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Passions in Poetry

Honor

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Huan Yi
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0 posted 06-02-2009 08:21 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


In the 1961 film “El Cid”  a young Rodrigo asks a man who warns him off
from deadly combat:  “Can a man live without honor?”  to which his adversary
answers: “No”.

What is “honor” now?


.
moonbeam
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1 posted 06-18-2009 04:00 PM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam

Honour is not sharing your last bite of KFC or MacDonalds with your girl friend so that she won't die a horrible death from additives poisoning.
Falling rain
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2 posted 06-19-2009 12:31 PM       View Profile for Falling rain   Email Falling rain   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Falling rain's Home Page   View IP for Falling rain

Lol. MB, I'll have to agree with you.

I say its doing the right thing, having integrity, be respectful, trustworthy, and keeping your word.

If I were right, I'd say that the world has lost their honor.  

Ringo
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3 posted 06-19-2009 07:53 PM       View Profile for Ringo   Email Ringo   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Ringo

John- I would have to say that honor is respecting others and yourself enough to do what is right simply because it is the right thing to do... unfortunately, not too many people are willing to be "honorable" according to my thoughts.

Too many people are willing to fight- and kill, occasionally- because someone's words required them to "defend" their honor...
Too many people are willing to find honor in the killing of 2,749 people whose only crime was going to work; too many people are willing to exterminate an entire race of people, or an entire culture in order to honor their own race, and their beliefs; too many people... well, you get the idea.

There was a time when even enemy combatants were willing to show respect and dignity to each other (to "honor" them) regardless of the uniform. There is the Union soldier on Mary's Heights during the battle of Fredricksburg who was tending to a wounded Confederate soldier, simply because it was the human thing to do; there was the German pilot who showed a B-25 pilot the direction he needed to fly in order to get home, and flew on his wing as far as he could to ensure he got there safely.

Yeah, there is definitely too much "dis"honor going on in the world today.

For those who have fought for it, Freedom has a flavor the protected will never know.

Huan Yi
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4 posted 06-21-2009 03:10 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


I remember a bird colonel in boot camp telling us a story of how
it took two Marines killed to bring a wounded Marine
in from a rice paddy in Vietnam.  His point was, whatever the cost,
Marines don’t knowingly leave a Marine behind.  Of course by
then, 69, beyond Tet and  delusions, (many who were there enlisted
already expecting to die), he was preaching to the choir.


It’s probably the same now which makes Marines
at least in a certain sense incomprehensible.


.
Yoinn
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5 posted 06-22-2009 02:20 PM       View Profile for Yoinn   Email Yoinn   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Yoinn's Home Page   View IP for Yoinn

The meaning of honor can vary between person to person, generation to generation, and continent to continent. A heardsman in Uganda most likly will have a different definition of honor than a stock broker in New York. My most universel definition I guess would be: the williness to suffer some sort of diminishment to uphold a belief or a promise made. "diminishment" could mean money, stature, phyical harm or even death.

Thanks    

Yoin
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6 posted 06-22-2009 03:23 PM       View Profile for Balladeer   Email Balladeer   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Balladeer's Home Page   View IP for Balladeer

Honor is being true to your sense of values.

I remember when Bobby Jones lost a major golf tournament by calling a penalty on himself which no one else saw. When praised for such honesty, he responded that they may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank, that doing the right thing should be expected, not rewarded.

On the other side of that coin, I play golf with a fellow whose motto is, "It ain't cheating if no one else saw it." Go figure....
Essorant
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7 posted 06-22-2009 03:30 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant


If it is a question between putting aside honour to save life or sacraficing life to save honour, I think most men today would rightly choose the first.  Or to put it another way, they see life as the most important honor.   Laws, morals and civilized treatment are always very important to life, but life is even more important, for it comes first and it is the means by which we defend other things that are important to us in the first place.

Huan Yi
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8 posted 06-22-2009 04:05 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

"If it is a question between putting aside honour to save life or sacraficing life to save honour, I think most men today would rightly choose the first.  Or to put it another way, they see life as the most important honor."


So no women and children first
anymore . . .  That would make Titanic
a different story, ( unless Nancy knows karate).

.
Huan Yi
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9 posted 06-23-2009 05:33 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.
"If it is a question between putting aside honour to save life or sacraficing life to save honour, I think most men today would rightly choose the first.  Or to put it another way, they see life as the most important honor."


“Yet the defining image of contemporary Canadian maleness is not M Lepine/Gharbi but the professors and the men in that classroom, who, ordered to leave by the lone gunman, meekly did so, and abandoned their female classmates to their fate—an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%89cole_Polytechnique_massacre#Controversy

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Essorant
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10 posted 06-24-2009 12:08 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That is not the same thing, Huan.   I meant voluntarily giving up life instead of an ideal or standard, not voluntarily risking one's life for another's life.   On one hand, risking life is not the same as outrightly giving it up, and on the other hand nor is risking one's life for another's life no longer putting life first.  Serving another's life, not just one's own, is not a less, but a greater example of putting life first and foremost.
 
Huan Yi
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11 posted 06-24-2009 04:55 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.

Is anyone’s life more valuable than honor?  If yes, can it be said those men
in Montreal sacrificed honor to save lives, their own, and thereby it was
good?

.
Essorant
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12 posted 06-25-2009 02:29 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Yes and yes.

If a risk is not in favour of life it is not a risk worth taking.
 
moonbeam
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13 posted 06-25-2009 04:25 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
an act of abdication that would have been unthinkable in almost any other culture throughout human history

Unthinkable maybe - undone, I doubt it.

It's just that humans don't tend to parade their shame.
Essorant
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14 posted 06-25-2009 07:57 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

I don't think their choice was a shame if they most likely would have been shotten choosing otherwise.  

Sometimes carelessly going against a danger that most likely means death may turn out well, but that is hardly a rule to be expected, rather than a rarity to be admired when it does happen.
 
rwood
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15 posted 06-25-2009 08:45 AM       View Profile for rwood   Email rwood   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for rwood

John,

The Titanic is probably not a good representation of "Women and children first."

The rich boarded the lifeboats first, and there weren't enough lifeboats because they were an "eyesore" on deck. Grandiosity was premiere aboard the Titanic.

But the Captain did go down with the ship.

The etymology of "honor" seems pretty sound throughout, with one meaning derivation of use in the late 1300's that described "a woman's chastity." Otherwise, the word is basically masculine, which is interesting. Here's a couple of granted exceptions: A Queen was empowered to appoint her Maid of Honor, to Knight, and to appoint other ranks of honor in her court, council, and military.

Although, primarily, in the event of dishonor: A patriarchal council rules upon the consequences.

Even though women are not, by far, excluded from the meaning and offerings of honor, historically, males have shaped the word with many benevolent and virtuous offerings.(Many times for the sake of a woman or a child.) We still need heroes, noblemen, patriots, gentleman, and even men of their word whose grandest deeds are that of great husbands, fathers, and countrymen. I look to these men for the shape of the world and aspire to equal them if only in depth and breadth of heart.

So keep refining the word and defining it, I say. Such sustains hope.

    
moonbeam
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16 posted 06-25-2009 09:29 AM       View Profile for moonbeam   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for moonbeam



quote:
I don't think their choice was a shame if they most likely would have been shotten choosing otherwise.  


That's what I was saying Ess - it's hardly a rule to be expected to voluntarily place your life in jeopardy to save someone else.

Nevertheless that's a different point from admitting that there would most likely be a certain degree of shame felt by most people if they were to fail to try and save someone even in the face of almost certain death for themselves.
Huan Yi
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17 posted 06-25-2009 05:36 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


"from admitting that there would most likely be a certain degree of shame felt by most people if they were to fail to try and save someone even in the face of almost certain death for themselves"


A feeling which apparently would be misguided.


.
Essorant
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18 posted 06-25-2009 11:23 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

That is not my sentiment.  My disagreement is only treating those people or their choice as doing wrong or choosing a lesser "honor" for not choosing what most likely would have resulted in their death too.  
Essorant
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19 posted 06-26-2009 12:10 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
Otherwise, the word is basically masculine, which is interesting


I am not sure I would say "basically" masculine.  The word honor also goes further back to Latin honos whose s turned into an r followed by vowels (just as the s of was turned into an r in were ).  That r-thing is called "rhotacism". I believe after most of the forms had the r, by imitating those forms, honor started being used alongside and instead of honos.  The s is still present in honest(y).  But the meanings in Latin are wide open and not at all gender-specific for the most part, from indicating reputation, dignity, office, to a more physical mark, charm, or ornament.

The word virtue on the other hand has vir "male" built right into it, just as the word world from were "male" + eld "age".        
 
Bob K
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20 posted 06-26-2009 01:39 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     El Cid[i] is one of my favorite films.  The scene that Huan Yi mentions is one of the pivotal scenes in the early part of the movie.  As a movie and as an expression of mid-century American, I don't think I can find a flaw with it.  It's also a wonderful adaptation of the play by Racine, who highlights the relationship with the Sophia Loren character in the film, the lovely Chemaine.

     It's probably not such a great idea to confuse American mid twentieth century myth with tenth century Spanish events (I may have my dates wrong a bit — corrections willingly accepted here).  If you want to look at the original text (which I can only do in translation; I suggest WS Merwin's, which is spectacular) you can see that the notion of honor is considerably more slippery than it might initially appear.

     The Cid was a very tricky guy with a constantly shifting web of allegiances, sometimes to Christian kings, sometimes to Islamic Kings.  He switched sides with a good eye to personal advantage, and with a loose eye to loyalty to his original liege lords.  The myths about these guys were, for the most part, more idealized and appealing than the realities.  [i]The Poem of The Cid
is an astonishing poem, brilliantly translated, and is as gripping as a good short novel.  

     I think, though, that the notion of honor that Huan Yi may be talking about is the John Wayne sense of honor that so many of us grew up with, and have to deal with on a daily basis.  I feel it has a lot to recommend it; though I don't necessarily follow it all the way, it's something that has to be come to grips with for a man — I think — in a world with changing gender roles.

     I'm also very interested in the Taoist sense of honor, and what that may be.  And what effect does religion have on what honorable behavior is in a given time and place?

Bob Kaven
Essorant
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21 posted 06-26-2009 02:08 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
And what effect does religion have on what honorable behavior is in a given time and place?


Unfortunately often much backwardness.

"For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24)

Huan Yi
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22 posted 06-26-2009 08:20 PM       View Profile for Huan Yi   Email Huan Yi   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Huan Yi

.


British WWII veterans of Burma have remarked on
the dramatics of Japanese soldiers in battle who
facing death acted as if they were being watched and judged
by their ancestors.  It may be then that the concept of  “honor”
faded or failed over time since for a growing universal lack
of faith in an audience.


If life is the ultimate value, then one’s own life must be
considered paramount since one can not truly know the
values of any other, hence the willing risk of one’s own life
even for any other’s could be argued as folly.


.

Bob K
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23 posted 06-27-2009 02:52 AM       View Profile for Bob K   Email Bob K   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Bob K



     Huan Yi raises a very interesting point here.  I'm sure it's quite important, but exactly how it fits in, I don't know that I could say yet.  That is that there is a connection between behavior — honorable behavior in this case — and the sense of performance on the other.  Huan Yi uses the word "audience," and I don't want to suggest that my word "performance' is a decent substitute without Huan Yi's agreement on the matter.

      What I mean here is that any display of honorable behavior is meaningless without some sort of internal standard for the protagonist to compare it to, and — in the case of the Japanese Huan Yi speaks about — an appreciative external audience to savor the the details of the communication coded into the behavior.  It becomes a sort of theater in itself.

     Societies have many forms of such coded communication, some of them exceedingly elaborate.  Over times these fall into and out of favor.  The language of courtly love and its conventions is one example.  The language of flowers is a lesser example.  The language of Tamil lyric poetry was likewise highly coded:  A mention of one sort of landscape signified one sort of situation, mention of a given animal might call up a particular emotion, reference to time of day and a particular sort of weather could call up additional reference frames.

     Honor, in this sense, and the definition of behavior that is honorable may be nothing more than a special case of this sort of situation, though certainly one that has a great deal of meaning for me personally.  While men and women may have large areas of overlap in what they consider honorable behavior, it may well be worth considering that the notion of what's considered honorable behavior may be different between genders, and that there may well be differences in the notion of honor not only between genders, but between genders in different cultures.

     A man can only open so many different cans a worms in a single posting, however. so I must content myself with this much and pray for survival.
Essorant
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24 posted 06-27-2009 10:24 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

quote:
If life is the ultimate value, then one’s own life must be
considered paramount since one can not truly know the
values of any other, hence the willing risk of one’s own life
even for any other’s could be argued as folly.


So now you are suggesting just because people put life first, they put everyone else's life last?  I don't agree.  The most important reason thousands would not give up their life in such a situation is because they care so much about the lives of others and still being there for them and to help them.  Risking life for life where death is most likely is less compared to certainly being able to live on and serve the world in a much longer term way and in a way that may help use learning and teaching, strong morals and laws and to try to prevent both the attitudes that lead to such acts of violence and stronger ways to react when the violence is present.  They may be their for those grieving to help them however they may.   And still be their for their loved ones, their friends, their co-workers, etc. despite the great loss.  The reason they care for their own life is because they care about other people that are important to their lives even more.
 
 
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