To honor; to gain honor, have honor, or be honorable... The meaning of these things is something to contemplate in discerning how to live by the Basican Guide. We cannot live by the Guide without understanding how to honor someone, nor can we understand what it is to merit honor. Honor has its own value, regardless of whether or not our worthiness is trumpeted by others. But I say this about meriting honor because one cannot know how to intentionally cultivate worthiness without considering that of which one hopes to be worthy. I speak of living by the Basican Guide this way because it names honoring as something in which we must engage.
What does it mean to honor someone? Honoring is a positive acknowledgement that demonstrates appreciation for who someone is and what that person has done. A person can be honored through both words and actions showing a range of sentiments that may include respect, gratitude, praise, loyalty, trust, affection, and/or reverence. To display these sentiments, one can give an award or gift to the person, utter thanks, offer compliments, do a favor, speak of her or him to others with words of high regard, make gestures such as bowing or saluting, give an appropriate gift or do a good deed in the person's name, rely on her or him even in an uncertain time, stand together with that person even when it is unpopular or risky to do so, hold a ceremony or other event to celebrate her or him, use formalized language in speaking of or to the person, look after her or his interests, hold a period of silence for the person's sake, designate something to remember her or him by; and other, similar actions.
How does one gain honor? When is someone honorable? To have honor one must be worthy of being treated in the aforementioned manner. This comes about by demonstrating the courage, integrity, and wisdom to act decently and appropriately. It calls for treating others and handling life well. The Basican Guide talks about this in foundational terms. Here is a list of some things that deal with the meriting of honor in a more specific way: being generous; offering gentleness where it is called for and boldness where it is needed; listening carefully and expressing oneself clearly without undue shouting, insult, condescension, or other rudeness or mistreatment; knowing when to be silent and still and when not to; pitching in when more hands will make lighter work; as accurately and honestly as possible, evaluating and utilizing one's talents and skills as well as those of others when needed; taking a determined and rational but open minded attitude; knowing when to be firm and when to be flexible; being able to adapt when it is appropriate rather than being rigid and stale or indecisive and haphazard; seeing commitments and tasks through until one's responsibility is concluded; rising higher than the expectations of others; maintaining a positive approach to life; having patience; refraining from pettiness; doing right for the sake of right rather than for reward; disallowing fear to be the sole reason for backing down from a confrontation or challenge whenever possible and reasonable, even if that fear may be great; being truthful; keeping promises; aiding the cause of right and defending those in need even when it is difficult, complicated, or dangerous to do so; affirming the dignity of oneself and others through both attitude and action; being level-headed, fair-minded, and even-handed; seeing to your own well-being so that you are better able to help others; attending to the well-being of those around you, particularly those who are dependent upon you; preventing infringing on the safety, rights, and freedoms of others to the extent that it is possible to do so without it posing a threat to anyone else's safety, rights, and freedoms; avoiding involvement in matters where interference is not warranted and may even cause more trouble than betterment; giving credit where it is due; being oneself truly and forming one's own opinions rather than attempting only to imitate others or conform with the crowd, even where diversity is feared and hated; finding legitimate common ground and avoiding unnecessary conflict whenever possible; using good judgment about how best to go about these things; gracefully accepting the consequences of one's actions, whether they bring criticism, accolades, or further responsibility; being willing, after a failure or error, to evaluate it properly and move on, with an effort to improve in the future; making peace with the past instead of building resentment and self-pity; facing the future with calm, fortitude, hope, and reason; appreciating what one has and valuing and enjoying life; learning and maintaining humility rather than either becoming full of oneself or wallowing in self-recrimination; seeing the humanity of others and accepting that they will not be any more perfect than you. This is by no means an exhaustive list. Different cultures and individuals can also have differing sets of standards.
Basicanism can be thought of partly as the implementing of a spiritually based code of honor. Ethics are adhered to out of the belief that there is spiritual value in doing so. Through actively living by this code, a spiritual life is defined and the practitioner developed. It is this approach that is one of the main distinguishing characteristics of Basicanism.
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