The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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Chivalry-Now - Rooted in the Past

Chivalry-Now 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 journey.
    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 for it.
    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 Grail Consciousness.
    On top of this foundation, which infused itself into Western culture, came further developments that at first superseded all the rest.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 and now.
    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 such limits.
In 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.
Nobility 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 of self-control.
    (Without self-control, who controls us?)


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