- Rooted in the Past
is a unique collection of moral principles drawn from a variety
of sources indigenous to Western civilization.
Its origins reach back to the misty forests of
European antiquity, where heroic myths and legends quickened the
hearts of young warriors with dreams of achievement. In Greece,
the Axial Period spawned the searching questions of Socrates,
the observations of Aristotle, the self-discipline and meditation
of the Stoics. The tribal loyalties of the Celts and Germanic
tribes later added to the mix, followed by the republican yearnings
of the Romans, and Christian morality. All of these and more
coalesced in the fictional literature of King Arthur, where
a whole panoply of virtues transformed themselves into single code
of ethics. Their commonality centered on a respect for the individual
that placed him as a unique and important player in the world
what was then called chivalry, and today referred to as the hero's
The result was an incredible fusion of the secular
and the spiritual that set moral doctrine aside for with something
based more on personal experience: "the quest."
Those who participated in the quest were challenged to find truth
for themselves directly from everyday experience. Here we find a
spark of consciousness that defies convention, placing the onus
of personal growth directly on the individual's encounter with reality.
This shifted responsibility from the teacher or leader, parent or
community, and placed it where it belongs, on the personal choices
that every person makes. The whole premise of the quest, despite
occasional religious overtones, is surprisingly existential. It
recognizes the control each person has in life, and holds one accountable
The quest requires us to learn, understand and
fully participate in the living moment. The reward for participation
is nothing less than the experience of personal authenticity in
the lives we lead. We become more real, more attuned with our surroundings,
more involved with our relationships. Our moral center expresses
itself more directly. In Chivalry-Now, we refer to this as
On top of this foundation, which infused itself
into Western culture, came further developments that at first superseded
all the rest.
The Age of Chivalry gave birth to the
European Renaissance, where talented geniuses like Leonardo
da Vinci excelled in mathematics, science, and art.
The Age of Enlightenment, also known as
the Age of Reason, liberated minds from the shackles of feudalism
to create a new form of government based on the aspirations of maximizing
freedom. Tolerance was key, along with a belief in human equality.
Psychology revealed aspects of human nature
never previously recognized.
Existentialism provided the individual
with a philosophy based on responsibility and dealing with reality
as it really is.
A thousand other great scientific and philosophical
tributaries add to the sum of our knowledge every day.
There were setbacks, of course. Disconnected
from some of its ethical standards, the empowerment of liberty in
the West lacked a positive foundation. Even today, many people fail
to realize that true freedom is not about license. It concerns itself
with the attainment of personal authenticity.
Chivalry-Now attempts to reconnect the
wealth of today's knowledge with the ethical and philosophical principles
that will complete them.
For example, capitalism, without a true foundation
of ethics and good intent, becomes easily reducible to greed, which
then cultivates greed throughout society. In the hands of people
who embrace ethical integrity, along with compassion for others,
capitalism becomes a profound tool for the betterment of all. Its
goal is not winning over everyone else, or coming out on top, but
making sure that the system benefits everyone, while maximizing
the prospect of freedom.
Politics, another example, is little more than
a bloody free-for-all of hidden strategy and deceit, until worthy
people make it the honorable profession that it should be.
Everything we do, all our aspirations, hopes
and dreams, are what we make of them. Our actions reflect who we
are. If the culture we sustain lacks honesty and honor, and blinds
us to mindless competition, if our religions become little more
than carnival entertainment that dulls our discernment, if our government
of the people no longer serves the people properly, we have only
ourselves to blame. If our values contradict each other because
they no longer have a reliable foundation, conflict and chaos are
the natural result.
Resurrecting honor and integrity, love for neighbor
and respect for the world we live on, puts everything else into
sharper focus. Cooperation replaces contention. Values compliment
rather than contend. Evil is more effectively confronted and defeated.
Progress moves in the right direction.
This is what Chivalry-Now is all about
filling the cultural gap by reconnecting the philosophical
pieces. Answers are there for the taking. As products of Western
culture we sense that already. We intuit it. Reason, compassion
and freedom make for a better world. Committing ourselves to this
is the essence of today's knight-errant.
In our midst we have people who have accepted
this charge. Many of them are recognized as Companions of Chivalry-Now,
a fellowship that believes in a chivalric code of ethics. We freely
admit to being accountable for our words and deeds. We reject stagnant
thinking in order to think clearly for ourselves.
Part of this is separating ourselves, at least
cognitively, from forces that would shape us to ally with falsehood.
If, through our commitment, the quest imbues everything we do and
say with a rich, new clarity of life, then we become free and moral
individuals first. Only then, peripherally, are we Republicans,
Democrats or Independents; only then are we business-people or ministers
or professionals. We no longer sacrifice our lives to the ready-made
manipulations that society provides, but live fully in the here
Moral questions are serious questions, not just
part of the unending hodgepodge of consumerism that vies for our
attention. Chivalry is a stand in which we dare to define ourselves
as men and women, in a marketplace environment that perpetually
reduces us to consumers, or Joe SixPacks, or helpless
victims. Carrying knighthood in our hearts, we refuse to accept
the deepest sense, Chivalry-Now calls us "to become
who we really are." It does not sell us someone else's
morality, but brings to life what is best in us already. It is a
means, rather than an end. The message it carries is nothing less
than the cry of our souls for liberation.
is the birthright of every human being. We attain it not through
name or inheritance, but through our everyday choices, our deeds,
great and small, the depth of our compassion, the self-discipline
(Without self-control, who controls us?)