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Beyond Reason

(The following article explains how the ethical/cultural approach of Chivalry-Now provides an important avenue for change that is otherwise missing today.)

What is the purpose or meaning of human life?
     The question lingers in the air but nothing definitive comes to mind. The silence is disturbing, because it reflects upon us - who we are, what value we can claim, and the direction of our lives that we should be taking. We soon come to realize that if we want to find a plausible answer, we have to look for it ourselves.
     Of course, for all we know there may be no answer, which leaves us with one alternative that many people readily adopt. They train themselves not to think about it. They effectively distract themselves from their inner anxieties by use of a never-ending stream of entertainment and other diversions. For those of us who take life more seriously, however, such artificial escapes are repellent. Our quest remains.
     Where do we start? Self-esteem workshops? Philosophy courses? Meditation? Life-styles of the rich and famous? Reality TV? The answer could be hiding anywhere.
     Of course not just any answer will do. It has to be reasonable, believable. It has to register deep inside, illuminate our lives with a new sense of meaning and direction. Anything less is just another diversion.
     The thought comes to mind that other people, smarter than ourselves, have sought this elusive grail and come up empty-handed. What can we learn from their failures? What were they doing wrong? How is it that our distant ancestors fared so much better in regards to purpose and meaning?
     Perhaps they found their answer in a different way. Not through searching ancient archives, or straining their thought processes, but in the way they lived, the things they believed, the human impulses that dominated the pre-technological landscape. Perhaps they were more in tune with the voice and wisdom of their own conscience.
     As Blaise Pascal once said, "The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing."
     The lesson that conscience offers goes something like this. We know in our hearts that we are moral creatures. Moral creatures are meant to live morally, despite their weaknesses, failings, and immoral transgressions. We know this intuitively when we listen to our inner conscience, which needs no rational deduction. Perhaps this is why the modern psyche fails to recognize it. Conscience tells us that we do have purpose, and we should live our lives purposefully. Simply put, as moral, rational beings, our purpose is to bring virtue into the world, and help restore the primacy of conscience in everyone.
     History provides myriad examples - in scripture, literature, myth and legends, symbols and rituals, the heroic ideal, the Sermon on the Mount, the good guy riding into the sunset, and the knight on his quest. These are not catchy phrases or verbal explanations. They are illustrations of purpose to which the human psyche responds.
     These revelatory illustrations no longer hold the stature they once had. We live in an age of intellectual hubris that assumes too much, and understands too little, ignoring what fails the test of reason. Because of that, our quest must pull away a little. If purpose and meaning could be purchased, or earned, or examined mathematically, we would have them in abundance. Unfortunately, we scarcely recognize the limits of our own cognitive habits.
     The truth is, purpose and meaning are not readily apparent, nor do they fall out of the sky. Our existential challenge is to create them, and the way to do that is through our commitments, especially those that are made to a higher cause.
With this in mind, Chivalry-Now presents a distillation of moral commitments that show us the way. We call them the 12 Trusts, a code of moral behavior that references the nobility of human potential. In a world subject to the constant upheavals of rapid change, this code preserves the essence of moral aptitude that is needed to carry us forward.
     The 12 Trusts, in their simplicity, and strongly rooted in our cultural past, present ideals that we intuitively recognize as valid. Taken seriously, they introduce us to the quest for truth and virtue, and from there to our own enlightenment.
For example, the 1st Trust tells us to develop our lives for the greater good. No lengthy explanation. No footnotes. No quotes from scripture or philosophy. No scientific research to back things up. We simply know that the purpose we seek is found in doing what is right, which also leads to our own personal fulfillment. When we commit ourselves to that path, which is not really a path at all, but a solemn dedication to life, the anxiety of our contingency recedes and our spirit is reborn.
     The other Trusts are equally affirming. Speak the truth. Do not desecrate yourself with greed. A good character is more valuable than gold. Justice demands defending the helpless, being fair to all, and generous to the poor. The noble heart does not delight in slander and gossip. In the search for truth, humility pushes ego aside so that we can see more clearly.
     It all comes down to this. Purpose and meaning are more than intellectual exercises. They can only be found in the doing, not in the thinking.
     If you want to engage in this quest, which is, in a real sense, your life, the 12 Trusts can connect you with your living conscience.
     Until such time as you join us…

Seek the Knight Within.


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