image of a knight is very strong in Western culture.
We see him as a medieval warrior who
exemplifies certain ideals, fearless, confident, a civilizing presence
emerging from darkness, glorified by romantic tales. He is adorned
by various types of armor, wielding sword and shield, lance or cudgel.
He rides to adventure on a trusted warhorse to fearlessly challenge evil
wherever he finds it, liberate the oppressed, protect those in need,
and uphold the rights of women.
The knight is more than the stuff
of legend, myth and romance. Even now, his presence in history,
imperfect though it was, continues to provide moral inspiration. His image stirs the hearts with a desire for justice, even as the world contradicts all he stands
The inspiration we feel comes not so much from
the knight's image, but from within ourselves, the noble quality that depicts human nature at its finest. All we need do is claim it as our own.
The attainment of knighthood therefore speaks of transformation,
the kind that only comes from a strong commitment
to what is just and good. Chivalry, as a life ethic, reflects the highest aspirations
of what it means to be human. We are less for the want of it, despite whatever "good life" we
enjoy that ebbs and flows without moral direction.
The knight's image reveals that our destiny, if we choose to grasp it, is to advocate for the values that create a better world for
all not just for some. It is knowing that any lesser vision ends upcontributing
The knight's strength comes from the
moral conviction of certain high principles. Living
those principles brings them to life, elevating what it means to be an authentic person.
In a very real sense, the image of
a knight, reflecting courtesy and fairness, strength adorned with
purpose, dependability and dedication to all that is good, defines the highest
potential of humanity. Here we find the essence of noble ideals, despite
our fallibility. Indeed, it is this contest between ideals and
fallibility, always at leaning toward the former, that shapes
our final concept.
How does this image translate for
today's world? What can we glean from the legacy of knighthood for
our everyday lives? More succinctly, from our perspective, what does it mean to be a Knight of Chivalry-Now?
First and foremost, the Knight must
be a proponent of today's chivalry. His personal commitment must
be total and inviolate not just a momentary grasp of ego, a façade without depth or substance. It is, and must be,
a matter of soul, of personal authenticity.
A true Knight of Chivalry-Now must earns the claim to knighthood every day. Not in the form of fantasy, or empty wish fulfillment, or a single good deed. That would make it meaningless. Think of Knighthood as a second birth. It comes into being through the pangs of
labor and careful nurturing, physically, intellectually, spiritually.
It can be likened to the making of a fine sword, hammered into shape
by life itself, fired by adversity, tempered by self-control. It
encompasses growth and maturity of spirit, a willingness to learn
by confronting truth with bold commitment.
If being a Knight is to be real, it cannot be a passing fad or honorarium. No
halfway measures, doing only what is comfortable or convenient. One cannot be half a knight, or indulge in it part-time.
It is real as manifested in one's life, or it is just an act.
Knighthood means something because it demands nobility of
heart, a personal transformation that transcends circumstances
of birth and the idiocy of pride. We bow to no one, but humbly submit
ourselves to Truth and the Mystery that sustains it.
In short, we accept the responsibility
of our own lives by taking it to the highest level in thought, word
Knighthood is as challenging as life itself, when life is taken seriously. It confronts
the vicissitudes that come from everyday living. It struggles to rectify tragedy.
It lives. It strives. It carries the blessing and burden of self-knowledge.
It weeps for the innocent and pities the guilty, who once were innocent
It longs for a better world enough
to work for it, and fight when necessary. It carries an inner
vision of the sublime, and never sacrifices hope.
Knighthood is an ideal, but its attainment stops
far short of perfection. No one is perfect. It is the effort of striving to improve ourselves that true nobility is born.
Chivalry-Now has reinstituted
Knighthood under the banner of its code, the 12 Trusts. It recognizes that each person's life is the quest from which we either grow, become complacent, or are crushed. To be a Knight includes the following:
- Today's iteration of a Knight
is first of all being a person in the fullest sense of the word. An open-minded
thinker, a searcher for truth living the adventure of a never-ending quest.
- The Knight upholds certain admirable principles, often encapsulated by a code
of ethics, such as the 12 Trusts.
- The Knight holds
sacred the vision of a better world to which he or she contributes daily. Knights are citizens of that better world, or emissaries, and live accordingly.
- At this point in time, Today's Knight is one
of the first fruits of the Chivalry-Now movement, an advocate
for our principles, who leads others not through dictate but through
example. He or she, as much as they are faithful, are official
members of a Round Table that circles the earth.
Our aim is to produce a sufficient
number of Knights to represent Chivalry-Now and carry
its principles back into a culture in dire need of them, thereby replacing what was