The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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Is Chivalry Innate?

An important premise of Chivalry-Now is that the longing for chivalric principles is innate in men, at least those of Western culture.
    Is this is true? Or just wishful thinking?
    I believe it's true because that's how I experienced it in my own life. In my years working in social services, I had the opportunity to see both sides of the issue. This was bolstered by listening to the stories of other men as well, especially from those in our Companionship.
    Chivalry had to come from somewhere. Why not directly from ourselves? When we hear the Twelve Trusts, or similar codes, something seems to click inside, affirming a readymade connection we might otherwise not have noticed. This is too common to be an accident. Our feelings are real. The connection is so direct, our response so spontaneous, how else can we explain it?
    Our culture certainly feeds this to an extent. Elements of chivalry can be found in literature, film, myth, religion and cultural ideals despite their lack of prominence in today's world. They usually reside suppressed, just beneath the surface, waiting to make themselves known.
    We see it in others too, in the honor and loyalty that boys display among their friends from a very young age. In soldiers risking their lives for their comrades, or anyone who stands up for heroic causes.
    On the other side, we've all seen men for whom chivalry has no appeal. I've seen young boys, already unrepentant, who act like bullies from the start. There are prisons filled with men who have no concern for law or justice or fair play, who abuse women without conscience, and fathers who don't care enough to support their children. The television screen shows us two-dimensional images strutting around as if the definition of man was nothing more than arrogance.
    I see angry men blaming others for their own deficiencies, buying into ideologies that lead nowhere positive. I see men who lie to get what they want, no matter who gets hurt.
    Is chivalry innate in them as well?
    I can't answer that. On the surface, it would seem that chivalry is completely foreign to these men, and could never make an impact on their lives. Without conscience or compassion, chivalry has no soil to extend its roots.
    All I can say is this: What kind of world were they born into? One in which chivalric principles were recognized, honored and encouraged? Or just the opposite? What shaped their discontent, their spiritually bereft vision of life? What messages did they hear from their broken culture? What did their parents teach them? What music formed the rhythm of their souls? What values did television instill in their lives?
    Was there ever a time when they might have chosen a different path? As children, did they ever look into the eyes of a good man and see the nobility that could be theirs?
    It's easy to throw blame at fathers, mothers and television producers. Nothing comes of it except a warning for today's parents.
    Until we devise some test to determine what is morally innate in men, I think our theory serves us well. The culture we know, the history that shaped it, the principles and passions embodied in our Companions, all confirm that there is more to our spiritual DNA than meets the eye.
The final proof, for me at least, is looking at a world where chivalry has been suppressed by values less noble and less humane. My heart informa me what words cannot express. The anguish is visceral, almost existential.
We are being called by every fiber of our being to reclaim what was lost.

(See Good or Evil to continue this topic.)


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