Chivalry-Now quotes great thinkers from the past to remind us of the rich ideals that make us who we are. Our tenets did not rise from a vacuum. They reflect the best that can be found in Western history that contribute to a single direction. That is our legacy, if we choose to accept it.
None of these thinkers were always right. They were creatures of their times, as we all are, struggling to discern philosophical enlightenment from ignorance. Some were completely misguided, yet their mistakes helped others think beyond them.
Such was the case with Friedrich Nietzsche, the 19th century critic who challenged the status quo into reexamining their own beliefs.
He used Darwin’s theory of evolution to predict that a superior humanity would soon replace the old, describing this new person as the “Übermensch,” German for “superior man.” This superior being would be noble in stature, physically stronger, emotionally and intellectually self-disciplined, and filled with vitality for life. He considered these the qualities of the ultimate aristocrat.
Nietzsche decided that seeing how so many people surrendered like cattle to the drudgery and inhumane conditions of the Industrial Revolution. He saw impoverished laborers willingly wasting away in dirty factories. They worked endless hours, aged prematurely, and died penniless, locking their children into similar fate. Nietzsche convinced himself that something was missing in their nature that made them subhuman. Evolution was weeding them out in order to be replaced.
This catastrophic idea was later adopted by Nazis and other fascists who also labelled groups of people as subhuman… in order to exterminate them. Such dehumanizing excuses pervade all forms of bigotries that breed hate. That is not evolution. It has been rightly recognized as a crime against humanity and Nature’s Law.
Nevertheless, evolution is something to consider. While human beings appear not be evolving physically, we have other capacities built for change. Our potentials and personalities develop as we grow from infancy to adulthood. This process is influenced by values gleaned from family, society, communities, careers, health, education, interests, hobbies, ideologies that badger us into conformist mentalities, and of course… chance.
We evolve all the time when we don’t prevent it. We get better or worse or more fixed in our ways, leading to growth, decline or stagnation. Humanity evolves in personal attributes. Not in what we are, but who we are. Evolution is ongoing. Here. Now. The question we pose is this: do we passively accept what chance makes of us? Or do we participate in a way that better complements the process?
Instead of just accepting the vicissitudes of life, we can choose and set personal goals, listen to conscience, sharpen our capacity for reason, educate ourselves to make sound decisions. This is where freedom gains existential purpose. Freedom comes into play when we take moral and rational control over our own self-interests. The possibilities for growth are phenomenal.
Nietzsche’s Übermensch was based on the arrogance of aristocrats whom he admired. He described it as asserting their will to power.
What we really need is something different and more humane: developing those qualities that reflect the moral and ethical nobility of the soul.
The purpose of Chivalry-Now is to inspire those qualities, which includes developing our bodies, minds, intellects, and compassion toward others—to further humanity’s development for us all. This includes promoting democracy, equality and human rights—just as the best of human aspirations have long dictated.
No Übermensch. That’s a racist fantasy. We utilize a modified ideal of Knighthood instead. That every person has the potential to be this kind of Knight asserts the value of each person. There is nothing noble about arrogance and hate.
By aspiring to this ideal, we journey on the road to personal development that impacts the trajectory of human evolution. We are not here to replace or look down on anyone, but to elevate the human condition for all.