The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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A Life Worth Living

"Death is not the greatest loss in life.
The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live."
—Norman Cousins

One of our readers sent me that quote, saying that it helped him be true to his personal quest.
     I can think of no clearer words to explain why chivalry, the quest especially, is so important to each and every one of us.
     We instinctively know that Norman Cousins is right. Unless life is embraced wholeheartedly, and with fervent reflection, something dies within us — or rather the deepest part of us fails to come alive. There is profound tragedy in this failure. We want to experience the fullness of life, the authenticity of every moment. Why else are we alive?
     Many of us are drawn to chivalry as a response to this incompleteness.
     We see it everywhere. Children are tamed to the point of acquiescence. Parents and laborers toil mindlessly. We consider it our duty to sit in front of the television for our daily ration of commercials. Celebrities are paraded in front of us as if their phony lives made them somehow more important than us — and we believe it.
     The herd mentality pushes us to fit-in whenever possible. (Millions of people can't be wrong. Or can they?) Newscasters shape our values by deciding what's important and then drilling it into our subconscious. Pundits do our thinking for us. Television preachers act as if they were God's emissaries so we can forego the direct experience of spirituality.
     Everything is set to make life easy. Less and less is required. We scarcely have to think for ourselves at all. The message? Buy into the system, consume as many products as possible and don't make waves!
     It's all so easy, yet something nags in the pit of our stomachs. Time slips through our fingers, leaving a personal emptiness that clever television commercials can't satisfy. We are so bombarded by illusion that the resulting unreality seems to close around us.
     We die a little every day, and are poorly rewarded for the sacrifice. The result is a discontent that smolders deep inside. We try to ignore it, but the message is clear. There is more to life than we are being told.
     And then chivalry comes along and that tells us that life is an adventure — that if we live it well, it can even be heroic. Something inside us responds with a resounding "yes!"
     Oddly enough, what appeals to us most are the simple ideals that chivalry speaks of: truth, justice, doing good deeds, giving ourselves to noble causes, and to commitments of love.
     Today's commercialism, in contrast, focuses on other things. It tries hard to convince us that satisfaction can be found in the right car or pair of sneakers. It tells us what matters most is what other people think, not the quality of who we are and what we believe.
     Chivalry teaches something altogether different. Authentic life means living authentically. It means you and me, here and now. The ideals we embrace make that happen. We cannot be heroic or even real without them.
     Morality is not something outside us. It is the essence of who we are. When fail to live our highest impulses, something inside us dies, just as Norman Cousins said.
    
This is the purpose of Chivalry-Now, to reconnect us to the fount of truth that exists in us as men already, begging for liberation.

Consider:

    • The search for truth is nothing less than a direct experience of life.
    • Wresting with moral ambiguities is where heroism is born.
    • Contributing to the well-being of humanity gives us purpose and meaning.
    • Building who we are with our own inner blueprint defines what character is all about.
    • Justice purifies our vision.
    • Humility enlightens our perspective.
    • Love completes us like nothing else can.
    • Courtesy draws it all together, while brotherhood unites us all.

These qualities are what pull our lives together and completes who we are.
     Inevitable death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is failing to fully live before we die. The greatest sin is wasting our lives to the numbness of consumerism, even for one irreplaceable moment.
    
Chivalry calls to what is inside us already, struggling to live. It is not something imposed from outside. It is the awakening of who we are as men.
     It tells us that what we need is ours already.
    
All we need is to open our eyes and live it.

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