As the first post in this series, this also serves as an introductory post. I was inspired to this series by my dear blogging friend Emma McCoy, to whom this very first post is dedicated.
If you read Emma’s Post, you will agree with me that explicating these questions will help me become a better writer. Knowing yourself is key to writing well. It all starts here.
What do I value? What is important to me?
The first thing that comes to my mind is honor. Sounds naïve. Who has honor, today, anyway. It is curious, but the more depraved an individual is, the more they seem fixated on their honor, as if it were the last straw connecting them to humanity. Well, maybe not the most depraved, those who have gone beyond morality, those who hold up to the strictest definitions of psycho- and sociopath.
So, what is honor, then? It is the foundation of our pride, the one thing we can ground our ego in. Sure, traditionally it is a code of conduct and a measure of a person’s merit, but with our modern society and our all-governing laws, it seems as though it is of no more importance. Wrong there. Everything that affects our ego is eternally important. Honor still governs the areas where the law doesn’t apply. There are no laws for friendship; without trust, no friendship, and without honor, no trust. Honor now encompasses our personal standards, our sense of what solution is viable, what we will resort to in order to have our way. It can be quite complex. Violence, for instance. I’m all against it, but I know how to defend myself, and I will use that knowledge if I fail to defuse an explosive situation; I’m just not good at running away. Sex; I wouldn’t advance on a woman one of my friends has “called dibs” on, or married women. Of course, I expect my friends to honor that, as well, but that’s just common sense, except for one friend, but there are always exceptions, right? Oddly enough, anything my brother wants is fair game as well; I guess fraternal rivalry is another book entirely. What else is there? Don’t drink from another person’s beer: check, that is, unless they offer it to me because they don’t feel like finishing it. Don’t install new programs on someone else’s machine: check, unless they explicitly ask me to. Don’t suck their blood while they’re asleep. Ahhh… wrong category, this ain’t a vampire movie.
Peer groups often share a code of honor; soldiers and thieves are archetypical for these configurations, but pretty much every profession and subcultural group has its own set of unwritten rules that apply to their field of practice. Honor is essential for peaceful coexistence.