The Burden of Honor

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The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Sun Jun 30, 2013 8:36 pm

Recent events have made me curious about honor. It seems like something humans constantly strive to receive or protect, but what is honor? Paraphrasing from Wikipedia:

“Honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an individual or corporate body such as a family, school, regiment or nation. Accordingly, individuals (or corporate bodies) are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions with a specific code of honor, and the moral code of the society at large.”

Other dictionary definitions are quite similar. Honor is either something one can receive or uphold. Receipt acts as an award showing that an individual had some positive benefit to society. The upholding of honor is the ability for the individual to uphold a code of honor they have either created or borrowed. Both forms of honor can be seen as subjective, and there are other types, but these two mentioned meanings will be my focus.

To many, honor feels as abstract as love, though to us love is not abstract; it is the binding essence of the universe and the energy of God/spirit. To others, honor may be as real as love feels to us. The big problem is that honor is directly linked with a subjective moral code while the properties of love are more objective. It is more in our nature to understand what love is than honor, yet humans seek honor in a similar fashion to justice. Humans may feel that sacrifices for justice are necessary because justice must be upheld. It is one of glues holding societies together, where values dictate the repercussions of human decision. Militant Islam demands killing for the sake of upholding honor. Traditional Japanese culture required a painful form of suicide (Seppuku) for samurai who either wanted to die honorably or had committed a shameful act. Gaining and upholding honor causes humans to do things which may be viewed as dishonorable or evil acts in other cultures or societies.

Honor is a way of creating worth and importance for someone following a set of moral guidelines. It does not in itself create a society run by love or altruism. A system of honor is similar to a system of law, except that it is usually not adopted by a nation-state. It is closer to a sociocultural system of justice and merit. It is not confined by state lines or geography and is much like religion in this sense. It can be said that honor is a child of society as it depends on a form of moral dualism. If there are honorable acts, there are dishonorable acts, and these acts can only be defined as such within a group. The only form of honor one could expect originating from the isolated would be the honoring of nature. Not necessarily nature worship, but a form of respect. Yet it is difficult to believe that such a feeling could exist in a man with no social evolution or values. Respect is not something that spontaneously appears; it evolves from adoration, fear, bewilderment, wonder, and perhaps most importantly, partnership. It is from a human’s perceived partnership with nature, plants, animals or other humans. This makes the higher forms of respect, veneration and honor a social manifestation which evolves over generations. And this makes honor like religion once again, for without this social evolution, humans would still be worshipping fire with little respect for foreign tribes/groups.

It is both honorable to follow certain values and create value. When a person finds value in destroying value or valuable things (things or beings which provide value, not necessarily priced), they are doing something immoral. However, it is not necessarily dishonorable since honor to that person may not be related to their actions or it may fortify the worth they find in such actions. Honorable things are not necessarily moral and the human thirst for honor is certainly not moral behavior as it is the hunt for importance and prestige. When status and reputation depend on subjective morals, not only do humans do good deeds for self-gain, that good may not be good from a universal perspective. Moral deeds in return for material or social gains are not real moral deeds, but self-serving actions. The means appear to be benevolent, but the end is closer to malevolence if the perpetrators desire to be better than others. This is reflected in one of the lessons from Christ. A rich man donated a huge sum to the temple in front of others to appear great, but a poor woman donated all that she had to benefit someone else. It was clear which gift had far more value.

Along with the pursuit of honor comes the perceived value of the human. When a person views their self-worth to be dependent on their honor, they will do almost anything to defend it. This includes lying to oneself and others as well as immoral acts such as murder or violence. As contradictory as it may seem, people will reduce their value to humanity in order to preserve how they value themselves, and this takes origin in self-importance. It is my understanding that the human concept of honor facilitates self-serving behavior, most notably because it is based on subjective principles not based on universe values. When a person does not see that their importance takes root in God’s love for the individual, they must seek it from elsewhere. This most frequently comes from the approval of others or their perceived impact on others.

In conclusion, those who cannot discover their worth through the Creator will usually try to uncover it through other humans, and the latter will occur before the former through social evolution which occurs along with spiritual evolution. People must define their worth through progressively greater forms of truth and value or forever be caught in traditional mediocrity. Society is constantly caught in a tug of war between a standardization of values to combat destructive change and a progressive change of values to combat dangerous stagnation. Honor systems are a thing of the past, where gifting value to those following certain codes or creeds was a necessity for a society or culture. The future lies in the growing understanding of love and its impact on society. Love is the source where true worth is found along with true order and understanding. As the world advances to embrace the love and will of God, human society will function more efficiently with less need for oversight and governing. All will know where their actions stand with universe reality.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Welles » Mon Jul 01, 2013 12:01 am

Brilliantly considered and expressed, overmind. On a dozen or more occasions as I read and reflected on your points I kept thinking that honor is a form of emotional attachment to a definition of self provided by the temporal values of a society. It is strictly ego oriented whereas Love is a cosmic value that transcends Earthly reality and is ultimately ego-less. Your concluding paragraph was an excellent summation, I thought.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Mon Jul 01, 2013 1:42 am

Thanks, those were my very thoughts. Honor on this planet has so far been an affair of imperfect human values. As we ascend to a worldwide society of Light and Life, honor will hold new meaning. Honor exists on high, but I feel it is an entirely different sort than what we have here. It is perfected. Man will focus on honoring God and those serving God will receive honor for grand achievements, which in the end, where done according to God's will. We do and follow God's will in order to honor Him and eventually receive honorable status for doing so. It is simply a fruit of our labor, which is respected on high. Another way to say this is that the concept of honor on high may be a form of mutual respect, and once again, partnership or co-creation. Some interesting UB quotes that relate to this:

(51.12) 3:5.13 8. Is unselfishness — the spirit of self-forgetfulness — desirable? Then must mortal man live face to face with the incessant clamoring of an inescapable self for recognition and honor. Man could not dynamically choose the divine life if there were no self-life to forsake. Man could never lay saving hold on righteousness if there were no potential evil to exalt and differentiate the good by contrast.

(54.4) 4:1.1 For ages the inhabitants of Urantia have misunderstood the providence of God. There is a providence of divine outworking on your world, but it is not the childish, arbitrary, and material ministry many mortals have conceived it to be. The providence of God consists in the interlocking activities of the celestial beings and the divine spirits who, in accordance with cosmic law, unceasingly labor for the honor of God and for the spiritual advancement of his universe children.

(111.1) 10:3.3 The divine Sons are indeed the “Word of God,” but the children of the Spirit are truly the “Act of God.” God speaks through the Son and, with the Son, acts through the Infinite Spirit, while in all universe activities the Son and the Spirit are exquisitely fraternal, working as two equal brothers with admiration and love for an honored and divinely respected common Father.

(116.6) 10:8.5 We know the Universal Father, the Eternal Son, and the Infinite Spirit as persons, but I do not personally know the Deity Absolute. I love and worship God the Father; I respect and honor the Deity Absolute.

(361.5) 32:3.10 The fact of animal evolutionary origin does not attach stigma to any personality in the sight of the universe as that is the exclusive method of producing one of the two basic types of finite intelligent will creatures. When the heights of perfection and eternity are attained, all the more honor to those who began at the bottom and joyfully climbed the ladder of life, round by round, and who, when they do reach the heights of glory, will have gained a personal experience which embodies an actual knowledge of every phase of life from the bottom to the top.

(466.4) 41:10.5 Urantia is comparatively isolated on the outskirts of Satania, your solar system, with one exception, being the farthest removed from Jerusem, while Satania itself is next to the outermost system of Norlatiadek, and this constellation is now traversing the outer fringe of Nebadon. You were truly among the least of all creation until Michael’s bestowal elevated your planet to a position of honor and great universe interest. Sometimes the last is first, while truly the least becomes greatest.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Mon Jul 01, 2013 7:01 am

Hi Overmind,
I was hoping you would find yourself here in this forum with one of your thought gems. I have enjoyed this one as I have the thoughts Welles has posted in relation to Love. You both have got my gray matter firing... well, a bit anyway. :) ("grey"... British English which my computer keeps telling me, with an imagined British accent, is correct ;) )
It's interesting how society's mores can dictate what is honorable and what is not... we've seen history showing the differing value of honor in cultural and evolutionary mores. Imagine a time when sacrificing your first born son to gain favour with your ideal of God was considered the right and honourable thing to do. It makes me wonder what the mothers thought of all that... I hate to admit this, but I might even kill to prevent it...my own son being sacrificed. But this is another time with an evolved set of mores and progressed knowledge of God. You are quite right we operate under the idea of subjective honor still is at this point in human history.... maybe it always will be the case until we reach the perfection of the perfect universe of Havona and Paradise. Can you imagine a realm where honor closely monitors what is objective as in Divine "Honor" exhibited always by God? I cannot imagine because when I start thinking about the First Source and Center I get all blown away and tingly like my brain can't even begin to fathom... :shock:
Love to both of you,
Sandy
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Mon Jul 01, 2013 11:18 pm

I'm actually half English myself as I was born in Oxford and have visited the country for a long period. I prefer the "grey" spelling in most cases, but that is probably the only British form of spelling I prefer. I really dislike the spelling of "aeroplane" and anything ending in "tre" instead of "ter".

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Welles » Tue Jul 02, 2013 4:36 am

overmind wrote:I really dislike the spelling of "aeroplane" and anything ending in "tre" instead of "ter".


Well who can blame you. You're a prolific writre. :lol:

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Tue Jul 02, 2013 10:19 am

Centre vs. Center is one I get a lot too... :lol:
I must admit with my computer set to British English I don't know how to spell anything anymore. I am in between two worlds. :lol: So please bear with me if I flip flop back and forth(But to be honest I never have been the best of spellers...)

Oxford! I am enthralled with the architecture of the Campus there!... not from any fancy investigating...I've just have been watching Inspector Morse and they show is set in Oxford and thankfully takes advantage of this town's rich educational history. ;)

Overmind, did your father or mother or both attend Oxford?

XX Sandy
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Tue Jul 02, 2013 6:57 pm

Yes, I was born when my dad was getting his PhD (or just after). I never received English citizenship because my parents would have had to stay in the country for several more years. I stayed in England (Cambridge) for ten months during sixth grade, so I got a good look at a completely different school system (it was a boarding school with a large campus, but I commuted). I also visited Scotland and France while I was there. Regarding the school system, even though I had problems with it, it felt more free. When I went back, it was kind of a culture shock, school felt more like prison. It also was not as challenging (although I always needed help with schoolwork). In England, my grades were average. In the US, I was always on the honor role. Just imagine going back to high school after going to college, it was a similar feeling. For instance, where I went in Cambridge, you learned French and Latin in year seven (sixth grade) and began learning German and Spanish along with higher levels of French and Latin during year eight. In middle school, I could only take one language, French or Spanish. The only class where the curriculum was not incredibly different in Britain was math. I was actually ahead in that area and only got into the school because I did so well in the math portion of the entrance exam.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Wed Jul 03, 2013 6:52 am

It is incredible to think of the wonderful opportunity some of the British schools offer their students. Imagine being offered latin and French in sixth grade? It was the same in my middle school as well. We were only offered French and Spanish and that was also all that was offered in High school too. Latin was not offered even in High School. :( I admire anyone who can do well in math and ace those all important entrance exams in that subject! It was, sadly, always my weakness... Wish, I could go back and do it all again! This time I would really apply myself and take advantage of this opportunity to learn. Well, I shouldn't complain, with the internet we can always apply ourselves and expose our minds to something new. Have you ever seen those college lectures you can buy? I can't remember who puts them out but they hire the best of University professors to teach subject and you can acquire them on a vast array of subjects. They are a little expensive though so I haven't bought them. The cosmology lectures always appealed to me,,, as do the health and history related lectures...Shoot, I could stand to learn on every subject known to man.. That is why I guess the Urantia book and its' description of ascending through the worlds of time space so resonates with me. I don't ever want to stop learning! Now if only I could retain it! :lol:
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Sandy
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Cassandra » Thu Jul 18, 2013 6:45 am

The Burden of Honor.

(I hope I am understanding your topic correctly. If not please excuse my ramblings. I'm new here. :hithere )

Words and meanings. I must ask myself if there is indeed a burden, in honor? I'm a simply complicated person. :roll: I believe in general, we as human beings complicate things that are meant to be quite simple.

In my search for answers to the mysteries, and complexities of life, I look to nature. I look at a thing. I look to nature and I ask myself, do I see it reflected there? And if so, does it make sense? If so, in what way?

Honor. Do I see honor reflected in nature? Is the burden, or a burden born of honor, reflected in nature?

Honor can be something we allow another, or it can be something we strive to attain in ourselves.

In my opinion, honor walks hand in hand with respect. Respect for another, and in self respect. I believe that respect can exist without honor. Respect is broad based, and varied in it's reach. Respect is not always born of kindliness, good will, or good works.

But I do not believe that honor can exist without respect.

True honor is unaltered in the public eye, the most private of places, and the most solitary. In my opinion, if it is not true in one arena, then it can not exist in any other. Honor is something we have, or we don't have, regardless of whether or not others observe it in us, or acknowledge it. We are simply honorable, or we are not.

Again I ask myself; do I see honor reflected in nature? Yes.. everywhere. I see creatures who show respect for the territory of another creature, respect for hunting, or reproduction. This show of respect for the ways of nature, and the balance required for survival for all species, in my opinion assigns honor. If not in a cognitive manner, then in an instinctual one. (But honor none the less) Is there a burden in honor, in nature? I believe there is. I see living creatures, human, and other than human, lay down their lives for another living creature they defend. (Often across the lines of a species.) This show of respect, in my opinion, denotes honor.

Is there a burden in this honor? Perhaps, yes... for some, and in some circumstances there is, indeed. Once we become honorable, we have attained a level of self respect that might be considered a burden to some. A time might come when we must do what we feel is right, and honorable, regardless of the cost to ourselves, or forfeit what honor we may have gained.

Another whole area of this subject can be summed up in these few words; no one is spared temptation.

In short. Honor is most deeply defined by what we do, when no one is looking. :roll:
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Welles » Thu Jul 18, 2013 11:58 am

Hear here! (I mean that quite literally.)

That was a lovely addition, Cassandra. :hithere

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Cassandra » Thu Jul 18, 2013 5:22 pm

Thank you.... I enjoy hearing what people think about. What they believe, and why... Life intrigues me. I am a perpetual student. I don't claim to know the truth about anything. I deeply respect the thoughts and opinions of others.
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts.... :hithere
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:14 am

I too enjoyed your deep thoughts on this complex subject, Cassandra. To be honest, I had never really considered a connection with nature and the word, honor, until you replied. And in thinking about it, I can see that now in some surprising places. But dishonor can also be found in nature as there are some dishonorable creatures who behave quite the opposite of our most typical definition of honor...killer whales spring to mind, who play and torture the young seals they catch unawares...it is painful to watch...but I am remembering this behaviour has a purpose as the young killer whales are learning to hunt for themselves. I suppose this is simply a mode to teach. At least, I am hoping that is the case. Although, I just now remembered a pod of killer whales attacking a humpback mother with her calf on a David Attenborough video. She fights valiantly to defend her child for six long hours and in the end the marauders get their victim... only eating his entrails, something only this particular pod of whales has been known to do! So I am thinking nature can be cruel and act in dishonour too just like humans as even plants cannibalize and fight for light and territory...the survival of life...I suppose. Maybe nature and humans are not so different after all...cruelty and pure beauty can be rampant in all species...I wonder why?
Well, I guess we all have a long way to go before peace reigns on this planet. Until then I had better keep my David Attenborough viewing to a minimum! :( :)

I really like this, Cassandra...
In short. Honor is most deeply defined by what we do, when no one is looking. :roll:
Love,
Sandy
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Mon Jul 22, 2013 5:55 am

I thought of you, Cassandra, when I saw this a few minutes ago. http://keenk9.com/horse-saves-blind-dog/ This is what you were talking about in your beautiful post with nature crossing over the species boundaries to help another. awesome! This horse holds all the honor in my book today. :) and I am learning a lesson about looking for the positive in all things. thank you.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Cassandra » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:47 pm

I am a sensitive person as well Sandy. I grew up on a farm, and have experienced all that farm life entails. Nature can be cruel. The weak don't last long, the old, the injured, and the young who have not yet learned the ways of survival. These things are heartbreaking. I will cry upon finding a dead bird, or animal. I grieve for the sun on it's body, the sweet scented breeze in it's face.

However it is the instinct of the predator to taking the ones easiest to bring down, rather than the healthy, the largest, and the strongest. I believe nature has a dual agenda in this. It feeds the predator, and these hearty ones are left to breed, to produce more of the bigger, the stronger, the best of the species.
I've often considered human hunting in contrast to this. Human hunters most often take the best of the best, leaving the ill, the less hearty, the animals nature (extreme weather, predators etc.) would not have selected for reproduction. Yet we seem surprised that after all these years of hunting in this unnatural way, that the deer herds are ill, and some of these illnesses are also spreading to the domestic farm animal herds.

As for intentional cruelty in nature? I have thought about that. There are times when it seems this is the case. Part of it is necessary when teaching the young to hunt. But animals do not do things with the same intent as humans. And when they do things that seem contrary to what is normally seen in nature, I have to wonder why? I recall a study where they over crowded monkeys in a habitat where they could observe behavior.

They said the result was amazing. That normal behavior changed. The young males formed gangs. They said those gangs of young males, victimized other vulnerable monkeys. Young, old, injured, isolated. That some individuals isolated and became psychotic in their behavior. Some would band together to try to stay safe. They even reported that some of the group of males committed what could only be called monkey rape.

I believe, that nature when allowed to balance itself without human interference, is simply a food chain. I'll create a small circle as an example. A bird eats grass seeds, poops the seeds, worms in the earth, and insects provide nutrients and pollination to the flowering grasses, so grass grows. A deer eats the grass, a pack of wolves eat the deer, the wolves age and die. Their bodies feed the crows, the insects, and other meat eaters who depend on injury and old age to provide them with a food source, as well as fertilizing the ground that provides lush green grass. The nest season of deer eat the grass, the birds eat the grass seeds.. And it continues.

Things are much more simple when I look at nature, and consider the purpose of that balance that occurs there when we don't interfere with it.

Many human beings have become so selfish that even in death, often we do not want to give back to the earth. To contribute by feeding even the insects. I plan to be cremated so my ashes can in some way enrich the earth with whatever nutrients they will provide to the growing things. All things in balance, we take what we need from the earth. it's good and right, to give back. just my thoughts. I don't expect anyone to agree with me about anything. we are all seeker

Everything eats. We can take what we need from nature, and honor the sacrifice of that life to the nourishment of our bodies. (And make a vow to one day return to the earth ourselves in whatever form we choose, and give something back.)

I enjoyed reading your comments! Thank you.
Cassandra
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Cassandra » Tue Jul 30, 2013 7:51 pm

Sandy,
That is a beautiful link. I saw one the other day. A dog was struck by a car in a multi-lane highway. Another dog ran up and down the side of the highway, then began making it's way across. It went into traffic and rather than taking that injured dog in it's teeth. It wrapped it's paws around it, gripping it. And walked backward on two legs, repeatedly, until he got the injured dog off the road. It was amazing...
Thank you for sharing your link, I wish I had mine to share.

Nature is surprising. Sometimes in ways we never would have imagined.
:sunflower:
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Sandy » Wed Jul 31, 2013 5:43 am

Hi Cassandra,
You wrote:
I grieve for the sun on it's body, the sweet scented breeze in it's face.
That's it!...the feeling exactly!... and this past year this empathy has grown into something almost detrimental as even the smallest of nature's calamity causes a deep sadness within... But this post of yours helps and in a big way by looking at the balance of it all, when left without human interference. And I am thinking that perhaps these creatures too know the extension of their lives and life purpose and accept it, facing eventual death as we all do, and going into the beyond to what awaits, either becoming a player in the circle of life and reborn through fresh new life or perhaps even something more, to a place in the stars. Whatever it may be, I see the Creator of all would be covering all the bases... and it would be the greatest plan imaginable.
Things are much more simple when I look at nature, and consider the purpose of that balance that occurs there when we don't interfere with it.
You are so right...humans can take their clues from nature...there is much wisdom there....and honor. ;) :D
Thanks Cassandra, I think you have helped me with something I have been wrestling with. I think I will still cry at times at any loss of life...yet at the same time now take a measure of comfort in remembering that this creature died with honour fulfilling their life purpose and contributing even in death to the circle of Life that is our mortal world.
Love,
Sandy
P.S. I am planning to be cremated too and sprinkled someday with George somewhere. I hadn't thought about it before...but It is a nice thought that even in death we are giving back and promoting new life.
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Cassandra » Sun Aug 11, 2013 1:07 pm

Sandy,
Yes.... That is it. Your words brought me to tears.
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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Welles » Sun Dec 01, 2013 4:19 pm

I found a quote from one of my favorite SF writers about honor.

“Reputation is what other people know about you. Honor is what you know about yourself. Guard your honor. Let your reputation fall where it will.” – Lois McMaster Bujold

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Sun Dec 01, 2013 6:40 pm

If honor is how the individual follows their personal values, and is measured by the individual, honor is as subjective as those values and as strong as the individual's opinion. If I value helping myself more than helping others, and I believe this to be right, than my actions to do so will seem honorable. If the honor people worry so much over is really their reputation, then it is indeed foolish to value it so much. However, I think reputation is shaped by the concept of honor that other people hold -- it is a measurement of how one's actions match with the values of someone else. The idea that human honor is objective is a form of personal slavery, as you will continually find fault within yourself when others have different values and beliefs. How you measure your worth would be directly impacted by how others measure your worth. If God is the only one capable of fully measuring this worth, of understanding you, then the only dependable concept of honor comes from God as well.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by Welles » Fri Jan 10, 2014 6:09 pm

I'm in my periodic rereading of the UB (a paper a day) and found this...

68:2.10  If vanity be enlarged to cover pride, ambition, and honor, then we may discern not only how these propensities contribute to the formation of human associations, but how they also hold men together, since such emotions are futile without an audience to parade before. Soon vanity associated with itself other emotions and impulses which required a social arena wherein they might exhibit and gratify themselves. This group of emotions gave origin to the early beginnings of all art, ceremonial, and all forms of sportive games and contests.

This is an excerpt that is somewhat clarified by the context of the whole section

http://www.urantia.org/urantia-book-sta ... vilization

For me that identifies honor perfectly as a human creation of evolutionary value in the creation of society but something to be set aside as the individual and society becomes more spriitually oriented.

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Re: The Burden of Honor

Post by overmind » Thu Apr 10, 2014 6:55 am

I came to the realization that respect and admiration should be dynamic in nature. This means that you gain respect, not for who you are, but for what you do. There should probably be a minimum level of respect for all beings, but this for above that level. No perfect being demands respect from others or works so that it can be gained. Respect (the kind that separates one person from another) cannot be received simply based on who you are, as it is something that is earned. And you obviously are not going to be admired by everyone, so working to gain such a thing, though not entirely bad, should never be the highest goal. Also, such admiration can always change in the future. It is never a fixed variable in time-space.

Edit: This post is better explained in my blog: http://spiritselfsatisfaction.blogspot.com/

I need a place to stick all of my little essays from different sources. I'm going to be rewriting everything about honor next.

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