young man recently asked how to become
a Knight of our fellowship. It was obvious from previous postings
that the he had a strong chivalric character to his personality.
Steven Forgette, Senior Knight of our fellowship, included this
in his advice:
The Knight Within Yourself."
made me pause and reflect on that inner part of us that finds chivalry
and knighthood so appealing.
I believe that there is an inner
persona, expressive of our conscience, that constantly (if
not too quietly) seeks to assert itself in our lives. For most people,
it remains somewhat dormant, unable to compete with all the distractions
in our lives, and the expectations that others press upon us. The
longer it is ignored or pushed aside, the weaker it becomes.
For others, however, this persona is felt
as an building discontent aimed at what is false, an existential
frustration that informs us that there is something more to life
than surrendering to distractions or social complacency. There
is a moral aspect to who we are that calls for nourishment, growth,
and the assertion of autonomy. Conscience seeks its due
in the fulfillment of who we are.
This persona of conscience,
struggling to assert itself for our own natural progression, can
be thought of as our inner knight. It recognizes right
from wrong even when our conscious minds are distracted, or willfully
engaged in what is wrong.
For those who listen to this voice of conscience,
its need to complete who we are feels urgently existential
- which it is. Moreover, it recognizes and responds to the reflection
that it sees in the mirror of chivalry. This is why
so many of us feel attracted to chivalry's call. There is a natural
connection already there. Chivalry and conscience are substantially
the same - one being a cultural expression of the other.
Human nature, like all of nature, is subject
to its innermost goals, or drive to become. We call this Telos.
We feel it as a sometimes nagging urge to complete who we are.
It is a mistake to think that the fulfillment
of human potential stops at a certain point of physical or intellectual
growth. There is an inner, moral potential to complete as well.
There is the spiritual autonomy that comes from asserting conscience
as a defining aspect of our lives, liberated through the application
of reason. This combination of conscience and reason has
long been recognized as Nature's Law. When this proper use
of reason takes hold and produces excellence of virtue, we achieve
Areté. This is how the deeper concepts of Chivalry-Now
relate and integrate themselves in our daily lives.