“What does honor mean to you? How important is it to you? Does your culture value honor? What exemplifies honor in your culture?”
I think its safe to say that the world is drastically different from centuries past. No, I don’t think the romance of the knight’s quest and Arthur’s Round Table were all completely true, I’m merely saying its different. I think the one percent have always taken advantage of the rest of society, but these days that hold is far stronger.
With the invention of the internet and the virtual unification of the world, I think the people at the top became far more powerful. In the Middle Ages your Lord may have abused your rights, be he was only abusing the rights of several dozen or even several hundred people at a time. Nowadays, it doesn’t really even take a fraction of that amount of higher ups. I’d say that the entire world is governed by around ten thousand people. I think that those ten thousand people are, generally speaking, pretty selfish, because a selfless person simply cannot get to the top of the food chain, so to speak. So I believe most of the people that govern us and our lives act to benefit themselves primarily. That’s not to say that they are “evil”, or that their choices are always selfish ones. It is simply to say that I believe for most people in general, personal wants and needs come first, which comes to our detriment when the wants and needs of the one percent trickle down and start to conflict with the populace.
So, I think honor means sacrifice. It means giving up one’s own best interest in the servitude of another. By that definition it fits as a synonym to altruism, which I don’t believe in. It could simply be that I haven’t experienced it first hand, but I believe people make sacrifices in accordance with how they perceive themselves. I think we behave altruistically because we set expectations upon ourselves to act a certain way in specific situations. I think the sacrifices we make are also because it would make us feel better about ourselves for having made them, whether or not we are conscious of that fact. For example, I would say somebody would rush into a burning building to save their puppy because they believe they are brave, they believe themselves capable, and they don’t think they would be able to live with themselves for not having helped when they could have. Outwardly it appears altruistic, but in reality the thought wasn’t “I would sacrifice myself to save this puppy”. If that sort of person does exist, then they are extremely rare.
I’d say a person that behaves with true honor and altruism would be the exemplary human being. That person should be placed upon the top of the totem pole because of what they would theoretically do with that power. None of it would go into themselves, and the people would benefit from it.
But I think that sort of system would defy human nature. I don’t think any society has ever had such a system.