What is a
term was easily defined a thousand years ago. Knighthood was
a recognized caste of titled, elite warriors subject to certain
responsibilities and expectations.
Today, the idea of knighthood has branched out
in several directions. Where royalty still exists, it has become
an honorarium of distinct recognition for service or achievement.
As a remnant from earlier times, the title can sometimes be inherited
through bloodline as well.
There are religious or civic organizations whose
members move up through the hierarchy and achieve the title of knight.
Medieval reenactment groups, like the Society for Creative Anachronism,
offer knighthood as an earned title in their " aristocracy."
There are also clubs, merchants and web sites
that make the title accessible either through membership or for
Star Wars introduced the concept of the
Jedi Knight, a science fiction version of the mystic warrior,
a combination of knight, samurai, Kung-fu master and intergalactic
policeman. The idea immediately captured popular attention, to the
point where Jedi-based groups sprang up on the Internet to recreate
a new idealism. Such is the cultural hunger waiting to be fed.
The one thing that all these venues have in common
is the strong attraction to knighthood and chivalry, for men especially.
Both the title and the rite-of-passage it represents a core need
that today's society no longer meets, despite its technological
wealth and myriad distractions..
What is that need?
It focuses on self-identity. Generally speaking,
men inherently need to be recognized as people of value and accomplishment
by their community. The title of knight provides just this kind
of recognition. In most cultures, and throughout history, the passage
from boy-to-man meant more than just a matter of age and physical
development. It meant earning the status of being a "man,"
someone who represents the very best values of one's community.
While this suggests that morality is something
bequeathed by one's culture, there is another way to perceive it.
The ideals might very well be innate. If that is so, the culture's
responsibility is to nourish and direct their development.
If the ideals are innate, that would explain
the subliminal connection we feel, even when the culture fails to
recognize them, and our lives run in different directions.
Basically, when we allow ourselves to feel it,
we have individual and cultural needs to take our place as
responsible, capable people. Knighthood encapsulates this
idea, offering both a code and an example of what it means. It honors
and shapes our warrior spirit in positive directions, and provides
a title that carries obligations of commitment. What else do we
have that systematically performs this function?
With all this in mind, today's knight should
be someone who carries specific purpose and meaning in life, that
extends itself to the well-being of others.
Some of the variations of knighthood, previously
mentioned, represent such people. Others do not. The question we
face is what knighthood means to our fellowship of Chivalry-Now.
Chivalry-Now honors an updated code of
chivalry designed to guide and nurture fundamental ideals that most
of us have already. One of its most important concepts has to do
with freedom. Today's knight must be a product of
his own expectations, not someone else's. While he may serve the
welfare of others, he is not their slave. He sees the world as it
is, rather than catering to illusion. His beliefs are tried and
true. He replaces stale thoughts with fresh thinking, and looks
upon life as a serious quest for truth and goodness.
He is no lacky of consumerism.
The Knight of Chivalry-Now is familiar
with the concepts and ideals of Chivalry-Now, both general
and esoteric. As an active member of the Companionship, tested
and approved, enough is known about him to be formally sponsored
by Knights of the Council.
Once declared a Knight-Errant, he is respected
as an autonomous member of the Council of Knights. He bows
to no one, but willingly listens to and advises all.
His purpose is to respond to life as life presents
itself. He morally responds. He acts. He speaks out.
He is courteous but truthful to everyone. He presents an appropriate
image of knighthood, that others might be inspired by his integrity.
The Knight of Chivalry-Now is a warrior
in spirit and in deed. He fights for good causes and protects those
who cannot defend themselves. He is open to learning and is not
blinded by his own opinions. He is a good parent, spouse, friend
Knighthood is a title of honor to be cherished.
It is challenging, something to protect and not bequeathed lightly.
The candidate must be a self-liberated soul, dedicated to truth,
compassionate toward others and loyal to his Companions.
He knows that his connection to chivalry is permanent from the day
of his accolade to the day he dies. No matter how alone he becomes,
be he the last one of his kind, he remains true to his code.
Knight of Chivalry-Now is a new creature, the product of
a second birth in which his soul becomes master of his being.
one can purchase this title. He either earns it and lives it, or
he does not.