useful when it comes to driving up the price or cajoling sacrifice; that is to say it is for sale and essentially a factored cost.

I don’t consider myself particularly “honor-sensitive”, I don’t think I have enough to reasonably compare to beyond others generalities. I try to act in concert with my ideals and there are lines I’ve chosen not to cross and ideals I’ve stood up for and have maintained that in the face of social criticism and personal and financial loss. Understanding the disapproval of those particular groups suggests I stood stronger than they would have in those situations. Some conversations after the fall out also suggests I did what some others wanted to do but didn’t, I don’t know if that makes me more honorable than them or just less concerned with the consequences. I’d say all that also speaks to the down side, standing for what you believe can often be difficult and costly, often more so than we initially realize.

The up side, I think I’m better for knowing myself well and life, even with the costs of honor, seems easier and more engaging for acting in line with that knowledge. Another up side, I’ve found it more palatable to suffer the costs of honorable action than “rewards” of the alternatives.

KNOWITALL's avatar

Missouri, age 39, Female.

Our part of the country considers honor a little more serious of a subject than others I think. We take offense to a lot of things that other people probably wouldn’t. I’ve been called a liar here on fluther and it was very offensive to me because it is an insult to my personal honor.

The good part is that most people here would do the honorable thing by even a stranger. Like if you were on the side of the road and needed a ride to get gas, more than likely someone would stop to help you, especially a female. The majority of us have a strong sense of family and treat family accordingly, honorably. We would do anything to help a friend out.

The bad part is that you can insult someone very easily, we are somewhat sensitive about crtain things/ subjects, and of course dealing with the less honorable is harder. We tend to distrust people, but once they are ‘in’ it’s hard to be thrown ‘out’, so when people flip out or change, it’s easy to screw us over.

For me, I try to be honorable in my every day life. I take care of my family, my home, my job and try to help the less fortunate. I try not to lie, I don’t steal and basically try to be a good all-around person.

How far I’d go to preserve my honor? If someone called me out on something and it wasn’t true, like called me a liar or whore to my face, well I’m not a violent person but it would certainly make me angry.

I’ve known several people, including myself, that have vowed never to talk to someone ever again because of betrayal, etc…so I’d say we take it pretty seriously.

thorninmud's avatar

As a priest, I have to attend to how others perceive me. This is a job where, even though people don’t expect you to be perfect, you’re held to a higher-than-average standard. One indiscretion, one betrayal of trust, one lie, and the damage would be tremendous. I’ve seen a few of my peers go down in flames for peccadilloes that would hardly raise an eyebrow in other circles. And that’s the way it should be.

Pazza's avatar

I make sure that my intentions are honorable to the best of my knowledge, and since the majority of my actions (apart from the spontaneous ones) require intent, it plays a major part in my life.

Saving face is at the bottom of the list, and only rears its head when I fall fowl of the ego, which tends to happen a lot less the older I get since I now recognise it.

I live in Liverpool England, am male and 37 (with a few new grey hairs!.......)

I don’t always apologise, though I always know when I should, but this isn’t down to saving face, it’s usually embarrassment and the fear that the offended individual will no longer want to converse with me or have me in their life, thus, burying ones head in the sand seems to be the better option.

wundayatta's avatar

My honor is very important to me, as I think it is to everyone. But I’m not one for honor killings. I don’t think my wife’s reputation determines mine. Nor do my kids’ reputations. I don’t think honor is something to kill over. Rather, I think honor is about reputation. It’s about having people take your word as your true word. It’s about consistently standing for your values. It’s about recognizing when you are wrong and changing. It’s not about staying the same just because you think that’s what honor is.

I think that many people all over the world use symbols in the place of honor. So they’ll kill a daughter that has sex out of wedlock. Or they’ll kill an opponent who insulted them or dissed them in some way. This is a primitive notion of honor, and it is usually held by thugs and very rich people and poorer people, especially in very fundamentalist cultures.

To my mind, that’s just a caricature of honor. It’s ignorant honor. Real honor is intelligent and educated and nuanced. It changes with circumstances. It is based on what is right in this situation, not on some one size fits all principle that ends with men killing women because they think they own the women.

I’m 56 and I live in Philly. I’m male. I would say that there is a broad range of notions of honor where I live. We have mafiosi with one notion. We have academics with another. We have business people and artists and immigrants and everyone has a different idea, although I’m sure that most of the ideas overlap quite a bit, too.

Honor, I think, is a person’s sense of integrity. Some people will do anything to make a buck. Others will only do things they think will help all of society. Many have a personal sense of honor that is based on their own values, derived from first principles. These people are easier to trust and work with because you can understand where they are coming from.

Other people follow someone else’s set of rules without realizing they are making their own interpretation, which means it is their own rules. These are people who think they have honor, but it is a convoluted honor because it is based on something outside of them that they internalize by imagining what their God wants them to do, not recognizing that their God is their own invention. These people have a kind of honor, but it is very convoluted and unpredictable.

But everyone has a sense of honor, and it is pretty easy to tell where they are coming from by how they choose to spend their lives. For some, money is most important. For others, relationships. Each has a different sense of honor.

lifeflame's avatar

Hong Kong, 32/F

Honour… I dunno. I can relate to honesty and integrity, but honor feels so shiny and inflexible, like a brass shield. Sure, I care about what other people think about me; but I consider it more important is that you do things in line with your own conscience.

There’s a particularly bizarre brand of honor/glory/heroism in Chinese culture portrayed in movies and literature that I don’t relate to. The valour of war; the sacrificial nature of honour. I couldn’t care less for those.

Am I more honorable or less honorable than the people around me?
Honestly, I don’t think we think in those terms here in an everyday basis. Or maybe it’s so ingrained in us that we don’t really think about it. But if pushed to answer, I probably have a decent reputation for being consistent with myself. I guess…

But I guess that’s the paradox with honorable deeds. It’s something conferred to you from the outside. Really honorable people never do things for the sake of recognition. So all the so called honorable things I’ve ever done, that was never my starting point, only ever a side-effect.
I will say this: The moment social recognition becomes bigger than what I understand to be my own motives or intentions; I feel there’s a disjuncture. It makes me squirm. I’d rather people understand me, relate to me, human to human, rather than honor me, laud me, and put me on a pedestal.

augustlan's avatar

Acting honorably is very important to me, but my honor (reputation/saving face) is not a big factor in my life. It’s far more important to me that I act in accordance with my beliefs than what anyone thinks of my doing so. Conversely, my husband is very much about honor. He is 9 years older than I am, more conservative than I am, and kind of an old-school guy in that way. In my personal view, that makes him far less flexible than I, and has him acting in ways that are not in accordance with his beliefs at times. As a hypothetical example, if I said something rash to one of my kids (“Do that again, and I’ll spank you”), I would rethink it and not actually carry out the threatened punishment, because it’s not in accordance with my beliefs. It’s not in accordance with his, either, but if he said it… he’d do it. For honor. I tend to think the difference is age-related and possibly conservative/liberal related.

I am female, 45, and live in West Virginia.

Nullo's avatar

I’m not sure if it counts as honor, but I want my life to be consistent, as much as possible, with my beliefs and ideals. Since my ideals are still pretty close to mainstream America, I haven’t had any issues yet.

josie's avatar

Male, approaching middle age, Ohio, USA.
A dishonorable person can never be trusted. Since at some point or another we all may require the trust of someone else in order to achieve our goals, the inability to gain that trust is a permanent handicap to success and happiness.
Plus, there is the psychological burden of being dishonorable. One must either construct a complex system of evasion and denial of it, which is difficult to do and psychologically harmful in the long term, or one must suffer low self esteem which is also a problem.

janbb's avatar

A big part. I am going through a separation and pending divorce and doing my best to do it with honor.

fremen_warrior's avatar

Male, approaching 30, Central/Eastern Europe. Honour plays a bigger part in my life then I care to admit usually. I find that being honourable makes it easier to sort your life out, some decisions are simpler to make, and a few more difficult with a firm moral compass and / or a strong sense of honour to guide you. It can lead to black and white thinking, this or that, no middle ground. Not sure if that’s always good.

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