A New Chivalry?
It’s the nature of things to change over time. Either they improve or fall into obsolescence. Even things of value need to change in order to remain appropriate.
During medieval times, chivalry and knighthood, while not perfect, introduced a moral/ethical code to the popular imagination that defined an entire age and left an indelible imprint thereafter. Its eventual decline also left a mark – a decline in the moral priorities, including, most astonishingly, truth.
Many today associate chivalry with courteous behavior towards women as portrayed in medieval romances. This is sometimes condemned as condescending, even though, historically, it did much to improve gender relationships and civilized living as a whole. If that were it, perhaps it deserves to pass as a quaint, cultural aberration.
But it was far more than that. While its medieval form would be inappropriate today, it might be more than appropriate if it properly evolved with the times – providing a flexible moral foundation for all that followed. Even without evolving, in a world that stubbornly contradicts it, chivalry’s foundation remains in popular fantasy images that still manage to stir the heart. That connection, echoing conscience, reveals a certain moral impetus is sadly missing in our lives.
We live in a very different world than that portrayed by chivalric romances, filled with complexities and distractions.
But that doesn’t excuse us from the urges of conscience to create a better world. We remain responsible to do exactly that.
Of course, imposing medieval chivalry would be ridiculously inappropriate. The very thought shows how we associate it with fantasy rather than anything meaningful.
But if we take the notion of a chivalric code, with its attractive moral potential, and make it appropriate for today, everything changes.
For example, as important as the concept of “honor” was during medieval times, it was a mixed bag. People would kill or go to war in the name of honor. In some cultures, honor killings still occur. This is wrong.
And yet living an honorable life has its appeal when associated with consistently doing what is right and just. The difference between these aspects is better understood today. When based on the insecurity of ego-pride, it is rife with error. When based on the human-pride of fulfilling one’s obligation as a rationally compassionate human being, its value shines forth. In effect, it becomes “honorable.”
Chivalry-Now’s purpose is to build on chivalry’s foundation by prioritizing human obligations we can all intuit, such as honesty, protecting those in need, upholding justice, generosity, forgiving wrongs, respecting human equality.
It presents a balance of spiritual and physical attributes to develop one’s character. Humility. Trustworthiness. Refinement. Healthy living. Developing one’s intelligence and self-control. A healthy civilization needs that.
We are no strangers to such obligations. They reflect the voice of Nature’s Law derived from reason and conscience, what we refer to as our Inner Knight.
Hence the appeal of medieval chivalry and its modern counterpart.
Please do your part in bringing this to life.