Saturday, July 28, 2007

An Honourable Man

'..for they are all honourable men'.

A much celebrated concept- the honourable man. A compulsive, obsessive requirement alongside chivalry and what not- being honourable. But what's the utility and efficacy, and general popularity of 'being honourable' today. Often enough, it seems to be shrugged off as being pseudo, ridiculed for being archaic, ignored for being useless. But scratch the surface, and is that really so? Does dishonourable behaviour not raise eyebrows even now?

I suppose we should begin with trying to figure out what honourable actually means. And we'll inevitably have to end our efforts at the beginning itself, for I don't think the concept of 'honour' carries the same meaning for all of us. But at the core, it does seem to imply the existence of a code of ethics, doing the right thing (right, of course, being the tougher path, the thing you don't want to do and blah). For me, the honourable thing I suppose would constitute being loyal, being honest (as far as possible at least), stepping aside for greater good..things, in short, which would test the moral fibre within you (whose universal existence, of course, is suspect and subject to much debate..poof!)

In any case, although I don't know if it's the case for everyone, I do know what the honourable thing to do is in x situation. It sort of occurs to me naturally. Moving on to the next point- does there exist a requirement for an honourable code of conduct, when the concept of being honourable is itself endangered. I believe that despite much effort to ridicule and neglect the concept, at a basic level, we do expect fellow-human beings to behave in an honourable fashion. This entails doing the right thing (once again). Imporantly, departure from the expected code may not invite open hostility (you won't be challenged to a duel or anything), but will not go unnoticed. It'll cause eye-brow raising and sufficient murmurs to make your code of ethics suspect enough. Now, I know for a fact that there is a certain section of people which genuinely doesn't care if they're looked upon as being not particularly honourable, but in my limited experience, I have learnt that this section forms an exception to the standard norm of being concerned with the honourable tag.

What really happens if you don't do the honourable thing? Hmm..nothing. Except..well..leaves a queasy sort of feeling in your stomach, doesn't it?


Amber said...

reminded me of the poem which goes sth like...

"As honourable men leave quietly by,
And instruct their shades to follow.."

Bhavya said...

Sounds familiar. What poem n who by?

Amber said...

it's a poem on an amateur writer i read long time back..can't find it online now..but it's inspired from john donne's a valediction forbidding mourning..u can look tht up if u want..check

unforgiven said...

Everyone has their own honor. I don't believe the queasy feeling really exists.

We are masters of delusion.
What else were we given an imagination for?

barty said...

Its pretty cool - you have a wonderfully vivid way of penning your thoughts and have thought this topic out very deeply; an interesting read. I salute your literary talents, madamoiselle.

Bhavya said...

@ Unforgiven- yeah, I know everyone does. But I believe there is some overlap between people's senses of rise to some features which are common to all. And I'm talking about a violation of this common pool. It may be a delusion, for there is certainly no way of proving whatever I have proposed here. But arguing on emotions alone (if at all that is possible!), I think the queasy feeling's very much there, unless you've violated the code often enough to grow immune to the feeling, and not realize it's there. You may disagree..these are my thoughts:-)

@barty- really flattered:-) (blushes) haven't closed the thinking process on the topic yet, though. Something happening currently in my life makes me wonder sometimes..

unforgiven said...

Depends. There are people who commit the most henious of crimes out there and yet do not feel it. The problem usually is strength.

To admit to yourself that you have violated honor, and have done something wrong, means that you have to be able to live with the guilt, something most people aren't strong enough to do.

It might mean that they can't do the same again, or heavens, make repairs!


I have a pretty cynical viewpoint about humanity, so yes, I would disagree :)

Bhavya said...

Hmm..the cynisism's fine..but you see, if you're saying that people may not be strong enough to admit it to themselves, it still means that they do, at sme level feel it. They may ignore it and move on, or like I've said in the post, become to used to ignoring the guilt that they stop recognizing it when it's around..but that doesn't mean they don't feel it at all. Anyway..thanks for the comment. It's insightful.

unforgiven said...

You're welcome, and yeah, they would feel it, initially.

After that, they harden.