Monday, November 15, 2010

John Boylan's Conversation on Honor

Tuesday, November 16th, from 7 to 9 pm @ Vermillion.

From John's website:

The quick summary: This time we’re talking about honor, the fine art of doing the right thing.

The Guests

There are no guests this time, except for you and me. See below for an explanation.

The Story

I’ve been thinking lately about honor. Honor seems on its face to be about doing the right thing. But is the right thing always the good thing, the best thing? We grow up thinking that honor is about adhering to a code, a samurai’s bushido, the knight’s chivalry, or the unbreakable principles of a noir detective. But is honor even possible when one has embraced without exception a fixed set of rules?

Most of us have lived with a lie or two or three, even small ones, at some point in our lives. Is there honor in those lies? Is telling the truth sometimes the least honorable course? Can we have honor without faith? Can there be honor without courage and sacrifice, or at the least, without a generosity of spirit?

We’ve just come through a long season of politics where honor seemed to take a holiday. I’ve been wondering whether or not the courageous politics that our future requires is possible without a deep dose of honor. Can that happen? And where does honor fit in the art and culture of our time? Do the insights of the best theater, the contradictions of a fine novel, or the rigorous prodding of a great painting have a role to play in fostering honor in our lives? Or not?

I haven’t asked any guests this time, except for you. I might have brought in a theologian, a philosopher, or an ethicist. But I think that all of us have the deepest knowledge of honor—or a lack of it—in the world of our everyday lives. The call to honor, and the temptation to refuse that call, happen around us all the time, at work, on the highway, with our families. I’m hoping to hear more about those calls this Tuesday evening, and what they mean to you.

Note: I had listed “The Street” as the topic for this month. I’d had a couple of people in mind for that, and when they were not available, I decided to hold off on that one.

Hope to see you there.

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