In this age of Facebook, Blogging, Spam, Telephone Marketing, Sarcastic Humour, where anyone of any educational stature can fill the airwaves with whatever might enter their heads at any moment - does chivalry deserve a come back?
Where is the integrity of old gone? In the days when knights were knights and, well ....
What ever happened to this:
When examining medieval literature, chivalry can be classified into three basic but overlapping areas:
These three areas obviously overlap quite frequently in chivalry, and are often indistinguishable.
Different weight given to different areas produced different strands of chivalry:
Upon my honor,
Natalie - LOL - well I'm finding the opposite - I'm finding that after years of thrashing about and saying just whatever I pleased - I'm craving some guidance re moral behaviour or character development.
Well, I think there is plenty of guidance for moral behavior and development of good character. People have been writing about it for millennia, in every culture that had writing, and passing it down orally in cultures that didn't. A more pressing question for me is, what is the definition of moral? It varies from culture to culture -- as you saw, chivalrics only considered duties to countrymen and fellow Christians, which meant that they didn't give a damn about massacring innocent Jews and Muslims during the Crusades.
To me, moral means not doing harm if I can prevent it or refrain from it (and saying hurtful things to other people comes under that definition), and careful guardianship of the world as we inherited it. So, for example, if you cut down a tree, plant another one, or if you take fish out of the rivers and seas, make sure they are replaced. Getting our population down would be moral, because we are currently on an unsustainable course. Not doing to others that which would be distasteful to you would be moral, so I would never proselytize for anything, although I would answer questions that were sincerely asked.
I could go on and on, but to me, morality mostly needs ME to think through what I do and decide what the consequences are, and at least avoid those negative consequences that I CAN foresee and avoid. Being imperfect, I make mistakes, and I certainly appreciate the input of peace-lovers, and humanists, but not blood-thirsty chivalrics, no matter how romantic they may seem on the surface!
Natalie - I think I've been watching too much Merlin - and getting sucked into the romantic views of knights in shinning armour - not a bad thing perhaps, so long as I am aware of it as a romantic notion and maintain my ability to be open to rational thinking on the matter....
I think we all need role models and ideals to look up to for inspiration - sure, in reality the knights of old didn't share the morals that are appropriate today - but to be honest I think it must be hard to maintain moral values - even as you speak of them. When am I going to get time to organise planting trees and repopulating water ways with marine life - I could add it to my list of things to do.
Although, I would say also that any moral values are hard to live up to if you take them to the limit. This is what I had trouble with before - growing up and as a young adult I aimed to take moral values to the limit and found that I was greatly lacking, which then led me to let go of moral values in favour of just getting on with life, overlooking transgressions in moral values - and feeling at first guilty, then developed an un-caring attitude towards moral values that I used to aim for - when I found them unattainable.
Now I'm realising that introducing some moral values into my life - at a level that is attainable is worth while for myself and will benefit both my own well being and that of those around me - but I think these days we are brought up in a world that wants us to care about and save the whole world - which can lead to judgmental competition and / or abandoning those ideals.
As you can see, I'm still oscillating and not settled on what I believe is possible or a direction.
Alice, thanks for the background. Personally, I'm not at all unhappy with the way I was raised, and I retain most of the moral values I was raised on.
But I will share with you what I'M working on at the moment, which is how utterly small and powerless I am. And learning to be content with what I CAN do, and letting go of what I can't. For example, the pictures of the skeletal children in the Horn of Africa just break my heart, but there is no way I can feed them all. So I look for non-religious charities to whom I can make a donation. On my income, it's not a large donation, but I was raised with the concept that to save one life is to save the world. I take that to mean, do what you can. I am NOT taking it to the limit, because I CAN'T. I know that I cannot save the world, and if I try, then I am only going to drive myself crazy, and then I will be of no use to anyone.
Another example is that I am volunteering for Obama a few hours a week. Say what you will about him, he's still GALAXIES better than the Republican nutcases, and since I don't want to be governed by theocrats and gazillionaires, I'm doing what I can to prevent it. It doesn't amount to much, all by myself, but there are lots of others working too, and when we work together, we can accomplish something.
I guess what I'm saying is that you have to find a balance. By emotional nature, I'm a hopeless idealist and utopianist, but I have enough of a thinking brain to know that it doesn't work that way, and that I have to protect myself along with doing what I can. I'm simply not going to save the world all by myself, but if we work together, we really CAN accomplish something. So I do what I can, and then, when it's time to quit, I go home and think of something else. Utopia would be nice, but it ain't gonna happen in MY lifetime! :-)
Natalie - I agree - moderation in all things perhaps - is something to go with... I am historically an extremist I think..... moderation wouldn't go amiss in my out look. I joined the Australian Greens last election and did some putting out of leaflets - I like their social justice policies as I believe them to be more humane. I haven't been following the Obama thing - but I'm glad that a non white person has been elected to the white house. We have an atheist women here, which I'm also glad of - with the progress that makes to equality.
Moderation and wide variety in morals / ethics / values / eating.... :)
How chivalrous were these Holy Knights in the crusades? They were barbarous.
I don't ask for chivalry. I want justice. (and a little courtesy would be nice.)
According to this site - justice is part of chivalry - the only one I would change is no. 6, from 'women' to 'others' and 'sexism' to 'inequality'.
Upon my honor,
Their aimed to capture this chivalry in the script of Merlin quite well - http://www.bbc.co.uk/writersroom/insight/downloads/scripts/merlin_s...
I don't know about chivalry ... but how about plain-and-simple MANNERS?!?
This is something that I've run onto since I moved in with the woman who has now become my wife. It frequently amounts to nothing more complex than saying "thank you" and MEANING it, being attentive, doing simple things because one of us knows it will please the other, and it can be as basic as holding a door (which we BOTH do for each other) and remembering how she likes her coffee.
I find it lifts my mood as well as makes the day-to-day relationship with her that much more enjoyable. The neatest thing about is that it doesn't cost you a dime, but the payback is fantastic!
Loren - manners are good too - I like them - I think though that something a bit more complex is called for sometimes - in sticky social situations perhaps - or when your relationships are tested and you are put under pressure....
I find the entire topic of Chivalry facinating. From a person who has always struggled with the balance of idealism and pursuit of perfection with the reality of this next-to-impossible task. Also, being male who was raised very "traditionally" (I can still hear my father's voice, "Son, what are you doing sitting down while there is a woman who is standing?"), I am amazed at the lack of general respect I see on a daily basis.
Saying all this, I would be remiss if I didn't point out the obvious. The reason a code of chivalry was originally needed was the fact that nights were the most selfish, feudal, sexist skum-bags of the day. If there was a warlord in Englaind named Arthur, the last thing 99% of knighted soldiers were was chivalrous. The intire idea was grudgingly accepted and very rarely practiced. But this isn't the point of the discussion.
The point of this discussion is the need of chivalry in the modern context. I believe it is. Not chivary from man to woman, but chivalry from one to all. It is a very ambitious idea, but one I believe is acheivable (or at the very least deserving to be sought after).
Just like romantic poems and "chick flick" romantic comedies. We all want love to be this way and strive to it every day. Unfortunately, it rarely - if ever - is reality.
Go Troy - I totally agree - love your name by the way.... :)
What's wrong with wanting to maintain high ideals - even if we make mistakes - admit them and ask for forgiveness and move on - how honourable is that! I really do respect people who can do this - and would like to take it on as my way of being -
Avoiding value judgements also - in basic chit chat conversations - saving up value judgements for well thought out rare occasions when it is called for as a matter of honour, loyalty and friendship -