the 12 Trusts serve as the most visible expression of Chivalry-Now,
the history of this movement, like Western Civilization itself,
extends back to ancient Greece. What developed from this earliest
foundation was shaped by a timeline of contributory concepts that
leads to what we have today. These concepts directly formed the
coherent best of Western culture. Unfortunately, over time, their
rich depth of their meaning, so important to the rationale of Western
ideals, has largely been forgotten. We are left with a hollow edifice,
impressive from the outside, but empty and wavering from within.
The sad result? An advanced society where basic
values conflict with one another. The unspoken, personal frustration
that comes from a lack of significant purpose in life. Pathetically
stagnating, ideological wars of fragmented ideas that prevent cultural
advancement. Scarcely a day passes without regression - anger, ignoring
its actual cause, willing to fixate on anything. A positive sense
of purpose has been replaced by an identity of divisiveness.
remedy this, Chivalry-Now attempts to return what was lost.
It explains the depth of the original concepts that shaped our culture
and give it meaning. It gives us both the tools and direction to
move on. By reclaiming the deeper meaning of truth and freedom,
by articulating the relevance of the highest virtue, by putting
us in touch with the autonomous responsibility provoked by Nature's
Law, Chivalry-Now articulates the inspiration of our
these concepts were once reserved for the training of our fellowship
Companions, the exigencies of the times call for something more
immediate. If we do not rescue Western civilization from the dire
threats of ignorance and greed, which grow stronger every day, the
results may be catastrophic.
concepts proved their potency in the past. The question is, can
they do so again? Can they ignite the inspiration of enough people
to bring about the necessary leap in human consciousness, a new
age firmly based on truth, compassion and free thought? That remains
to be seen.
a very real sense, good reader, our success depends on you.
1: The Nudge of Telos
you ever wish that your life had more significance?
No matter how busy you are, or successful, or
popular, do you ever experience quiet moments when a shadow of self-doubt
crosses your mind, whispering that something is missing in your
life? Something fundamental to your sense of personal fulfillment.
An unspecified cause to stand up for, perhaps. Some purpose that
would make your life exactly what it should be.
In Chivalry-Now, we call this instinctive
nudge of existential conscience "Telos,"
a word from Greek philosophy that translates as "inner aim,"
as in some predetermined expectation of who you should be, and what
you should be doing.
We believe that most people experience this at
some point in their lives - how often depends on how tuned-in they
are with the workings of their own conscience. They usually respond
with a moment's reflection, and then quickly back away from the
threat of existential anxiety. No one wants to think that their
life might be impaired of meaning, or going in the wrong direction.
That this shadow of doubt occurs, however, and in some people quite
often, surely has significance. We do not want our lives to be wasted
or lacking of value or ill-remembered. How to remedy that, however,
places a question mark on our existence.
That we are alive as persons, that we own a living
experience of time that offers a unique perspective, along with
knowing that our lives will someday end, adds to this rub of consciousness.
Just as our genetic makeup produces a distinct pattern of physical
growth, the intuitive prodding of Telos reminds us to expand
morally as well. That means listening to the dictates of conscience,
and applying reason to determine correct action. This is the impetus
of human nature toward virtue. Our unspoken role is to bring truth
and justice and compassion to the world for the benefit of now and
future generations. If we fail to do that, we remain incomplete,
unsatisfied, pricked by the shadow of conscience.
Chivalry-Now, with its 12 Trusts, foundational
concepts (such as Telos), and supportive fellowship, unveils a path
that you can take to fill that spiritual void. We call it the Quest.
You start when you decide to view your own life's journey as a meaningful
process of learning, growing and helping others. Once you accept
that point-of-view, everything that happens next is seen as an opportunity
for truth and self-development. This is the universal message of
the mythology Hero's Journey. We take the virtues that the Quest
teaches us and bring them back for the benefit of all.
this in mind, we invite you to join us. Nothing formal is necessary.
You don't even have to introduce yourself. Just read the material,
think about it, and then follow your heart. Your Quest is uniquely
your own. The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now is
just a nexus where our separate Quests periodically intersect to
find and give mutual support. Its congenial reinforcement makes
progress that much easier.
2: The Personal Goal of Areté
ah rhi tay in English) is an important concept in
Chivalry-Now. You will see it used as a greeting or salute
among our Companions, and as the motto on our official armorial
The word is Greek for 1) excellence; 2)
the highest virtue; and 3) the greatest good.
While grammatically it could apply to the excellent
accomplishment of anything, it refers to something very specific
for our purposes, the highest significant characteristic of human
Ancient Greek philosophers examined human nature
for traits that set it apart from other creatures. They sought to
discover what made us special in order to learn our purpose in the
universe, and better attain that goal. Two traits were seen as definitive:
the use of reason, and the development of virtue.
The combination of reason and virtue is what
makes us most excellently human. We are therefore expected to develop
a high degree of reason and virtue in our lives. When we accomplish
that, it is said that we achieve Areté, our highest virtue.
Philosophers concluded that the goal of human nature is to strive
for this excellence.
Areté lies at the heart of everything
that Chivalry-Now espouses. Reasonable, virtuous people live
reasonable and virtuous lives. Here we find the simple cure for
all our social and political ills, and for dispelling the inner
dissatisfaction that plagues so many of us in our personal lives.
People of Areté simply do not contribute to the cause of
so many problems. They work for the improvement of both themselves
and society instead. They achieve the kind of personhood that places
them consciously in the moment. They respect truth, think for themselves,
and never allow political ideologies to dictate their views. They
do not encourage vice. They are courteous to others because they
understand the value of personal relationships. They exhibit strong
self-control. And lastly, they enjoy life because they are in tune
with it. They enjoy having purpose and meaning, the deprivation
of which dampens life with low self-esteem and lack of direction.
We attain Areté by applying ourselves
to the self-discipline of acquiring virtue and expressing that virtue
through the application of reason. The excellence it implies is
achieved over time. Everyday life is seen as a quest for building
our own Areté, a learning experience through which truth
is found and accumulated, and our intelligence and compassion grow
accordingly. Areté leads to personal fulfillment.
our commitment is real, Chivalry-Now helps us achieve that
goal. First of all, it calls our attention to the concept of Areté,
a task which our culture should be doing as matter of course, but
does not. Next, it provides the 12 Trusts as a simple
moral guide that expresses our own innate values that need to be
reclaimed. It teaches us to live life as a quest in order for Areté
to develop as nature intended. It provides courteous fellowship
to help us on our individual paths. Its deeper concepts (Telos,
Areté, Aletheia, Nature's Law, etc.) provide profound
catalysts for thought, while fleshing out the meaning of our own
western ideals so that they make sense and pull us back on track.
or not you join us, you can still benefit by thinking about Areté,
and how it can apply to your life. When you do that, the process
of healing and growth begins, for yourself and for the society of
which you are part.
3: Aletheia, A More Comprehensive Understanding of Truth
translate the Greek word Aletheia into English simply as "truth."
Unfortunately, this fails to convey the distinct nuances that make
it so profound.
The first nuance means "to remember."
This suggests that truth is something we already know, but need
to consciously recall. This is very important to moral tendencies
that appear to be instinctive rather than learned, such as the dictates
of conscience. We own them already. Because they are part of who
we are, their development is essential to our growth and fulfillment.
This amounts to a very subjective relationship with
moral truth that springs from our own cognitive functions.
The second means "to discover,"
which well describes our relationship with experiential truth. We
approach it objectively, with inquiry, logic, research
and method, and form reasonable conclusions. This applies to a wide
range of our everyday encounters and understanding of the world.
The scientific method accounts for most of the comforts and benefits
we associate with modernity and progress.
The third nuance, at first glance, seems completely
unrelated to the others. It translates into English as "a
not-death experience." This suggests that the encounter
with truth, whether it comes subjectively, objectively or both,
is life-enhancing. On one hand, it is a common experience
to feel more alive when we search for some truth that interests
us. Excited. Energized. On the other hand, once we obtain a growing
understanding of truth, especially in its depth, our conscious experience
of everything becomes more expansive. We move away from what might
be described as spiritual death, stagnation of the soul, atrophy
of the mind. We become, instead, living conduits of truth, warriors
of light dispelling the darkness of ignorance. The true hero
is the one who makes this vital transition, not only for oneself
but for humanity as well. this is the purpose of the quest.
Combining these three nuances, a more accurate
translation of the word Aletheia would be more like this: "a
subjective/objective relationship with truth that brings life to
our deeper selves." It is a worthy goal, a spiritual
enterprise worth contemplating, and therefore an ideal for which
we should strive. When Chivalry-Now speaks of truth, this
is what we mean.
So, truth has meaning for us that transcends
the mere accumulation of fact. Truth is a primary requirement
for the human condition. In a world swirling with illusions,
the quest for truth allows us to develop as we should. When embraced,
it adds to our personal evolution, elevating us to whole new vistas
of awareness in the here and now. What we sometimes refer to as
Grail Consciousness is the added allure of the quest for
truth by confronting the mystery surrounding it. We will discuss
4: The Personal Transformation of Agagnorisis
refers to a very specific kind of personal transformation.
In early Greek drama, it represented the point
in the story when a character learns a profound truth that causes
all misleading illusions to dissolve. Nothing is left but real self
and the world as it truly is. This is best illustrated in Sophocles
famous tragedy Oedipus Rex. When Oedipus learns of
his true parentage, the sinful side of his greatness is revealed.
He is no longer the same man. He cant be. Truth has changed
him to the core. His vision is so clear, in fact, that he blinds
himself to the shame that he cannot accept.
For Chivalry-Now, the concept of Anagnorisis
is not one of tragedy but of liberation and positive rebirth. It
is change of perception, a change of consciousness itself, brought
about when our heros journey, our personal quest for truth,
is sufficiently able to jar us from the trap of illusion induced
complacency. We become more alive. We see things differently. The
lure of following the crowd loses its power. Illusions no longer
appeal as they did before. It is like seeing the world for the very
first time, in all its struggling beauty, majesty and dreadful challenges.
It also reveals the baseness of life that we must contend with,
and hopefully turn around. It brings with it a pause button of sorts,
which empowers us to slow things down, see them more clearly and
reflect on their significance.
This change can be sudden and dramatic, or gradual.
Sadly, for those who are not open to the possibility, who are addicted
to the constant stream of distractions that mollify us, it may not
come at all.
once said that the truth will make you free.
He also spoke about rebirth, of being born again.
Powerful words. While Christian dogma may apply the meaning differently,
Anagnorisis reflects their simplest, experiential meaning. Anagnorisis
is not a matter of faith limited to true believers, It is
a matter of direct experience available to us all. It is
a turning point that substantially changes the progress of ones
quest. Ones commitment to life is no longer superficial.
is the process of the quest, and the confrontation with mystery,
that leads to this transformation.
5: Natures Law, our Source of Autonomy
opening sentence of the Declaration of Independence makes pointed
reference to the concept of Natures law
to support its argument. As important as this reference sounds,
most people today have no idea what it means. They consider it a
catchy phrase, semi-poetic, that somehow adds resonance to the subject
To the writers of the Declaration, and their
audience, the mention of Natures Law delivered a justification
of moral authority. Historically, the term provided the foundation
of jurisprudence, with roots going back to ancient Greece.
As a foundational concept for Chivalry-Now,
Natures Law provides an actual resource available for moral
decisions. It offers the key to personal transformation that completes
who we are, an underlying principle that makes freedom and personal
What do we mean by autonomy? Autonomy
means affirming and responding to the moral directives that we find
within ourselves as rational beings of conscience. It affirms our
own nature as creatures capable of virtue and reason (Areté),
using conscience to to help decide right from wrong. This provides
the intellectual basis for justice, and contributed to the intellectual
climate of the Age of Enlightenment when the Declaration
of Independence was written. It affirmed that certain rights and
responsibilities were not only unalienable but self-evidently human.
turns to Natures Law for its moral foundation of freedom and
authenticity. This is why its concepts, principles and code of ethics
resound so affirmatively to so many people. They often say that
our words express their own inner thoughts and values, as if they
had written them themselves. Thats because the words articulate
the rationale of their inner conscience, which is the natural conduit
of Natures law.
autonomy becomes freedoms truest justification. Freedom, without
a moral imperative, without the individuals quest for truth
and virtue, fails as a human ideal. It is a state of adolescence
that lacks justification. It is the nature of humanity to rise above
the law of the jungle. Freedom helps in that endeavor, but only
when it recognizes its own purpose. Without it, freedom becomes
both amorphous and amoral, and our crowded prisons prove that.
we want to be authentically complete human beings, we are expected
to evolve from childhood to morally responsible adults. That means
attaining a functional level of autonomy, which is the utilization
of Natures Law in the form of reason and conscience. If we
fail to do that, we remain the products of someone else.
6: Ordo Mundi
Mundi is a medieval term meaning the way of the world,
or understanding nature. Looking back, one might consider
it an ecclesiastic precursor of science, an approach to God through
For today's world, it is recognizing our responsibility
to preserve and protect the natural world we live in, and learn
from it as well. Whether we recognize it or not (and some people
are so caught up with themselves that they do not), our association
with nature is one of mutual relationship. We are not outside looking
in. We are part of it. To think otherwise is simply misguided. We
are not just caretakers or stewards of the earth. We depend upon
the workings of nature for our survival and that of future generations
The Grail legend tells us that when the Grail
King was wounded in his manhood, the realm suffered. It became
a Wasteland. This is an incredibly prescient warning for our times,
when our hubris is such that oceans are being poisoned with toxic
waste and radiation, tap water ignites in flame, and climate change
across the globe screams for change while simple, unconscionable
denial cripples our response. If ever there was a unforgivable sin
of the spirit, this is it, for it contains all the negativity and
ignorance that mires humanity from achieving its own ideals. All
through history people lived in accordance with nature. We, in the
21st century, blinded by hubris, greed and addiction to fun, while
enjoying all the bounty and benefits that nature and science have
given us, somehow feel that we can ravage the world without regard.
Grail legend tells us that the cure is found in the compassion
of the innocent heart that dares to inquire about the Grail's secret,
which is the mystery of life and our place in it. Regaining
our proper state of being, the Grail King, who represents human
nature that is broken, becomes miraculously healed, and the land
along with him.
the world with the innocence of good-will and compassion is the
answer for us as well. Reject the contentious rants of political
ideologues who puff up from the sound of their own voices. They
get paid to talk like that, and care little about truth. We should
not align ourselves with either political agenda as matter of course.
Chivalry calls us to align ourselves with truth instead, which is
the goal, substance and direction of every quest, and the surest
route to personal fulfillment.
the early philosophical strivings of ancient Greece, the importance
of the reasoning mind has remained the central impetus
of Western culture. While tradition retains a viable influence,
when push comes to shove, it usually takes second place to our dependence
upon rational decisions. This accounts for the meteoric advance
of science and technology in the West.
Likewise, reason holds an elevated position in
Chivalry-Now. It is a strong component of Areté
(the combination of reason and virtue) and Nature's Law
(the application of reason to conscience). It is implicit in Aletheia
as providing a viable approach to objective truth. Reason offers
our strongest hope for environmental survival, as recognized by
Reason not only explains the many accomplishments of
ancient Greece, it explains the explosion of progressive thought
centuries later during the Age of Reason and its extension,
the Age of Enlightenment. Without this continued focus
on rational thought, Western culture would be totally different
from what it is today. While some might think that the alternative
might be better, they have not seriously considered the consequences
of a culture based on ignorance.
encourages people to search for truth and think for themselves.
The use of reason, which separates us from other species, is paramount
to these goals. It forms the basis for growth and responsible decision-making.
8: Freedom & Responsibility
is not the final goal. It is the means to that goal."
(jacket quote from The Deeper Quest.)
culture's emphasis on freedom is surely one of its most distinguishing
features. As with all the Chivalry-Now concepts, however, there
is a deeper meaning that needs to be explored in order to better
understand its relevance.
is easy to assume that freedom means what its name implies: an environment
absent of restraint, the ability to do what one pleases. And that
would be essentially correct. Such a definition, however, often
referred to as negative freedom, conveys an amoral significance.
(Negativity, in this case, does not mean bad, but rather a condition
that allows for virtue, but fails to encourage it, or anything else
for that matter).
all know that we more easily better ourselves in a state of freedom.
When human potential is given free rein, avenues are opened toward
great creativity and genius.
negative freedom, by itself, leaves the door open to shirk responsibility
as well, commit illegal acts or just waste ourselves by wallowing
in mediocrity and selfish concerns until we die. It has no stated
goal, no meaning other than a wide opportunity to the exploit others.
moves to the level of being a true ideal when accompanied by the
strict corollary of responsibility. Only then does it find the rich
meaning it deserves, and the direction of life gain purpose.
freedom comes from using the potentials of negative freedom to develop
oneself responsibly and living a good and virtuous life. It means
achieving personal autonomy through the application of reason to
conscience (Concept 5, Nature's law). It also encourages the development
of the highest human virtue, (Concept 2, Areté). When we
do this, we complete our own humanity. When we do not, freedom becomes
just an empty word, as supportive of vice and corruption as anything
else. The 12 Trusts serve as a guide to meeting our responsibility
Age of Enlightenment expounded the benefits of freedom, but it was
not until the arrival of twentieth century Existentialism that the
full importance of responsibility was expounded, attaching itself
to freedom as its logical and natural response. From this perspective,
freedom makes us completely responsible for who we are, what we
do, and every word we speak. We are not only responsible for ourselves
through our actions, but for defining humanity in the process. Our
every deed is a human deed. Our every sin stains the potential of
everyone else. Existentialism points out our serious obligation
to be our very best at all times, for the sake of our species and
future generations. It tells us, quite convincingly, that we cannot
acquiesce in the face of evil without becoming evil ourselves.
recognizing and embracing this powerful responsibility to give freedom
its virtuous significance, Chivalry-Now would be just another nice
idea, somewhat inspiring perhaps, but lacking in transformational
9: Kairos - Time for Change
all the Concepts of the previously Hidden Teachings of
Chivalry-Now, Kairos stands out as the most
unique. It does not deal with personal development or a deeper understanding
of cultural ideals. Instead, it calls our attention to the possibility
of a globally transformative event that will shape the future direction
of all humanity.
This may sound like some New Age or end-of-the-world
prophecy, unworthy of Chivalry-Now's usually straight-forward
and rational intent. It is therefore commendable to examine it closely
with a critical eye.
For our purposes, the word Kairos (pronounced
key-ros) refers to an auspicious moment in time when significant
evolutionary change happens due to a combination of historical variables.
In contrast, from a theological point of view, Paul Tillich
described it as a special time when the eternal breaks into the
temporal and people respond. Both descriptions recognize moments
in time that are fertile for change more than fertile, inevitably
insistent, providing irresistible catalysts for human development.
This recognizes that human thought and understanding
have transformed over time, and that transformation, no doubt, will
continue in the future as well. We are aware of how things change
gradually. Styles change. Values adjust. Empires rise and fall,
etc. Occasionally, however, and history bears this out, the perspectives
of the human mind become modified in great leaps of consciousness,
leading to rapid change. We refer to these explosive transformational
events as Kairoi (the plural of Kairos.)
By anticipating the possibility that more of
these events will happen in the future Chivalry-Now follows
the idea to its logical conclusion. Kairos events happen. While
we cannot predict when, we may be facing one now.
What is a Kairos event? Kairos
is a Greek word that translates into English as "the
right time." It refers to points in history when significant
evolutionary leaps of consciousness place humanity on a new and
unprecedented direction. One might think of them as sudden bursts
of human development. People see the world differently. Life is
never quite the same.
A very significant Kairos event occurred in what
is now called the Golden Age of Greece. In a mere
two centuries, blossoming from a world of constant war and intellectual
darkness, this bronze-age culture laid the groundwork for Western
philosophy and the fundamental structure of every science. It achieved
elegance in art and architecture that has yet been equaled, formed
governments based on democracy and republican concepts, advanced
the literary arts in writing, poetry and drama, and much, much more.
It was part of what is now called an Axial Age, a
global Kairos that produced equally as transformative advancements
in Asia, the Middle East and India as well. For whatever reasons,
the times were right for a contagious burst of human consciousness
that resulted in massive intellectual change and cultural development.
Other events are considered products of Kairoi
chief among them include the early Christian era,
the cultural achievements of Islam's Golden Age, the
inspiration of Mohandas Gandhi that awakened the conscience
of not only India but the Western world, and the Age of Enlightenment,
which gave birth to the modern mind.
What precipitates a Kairos event?
Each one is different, but we can glean common dynamics and results.
Historical advancements are cumulative. They
interact with one another. Cultures connect and assimilate knowledge
and values. The creative impulse contributes to that change in many
and varied ways. Natural disasters occur in the forms of earthquakes,
floods, plagues and famines. Devastation from war means starting
over again. Exploration expands the way people think. Religions
influence their times. Strong, good leaders bring progress, while
leaders who are selfish and corrupt hold everyone back. People dream.
They form ideals and seek to follow them. New discoveries in science
can change everything over night.
When a number of these influences converge, something
drastically new may be forged in the process. There is nothing magical,
mystical or New Age about this. We are acknowledging sudden changes
in the history of thought and the adjustments of consciousness that
Chivalry-Now looks at these historical
events and considers the possibility of another happening in the
future perhaps in our own lifetimes.
Is it possible that the throes of cultural and
technological confusion that we presently suffer is setting the
stage for a kairos event? The times are certainly ripe for change.
The threats of nuclear war, climate change, myriad social problems,
regressive politics, and widespread apathy certainly call for something
While it is impossible to predict the occurrence
of a Kairos event, we can certainly prepare for one. Perhaps by
doing so we can help fulfill its outcome.
Historical Kairos events shared certain commonalities.
They centered on freedom, human rights, citizen involvement, the
use of reason, and an enthusiasm in contributing to the greater
good. These are the attributes upon which we can reliably focus.
By incorporating them in our lives, we can welcome and participate
in a potential Kairos as instruments of change.
We will see things differently than we do now.
We will be enthused by the realization of new values and partake
in that enthusiasm creatively, as happened in Kairoi of the past.
Illusions will not control us as they do now. Greed will no longer
hamper us from embracing the greater good.
Chivalry-Now's code of ethics, the 12
Trusts, and the quest that comes with it, not only leads to
personal fulfillment and the healing of social ills, it preserves
and magnifies the very attributes that support a potential Kairos
event. We preserve what is best within us as a foundation for what
is yet to come. And if a Kairos event is not immanent, Chivalry-Now
maintains its course to proactively initiate what improvements it
can. The quest remains before us, no matter what happens.
an addendum, when you see kairos spelled with a small "k,"
it refers to the present moment of time, not a specific historical
or predicted transformational event.
10: Grail Consciousness
lack of a better term, Grail Consciousness can be described
as the mystical side of Chivalry-Now.
Like the rest of this non-sectarian, non-partisan
movement, it is connected to our experience of Aletheia,
the subjective/objective experience of truth from which we derive
personal authenticity. As a bonus, it also reflects imagery that
is firmly implanted in our cultural past.
Medieval legends of the Holy Grail
provide the spiritual side of chivalric literature. Although the
stories are somewhat varied and often express religious ideas, they
agree on one thing. The Grail represents the ultimate mystery, both
of life and existence itself. Call it the cup from the Last Supper,
a jewel fallen from heaven, or a basin from pagan myth that brought
the dead to life, it symbolized the powers of Providence imbued
in nature, the sustaining mystery of life itself.
Grail Consciousness is a fundamental awareness
of life's mystery in our everyday lives. The cause and nature
of existence are simply unknown. The religious person may point
to God, but what does that mean? What is God's nature? Can the human
mind grasp such a concept? We are dealing with mysteries that cannot
be fathomed. Just because we do not understand something does not
mean that it does not exist. That we exist at all serves as proof.
Therefore, it is right to give mystery its due. Our quest for truth
is more complete when we recognize and respect the mystery that
surrounds us. It is the X-factor that completes the equation,
despite being unknown.
Mystery is part of truth, even if we cannot define
or understand it. To ignore that fact, to not include it in our
consciousness of the world, however inconclusively, limits our perception
of everything. Without acknowledging mystery, we are not receptive
to inspirations that arise from the subconscious. We fail to learn
the profound lessons gleaned from the life-enhancing subjective/objective
experience of Aletheia.
This is not the spiritual challenge that it might
seem. To expand consciousness, it is enough to be aware of
the mystery, even if only in very private moments. Such
awareness opens new dimensions to the blossoming of our quests,
allowing for new and exciting insights while freeing ourselves,
if only a little, from the bonds of illusion. We become more present
in the moment, more authentically real and human.
significance of the Holy Grail is not the Grail itself, but our
response to its calling. Awareness of the mystery, embracing questions
unadulterated by false answers, completes the foundation of who
Want to know more?
Deeper Quest, explains the Concepts in greater detail, and
serves as a textbook for Knighthood. It is available through Amazon.