by Master Tatu
(c)June 2001 ~All rights reserved ~ This article is the sole intellectual property of the author and CAN NOT be reprinted any any format without the express written permission of the author.
“Without Honor, there is no Lifestyle or Community”
We talk a lot about things like honor, truth and respect in the D/s alternative lifestyle community. These are indeed noble concepts. If embraced they are magnificent virtues to see. For a person to live an honorable life is to be applauded and such people are to be revered among us. They are the Sensei’s in our lives, the people who have walked a certain path, and have something to say to us if we are willing to receive what they have.
What do we mean by honor?
Probably my first encounter with that word was when I was a young boy in the scouting programs in north Louisiana. When we attained a new rank, a “court of honor” was held. One of the proudest moments in my life was when at one of those court of honors, I was awarded the rank of “Eagle Scout”. I think I was 12 at the time. Scouting has played a large role in shaping many of the values I still hold today, and defines much of what I came to understand as a man that honor was all about. That is why in recent years, I was devastated to learn of the organized discrimination and bigotry toward homosexuals that the scouts have embraced. While I know the program still offers valuable things to young boys, I have many good friends that are gay and lesbian and I found myself offended by the stance the scouting program has taken, and ashamed of my heritage. I found myself no longer proudly displaying my boyhood awards, but slipping them into the drawer. Something of my understanding of honor has been tarnished for me.
The military also uses that terminology “court of honor”, as well as phrases like “medal of honor”. First used in the late 1800’s by the U.S. military, it is a decoration given by Congress for conspicuous and courageous action at the risk of life in action with an enemy.
In weddings, the bride selects a “Maid or Matron of Honor” to stand with her. This is someone she looks to as her dearest and most honorable friend.
We have such things as “honor guards”, which usually take on the role of displaying in ceremonial terms the honor for someone that is felt by others.
In the early 1800’s when a duel with pistols was held, it was held on a “field of honor”. Duels were about fighting for the honor of one who had be disrespected.
But sometimes concepts of honor get perverted. Like on those fields of dueling pistols. Often it was not about honor, but more about “ego”. On many urban streets today, you have gangs of young boys and girls aiming pistols at one another all in the name of “being respected”. Unfortunately what is really going on is not respect, or honor, but childish egos.
Running rampant in the lifestyle communities today I’m afraid is not so much honor or respect, but childish egos. Adolescents who have mentally never grown up.
Having studied the word honor in Latin courses, it came to us in English via the French, and means “of good name or to be held in good public esteem”. In other words “to have a good reputation”. When we used to live in small communities, we were known for who we really are. We could not hide our faults or mistakes, much less con our way into a place of esteem simply because we were known. We grew up with these people. The advent of the internet has changed a lot of that. Now with a home PC, people can give the allusion of being anything they want to be. In this lifestyle some will make up all kinds of things about their lifestyle experience, and often just lie in order to try and gain some respect and honor. Childish egos flourish behind a keyboard. What they don’t realize is that people often have the ability to discern and know the truth. They are not stupid. Many can sniff out the poser and the experienced just shake their heads at such childishness.
When we grow up and become adults we are supposed to refine and balance our childish ego based definitions of honor and respect with an mature, adult understanding of love and forgiveness. For without them, our systems of honor and respect are nothing more than cyber-kinky street gangs with warring egos.
I would suggest that true honor must be built upon:
1) Love. All relationships of any note, must be based on love. Love for me is defined as an “unconditional positive regard”. I choose to love people. I’ve been told that I am somewhat naive and too trusting. Yet I feel that if this world is make any sense at all, and have any real meaning for us, then we must risk love for our fellow human being. I may not agree with someone, I may even have serious issues with someone, but regardless; I choose to love and care about my fellow human being. I cannot allow differences in opinion to separate me from people. If I did, I would have no friends, because no one ever sees eye to eye on everything. If everyone agreed on everything, this would be a very dull, unimaginative and boring world. If a husband and wife never argued and agreed on everything, one of them would not be needed. Love does not mean agreeing on everything. It is a commitment to the good of your fellow human being.
2) Communication. Real friends who profess a care or even a love for one another, communicate. If there is a problem or an issue that is affecting one concerning the other, real friends, people who love, communicate and work it through. They love each other enough to sit down eyeball to eyeball, heart to heart and “say in love” what they truly feel. Notice I said “say in love”. We all must examine our motives for what we do and say. If the underlying purpose for our communication is not love then we are only worsening the problem with our own selfish issues. It must be a loving communication.
Loving communication also means not talking about people behind their backs. I used to be around someone that had somewhat a holier than thou attitude about life. She was always talking down about people. I used to sit there and wonder when I was going to be on her “shit list”, and I would be the one she talked about. You guessed it. It was only a matter of time and I was moved to the “B” list. I’m not being paranoid, but it only goes to reason that if she talked about all those people to me, you have to figure she’s probably now trashing me to others.
Loving communication is between the only the people involved. I am firmly of the belief that my father was right when he taught me the adage, “if you can’t say anything good about someone, just don’t say anything at all.” I suppose that is why I am out of the loop on some things because I don’t join in and participate in the trash sessions.
3) Forgiveness. Honor based on love and honest communication will lead to forgiveness. We must forgive, or we will become like those who harm us. The real underlying purpose for our loving communication must have as its goal forgiveness.
Forgiveness is hard. Very hard. We must be people of extremely large souls in order to forgive someone who has hurt us. To absolve someone of the offense they have committed against us is an act of the highest honor one can display. To hold grudges and never release the anger is childish and will ultimately tarnish your soul.
Life has a way of balancing itself out. The oriental refers to this a yin and yang. You can’t live life out of balance too long, holding a grudge or not issuing forgiveness without it coming back around to kick you in the pants. There are universal laws that I believe will come into play if we don’t learn to forgive.
So how do we forgive? In reality in order to forgive another, we must literally take on the pain that the other has caused us. For us to require payment for the other person’s offense is not true forgiveness at all. Let me put it this way. I once counseled a couple. The husband did something wrong for which he was grievously sorry for. He had an affair. He knew he had screwed up big time and loved his wife. He was profusely remorseful and repentant. The wife however proceeded to put him through hell, day after day, month after month, a year passed, then two years… One day she came to him and said, “I have decided to forgive you”. He looked at her and said, “I don’t need your forgiveness, I have already paid for my sins with the hell you have put me through the past 5 years. Good bye.”
I am not justifying lack of fidelity here. One may say didn’t he deserve the hell after the pain he caused his wife. Yes he does, but it is not often wise for the one offended to be giving the hell. There are universal laws at work that will take care of that. What this illustrates is that if we need to get back at someone, or “even the score”, then we don’t understand the concept of forgiveness at all and are destined for a very sad and lonely existence.
Forgiveness is the absolution of a crime. It is the victim of the crime showing a grace and a mercy toward your offender and literally absorbing the pain they caused you. The offender then gets off.. yes scott free, not having to suffer for his crimes against you. Indeed you have taken on his suffering for him, when you forgive. No pay backs, no hell to pay, no evening the score.
Need I say, this kind of forgiveness is rare? It is not practiced widely. Yet I think the truly honorable forgive, because they have been forgiven. They know how to release the pain to god or whatever universal energies they believe in. Their egos have been put aside, because they themselves know mercy. They have no need to strut anything before anyone. There are no points to prove.
The Truly Revered and Respected
These are the people that we feel we can show a “reverence” for, meaning we respect them, show them love, devotion with a sense of awe.
Further we recognize these people and gladly show them a “deference”. Because we have a profound reverential respect for them, we gladly yield or submit to their judgment or preference. We don’t have to get up in front of a crowd and compare testosterone skills.
Yes Dominants, I said “submit” in that definition of deference. If there is no one we can show that kind of honor and respect for (deference), I suggest you may be a wee bit heady if not obnoxiously egotistical.
The Toxic Ones
There are some people who are just soul draining. They are not particularly evil people, just messed up with so many issues they drain us and suck us dry. They attach to those who are loving and merciful, and take… and take.. and take. They throw themselves on us, and with their neediness, almost demand our time. Before we know it they have exhausted us of all our spiritual and physical resources. Often with these people real friendships, real relationships, real love and forgiveness are not possible, so we learn to tolerate their codependent mindset, smile, pat them on the head and send them on their way. In some cases their dependency issues are so strong it become necessary to create space between them and ourselves, because their negative energies start messing up our own positive space and we can lose our tranquility.
The Evil Ones
Scott Peck’s book, “People of the Lie” had a profound effect upon me when I read it many years ago. As a young man I deluded myself with idealism that all people were good. He laid it out in his book that some people are just plain evil and beyond forgiveness and redemption. At first, I did not want to accept this premise, but years of life experience has taught me differently. I have only encountered only a few people that I would truly call “People of the Lie”, and in those cases there simply is no honor, no respect, no possibility for any relationship. I have learned that there are just some that are pathological liars, serial bullies, egomaniacs, and hopelessly toxic people, and in those cases it is just best to create all this distance you can from them, and guard yourself from their evil and deceitful ways.
Unfortunately some of these people are so delusional they obsess and think you are doing things to them, when all you are doing is ignoring them. Such is the case with one gal who instant messages anyone I speak to in a chat room, wanting to know if I talk to them, then she tells them how awful I am. All I have ever done to this person is get as far away from her as I could and ignore her. Amazing isn’t it.
OK I confess, maybe I am still naive. I still want to believe in the good of people. I choose to love. I choose to care. Regardless of the great emotional pain I have encountered at times in my live…. I must love. For me it is “The Way of Honor”.
I will continue to seek honorable men and women to revere and learn from and show deference and respect for the path they have traveled. To the eastern mind, a teacher would never uses the term “sensei” to describe himself. It is used by the student and only if he is seen as truly a “teacher”, respect the way and feel they have learned something.