Honor – Defining That Which Goes Beyond Words

Jim Ellis

An excerpt from the author’s “The Honor Book,” written specifically for men.

The basics – OK, so you’re a dude. Now what? You want pussy, and you want success … not necessarily in that order. Great. You also want to be happy. The question is: how are you going to get there? Though the conquests of a great job and career and strange pussy is all well and good, I believe the real way to capture that happiness is to realize the true self, a backbone labeled in this book as “honor.”

As stated previously, this book is intended to capture the power, poetry and glory of the true core identity of men: honor personified. This chapter is all about this elusive concept, rarely described or outlined in books, tradition or culture.

The dictionary will offer definitions of the noun “honor” as “high respect; esteem; symbol of distinction; keen sense of ethical conduct; adherence to what is right or to a conventional standard of conduct.” As a verb, “honor” will be seen as “regard with great respect, or keeping an agreement.“ For the rest of us, what does it mean?

Sometimes it’s hard to even know. In MDI, the men’s organization of which I am a member, one of our major objectives is to make sure we are always in a state of “honor,” honestly being responsible when we have broken our word, a commitment or a commonly agreed-upon standard of conduct. So – through the very black-and-white process of “holding strict and high standards” and determining when we are in honor and when we are out of honor – we can get a sense of a definition to live by.

But do we ever really consider its true essence? It’s almost like what is talked about in some eastern religions when considering the Tao. The seen Tao is not the true Tao. You can’t really talk about honor since that could minimize it, limit it. It resides as a sense, an identity, a way of being within the masculine principle. Below are some reflections on the very illusive topic – honor. You may have your own.

  1. Unyielding loyalty to one’s word, beliefs and actions.
  2. The state of being when one is not selling out friends or his commitments for the sake of his own self-serving needs.
  3. Living with and committed to a strict standard of conduct that embraces the good of others.
  4. The un-nameable, immeasurable quality within men that is only known in the agonizing, gut-wrenching pain when IT is missing.
  5. Where dishonor is the movement outward away from one’s center or source, honor is the visceral connection to the self, which is connected to everything and everyone else, to all that is valued.
  6. Being in integrity with the self, as it relates to a “self” defined with a bigger picture in mind.
  7. Being in integrity with the heart that exits within everything, and a soul that serves humanity.
  8. Defining and being faithful to the “self” as it serves the wellbeing of the collective.
  9. Within men, it IS the “self” – the all-encompassing quality of what we do, think, say and ARE.
  10. My favorite: A man’s integrity with himself and his collective team, organization or society, which originates from the depth of a man’s care, protection and unconditional love of humanity.
  11. The missing link in the evolution of man.
  12. A man’s worth … which goes beyond words.

And for you? What is your definition?

Your worth?

Your center?

Your honor?

James Anthony Ellis is an award-winning playwright, journalist and filmmaker, who is the author of eight books, including the men-focused “The Honor Book” available HERE.


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