Honor and Glory

Honor and glory are seen now as archaic concepts from history. But if honor and glory still exists now, what does it look like?

I think honor is the easier nut here to crack first. People still, to this day, talk about “the right thing to do” — in other words, the honorable thing to do. Honor can be described by principles of justice and virtue that propel ourselves in our lives. We might have a different idea of justice and virtue in 2021 as opposed to the times of Greeks and Trojans, but the principle still applies. Easy enough.

But what about glory? What does glory even mean? The traditional definition involves “glory in battle” — in other words, whoever kills and pillages the most. Hardly adds up to that honor definition we mentioned earlier.

But if we put a magnifying lens over the context, we can understand that there may still be a place for glory in the modern world. Glory in the context of battle might mean skill in warfare, but the heart of glory involves fighting for a cause greater than yourself. For example, glory for Greeks was less about whoever was able to steal the gold candelabra from the burned-down village, and more about protecting Greece from barbarians. If we take this idea — fighting for a cause greater than yourself — it sure sounds a lot closer to the honor definition we had.

So maybe there’s still a place for honor and glory in our time and place. Maybe our focus on justice and of things greater than ourselves show that we’re more like our ancestors than we thought. Maybe the ideas of the past are less “archaic” than we always assume.

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