The concept of honor is as old as the universe itself even though the concept of honor has gained more prominence in the years of civilization. Honor is a term that is used to define respect. Honoring an individual and respecting an individual usually mean the same thing. However, honor has a deeper meaning and is usually used in the deepest sense. In the Christian bible, Christians are asked to honor their parents. God instructs humans to honor their parents in order for the humans to live longer. Trying to understand the reason behind this commandment boils down to the fact that parents have a sacred duty on this earth and are responsible for bringing up their offspring. If the world did not respect that duty, then parenthood and the perpetuation of offspring on earth would lose meaning (Gültekin 75).
Honor is a virtue that cannot be sold. It is not a physical attribute that one can lose, but an innate character within a person that defines who the person really is. In recent times, honor has lost the meaning it used to have in ancient civilizations. Especially in ancient Greek civilizations, the war heroes adored honor over all else. Heroes would die to honor their names or the names of their masters. Soldiers would die fighting to protect the honor the name of their parents. A person who would try to dishonor one’s name was fought with vigor. Such were the times in the ancient civilizations. The ordinary men would try to emulate their fallen heroes who had fought for honor. In those times, honor was a virtue that was respected above all else. Kingdoms would go to war because of honor, people would willingly die because of honor, and people coveted to have themselves honored (Habermas 17).
While honor cannot be bought, it can be awarded to a human being by another fellow human being. The awarding or honoring of an individual has been in existence since the ancient times when people would do extraordinary things. The ruler or the king in those days would honor such citizens and have them accorded the respect. Such people would die in honor. In recent days, we still have the concept of honoring individuals for various achievements. Innovators, inventors, leaders, founders, and people who have given outstanding service or shown outstanding courage in the face of enormous challenges are often honored for their courage and efforts (Habermas 20). While this habit is still important to the human race, it does not carry the same level of significance as the honor that existed in the ancient generations.
However, there are certain aspects of honor in the society that have maintained the highest level of significance even within the modern society; honoring the deceased. When people die, their families, friends, and well-wishers often go to great lengths to give the deceased a proper burial. The insistence on a proper burial is meant to give honor to the deceased and to their families. In this respect, modern generations have maintained the honoring of individuals after they have passed on, a habit that is consistent with habits in ancient civilizations (Rong 8). All in all, honor is a virtue or a sense of respect that has the highest significance in human societies. For civilized societies, the concept of honor carries even more significance.
Gültekin, Mehmet Nuri. “Tradition, society, and the concept of honor: stories on implementation.” Eurasian Journal of Anthropology 2.2 (2012): 70-84.
Habermas, Jürgen. The concept of human dignity and the realistic utopia of human rights. Springer Netherlands, 2012.
Rong, X. I. A. O. “Discussion on Honesty and Creditability Education for College Students under the Background of the Socialist Concept for Honor and Disgrace.” Journal of Educational Institute of Jilin Province 10 (2012): 008.
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