The International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now

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by Dean Joseph Jacques

Back in the late 1970s to the mid-80s, I worked as a case manager and lead technician for the Connecticut Department of Social Services. For the remainder of my career, I worked for various municipalities to administer local services. For the most part, the programs I facilitated assisted people with procuring food, shelter and medical assistance. During that time I dealt with the problems of thousands of people first hand.
    Listening to their stories, I came to the conclusion early on that the problems most people suffer from are self-made or at least self-maintained. They reflected the choices people make that often leave them vulnerable. Dropping out of school, for instance. Irresponsibility at the workplace. Alcohol or drug abuse. A poor choice of spouse. Having children before they are ready to support them. Dangerous lifestyles. Mistreating people. Waiting until problems turn into crisis before seeking help. Not planning for future needs. Responding to the unfairness of life with anger instead of well-considered choices. Whatever sorry lessons they learned in life, no matter how dysfunctional, they remained unquestioned. Their mistakes would continue and hurt those they love.
    I mention these causes not to point blame at victims of poverty and misfortune. The reasons these problems exist are many and complicated, and can often be traced to outside sources. I am pointing to causal actions that might be avoided if our culture did a better job at teaching the skills and values that people need. Food stamps and housing assistance only go so far, and may actually contribute to their dependencies in the long run.
    The purpose of culture, throughout history, has been to nurture expectations of value and behavior in a given society that seem beneficial, from one generation to another. Unfortunately, western culture no longer considers that. For too long has been distracted by its own economic and technological successes.
    Can we repair this situation in order to bring out the best in everyone?
    The fixtures of culture do not come with simplified directions, easy to repair. Dealing with societal needs and human behavior, it is organic in nature. It varies regionally, and sometimes within one's very own household. No detached government agency can repair something as complicated as cultural influences and expect good results. It has to heal organically from the people themselves. From us.
    Looking to the past for guidance, we find that western culture enjoyed an inspiring code of values and behaviors that not only greatly improved social expectations, but still tugs at the heartstrings of people even today. It was called chivalry, and had a strong influence in developing western concepts of justice, courtesy, personal honor, gentlemanly behavior, romantic love, and a whole variety of attributes that we still value.
    The question that then arose was simple. What would chivalry be like today if it had managed to survive and evolve over the centuries? The answer was obvious. It would uphold its core principles with an expanded depth of understanding. It would have incorporated wisdom from the Age of Enlightenment, modern philosophy and psychology, and the natural sciences, while respecting insights from the distant past, even from the start of western civilization.
    Such a code would provide just the cultural remedy that we need.
    A lot of study and online discussions eventually led to the creation of the International Fellowship of Chivalry-Now, a website rich in contant, an open forum where members meet and share ideas, two published books and a growing presence in social media.
    It would be misleading to suggest that we invented Chivalry-Now. In many respects, this philosophy owns a long and honorable pedigree to which we are all indebted. We are its latest admirers and enthusiasts, inspired by its elegant simplicity. We appreciate how it expresses ideals that are already inside us — ideals that define the very best of who we are and lead us to deeper understanding. As many readers have acknowledged, Chivalry-Now expresses who we are when we are most authentic. It provides the path, or quest as we call it, that leads to to a richer, fuller life.
    The mission of the IFCN as a group of committed members is to place these values on their original trajectory. Our goal is to unite people through a commonality of values basic to who we are, without regard to race or religious beliefs. We invite you to participate by joining us on this quest for truth, and assisting others to do the same.
    That our motives never be suspect, we state upfront that we ask for no money and hold no hidden agendas or political alliance. The members of our fellowship are completely autonomous and lend their support on a voluntary basis.
    Thank you.

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IFCN Established 2007
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