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An honourable person is judged according to the quality of their relationship with the world. They earn their respect through right behaviour, through conscience and compassion.
Honour cannot be bestowed - a title or accolade is meaningless.
It takes courage to live an honourable life, to be mindful of others and considerate.
Across the centuries there have been codes of conduct followed by martial artists - designed to define and regulate honourable behaviour.
Central to the idea of honour is conduct. Your behaviour defines you, your deeds are a testimony to the sort of person you are. They reveal your true nature, your character.
Words are empty
Words are worthless unless they are a reflection of your conduct. A person may speak of honour and righteousness but live a life of deceit and brutality.
Honour must be earned through the example of your deeds.
'Chivalry' means that you show courtesy, respect and considerate behaviour towards those that are weaker than you. Charlemagne included these duties in his code of chivalry:
To protect the weak and defenceless
To give succour to widows and orphans
To refrain from the wanton giving of offence
To live by honour
To despise pecuniary (monetary) reward
To fight for the welfare of all
To eschew unfairness, meanness and deceit
To keep faith
At all times to speak the truth
To persevere to the end in any enterprise begun
The Order of the
Golden Fleece defined a knights virtues as being: faith, charity,
justice, sagacity (sound judgement), prudence, temperance, resolution,
truth, liberality, diligence,
hope and valour.
Pride has nothing to do with honour; it is a conceit. Vanity, egotism and self-importance are not honourable, for they serve only the individual.
Honour is not a display; it is not contrived behaviour designed to attract approval.
The outward show is not the substance. Honour is intrinsic. How you are and who you are stems from your capacity to behave with honour.
created 5 August 1995
Last updated 29 August 2019