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Looking Out for Number One

The fellow could not have said it more clearly:

"If I hear the word honor one more time I am going to scream. No one talks like this in real life who is not a loser. Look, none of us are samurai, Jedi, or medieval knights. It's okay to cheat once and a while. Virtually everyone cheats at something in life. Nothing wrong with looking out for number one." (emphasis added)

In those simple words, he expressed the most prevalent challenge to Chivalry-Now: the mindset that ideals and values are for losers. Everyone cheats once and a while. Because we are not part of an archaic institution like knighthood, we are not expected to be motivated by honor.
     And that last, all revealing statement, about "looking out for number one…"
     The quote was taken from a blogger who participated in a group discussion about cheating at a game.
     His sentiments come through distinctly, expressing the certainty of being realistic. He feels his point of view is obvious in the real world, and that ideals, such as honor, have no place in leading a successful life.
     What's sad is that he is probably a good person who really believes what he said. He took the time to look at the world around him, made these conclusions, and now passes them on to others. What could be more realistic?
     This is the prevailing mindset that we are up against-the kind that commits a deaf ear to what Chivalry-Now is all about. The ideals of honesty and personal honor must seem like a ridiculous straight-jacket to them. The world they perceive calls for being more savvy, streetwise, constantly on the lookout for personal advantage, even at the expense of others.
     
In many ways they are right. This is the world they live in. What attitude could possibly be more realistic? And so they adopt that way of thinking as the most obvious tactic for survival, pitying those who think otherwise. In this way, they contribute to a world view that puts aside ideals and re-measures values, creating a whole lot of number ones who conflict with one another in many and subtle ways. And when they someday reach out to someone for the truth, and do not receive it, they will know they were right all along, never considering how they helped to make it that way.
     
The person who responded to his statement had this to say:

"Read chivalrynow.net and you will learn. Many people have codes of honor, particularly members of the military. I have a code of honor, and consider myself honorable. I do not cheat, and it is because of my honor." (his emphasis)

Do such admirable sentiments break through the defenses of the other? Probably not, and this is what is sad about the man who rejects honor because he is convinced it has no value. Something inside him is detached, or made numb by a world of harsh realities. He sees idealism as the height of naiveté. And perhaps he is right.
     Ideals like Chivalry-Now do appeal to those who are naïve, or innocent, or dreamers, people who think that hope is still alive. To some extent, they set themselves up for disappointment, and may be ill-prepared for life's harshness.
     But there are also those who have left naiveté behind, and have come to the conclusion that the world needs high ideals if we are to continue to survive as a species. They look at the world with a clarity that transcends the myopia that thinks only of "number one."
     While the idealism professed by Chivalry-Now may appear like a romantic, pie-in-the-sky solution, it carries a certainty and realism that neither the dreamer nor the skeptic fully comprehends. It has no illusion about the problems we are up against, or the everyday temptations that pull well-meaning people under.
     Chivalry-Now points to a more realistic kind of idealism. We recognize the struggle we are up against in the world of celebrity-worship and the anti-hero. We see very clearly that our political leaders, for the most part, do not live up our expectations. We know that the word patriotism is more often used to choke free thought rather than motivate it. We understand that a lot of people are jaded to anything that calls out for sacrifice and doing good.
     The difference is that we still believe that personal virtue can make things better, and it is our duty, our supreme obligation as human beings to bring that virtue to life.
     It is said that the "age of chivalry has gone, and has been replaced by one of calculators and economists." Is it any wonder that we live in a world of skepticism and apathy? A world where profit and looking out for number one take control of our instincts?
     Like knights of old, those who believe in Chivalry-Now have their work cut out for them. We need to see the problems clearly, and not approach them hiding behind a shield of naiveté. We need to be strong, malleable and realistic in our commitment. We need to train ourselves as warriors of truth and courtesy, not because we are losers, but to avoid losing everything that counts. We need to replace our competitive pride with the personal honor of doing what is right and selfless and good. We need to be convinced, in no uncertain terms, that what we are doing is correct. Not only will the world benefits from our actions, but we will benefit as well. We will enjoy abundantly a full measure of authentic life.
     
To the fellow concerned with looking out for number one, I suggest he consider dedicating himself to a greater purpose, a Oneness worthy of his greatest efforts, that includes us all.

 

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