Of Wolves and Ravens – Honor: The Most Difficult Virtue

Happy Tyr’s Day 

When considering the lineup for Of Wolves and Ravens a couple of weeks ago, it was no accident that I coupled Honor with Easter Philosophy.  The Code of Bushido is a warrior code like the Nine Noble Virtues of Asatru (NNV) and there are many similarities.  The Samurai had seven or eight (depending on who you read) noble virtues where the vikings had nine but most of them overlap. There great similarities between the two codes.  I could have chosen it for my own personal code, but I chose a warrior code more fitting to my interests and heritage.  I do have a great respect for the Code of Bushido. It is the notion of honor in both codes that however is my interest today, so a consideration of both codes’ definition of honor might be enlightening.

Nine Noble Virtues Definition of Honor:

Honor is the feeling of inner value and worth from which one knows that one is noble of being, and the desire to show respect for this quality when it is found in the world

Code of Bushido Definition of Honor:  

A vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth

I think the two are very similar.  Both involve that feeling or sense (vivid consciousness)  of personal dignity and value one has for yourself. If there is any addition, it is the NNV adds the notion of acknowledging said honor when it is perceived in others. Showing respect for those that you can see have their own sense of honor is part of the NNV.  The Code of Bushido has Respect as a separate virtue, so it splits the idea in the NNV notion of Honor into two separate virtues honor and respect.

The point I am making here is that despite the two codes being separated in their origin by a considerable geographical distance, there is a similar human quality of honor that is recognized in both. Inner value and dignity are human traits that both codes encourage and admire.

To the Wolves and Ravens:

Needs (Geri):

Do we need honor?  I think that the notion of personal dignity says yes we do.  A person who has a sense of dignity certainly is far more useful to themselves and to others. Without this sense of dignity, I think we see people fade into nothing both personally and from a societal standpoint both spiritually and emotionally.  I watch people who I can tell have no sense of personal dignity.  They give no thought to how they are presenting themselves to others, because they really don’t value themselves and it shows. There is a certain kind of pride that is needed to be a decent human being, and it is the spiritual need for honor.

Wants (Freki):

We also want honor in our lives.  It is the foundation for being respected.  If one does not respect themselves; no one else will.  Honor is a very individual quality that should be greatly desired.  I can’t stress this enough given that last year, I did some very dishonorable things.  The biggest loss I felt was this sense of honor.  Without it, I became very vulnerable.  I want honor to combat this vulnerability.  Other people’s’ opinions of you matter far less when you have a sense of honor. It is good to desire it and obtain it.

Reason (Huginn):

The problem of course in how to get it.  Well, you don’t get it from others.  Reason tells me that if I rely on others for my sense of honor, I will become their slave. If I want to be free, the only one that can develop a sense of honor in my life is me.  I must choose to be my own master and develop my own sense of dignity and value.  You will never find dignity and value in pleasing others.  Slavery is all you will get from that, and no slave has any sense of self value or dignity. If ‘a slave’ did have those qualities, then they are not truly slaves no matter what their social status is.

Wisdom (Muninn):

Wisdom also warns me that the only one who can destroy my sense of honor is also myself. This is what make honor the most difficult virtue. It is hard to gain but even harder to maintain.  As needed a virtue as it is, no matter how much we want it and how much it benefits us; we can destroy it with our own actions. This is a lesson I learned this last summer (2018) and one I plan on making sure is burned deep into my soul from now until my death.

Conclusion:

Honor will probably be something I wrestle with for the rest of my life.  I take the lessons from the Code of Bushido and use them to improve my understanding of the code of follow in the NNV. In this I know need and want honor.  It is a spiritual need that strengthens me when fulfilled.  I also know that I alone can build it and I alone can destroy it in myself.  Lessons learned that need to be applied from now until the end for me.

The Rabyd Skald – Wandering Soul, Bard and Philosopher. The Grey Wayfarer.

Skaal!!!

One thought on “Of Wolves and Ravens – Honor: The Most Difficult Virtue

  1. Pingback: “Asatru and Honor” – Of Wolves and Ravens – Honor | The Grey Wayfarer

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