I’ve been thinking about Honor, lately. It might seem a horribly Gryffindorish concept, but the fact that it’s shoved off on them is a measure of how far the idea has fallen in public consciousness. As Slytherins, it is only required that we like sneaky things, and act terribly haughty in public. And do well in potions so our head of house doesn’t get too disappointed in us.
I’ll confess right off that it was Mr. Glenn Beck who prompted the thoughts. For a muggle, he has a terribly accurate perception of the world around himself. Mr. Beck will be hosting an event downtown in late August focused on restoring honor to our lives. This is, simply put, a grand and worthy goal, and one I whole-heartedly support. In response to this upcoming event, I’ve been thinking about Honor, and how it needs to be restored, because various Dark Forces have been deliberately attacking the very concept for at least as long as I’ve been alive.
One incident stands out above others, and it took place sometime in my sophomore year of college, so late 1999 or early 2000. Let’s first off admit that, like most college students, I was horribly stupid and insecure. Books smart and nerdy, so not that kind of stupid. The kind of stupid that comes from insecurity and utter lack of experience. The very worst combination of Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, if you will.
One of our group of friends was named Karin and, much like the Dane Cook routine, she ended up being the girl that everyone secretly couldn’t stand. It was years later that she claimed that position, mind. At this point in our lives, she was the cool girl. Intelligent, beautiful, funny, seemingly unafraid of what anyone thought and very willing to speak her mind. In many ways, she was everything I wanted to be.
She was (and likely still is) a raging libtard, but we were only starting to get the first hints of this problem that would go on to ruin her life and friendships at this point.
One evening in our dorm-room, the lot of us were discussing something that I honestly cannot remember and I expressed an admiration for some person’s actions, saying “I thought it was a rather noble thing to do, myself . . .”
Well. Karin laugh derisively, looking at me with pity. “Noble? ‘Nobility’ is such a stupid idea. . . maybe in your Candyland life of rainbows and gumdrops it means something, but not in the real world. . . ”
. . .
And I, stupid and insecure and thinking that she was cool and smart, I was stung by her scorn and ended up halfway believing her. Halfway, mind, never fully. Just like I could never go for Total Pacifism due to the nagging thought of Indiana Jones villains, so too a part of me couldn’t let go the idea of Honor. Which was really the core of the idea of what is “Noble.”
Indeed, only a few years later that persistant belief began to influence my actions to the point that it influenced my personality. But it’s an odd place to be, knowing on the one hand that one is one of the few people left who actually believes in honor, but on the other not blaming others for their learned disbelief.
See, people will often complain that humans these days aren’t honest, that everyone is only out for themselves. Truth is, though, that’s only because we’ve chosen to make life that way. Like the third wave feminists who destroyed chivalry and then sue when men treat them like “one of the guys,” the very people who destroyed honor are the ones who then sigh over the consequences.
Listen, there’s only one thing people can do. You want people to start behaving better? Start with yourself. Stop whining. Stop fussing. Stop being so concerned for Number One. Just stop. Take a deep breath and deal– life happens. Get over the emotion and face your problems.Do your Duty– stop slacking at work, start taking care of your family– even the ones you don’t like. Take care of what is in your realm of Responsibility first, then start treating the people around you with the courtesy and respect you’d like for yourself. Be honest, not just in your words, but in your actions. Honesty is the core of Honor. You be the example of what you’d like to see in the world.
No, not everyone will always be honorable. People, sinful creatures that we are, will always fail. But that’s no reason to abandon standards. We can bring Honor back. We just got to do it, and expect others to do the same. We might be surprised at the results a few decades from now.