The Tetrast2 - Speculation Lounge
Sketcher of various interrelated fourfolds.

Honor and reality

March 17, 2007.
(Recentest significant change: January 5, 2001.)

Sometimes ours is said to be an "innocence/guilt" culture rather than an "honor/shame" culture, but in fact ours remains more or less an honor/shame culture, too. It's just that the terms of honor and shame have been shifted from -- for example -- that of proving deities' will by winning a battle, shifted and concentrated into proving things in terms ultimately of a scientific or science-influenced worldview.

It's said that the Ancient Greeks thought of perfect things as the real things. These were the things which they honored as real. Honor is not just about awards and symbolic certificates. Honor is about reality such that reality may not be reactively compelling us in the situation. This question of what we will honor is the question of what we will allow to determine us as if it were reactively undergirding or compelling us to do so. What agreements will we honor? What imaginary objects will the mathematician honor? To behave as if one had "something to prove" is a kind of behavior for the sake of honor. (Update January 5, 2011: I discussed this a bit further in a December 28, 2008 post "William Vallicella's Mighty Tetrad" at my blog What of these other fours? End of update.)

I remember watching a PBS history show in which they discussed ancient kings' desire for prestige, the desire to be counted among, say, the six big kings in some land. I don't think that there's any getting away from the interplay of ideas of power and authority/legitimacy etc. There's a similar interplay between ideas of resources, wealth, etc., and ideas of glory, splendor, radiance; and I don't think that that's merely because one allows you to buy the other -- unless one takes out the "merely" -- there's that which is prized for its own sake, and that which is prized because it helps you get that which you prize for its own sake. Power determines one by its own agency, but legitimacy and authoritativeness determine one because one grants it (as it may deserve) the status of that which determines one by its own agency; it is a stand-in for some determinant; one honors it as real. (One's slack for discretion in this matter, however, is not unlimited, and instead may, in the given case, very possibly be only for the short term; there are prices to pay for errors, even when the payment is deferred.)

The prize of course does not always
go to the genuinely meritorious.
Beginning
(virtue/vice/neutral).
Power (political etc.,
forcelike & directional).


Middle, means, approach
(competent/inept/neutral).
Wealth, resources.
XEnd, value
(well/ill/neutral).
Glory, glamour,
"action," wattage.


Check, legitimation
(intelligent/foolish/neutral).
Honor, standing.
Principles of the 4 causes.
Physics quantities. Momentum, mass, energy, etc.
Note: the parallelisms of mechanical quantities with terms like "agency" and "act" should not be taken to mean that momentum, impulse, or force cause energy, work, or power as effects. They don't. These quantities were originally conceived in the effort to quantify amounts of "causativeness," "causedness," etc., but are not conceptions of causes and effects per se, much less are they conceptions of things related directly to each other as cause and effect.
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