Today’s Knight feels the urge to defend and promote what is right and good. That is the first and truest connection to chivalry of the past, and the starting point on a real path to Knighthood.
Unfortunately, we have no cultural aids dedicated to forging actual Knights. The Queen of England bequeaths knighthood on celebrities now and then. There are chivalry groups that try to continue the tradition. (Chivalry-Now did much the same in its early days.)
But the cultural training for Knighthood no longer exists. What remains of chivalric values barely manages to survive in a world burdened by materialism and greed. Our society prefers to groom consumers rather than squires, egos rather than conscience, mesmerized followers rather than heroes.
The cold light of reality tells us that the knights of yore no longer exist. We live in a very different world than they did—an unromantic world that makes very different assertions and demands. Chivalric role models are few and far between. In contrast, thieves, liars, con-men and demagogues are quite prevalent. We learn to hide our finest instincts in order to fit in—which not only makes things worse, it makes us complicit.
Despite all this, chivalry’s moral instincts still bubble to the surface now and then. Those who worship greed seek to repress them, hoping they will wither one person at a time. Nevertheless, for a few courageous souls it remains a way of life. For others, a hidden solace. Still others, a nostalgic regret.
Associating chivalry with fantasy allows us to preserve it without taking it seriously. It’s nice to flirt with. It’s comforting. It can even inspire when the mood hits. The only trouble with fantasy is that it isn’t real. This is why we call it “the impossible dream.”
Today’s challenge is to take this dream and make it a reality. We do that by starting in our own lives first, and then in society as a whole. We do that not by coercion, but by inspiration… by awakening and stoking the moral insights that are in us all.
That is Chivalry-Now’s mission. We invite you to make it yours as well.