pond outside my home produces a variety of colorful dragonflies
every year, and this year was no exception. My wife and I often
watched them, mesmerized by their fascinating dexterity of flight,
crisscrossing their chosen territory in search of prey. Occasionally,
they would hover nearby like tiny helicopters, checking out their
human audience. When we canoed, they would sometimes hop a ride
across the pond, alighting on our hands, shoulders or heads.
I remember lying on a blanket beside the pond
one afternoon, years ago, and a dragonfly landed on the pad of paper
that I was writing on. Sunlight streamed through its transparent
wings; their segmented shapes cast a delicate etching of shadow.
It was one of those special moments when time pauses to make a special
imprint of its own. I knew I would never experience a moment like
The complex life-cycle of dragonflies is truly
amazing, as they transform themselves from drably colored, boxy-looking
pond larvae into their sleek, aerodynamic shapes, designed for mastery
of flight. The larvae themselves pass through a number of moltings
before their final metamorphosis, when cellophane wings finally
extend from their backs. Once completed, their previous limits are
replaced by unimaginable freedom.
Transformations in life, from one unique stage
to another, are common in nature. We are more familiar with caterpillars
changing into butterflies within the snug enclosure of their cocoons.
We see transformations in human beings also, as the helpless newborn
develops into a curious baby, who then progresses into childhood,
adolescence and adulthood.
We don't zip ourselves into a cocoon to make
the next phase of our existence happen. On the surface level, our
growth patterns might seem quite tame compared to some species,
if we measure human growth only by physical capacities. Our most
unique qualities have to do with our ability to reason, hopefully
subjected to that instinctive moral barometer we call conscience.
This transformation of thought and moral understanding is meant
to respond to our awareness of the here and now. The development
and usage of these faculties provides a frame of consciousness that
is (or should be) strongly related to the truth of the moment, and
striving toward virtue in our everyday lives. Virtue is, after all,
the logical aim of intellectual conscience, or it is not conscience.
Since this movement toward completion is not
entirely physical, but a process dependent upon thought, education,
and personal decision, it does not happen in a universally standard
and automatic fashion. For many people, it may not occur at all.
When it does happen, it opens the mind to a process that purposely
and directly learns from the world around us with a sense of autonomy.
We come to see things differently, unvarnished by illusions, peer
pressure or social dictates. We can freely extricate ourselves from
the crowd to better think for ourselves. Since the efficacy of reason
depends on our knowledge of what is true, truth, in turn, becomes
Our ability to reason is not just a tool available
when necessity calls for it. It is an uniquely important trait that
defines our species. It facilitates our progression - our personal
evolution toward understanding. It does not just happen, like the
arrival of puberty for example. It is a process in which we must
engage ourselves. It falls within the purview of culture to assist
us in that development.
Chivalry-Now offers some foundational
concepts to repair our culture in that regard. The following includes
some of those concepts, in the hope that they might help others
move forward on their quests.
One notable result of this transformational process
is an actual change of consciousness, a qualitatively new awareness
of self and surroundings. From a religious perspective, this could
align itself with the idea of being "born-again," furthering
the mandate that "the truth will set you free." Nature's
Law spells this out in combining conscience and reason,
which completes who we are and brings virtue to the forefront. We
are psychologically and spiritually incomplete without a healthy
integration of conscience and reason.
We see this metamorphosis illustrated time and
time again in mythology, where the hero's journey provides a process
that increases his or her awareness of the world, and how to live
justly. In Chivalry-Now, we call this journey-like process
a quest. When we live our everyday lives as a quest for truth and
personal growth, we increase our consciousness and capacity for
We call the transformation itself by the Greek
term, anagnorisis. The word describes the moment in
a theatrical performance when the main character is suddenly confronted
by truth and thereby awakened from his or her own personal illusions.
The character's life completely and permanently changes.
We have another word, telos, which
means inner aim or an instinctive drive to become. If we fail to
elevate our consciousness to its own sense of autonomy, brought
about by a unity of conscience and reason, we end up suffering from
an undercurrent of discontent. We constantly feel that something
is wrong, something is missing from our lives. We know that we are
not entirely what we should be. Telos signals us that there is more
to being human than producing and consuming material goods, or distracting
ourselves with self-withering illusions. This is a call to virtue,
against which all other distractions seem conspire. Unfulfilled,
it is the cause of much discontent that we sometimes channel elsewhere.
This transformation is not something mysterious
or esoteric or New Age. It is a process synonymous with human growth
and the fulfillment of human nature that we might miss entirely
without some effort.
What does this have to do with Chivalry-Now?
transformation can be thought of as a significant milestone along
our individual journeys. This is why we often refer to its results
as Grail Consciousness. It is transformational in
that it awakens a clearer sense of consciousness of the moment,
while breaking stale patterns of thought that interfere with our
relationship with truth.
aim of approaching life as a quest is not only that we learn and
grow as compassionate human beings, but that we grow in consciousness