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(Last revised: July 31, 2009)
Over time my philosophy has evolved, starting out (and perhaps remaining) as
a fairly nebulous, amorphous, general "nobility" that I strive for. It began
when I was perhaps thirteen or fourteen years of age.
Early on, I considered Honesty to be among the highest, but also Balance. The latter
is somewhat of a special case. I consider it to be a superset of Equity and Justice,
but it also applies to all of the other virtues and most aspects of daily life. All
things must be balanced against one another, and some things must be taken in moderation.
All of these virtues at times may even need to be bent or broken, and this requires
a balanced approach.
Loyalty, Wisdom, and Awareness are probably among the most recent to be
spelled out here, and other virtues and concepts may yet be added as I decide
on their explicit importance (beyond the general "be good" sort of theme this
whole thing has).
My personal code has never really been spelled out explicitly before writing this
page. It derives from a combination of Chivalry, personal experience, and
positive role models from throughout my life. It is constantly evolving, and I
with it. The Virtues below are more like categories of personal traits and
conduct that I attempt to strive for. I promised myself, when I was in my teens,
to lead a good and virtuous life. To attempt to be the best I can each day, and
do a little better on the next day than the last.
Absence of detail in various sections below does not indicate a lack of thought,
just simply that I have yet to find concise wording.
- I'm still writing this and
deciding on symbols, so nothing is written in stone... heck, my ideology has
evolved over time anyway. It's all subject to change.
The image of the cup, or grail, is partiluarly symbolic, while not attached to
a specific trait or virtue. Just as the knights of the Arthurian legends quested
for the Holy Grail, we too, as responsible adults strive our entire lives towards
our own betterment, and the benefit of the world around us. This quest of continual
improvement towards the unnattainable goal of perfection yields its own rewards.
It's the quest, or the journey, that matters most.
As the candle reveals truths from the darkness, we must all
strive to illuminate truths through our honesty.
Counterintuitively, one must be aware of how literal truths can mislead, and how truth
can be served by misdirection at times.
Honesty is one of the highest of the virtuous traits, and is therefore first in
the list. Honesty brings truth, which is necessary
for knowledge. Knowledge is important for wisdom, progress, and every decision we
make in our lives.
Truth extends beyond mere honesty however. The quest for truth, to find facts
and dispel misinformation, is of extreme importance. Blind misconceptions can
only be fought by agressively seeking the truth, and not accepting mere
BALANCE, Justice, Fairness, Equity|
Symbolized by the scales.
Balance in all things. Everything in life contains it's own advantages
and disadvantages. Indeed, all forms of fairness and justice can be seen
as balance on a larger scale.
UNITY of body, mind, and spirit|
Like the infinite moebius strip, which is internally continuous,
one must seek to be internally harmonious. Without a united body, spirit, and mind,
one can easily be lost. But also, seeking unity with others in the form of community
can be a great source of strength, for indviduals and groups alike can be greater
than the sums of their parts.
HONOR, Dignity, Responsibility|
Symbolized by the sword, honor can be found in defending the weak,
remaining true to one's word, standing for a worthy cause, and facing defeat
with grace. Maintaining a high standard of moral conduct.
COURAGE, Valor, to face fear, not fearlessness|
Symbolized by the shield, courage protects us from succumbing to overriding
fear. Like spiritual armor, it allows us to face danger and risk with strength
Not a lack of fear, valor is the ability to do what must be done despite one's
fears. To stand tall and face a challenge, to stand up for what is right despite
what people may think of you, and to put aside personal interests to uphold what
is right and good.
A knight should always be polite and mannerly, in speaking and conduct,
even to those with whom one is angry, or in disagreement.
Wisdom and accumulated experience guide our knowledge, and allow us
to excersize forethought and intuition in our decision making. It enables
us to recognize opportunities that might otherwise be missed, and seize
the moment rather than squander it.
Protecting, aiding, and serving friends and family who deserve your respect and
service. A knight should never mistreat friends and family.
Symbolized by the hourglass, for loyalty is nothing if it does not endure.
HUMILITY, tempered by balanced self-respect and confidence|
One must always be honest and truthful about oneself. Refraining from
self-destructiveness is as important as refraining from boastful behavior.
It is important for the knight to seek and find his place in the world,
and the role he plays within it. Bearing responsibility without complaint,
yet accepting and identifying his own strengths and weaknesses so that he
may continue to grow the former, and learn from the latter.
Symbolized by the eye, we must always be aware of our environment, and those
around us. Awareness allows us to respond to danger and change, and provides
a means to be thoughtful with regards to such, and to other people.
Compassion is the cornerstone of Chivalry. A knight who does not show caring
and consideration for those around him is not a knight afterall. One must
value the life, happiness, safety, and freedom of those around him at all times.
GENEROSITY, particularly by words or deeds|
Symbolized by the open hand, generosity takes many forms. Largesse and charity
are important for a knight. Generosity of thought, material, and action must
be given when the situation calls for it.
NOBILITY, Honorable and Dignified|
Although this word is sometimes confused with entitlement or snobbishness,
in the code of chivalry it conveys the importance of upholding one's
convictions and maintaining a sense of honor and dignity at all times,
especially when no one else is watching.
FRANCHISE, Integrity, Presence|
Practicing what you preach, living up to your own standards, embodying
your own ideals as best you can. Presenting yourself with integrity and
dignity, and maintaining grace.
After interacting with the folks from Chivalry-Now,
I wish to also list here the "12 Trusts". While my list of virtues above is not as eloquantly
written in terms of a personal promise, these 12 Trusts below are technically all covered within
my own personal code. Each can be placed in a category above.
The 12 Trusts:
Upon my honor,
- I will develop my life for the greater good.
- I will place character above riches, and concern for others above personal wealth.
- I will never boast, but cherish humility instead.
- I will speak the truth at all times, and forever keep my word.
- I will defend those who cannot defend themselves.
- I will honor and respect women, and avoid sexism in all its guises.
- I will uphold justice by being fair to all.
- I will be faithful in love and loyal in friendship.
- I will abhor scandals and gossip-neither partake nor delight in them.
- I will be generous to the poor and those who need help.
- I will forgive when asked, that my own mistakes will be forgiven.
- I will live my life with courtesy and honor from this day forward.
By adhering to these 12 Trusts, I swear to partake in the living Quest in everything I do.
I'm also fond of "The Old Code" as depicted in
the Dragonheart book and movie:
A knight is sworn to valor,
His heart knows only virtue,
His blade defends the helpless,
His might upholds the weak,
His word speaks only truth,
His wrath undoes the wicked.
While digging through a lot of old data, I found a text file with a timestamp
dating back to 1993. The file might be older, as this could be when I downloaded
it. I barely remember having seen it before. I suspect it's based on the philosophy
portrayed in the Ultima computer games, since it has a very similar list of virtues,
and uses the ankh as the main symbol (which I do as well, but had been doing so before
ever playing one of the games).
You may find it to be an interesting read. It's called
The Doctrine of Rectitude.