(translation/interpretation of a post from 2010 published in Polish at amirgse.blogspot.com)
Honor is very scarce these times.
Here is how what the Wikipedia has to say on this subject (this is taken from the Polish Wiki and translated by me):
” Honor is a demeanor characterized by combination of strong awareness of ones own worth with belief in set of moral, religious and social rules. Breach of honorary rules by one-self as well as others is seen as “dishonor” or “disgrace”. In many societies such breach results in immediate and personal reaction of the “dishonored” party or their peers. This is the main difference between honor and personal dignity – dignity does not require a revenge, honor does. One may loose his/her dignity in hard living conditions, honor (as astrife to regain it) may grow even stronger.”
Additionally, Wikipedia provides us with set of examples of standard behavior:
Seen as honorary:
- admitting a mistake
- keeping one’s word
- protection of subordinates
- repayment of debts, especially from hazard
- selfless aid in case of emergencies (for volunteers)
- defense of homeland (for patriots)
- avenging harm experienced
- ceasing of the fight in case the opponent is dying or defenseless, provided the fight is not revenge
- supporting one’s case/cause
Seen as dishonorable:
- not recognizing one’s friends in times of their need
- inciting/instigating people against others,
- kicking/beating someone when they are lying on the ground,
- stealing from and cheating on orphans, victims of disasters etc.
- change of views depending on situation and brown-nosing,
- reading someone else’s mail/correspondence
- non-recognition of defeat in sports, elections or draw.
- abuse of younger, weaker etc.
Unfortunately, it is more common now to admire the ones displaying the latter behavior. Our children and young people deprived of examples by their constantly busy parents do not see anything wrong in ‘forgetting’ to repay their own debts. Lying is something usual and frequent for our offspring, and they really do not grasp what the adults mean by ‘it is simply wrong’. What matters is not getting caught. And kicking of someone on the ground … has literately became a plague at schools.
Role models set by television and media teach our kids that only an individual and their own good counts … it is enough to take a look at some of the electoral posters with lines like “choose your own well-being”. Brown-nosing, changing opinion depending on which way the wind blows… we see this all over at work, in politics or on the street. No molar back-bones.
Not to mention the fact that a given words, these days, is not worth even to wipe oneself with. It is wide spread ‘disease’ of saying one thing, promising another and then doing yet another thing. Most of us are as far from honor as I am from becoming a prim-ballerina.
What happened to the ideals of our forefathers? What happened with the patriots, who during the partitions (referring to Polish history) and both wars fought so bravely? Did they die out? Did they not pass us their models, national pride and honor? Or maybe it is that our times, wild chase for money, has made us forget all of that…
Some blame socialism for everything.. yet looking back at my childhood I recall people who stuck together, who were helping each other.. things that Wikipedia defines as honorary but was back then socially and politically disproved, yet a lot if not all did it. We fought a political system only to achieve destruction of a moral one. We fought something rotten only to become rotten ourselves. An irony, ain’t it?
I believe honor to be a matter of choice…even in current ‘running-all-over” world one can choose not to be a cattle, choose to do what is right.