Brett and Kate McKay over at artofmanliness.com have put together an enormous, seven-part, treatise on honor. It begins with the relatively simple task of describing what is honor, before going into an excellent overview of the history, and ancient history, of honor. Eventually, with enough of the groundwork in place, they lay out a strong case for reviving certain parts of an honor system for our modern world.
Honor is the moral imperative of men; obedience is the moral imperative of boys.
At the crux of the argument for the revival of honor is this: honor based on respect is a superior moral imperative to obedience based on rules and laws.
When you’re a child, you do the right thing out of obedience to authority, out of the fear of punishment.
As you mature, you begin to see that the world does not revolve around you, that you belong to groups larger than yourself, and with this discovery comes a new awareness of the needs of that group and how your behavior affects others. This change in perspective (should) shift your motivation in doing the right thing from obedience to authority/fear of punishment, to respect for other people.
. . .
Honor acts as a check on narcissism.
Honor begins as an inner-conviction of self-worth, but then you must present this claim to your peers for validation. Other people serve as a mirror of the self and a check to your pride – they are there to call bullocks on an inflated or false self-assessment. Without this important check, people become like Narcissus – staring at only themselves all day and absolutely loving what they see. At the same time, the ability to give and receive feedback openly and honestly creates affability among you and your peers – the bonds of respect.
Too many men today think they are the sh*t, when they’ve never had to prove themselves to anyone else – they’ve never shown their abilities outside their own bedroom. An honor group is crucial in teaching you that not only are you not wearing any clothes, you ain’t the emperor either.
~Brett and Kate McKay, The Art of Manliness; Manly Honor VII: How and Why to Revive Manly Honor in the Twenty-First Century