How does your society view the concept of honour?

With recent conversation on this august forum having drawn much attention to the State Caldari concept of honour and how those bound by it apply it to their interactions with others, I am curious to hear from others how honour, or if there is any other similar code of conduct or ethos, guides others here on the Summit. If you are comfortable and willing to share, I ask of you: what does honour mean to you. What are the customs and demands attached to it in your society? I would appreciate all your replies in the interests of furthering understanding of others in this shared cluster of ours.

The society in which I currently am part of, the Northern Colonial Commonwealth, has several notions of ‘honour’. Although it is not as rigidly enforced for the most part throughout the nation as say, the State’s interpretation, for the inhabitants of the Commonwealth and especially for those that have ancestry from the Caldari and Gallente homeworlds, it is encouraged to abide by social customs regarding treatment of others within their society as well as in one’s own personal conduct. Additionally, Commonwealth citizens are also obliged to treat foreigners within the same parameters of this code, keeping in spirit with the Federation’s emphasis on equal treatment of all within its borders.

Personally, I still subscribe to the virtues that were instilled into me as a young cadet of my Line by my family as well as incorporating the ethos espoused by the Federation in its core founding documents. For the most part, I have found kindred spirits amongst the Commonwealth’s citizens. Honesty, integrity and a commitment to serving others is just as important for them as it is for the Federation. Some aspects of the code I was taught however, such as rigid obedience to orders no matter what, I have found to be increasingly incompatible with others that would directly conflict if an order gave by a superior officer or official clashed with principle or virtue. I would even go as far to say I would refuse such orders if they were insisted upon, as any individual in Federal Service would and should.

I would stress that the query is open to all to answer. I shall not directly criticise responses on this thread (although I may certainly disagree with your interpretation and virtues) and would ask if any have disagreements to take it to an Off Topic or another thread.


One of our Volur taught me long ago about honor. It’s what men use to get other men to do stupid things to others, often killing or dying in the process. Of course, letting the menfolk play with their ‘honor’ is just something one has to allow, or they get grumpy and unfulfilled. Meanwhile, women fix all the problems their honor has caused. That it is also dropped nine times out of ten when it becomes inconvenient further demonstrates the utter lack of value it has, outside of posturing.

Honor is worthless. Principle is everything.

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I would consider honour to be behaviour premised on individual honesty, integrity, and trust. That one acts in a manner that is to the benefit of others and the greater good of society even if it is detrimental to the self.

However there are always those who affect honourable behaviour not because they have any belief in honesty or integrity but because they desire and expect praise or recognition. I think such people consider honour only in the context of reputation and not as a system of values intended to moderate behaviour in the best interests of society.

Fortunately people who only consider honour as reputation and not as conduct usually manage to kill each other over duels or other such nonsense.


I make due obeisance to your rank, Commander Adams, but I disagree with the later path of your interpretation of honour.

To an Imperial Marine, especially one bred and bound to that Service, obedience is honour. The Empress represents the Will of God, and through her officers and nobles, that Will is given unto her devoted soldiers. Through obedience, we fulfil our appointed tasks, secure in our service to the Throne, our liege lord and superior officers. Freedom of personal thought or worse, attempts at interpreting orders is death, both on the battlefield and to the soul.

I have seen no reason to revise that dedication to honour even though God’s plan has taken me away from the Corps.


My spaceship can be considered a miniature ‘society’, especially during long voyages. The crew come from various different empires. Each one of them had their concept of honor shaped by their respective empires, families, upbringings, backgrounds, environments, experiences and traditions - with further complexity and variety added due to each one’s own personal interpretation. It can quickly lead to misunderstandings and friction in a small spaceship.

Our ‘house rules’ for when the crew and myself are onboard the ship, while not made with honor as its sole reason, does provide a very honorable code of conduct.

We endeavor to treat each other with respect, both in speech and actions. Everyone does their best in their assigned duties, which benefits and helps all of us to complete our missions and jobs as a result. Appropriate appreciation, commendation and rewards for tasks fulfilled well is given.

Loyalty, integrity, honesty and other good qualities are important among the crew to keep everything running smoothly and prevent serious problems. (Don’t steal someone else’s lunch, even if it looks very yummy!) Trust is an absolute necessity because our lives are in each other hands in space in many situations.

A good sense of humor helps myself and the crew not become too prideful and rigid, thus keeping our honor more balanced. (Surprisingly, the new rabbit on the ship is helping with it!)

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Three main components of Honor are: LOYALTY, COURAGE and HONESTY.

Loyalty is of course the most important part. It involves being faithful to commitments or obligations, and implies direct loyalty to the State, to the Corporation, and to own Family - and usually in that order if the conflicts arise. For those who put loyalty to the Corporation above the State become statist (and not from the word State, but from the word statistics - just overly common commoners about honor of those we don’t speak). But the most dangerous are those who put loyalty to the Family above the State. They become organized crime members (most likely - guristas).

Courage is second important part of Honor. For those who change their principles or abandon their duty just because they fear something, shows how weak-minded and unreliable they are. People of Honor will do their Duty disregarding what they will have to endure. It also involves ability to stand for own words, reputation and beliefs by putting your life on the line.

And, of course, the final component is Honesty. The best example of that I can bring already from the capsuleer society. The best group that was fighting against Sansha taught me: “There are two currencies in our cluster: isk and trust, and only isk you can recover if you lose them.” Trust is a foundament for every business relation, for every military operation. Nobody is going to deal with scammers, nobody is going to listen to liars. Besides that, people of Honor always keep their words. A Honorable person will better take own life than violate a given Oath. (And considering majority of Caldari (literally practically every Caldari - because we have obligatory military service) give Oath of allegiance to the State, breaking that would imply violating both principles of Loyalty and Honesty).

Speaking of Honor, I can’t skip mentioning another close concept that is highly important for Caldari: it is Heiian.

It implies resignation of self for the sake of interest of your group, up to the whole State. Though unlike Honor, it’s somewhat hard to actually verify if a person follows Heiian strictly or not. You can’t catch anyone “not-Heiian” like you can catch a liar, a coward or a treacherous freak, with probably the most obvious “non-Heiian” would be egoists, selfish people, individualists.

There are also minor concepts of Honor, like - staying true to your spouse or not having love relations outside or before marriage, not pursuing love/personal relations at expense of your duty, and so on and so on. But, strictly speaking, you can easily disassembly these into aforementioned concepts, for example, affairs with people outside marriage is breaking of loyalty, and pursuing love relations that affect your duty is simply an example of a rotten person who is not being Heiian, which is just very unaccepted and uncharacteristic for Caldari.


Honour: Combination of the following values: Respect, Proud and Honesty

- Intergalactic definition

Althrough this, a concept like this is easily understandable and at the same time misunderstanded because there’s who use this term in contexts that are out of those values, like “Wars for honor”, “Honor killing” and “Revenge for honor”. This is due to another misconcept that’s the “Proud”. A proud man can be also a good man proud to do good action like helping the others, defending them without unnecessary violence and being charitable, gentle or respectful even if their ideology is different or adverse of him. Sadly, a proud man can also be proud of acting bad for his own interests or for himself and it’s characterized by forms of meanness and magnaminity who doesn’t notice that can harm the people around him and that’s why there’s who uses the concept of “Honour” to move wars and there’s who donesn’t consider necessary using it because there’s no “importance of doing it for honor” but just because it’s the right thing. Consequently, the concept of “Honour” is mostly used by entities ready to fight as recent studies demonstrated that countries that practice “honour cultures”, are more susceptible to engage in wars.

If you want to look the good part of honour and put it on practice, then the statement is this: there’s no honor in declaring wars for the homeland, no honor in causing violence, no honor in “courtesy duels” and other deadly games spreaded across the cluster, no honor in torturing people, no honor in being hypocriticals who spread ideologies through superior firepower, any of them. There’s honour in loving the neighbor, there’s honour in loving the family, there’s honour in loving the partner, there’s honour in doing a job that you love and that can sustain yourself, your family and everyone around you.

This means that, in conclusion, honour is a concept that must remain within the society and not in geo-politics, otherwise it loses his real meaning.

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Honour may be of little to no worth to you through fundamental mis-comprehension.

Honour is a property of self-esteem. No-one may administer your — personally calibrated — opinion of self but yourself. Respect on the other hand can only be earned from the opinion of others, although holding to a consistent code of honour facilitates the process a great deal.

My Order holds honour and individual integrity in high regard, especially in ostensible foes. In that respect, respect is owed.

Honour is a trait few in the universe have senses to discern clearly. It requires discipline, a deep knowledge of our own identity and the ability to recognise the same trait in others. I hope you are capable of re-evaluating such property of soul.

Staring deeply into eyes of our enemies, as well as the font of our own soul, is something the Federation prides itself on. Yet pride comes before a fall, and integrity is ever in peril.

Quite the contrary. To have self-insight and insight into others on any level of worth, it requires being able to look past illusions of ‘honor’. Until that is achieved, there can be little real self-esteem, respect or understanding. Merely more delusion built upon illusion, with very little value to it. Principle on the other hand bestows tangible and real values upon a person, and can be an actual foundation upon which all of these things can be built. Esteem of oneself or others. Respect. Identity. Understanding. Real loyalties and real antagonism.

Of course, until one has come to the point where seeing past ‘honor’ is doable, the truth of this is unlikely to be accepted, so I won’t be expecting this to reach anyone but those who already know. Perhaps one day there’ll be a shared understanding to be found, but not today.

Honor is worthless. Principle is everything.

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My dear, how can one identify an illusion or a delusion without a peering through the lens of self with which we weigh our own actions?
Honour is principle.

Well that’s disappointing. I had hoped for worthwhile discourse, and got a condescending ‘dear’ and a non-sequitur.
What a pity.

My primary function within our Order is to build bridges not create rifts.
Please consider my term of endearment withdrawn if it offends.

As to the logical flow of my questioning; let me connect the dots a little.

You question the value of honour in relation to principle.
My query simply questions the probability of evolving a unifying principle, without the existence of individual honour.

“Honor” is doing the right thing, especially when no one is around to see you do it.


Honor is placing your loyalties before yourself.

Honor is upholding your principles, even when doing so in inconvenient or difficult.


The railgun rounds and raking drones,
Rip petals from bulkheads.
“Hull alarm!”, our brave Captain cries,
but shrapnel strikes him dead.

A plume of leaking oxygen,
mists white into the void.
The engineer is suited up,
To his post he is deployed.

No officer is with him now,
to the pods he might’ve went.
Instead he focuses his mind,
He has a hole to mend.

Storm Wind howls loud to silent stars,
Cold Wind laughs with his friend.
So tall the loyal spacer stands,
Caldari to the end.


Honour in the abstract is a form of social capital [Translator note: social capital here is a limited translation of a single word that means something like “a measure of the esteem given to a person/family”] that accrues from service. Individual honours, such as a position or a rank, are service roles that demonstrate that an individual is trusted with responsibility within the Divine Order of Things. If these responsibilities are discharged faithfully and well, their memory accrues to a more abstract idea that an individual or family are themselves honorable by nature and deserving of future responsibilities.

An overabundance of this abstract version of honour that is not tied to specific responsibilities and roles can be perilous because it can lead individualistic people into the hubristic belief that they have done enough and can now rest on their laurels (or those of their ancestors). But service to God is never ending. As the scriptures warn, the person whose faith seems already to be proven is in more danger than the person whose faith has never been tested.


Honor as I use the concept that translates as such, is a measure of personal virtue or integrity. It is about doing what is right by your custom and loyalties, even when it is inconvenient or brings you displeasure of others. It is about upholding allegiances and paying kudos you owe, rather than being selfish and seeking personal gains, be they of wealth or of status.

While a quality of a person, honor is upheld - or not - in relationships of oneself to other people and to the world; it is not inherent to a person in isolation. A group of people, a clan or a circle, can have a collective reputation of being honorable people, but only as much as the individuals in said group have acted with honor before, and as much as they react appropriately to breaks in honor by their members.

One should not make the mistake of confusing pride and honor. To quote myself:

Pride is shallow, it gets hurt by petty insults, by being seen or presented in the wrong light, by being mistaken for something one is not. Honor does not require you to rise to every insult, every petty grudge, every nasty word. It goes deeper. It is about integrity in front of allies, about knowing your acts are proper and just. Honor breaks in shame, not in mere embarrassment.

Or, “true honor is silent”, as they say.


I was born a Gallente, but I’m no longer a part of them, I suppose. They cast me out the day they branded me a traitor and left me for dead. That’s the honor they bestowed upon me, and the esteem with which they regard me.

Where I live, if you want to be honorable–to be worthy of esteem and good reputation–you mind your own business, default to respect until you have reasons not to do so, and help others regardless of whether they can repay the assistance.

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So, um, apologies in advance if this sounds a little technical. It’s … not, really, but. . . .

Honor is a scheme of propriety or “right action” based on position, founded in what function that position serves in a society and how it best serves (or at least is expected to serve). A soldier, a farmer, a merchant, and a spy may all be honorable people, but the honor will express differently. It’s also possible for a single individual to hold several such roles at the same time. A State War Academy instructor, married and with children, has roles as soldier, teacher, spouse, and parent, for example. There are also certain duties that emerge out of the position of being human.

Ideally an individual will keep roles appropriately balanced, performing honorably in each, rather than focusing on just one. Sometimes one role will have to supercede others (a soldier called to an active theater of war is probably going to have to stand down from some parental duties), but generally it’s hoped that some kind of balance will be reached.

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This topic has been discussed and studied at length throughout the written history of mankind. So good reader then we should know much about what “honor” is. Yet, depending on the culture or race of individual the word honor may hold a different connotation.

Yes, to the pirate do they believe they are an “honorable pirate?” Or the terrorist believe that their actions will have “honor.” Does the Paladin Warden in the process of doing ones duty become “honorable?” So now honor then becomes something of an individual affair. Listen and be careful.

What happens if an honorable man is slandered? That the rumor has it they have done some cultural taboo or violation of societies laws. Does a lie make the individual “dishonorable?” I would argue that despite the lie the individual at their core is still an honorable individual. So, it brings me to believe Honor must be an individual level.

Yet, you can manifest honor physically as well. The physical representation of honor is a bow or salute. Yet…what makes the individual “honored?” This is where I make the leap to answer all these questions my friends. While in the books we read that being an “honorable” Paladin Warden one must live up to the values of his Margrave, House Tash-Murkon, Empire, Empress and God. Yet…this explanation while is the standard being drummed into any young Pilot I believe it must be expanded.

Honor cannot be taken from you or given to you. Honor comes from your own soul/self. Nobody can take it from you. A man stripped to his foundation through trials and tribulations or even extreme torture may hold upon his very Honor even with everything else taken from him/her. Honor is what you get when you look into the mirror and the man/woman in the mirror looks back approvingly of the spirit and conduct of the individual. Thus…honor is what you give yourself.

Paladin Warden Kyle Saltz
Director of CVA in Exile.