The definition of honor according to Webster: A good name or public esteem.
The definition of virtue according to Webster: Conformity to a standard of right.
The definition of chivalry according to Webster: Literally, mounted men-at-arms. Or, a gallant or distinguished gentleman.
These things all sound great don’t they? Sure they do. They all sound great on paper and in theory. However, honor, virtue, and chivalry are nothing but “container” words. What is a “good name?” You get to decide what that is. You get to put that meaning in the container. What is a standard of right? Again, you get to put that meaning into the container. Same with a gallant or distinguished gentleman. As a bonus, gallant and distinguished are also container words.
They are vague. They are “hypnotic.” What they have in common though, is expectations. When you throw around words like honor, virtue, and chivalry, what you are really doing is telegraphing your expectations. Your expectations of you, and most likely, other people. News flash: You are setting yourself up for disappointment. People are going to do what they want to do and rationalize it and justify it after the fact, but they are still going to do it. Meanwhile, you are going to be disappointed because they didn’t live up to that expectation of your definition of honor, virtue, or chivalry. But hey, you get to burn.
I’ve had a problem with honor, virtue, and chivalry because they are going to mean something different to everybody. Sort of like the word, love. We all “know” what it is, but it’s going to be different for everybody. I have a problem with honor, virtue, and chivalry because more likely than not, your definition of these words are going to differ from mine. I know I’m not going to hold you to my definition of these words, and that’s because I don’t “deal” in them. I guess I’m not “honorable, virtuous, and chivalrous” like “everybody else.”
I would rather deal in “what is,” instead of what was, or even better, what ought to be.
To me, talking about honor, virtue, and chivalry is mostly mental masturbation. We are jerking off over definitions of something that is vague and is out of reach. It’s an ideal. Philosophers both recent and long deceased have argued the merits and terms of these words, and that’s fine. I don’t care. I’m just going to live my life and “do me.”
I would rather choose to live for experiences than argue or discuss what is or isn’t honorable or virtuous. I would rather feel the burn of a good scotch going down my throat than talk of the mythical days of yore.
I would rather feel the sting of cigar smoke in my eye, especially if it brings a tear. That’s an experience.
Here’s a fun experience I had recently:
Me: “Mmmm…You are salty!”
Her: “My attitude or my skin?”
Massive amounts of laughter ensued.
That’s the kind of shit I live for.
Maybe my lack of interest in honor, virtue, and chivalry may make me “immoral” in some people’s eyes. I don’t care. I don’t consider myself moral or immoral. I guess I’m amoral. I do what I want to do for the experience that doing whatever it is, brings. I try not to infringe on other people and what they are doing, because I don’t care for it when they infringe upon me.
I guess I spent so many years in my head, talking about ideals and codes and what ought to be, and ultimately ending up miserable, that now as I’ve gotten older, I realize that ultimately, nobody gives a shit, and that set me free. For the most part, I can do what I want. If people don’t like it, nobody gives a shit, especially me. As long as I’m not putting you in harm’s way, I’m good.
If you want to wax poetic about honor, virtue, and chivalry, that’s totally fine by me. You do you. You do your thing. I’m not interested in those subjects though, and frankly, I don’t think I would have anything to add to it, other than what I’m saying about it right here, right now.
I’ll be over here, feeling the burn of booze in the back of my throat, smelling the sweet smell of a good cigar, tasting the spice and heat of some good food, and enjoying her salty attitude and her salty skin.