Be a Man
of our Companions, Matt Pierce, said it clearly
in one of his emails:
our chivalrous inclinations are almost a genetic desire
to behave like men.
Men want to behave like men, but changes
in society and the things we value have distorted what we think
being a man is.
You could make the argument that men
who live outside morally acceptable behavior probably see themselves
as acting in "manly." You could even argue that serial
rapists and some mass murderers probably had their "genetic
chivalry" stripped from them, either by a domineering parent
or society, to a point that their psyche lashes out in an effort
to bring balance to themselves.
We have become so concerned with
appearing to behave as men that we have lost site of what it truly
means to be a man. We have lost connection with our truer,
inner selves to a point that we are imploding and dragging the
world down with us.
He hits it
right on the head. As a man, our greatest desire and highest
calling is to be just that, a man. But what does that mean? Our
culture fails to define it.
Madison Avenue presented their plastic,
two dimensional versions. Nothing real to be gleaned there.
We've seen rebels without causes.
Their loud, confident bravado misses the mark entirely.
Movie writers create ridiculous
personas of men, and then script their parts accordingly. Only then
do celebrity actors bring them to life on the screen. These images
are not men. They are caricatures.
Criminals strut around in prison
as if to say "I'm tough. Nothing is more manly than me."
Men of power exude self-importance
and control over other people. They pretend to know everything to
maintain images of superiority.
Raging young rap singers move like
synchronized puppets, their animus scourging a world that turns
its back on them. What are their bitter complaints looking for?
Love? Respect? A place to fit in? Or a clear definition of what
the world expects from all of us? Their often hateful words strip
away the social veneer and express the raw plight of most men, lost,
angry, disgusted with the entire world for leaving them stranded.
Political leaders, while mouthing
family values, gaze upon sovereign nations as pawns in a chess game.
Drunk with power, they place morality aside whenever they please.
Hundreds of thousands may die for the benefit of
The desecration of highest values?
Religious leaders? Can we look at
the world today and seriously trust any of them? So-called men of
God have taken the idea of religious jihad and proudly behead innocent
people for public attention! They equate slaughter with the will
of God, while many others feel they are right! Priests rape children!
Preachers who condemn moral indecency are found guilty of the same.
The gospel has been reshaped by the unscrupulous to infer that "blessed
are the rich."
Should we look to any of these men for
a spiritual or cultural template that we can proudly
hand our sons?
If not, where do we find it?
Chivalry-Now tells us to stop looking
to others for what we seek. It is an exercise in futility fraught
with illusion. There are no authorities on the subject. Just other
men looking for the same, or surrendering to the lure of ignorance.
The template we seek is
in ourselves, in our spiritual DNA.
Where else could it be? It is found in
our natural longing to be heroic, to have purpose and meaningin
other words, to be a man!
Our cultural roots, developed by people
who were closer to nature, closer to human nature as well, tell
us in broad strokes what that template is composed of: Truth, strength,
respect, courtesy, good deeds, justice, equal partnerships with
women, unselfish love. All the things that contribute to personal
We were born with this template,
but today's culture refuses to recognize, much less nurture, it.
It prefers, instead, to equate manliness with material success.
Why? Because that's how those in control make their profits. They
play on the insecurity of our discontent. They don't want us to
think for ourselves. Businesses thrive on the herd mentality.
Politicians too. Religious leaders and jihadists and bullies and
men of power all derive their influence on fear.
Chivalry-Now points to a better
way: the way of freedom, introspection and self-discovery. It tells
us that the ideals of manhood exist in us all, or did before we
killed it. It encourages us to seek truth for ourselves, and not
be swayed by any man's authority. Learn from them, yes; but "follow"
We are the final arbiters of our
souls, and that demands we think for ourselves. Being
a man is building a man, not shaping ourselves to someone
else's expectations. No one has to tell us right from wrong when
the truth is right in front of us. Consider:
is not some abstract concept found in the realm of lawyers. It
is treating people fairly.
does not fall from the sky. It comes from our own values and commitment.
the most natural male instinct of them all, setting aside childish
self-interests for others in need. This is where the hero in us
is truly born.
is nothing less than the maturation and cleansing of pride.
women as our natural partners is no great leap of ethics.
Nothing could be more obvious.
is a vicious waste of time that shrivels the magnanimity of men's
souls. Nothing is more effete than a man who gossips.
- The value
of courtesy toward others is self-evident, the natural
result of the Golden Rule.
nothing special or esoteric in all this. Just common sense.
What does makes chivalry special is its
invitation, its inspiration, that would not inspire any of us if
there was not something of its kind inside us already.