Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Footnote to Honour
In my blog entry about honour I referred to the book Living the Martial Way. This book has held quite a bit of meaning to me. Since the book was written 1992, I wondered how well it held up to time. I thought, who better to ask than Dr. Forrest Morgan, the author. The following is a excerpt from the message I sent to Dr. Morgan:
As part of my getting to understand this practice [karate], I have been doing a bit of reading about the history of the art form and the deeper meaning of it. One of the books I have been reading is Living the Martial Way. I have been going through it very slowly in order to get as much understanding from it as I can. I also have been working at comparing and applying it to real life. The form of Karate I am studying is Okinawa Goju-Ryu.
I have found the chapter dealing with honour very thought-provoking. I have always believed that living an honorable life is the only way and I have done my best to do this. Strangely enough, the one thing I have never done is really look closely at what honour means. I have found your book very insightful in this, and in many other ways.
The world is changing around us these days at what seems a remarkable rate. I believe quite a bit of this can be attributed to the newer and faster forms of communication, mainly web-based. I was wondering if, in view of all these changes, do you feel like your views are still current?
Maybe I am a bit of a throwback to older times, but personally I believe that the idea of honour and respect is a thing that is slipping away. Many people I know don't seem to understand the concept and believe it is something that is outdated just by the virtue of the times we live in. I very much disagree with this point of view. If anything, I believe that because of the changing times, the concept of honour is even more relevant. I would have to suggest that if more people understood and applied a proper code of honour, we would live in a much safer and happier world.
Dr. Morgan's response:
I am happy to hear you are undertaking a serious study of karate and that you’ve found Living the Martial Way helpful in that effort. To answer your questions, yes the world seems to be changing at an ever increasing rate. Many people appear to be abandoning the principles of honor; but then, I think every generation, as it ages, believes that the younger generation is less honorable and less disciplined and hardworking than they were at the same age. I am happy to say that my current profession, national security policy analysis (I’ve been retired from the Air Force for about eight years now), brings me into contact with a lot of honorable people, young and old, military and civilian.
In any event, I wholeheartedly agree with your statement, “because of the changing times, the concept of honour is even more relevant. I would have to suggest that if more people understood and applied a proper code of honour, we would live in a much safer and happier world." I couldn’t have said it better myself.
I am very grateful to Dr. Morgan for taking the time to respond to my email.