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Honor – the Heart of Resilience

Continuing with our series on the three key virtues of the Warrior, the three that make for an exceptionally resilient life, we arrive at honor.  

Anyone familiar with Star Trek’s Klingon Empire will have heard that word thrown around a lot.  Unfortunately, not all of Star Trek’s writers knew anything about Warrior cultures and how they function, so the ideas of honor they sometimes wrote into scripts for their Klingon characters were terribly misleading.  Fortunately, General Chang is one Klingon who hits the nail on the head:

As I said, the concept of honor has been perverted just as often as duty has, and not just in the Klingon Empire, but in real human cultures.  The Samurai fell into the trap of equating defeat with dishonor and with an unbearable shame on an entire family.  Some religious perversions talk about honor killing to avenge a perceived slight.  And, most common of all, the totally false notion that honor, like duty, involves blindly following orders – the infamous defense of Nazi war criminals at Nuremberg.  Of course, we’re not interested in those false ideas of honor. 

Establishing Your Honor

Before you can guard your honor, you have to establish it.  You can’t protect what you don’t have.  Establishing your honor comes through a determination to do the right thing, even under the most difficult circumstances That’s why Chang calls it, “the absolute, unselfish dedication to all virtues; to truth, to courage, to forthrightness.  It encompasses all these, and yet it is greater.”

So, if you want to have honor, then:

1. Speak the truth… and demand that the whole truth be told, boldly and bluntly

2. Do your duty to the utmost of your ability 

3. Do not allow yourself to be dragged into the disgraceful conduct of others

In our public life we’re now living in a time when honor seems to be vanishing.  Despite the many fine, unselfish people we have the good fortune of knowing in our personal lives, our public life is increasingly marked by lies, deceit and manipulation.  It’s a shadowy world of half-truths designed for the advantage of the unworthy and the unscrupulous.  Yet without a commitment to honor as individuals and as a civilization, we cannot survive… nor would we deserve to.  

So part of honor is to oppose the lies of public life, to speak the truth and demand that the whole truth be spoken.  Not an easy task, and one that’s sure to get you into trouble.  Do you have the guts for that?  Every Warrior must.  Kapla!

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Want a Resilient Life? Start with Your Duty…

As you may remember from our last post, we had veteran Shakespearean actor Christopher Plummer reprising his role as Klingon General Chang, from Star Trek’s 23rd century, and talking about the now famous symbol of the fictional Klingon Empire, the Heart of Virtue… 

As Chang says, the person who doesn’t practice the virtue of duty “falls into vainglory and reckless self-interest. No true Warrior could ever tolerate these vices, neither in his comrades, nor in himself.”  You can watch the short video here:

  That’s all very nice, but just what is “duty”?  

Surely it’s one of the most abused concepts in human history, used shamelessly by tyrants of all times to manipulate the masses and send millions to a useless death.  Yes, no doubt about it, duty’s been so perverted as a concept that it’s hard to find people who put much stock in the whole idea, if they even think about it at all.

However, none of that diminishes the essential truth of true duty.  If duty were not timeless and pure despite the best attempts of humans to pervert it, it would not be a virtue at all.  So what is your duty?

Simple… you’re surrounded by your duty every minute of every day.  And because you’ve been failing to notice that, it’s vital to ask yourself constantly, “what is my duty at this moment?”

Your first duty is to be true to yourself, to be who your really are and are meant to be.  You have a fundamental duty as a human being to be honest, truthful and forthright, to help whomever you can, to be kind and respectful to all, to be loving and supportive to your spouse and your children, to do your job in an excellent fashion, to love your country and your world, and, finally, to give thanks!

Anyone who cares about their duty will become a deeply thankful person.  Find me someone who’s ungrateful and I’ll show you someone who probably doesn’t care about their duty.  

At the end of every day you can ask yourself, “Have I done my duty today in an excellent fashion?  How could I improve?”  If you do this every day for just 30 days, you’ll experience a renewed sense of purpose, a renewed sense of gratitude and a deep inner happiness welling up inside you.  Why?  Because you’re becoming resilient.  You’re becoming a Warrior…

~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

Warrior Wisdom from the Klingon Empire – Part 1

We engage in all kinds of practices to improve our resilience: we do Yoga, Qi Gong, running, Pilates, meditation, eat good food, and much more.

Yet, in the end, you can never be more resilient than your own personal foundation is. What is that foundation? It’s your CHARACTER! And character is composed of the fundamental virtues
of courage, honor, self-discipline, self-sacrifice, loyalty, trustworthiness, duty, gratitude and much more.

You can pump iron all day long and become the strongest person on the planet, but if you don’t have that solid foundation of character, you’ll forever remain a pathetic weakling and an idiot.


Today’s Resilience Tip comes from one of Hollywood’s most highly developed fictional cultures – Star Trek’s Klingon Empire. In the video below, veteran classical actor Christopher Plummer
reprises his role as Klingon General Chang, a role he originally played in the 1991 movie “Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country”.

As Chang welcomes young Klingon officers to the elite command academy, he says, “Past achievements mean nothing here. I don’t care about the names of your fathers or your family’s lineage.”

Of course he doesn’t – warriors have a very keen sense of reality. They won’t abide the falsity and political correctness that all cowards readily hide behind. Chang cares only for what’s real.
And only concrete RESULTS are real.

Without this dedication to reality, to the TRUTH of things, you can never become resilient.

Then he goes on to add, “What I do care about is your breaking point, how you conduct yourselves in battle…”

It’s only when you are taken to your breaking point that you can discover your character. You can lie to yourself about it until then. But the breaking point always reveals the truth.

That’s why all true athletic training, military training, and definitely all true SPIRITUAL training takes you to your breaking point. It’s the only way to find out what you’re really made of.

Don’t take my word for it. Here’s General Chang himself to talk to you:

If you want to become a resilient person, you need to take all this to heart!


~ Dr. Symeon Rodger

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