NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

July 14, 2014

Points of honor

When I was in college (a distressingly long time ago), the first important thing I learned was that examinations were not proctored because every student was required to conclude the exam with the words, “I pledge my honor as a gentleman that during this examination I have neither given nor received assistance.”

To my recollection the possibility of cheating never arose at all among my fellow students even though there were no monitors in the exam room. Each of us took this pledge to be a critical personal commitment not to cheat. (Although some serious exam cheating scandals have been reported, an honor code does promote a “culture of integrity” — June 1, Huffington Post.)

Basically, “honor” (to paraphrase Dictionary.com) means honesty, fairness or integrity in one’s beliefs and actions and the credit, distinction and respect one receives for such conduct. It has many uses, and shows up in scores of phrases such as “scout’s honor,” “honor your partner,” “honor a check,” “do the honors” and “honor thy father and thy mother.”

Over the centuries honor has held life-and-death connotations. Shakespeare represents Caesar as saying “I love the name of honor more than I fear death.” He may have inspired his legions with the words “Death before dishonor!” Since then millions may have died in the service of this adage, which can relate to personal, family or national “honor.” The Japanese samurai’s code of honor was defined as a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth.”

While I cannot do justice to such a powerful, many-sided word as “honor,” I can suggest that it never be accepted uncritically nor taken at face value, but rather it should always be related to one’s own knowledge and experience of honor and to one’s own unique personal code of honor, which I expect we all have and rarely think about. The following are think-pieces about honor, one deadly serious, the other quite amusing.

Text Only | Photo Reprints

NDN Video
Weird 'Wakudoki' Dance Launches Promotional Competition Two women barely avoid being hit by train Chris Pratt Adorably Surprises Kids at a 'Guardians of the Galaxy' Screening Chapter Two: Designing for Naomi Watts NOW TRENDING: Peyton Manning dancing at practice "The Bachelorette" Makes Her Decision Thieves pick the wrong gas station to rob Golden Sisters on '50 Shades' trailer: 'Look At That Chest!' Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX GMA: Dog passes out from excitment to see owner Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted 'Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1' Sneak Peek Florida Keys Webcam Captures Turtles Hatching Morgan Freeman Sucks Down Helium on 'Tonight Show' Robin Wright Can Dance! (WATCH) She's Back! See Paris Hilton's New Carl's Jr. Ad Big Weekend For Atlanta Braves In Cooperstown - @TheBuzzeronFox Chapter Two: Becoming a first-time director What's Got Jack Black Freaking Out at Comic-Con? Doctors Remove 232 Teeth From Teen's Mouth
Special Features
NRA Waterfront Plans