“How will I know if I’m a Knight?”
Good question. No one can look into your heart and know for sure.
Chivalry inspires many different levels of commitment; we value them all for whatever good they do. Being a Knight, however, requires a high level of commitment.
No Knight is perfect, which is why we sometimes us the term “aspiring Knights.” Some excel in certain skills or qualities, while others do not. The overall effect, however, should be exceptional in form and manner. You don’t become a Knight for the asking. You develop into it with learning, practice and perseverance. If you do it right, the process never ends.
But what marks the transition into Knighthood? The following represents just my own opinion:
Beyond incorporating the 12 Trusts into your everyday life, the first notable sign is cognitive. You see the world differently than before, clearer, as if for the first time, often accompanied by a sense of awe or wonder. You become a new person as priorities improve and old prejudices fall away. The identity-box you were living in (i.e., conservative, liberal, etc.) is no longer there. You are free and see plainly that truth is not so easily confined.
In Chivalry-Now we call this transition “anagnorisis,” a personal change that happens when the mystery of life breaks into our consciousness and literally wakes us up. What follows depends on how we navigate our lives. The aspiring Knight utilizes “areté,” which means excellence in virtue and reason.
I’m sure every Knight’s experience is different, just as every person’s quest is different. But I know this too. If all it took to become a Knight was claiming to be one, it would have no meaning. If, however, the transition radically changes who we are for the better, then it has valuable significance indeed.
Knighthood encompasses one’s whole being. Think of it more as a vocation, or the birth of a new person, liberating one’s truest self to the fullness and meaning of life. Ancient Greeks might have called it a "teleological metamorphosis", a transformation brought about by “telos,” the inner aim of our highest nature. In modern parlance, it is a newand authentic phase of life that leans toward virtue.
If all this seems like the bar has been raised too high, it shouldn’t. Follow the example of knights from legend. Simply set off on your quest with the 12 Trusts in your heart and see what happens. You may be closer to your goal than you think.