There is considerably less honor in the world now than in ages past. The other day I mentioned to Calligraphie that I sometimes feel like I was born in the wrong time period. I am drawn to tales of knights and chivalry like a moth to flame. Now, I’m not talking about the misconstrued concept of chivalry that some people think means “women are lesser than men.” Heavens, no! I am talking about chivalry as a code of honor, as in the definition from the Oxford dictionary:
The combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, namely courage, honour, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
I think those virtues are the basics of how to lead a good life and how to be an overall good person. The world does not give much credence to honor anymore, which is a shame. We get buried in legal documents and jargon (that few ever bother to read) and rarely ever take anyone at their word. I mean, what have I ever done to the people with whom I conduct business? I don’t mean the big corporations that never give you an individual to talk to; there is good reason for the legal jargon in their case. The folks who interact with you face-to-face, however, are a different story.
Society has instilled within us an innate distrust of humanity.
This is why I wanted to touch on honor, and specifically the need to have one’s own code. As I have mentioned before, doing anything without some kind of organization or goal in mind leads to less than desirable results. Think of your code of honor as a foundation for how you view and react to the outside world. For example, a code of honor could be something short and to the point like the Cadet Code of Honor from the US Military Academy: “A Cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” Otherwise, if you have more specific points to cover, it could be as long as you like (for a very in-depth example, check out this article by Tori, a Washington & Lee University grad).
At the end of the day, your code of honor should define your values, what you stand for, and possibly how you intend to move forward in life. As I work on building (or, rather, re-building) my code of honor, I would love to hear about yours. How do you intend to live with honor?