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A Fourth Alternative

Sigmund Freud once wrote:

“Life as we find it is too hard for us; it entails too much pain, too many disappointments, impossible tasks. We cannot do without palliative [medicinal] remedies… There are perhaps three of these means: powerful diversions of interest, which lead us to care little about our misery; substitute gratifications, which lessen it; and intoxicating substances, which make us insensitive to it. Something of this kind is indispensable.”

I suggest there is a fourth means as well, one in which the human faculties of reason and conscience bear full measure, and the suffering of life is not only taken in full stride, but used as a stimulus to find purpose and meaning. That fourth approach is Chivalry, in its latest incarnation.

Here we find a positive response to the unavoidable disappointments and impossible tasks that enlists all that is best not only in human nature, but in the aspirations which that nature holds.

How much better to confront the challenges of life rather than avoid through distraction!

How much better to find one’s satisfaction in achieving noble goals rather than partially gratifying substitutes that hold us back.

How much better to heroically embrace and learn from our experiences of life, rather than dull them with chemical depressants.

Today’s Chivalry is no small thing. It is a true vehicle of civilized, time-tested ideals that promote human nature toward its own fulfillment.

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