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The Book

The following quotations were taken from the book Chivalry—The Code of Male Ethics:

Chapter 1
The Making of a Knight Errant

(Page 7) The foundation of knight errantry tells us that we should never allow ourselves to be ready-made products, determined solely by our circumstances of birth or childhood influences. We have the power to shape ourselves through our deeds and relationships, through the causes we fight for. This taking control of one's destiny, the self-discipline to purposefully development yourself into something strong and good, is really what becoming a man is all about.

(Page 8) An appropriate male ethic for the twenty-first century will never try to re-establish sexual or cultural dominance. Quite the opposite. It will contribute to a full and balanced partnership with women, and with other men as well. It calls for courtesy, and the self-discipline, energy and strength on which real courtesy is based. It calls for the willingness to use that purposeful combination for the good of others.
     In many ways, the self-discipline and self-development that modern chivalry calls for is the very essence of individuality and freedom. Indeed, the symbol of the knight errant means nothing else—hence the significance of avoiding trodden paths while entering the forest.

(Page 11) Individuality, in its purest sense, cannot be attained from an image we are encouraged to emulate—not even that of a knight errant. It begins with freedom. Not the freedom to choose between this image and that. Rather, a freedom that transcends the ego—a direct, uncluttered expression of your consciousness. To really be free, we have to reject trying to be anything other than what we are, beneath all the illusions.
     The value of our knight errant is that of a symbol, trying to awaken new thought. As a symbol, he points to the idea of personal liberation. Leaving the secure castle in search of the unknown illustrates the conscious mind responding to life by confronting the risk of possibilities. Boldly he invites life to test him and teach him to live life to the fullest. This is the essence of the proverbial quest: living your life in such a way that the immediate experience of life does not pass you by. The consciousness of here and now is a relationship with your surroundings, with people, with the task at hand. It is an experience too easily lost by thinking about the past, planning for the future, performing tasks by rote.

Chapter 2
Protecting the Weak

(Page 29) Chivalry calls us to be men first in everything we do. It calls us to be strong, compassionate, honest, forthcoming, steadfast, and honorable.
     It warns us to be prepared, to develop our capabilities with open minds. It points out that the ability to act, to respond, is where manhood comes alive, daring to challenge insurmountable odds, alone if need be, for the good cause. Nature urges us to be protectors, martyrs if need be—which is why we readily follow our comrades onto the battlefield at time of war.
     By defending the weak, we take a bold step in following a time-honored code of manly behavior—and promote this code of ethics to other men as well. Heroism inspires the hero in us all.

Chapter 3
Honoring All Women

(Page 42) The decay of family values is a direct result of our failure to honor the true value of women as individuals in their own right and work in harmony with them.
     It is not asked of us to adopt feminine qualities (as some social engineers might suggest) but to exhibit those masculine qualities that are appropriate to family living.
     Chivalry speaks of gentleness, that capacity of a knight to be sensitive and attentive, not from a sense of weakness or pseudo-femininity, but from manly strength. In the distractions of this never-ending technological revolution, our families need this now more than ever.

Chapter 4
Defending the Good

(Page 48) Our quest for what is good becomes clearer when we understand how fundamental it is to the integrity of our individual lives. The process shapes who we are. While listening to others, weighing their opinions, purposely searching for new ideas and greater depth, we grown in personal maturity and naturally take our places in the world. What else should base our actions on? The values somebody handed to us when we were children? This is a matter of integrity that each man has to face and conquer.

(Page 53, 54) We are asked to defend what is good.
     It is sad that such a request needs to be made! Defending the good should be as natural for a man as breathing the air.
     Unfortunately, it is a sad commentary on all of us that words like goodness, honor, humility, honesty and virtue are no longer fashionable. Perhaps only a book reflecting on medieval chivalry can use them without sounding out-of-touch with today's reality.

Chapter 5
The Meting Out of Justice

(Page 63) Justice is not limited to punishing wrong-doers. It is a concept that refers to fairness, treating people in a just and honest way in everything we do. In fact, we destroy justice when we relegate it to the court system as some kind of after-the-fact punishment.
     Justice directly relates to our understanding of right and wrong, truth and goodness.

(Page 65) Having the world's largest economy is no measure of success regarding freedom, morality and ethics. We find a truer measure in the quality of people's lives. Not how comfortable they are, or where they go on vacation, but who they are as individuals.

(Page 67) Justice is the attempt to transform the chaos of random behavior within a shared moral consistency. It means doing the right thing.
     The civility this offers is not some lofty idea. It's enduring appeal makes sense to people of all cultures, as it has throughout the ages. Prophets cried out for it. Peasants revolted against unjust rulers. Nations were spilt. Martyrs for justice can be found in every corner of the world.
     Chivalry did not invent justice. Chivalry embraces it as one of its natural, major tenets.

(Page 68) Courtesy is the means through which we give justice its due.
     Justice is born in the way we treat one another: polite, friendly, and concerned enough with everyone's well-being, including our own, to be fair in all our dealings. This sets the tone for just relationships. In a world where courtesy flourishes, can there be injustice without immediate recompense?

(Page 70) Justice flows naturally from an honest quest for truth. One cannot be a knight errant without knowing this. It is this foundation which requires us to protect the weak, honor all women, and defend the good. Nothing less than the highest truth dictates our agenda.

(Page 83, 84) Greed is not the same as hard work and decent compensation. It is not saving money for your children's education. It is not occasionally splurging on yourself, or elevating your family's way of life. It is not vying for a promotion you well deserve.
     Greed is something else—an almost blind obsession that prompts us to want more and more until we become blind to our own actions, and do things that border on inhumane.
     Greed comes into play when people mean less to us than money or power or that new house. When that new promotion urges us to ruin someone else's reputation. When watching the stock market rise and fall becomes the barometer of our day. When we see that the uncontrolled burning of oil pollutes our atmosphere, raises havoc with our weather patterns, finances terrorism, and rapidly depletes the world of a valuable resource, and we raise not a finger to curb our wasteful habits, then yes, we have embraced the destructiveness of greed. That people around the world look to us as models to emulate only increases our guilt.

(Page 85) Freedom is intrinsically vital to the human spirit. It is our natural state, subdued only by external oppression. It is the font of genius and creativity, the essence of all virtue, the spontaneity of thought and feeling. As human beings, we are either free, struggling to become free, or stagnantly entrapped by some oppressive vision of the world.
     You cannot really love unless you love freely. You cannot be a patriot, unless you give yourself likewise. You cannot be a hero. Indeed, you are only a man when your personal self-control freely reflects itself in an honorable fashion.
     No real man would choose otherwise.

Chapter 6
Romantic Love

(Page 90) What is romantic love?
     As the words suggest, it is an idealized interpretation of love which, in some respects, borders on fantasy.
     Romantic love (or amor, for lack of a better term) is a state of affection between two people that transcends all other relationships. It is passion that is rooted not only in sexual attraction, but deeper—in the basic urge for personal self-fulfillment. Usually instigated by a powerful simpatico with someone special, it expresses what appears to be an existential need for completion or validation. Only by uniting with that other person can this need be met. Amor, when it happens (even when we think it happens), is a powerful, life-transforming experience.

(Page 92) Romantic love elevates consciousness from the mundane of everyday living to a higher level of experience. It is not illusion per se. It makes us see things in a new light.
     That being said, I agree with cynics who say that romantic love exists only in our imaginations. What's wrong with that? Existing only in the mind makes amor as real as any other virtuous ideal, for it is the nature of an ideal to reflect itself through our aspirations. Our response is what makes them real. Is loyalty something that lives outside of human dynamics? Courage? Honesty? Temperance? Hope? Honor? Justice? These are all constructs of the mind. They don't exist on their own. We give them substance though the way we live.

(Page 93, 94) Looking back on the harsh realities of medieval times, it might seem strange that the ethical code of the seasoned warrior included matters of the heart—but it did.
     Chivalry would be incomplete if it ignored the vast arena of gender relationships, just as men are incomplete when they don't know how to relate with women.
We need such an ethic today.

(Page 94) Love represents the final culmination of chivalry. Why? Because it challenges us to take our ideals seriously by applying them to our relationships—every day! What good are ideals if they remain separate from who we are?
     In this context, our relationships with women challenge us like nothing else can.

(Pages 96, 97) Love is the highest religious impulse there is.
     For one thing, it the most personal. It affirms the individual as a creature capable of love, while affirming the beloved as worthy of such love.
It is also the most real. It is not transubstantiation. It is not an ancient relic. It is not praying into the silence hoping to be heard, or feelings of guilt that disaffirm the very life we would otherwise enjoy.
     It flourishes on truth. Romantic love, despite its romanticized tendencies, actually requires the shedding of illusions. Each person must be completely revealed in order to be accepted. That this experience touches the mystery of life makes it transcendent.
     It is the impulse toward union. If God is love, than the union it begets is nothing less than an act of God in our personal lives. Indeed, amor makes spiritual love tangible. In this, worship is made more real.
     It is a daily sacrifice of self, while humbly accepting the beneficence of someone else.
     It brings new life into the world. Indeed, it is life itself.
     Love includes faith in that other person, and hope as well.
     Its spiritual intensity can be likened to prayer.
     We draw life from its beauty, security from its steadfastness, joy from its levity and tenacity.
     Most mysterious of all, in moments of serene quiet, we discover the sublime.

Chapter 7
Humility

(Page 108, 109) Power, aggression, vanity and pride conflict with all the positive ideals that chivalry represents. A man who is full of himself has little interest in the quest for truth. He cannot see women as equals. Justice is degraded into the concept of might makes right. He may defend the weak when he has a mind to, but not for the right reason. Romantic love? Impossible. The love of self is too prominent.

(Page 117) The humble person never assumes he has all the answers. He is careful and weighs the evidence even against the possibility of his own prejudice. He seeks the truth that transcends political agendas. By always remaining a student of life, he is not a fool.

(Page 121) We are only human—all of us. We make mistakes. Our perception of reality is and always will be limited. Money cannot define us. If we believe that it can, what does that say of our values? Without following meticulous hygiene, our bodies smell like those of any other beast of the field. We get moody. We hurt other people. We turn our backs on the suffering of others, while idolizing celebrities who are just as human and fallible.
     In other words, we have good reason to be humble.

Chapter 8
Loyalty

(Page 126) Our system is basically good, and yet it sacrificed something intangible when it elevated law above humanity. Victims become further victimized by professional advocates who have no interest in justice, but in winning alone. Prosecutors, bogged down by heavy caseloads, often weigh their decisions by availability of time. Words like right and wrong are spoken only to invoke a convenient tug of conscience now and then. In reality, they are superseded by other words, such as expedience, loopholes for the rich, and plea bargaining.

Chapter 9
The Knight and his Sword

(Page 132) Can you imagine a Round Table of bright, intelligent people (not just men), all dedicated to the task of setting things right? I'm not talking about a representatives of special interests, each with his or her own agenda. That would be far too limited. A preferred agenda uniting them all would be a dedication to truth and a desire for action and results. Think of what this Round Table could accomplish—if only through inspiration!
     Instead, we are impeded with a faceless politically correct, corporate mentality that believes that no one is responsible, no one to blame—as if the problems of the world just appeared out of thin air.
     The system we live in today does not allow for true heroes to step forward. There is no door to enter, no castle to storm, no innocent victim to rescue. Most destructive of all, there is no honorable leader deserving of our loyalty and respect.
     The enemy is faceless. We look for him everywhere, and see only ourselves.
     There is reason for that.
     The enemy is our own deprivation of heroic self.

Chapter 10
Religion and the Knight Errant

(Page 145) Medieval faith was imbued with an existential dimension that is, for the most part, missing today. It revered not only scripture and tradition, but the very mystery of existence which religion underscored and tried to explain. Unable to comprehend the scientific understanding of things we now take for granted, spiritual reality seemed reasonable indeed.
     We tend to forget that science, as informative and reliable as it is, does explain everything. Even with the help of Darwin's theory of evolution, the origins of life on earth are veiled within a greater mystery that points to existence itself. We came from this mystery. Our conscious lives remain part of it.

(Page 151) The beauty of the cult of male virtue is its capability for uniting men of good will. We do not have to agree with each other on every subject, belong to the same organizations, or even salute the same flag. Believers and nonbelievers can be people of the highest integrity. So can conservatives and liberals—and people of other cultures with whom we seem to have little in common. We remain men first. Our disagreements are the result of the freedom we hold so dear.

Chapter 11
King Arthur's Knights

(Page 156) That we exist within a unity of life, however, makes the consequences of our actions are very important. They ripple beyond our immediate circle, surviving us in ways we can't imagine. Our very presence affects all that surrounds us, for good or ill.
     In this regard, our lives have serious impact on the world. Our personal dignity is decided upon by the direction we take in our everyday affairs.
     If we do not cultivate nobility in our souls, then yes, we deserve a fate that is meaningless. The wages of sin, after all, is death.
     If we take claim of our nobility, if we rise above our lowest urges, we deserve better.

(Page 157) The virtues of chivalry are clear about such things. They offer no false promises or empty consolations. We have a distinct choice in life: to be a hero or a coward.
     Which will it be? With one, we gain the fullness of our adventures, tragedies and joy. With the other, we wallow in the mud of superficial living, consuming far more than we contribute. This last choice is an insult to the universe itself—that the miracle of life that it created has gone to waste.

(Page 159, 160) The truth is, we can never be armor-clad knights like those associated with King Arthur. Those days are gone. Chivalry will not reward us with land or castles or a princess. What it can reward us with is an identity we can be proud of, one that contributes positively to the quality of our lives and the lives of those around us. Isn't that what life is all about?
     The chivalry espoused in this book is not just a code of ethics. It is a spiritual quest for personal development meant to carry us to higher levels of awareness. It affirms our intrinsic value to the universe, because it affirms our direction as men.

Chapter 12
The Holy Grail

(Page 165) The Quest for the Holy Grail is not easily defined. Its philosophical roots are far more complex than the romances let on, and probably more profound than their authors realized. Even today we struggle with its secrets. In that respect, our striving to understand the Grail connects us to that original quest. Like those original Knights of the Round Table, we know we may fail—yet we continue to search, knowing that the search itself is is worth all our efforts.

Chapter 13
That Special Lady

(Page 188) Nowhere is a commitment to chivalry more crucial than in our love relationships. Living with a woman brings all our beliefs and values into play—not just for an hour, or five workdays a week, but daily for the rest of our lives. We discover who we really are in the eyes of the woman we love. She has invested her happiness in who we are as men. She sees us when our guard is down, and picks us up when we fail. She is our partner and most excellent friend. If our love is true, she is also the source of our greatest inspiration—the person for whom we most want to succeed.

(Page 191) Choosing the right woman is only half the battle. What you bring to the table is just as important. For one thing, you want to own the personal qualities that will attract the woman of our dreams. How else can you foster a positive, long-range relationship?
     This is where chivalry serves us well. Heterosexual women want and need men who are complete—not helpless, unruly boys dressed up to look strong and aggressive. This means someone with the qualities that chivalry advocates: honest, loyal, just, supportive, reliable, kind, protective and loving. They want partners they can trust, who will be there for them through thick and thin.
     When you think of it, we want the same thing. It is appropriate to look for this in prospective mate, but have to work to develop it in ourselves.

(Page 195) To men who mistakenly insist on being the head of the family, I humbly suggest that when it comes to the warmth, function and well-being of family, it is the heart which is more important. That heart is generally found in the wife and mother. When you realize that, and really understand it, your proper and still valuable role in the household more naturally falls in place. The longing for kingship is often the cause of misery for everyone involved. Better to be a knight.

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