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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 5:22 pm    Post subject: The Necessity of Chivalry by C.S. Lewis         Reply with quote

Have any of you read this? It is a only a couple of pages long, but I feel that it fully explains why we need the "Lancelot" in todays world. If you have read it, then I have no need to go to the trouble of posting it, but I think it is something that all should read.
Hank Reinhardt
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Eric McHugh




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PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 5:26 pm    Post subject: No...but         Reply with quote

C.S. Lewis is always worth a read...

As an ex-Rev, I've read a lot of Lewis and he is quite a lucid fellow...I'll check this out. Is it a book or an essay?

Best,

Eric
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 5:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank;

No haven't read it and I would like too as you have me intrigued now: I have the feeling that it will resonate with most of us if it is about acting honourably and that some things are not done no matter what the cause, or the consequences and that honourable defeat is preferable to monstrous acts. ( Too many examples of this kind of behaviour in the world today were a cause, good or bad, is seen as worth deliberately killing innocents. Evil )

If it's a long text a link to the text might be preferable to copy pasting it here: If you are not sure just P.M. a moderator or Nathan.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 5:57 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Not a blanket reprint but......................

http://touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=16-03-045-f
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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 7:19 pm    Post subject: Re: The Necessity of Chivalry by C.S. Lewis         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
Have any of you read this? It is a only a couple of pages long, but I feel that it fully explains why we need the "Lancelot" in todays world. If you have read it, then I have no need to go to the trouble of posting it, but I think it is something that all should read.
Felt I should have said more. What Lewis is saying in his essay is that the West needs the "Lancelots" for survival. The Lancelot is the warrior who is meek in hall, and ferocious on the field. This is something is only learned, it is not natural. The man who is ferocious on the field is usually ferocious in his everyday life, and the fellow who is meek in hall is the same onthe field. This is something that must be taught. I was quite impressed with the essay. I will review the book, and hopefully post it on my website. My personal opinion is that we are producing men who are meek most all the time. And in today's world, that won't cut it.
Hank Reinhardt
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 7:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank;

Meek in hall would mean to me not being a bully and being in control of the " fury " not having the " fury " controlling you.
I tend to disagree that someone fierce in battle will be fierce in every day life, he won't tolerate discourtesy from others, won't be a push over, but won't be filled with his own importance and be the bully.

Although, the lesser kind of leader who is ferocious at all times seems more like a psychopath to me.

Not meek as in easily intimidated. But, without some people of courage no nation can survive the onslaught of the barbarians just over the next hill. There have always been barbarians and there will always be those who will take advantage of weakness.

In ancient times if your city was under attack there were no complicated issues, only your survival and the survival of all your kin. Or at least their freedom. One who would not stand shoulder to shoulder with his neighbours ..............

Anyway should go and read that text. Laughing Out Loud

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Wed 16 Nov, 2005 8:57 pm    Post subject: chivalry         Reply with quote

Jean, actually you are describing what Lewis is saying. (I also object to the term "meek in hall" and, for that matter, "Lancelot", as I never really cared for him) The point is that people who are naturally aggressive have to be taught to control it, and that those who are basically meek will never really learn to fight. It is in the book "Present Concerns" and is the lead essay. Let me quote a telling paragraph; "The ideal embodied in Lancelot is "escapism" in a sense never dreamed of by those who use that word; it offers the only possible escape from a world divided between wolves who do not understand, and sheep, who cannot defend, the things which make life desirable." If I were younger I would seek to start a group for young people based on this. Now children are being taught never to stand up or fight back, and I consider that wrong. Alas, at close to 72, I'm not sure I have the time, energy or the money to start such a group. Best, Hank
Hank Reinhardt
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Jonathan Blair




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 5:18 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Meek does not mean milquetoast. I remember reading once that the Romans would pass a burning torch under their horses' bellies, and if the horse did not react in fear (bolt or rear) then that steed would be termed as meek and put to service in the cavalry. If it reacted in fear to the fire, the horse was rejected for military service. Meek simply means self-control over the passions that burn inside the warrior that every man is created to be. The bully who lords his strength over others is not meek, but neither is the coward who shirks his responsibilities as a man.

Another good book in the same vein is "Wild at Heart" by John Eldridge.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Craig Johnson




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 6:56 am    Post subject: The Oakeshott Institute         Reply with quote

Interesting discussion. It is a topic that I have consider for quite a while from several different angles.

While we have not formed a group as Hank has suggested and it may well be an excellent avenue to explore, but have instead taken a lead from some of the suggestions Ewart and Sybil asked us to follow in setting up the Oakeshott Institute. We have an ongoing development of curriculum for schools and organizations to use to teach about history and in this case a particular unit is being developed that looks at what were the knightly virtues and how did these define who a knight was and do we look for these things in people today. A major goal of the unit is to bring the discussion of personal responsiblity and integrity to the fore with out a great deal of religious overtones. There is also a related unit that deals with what makes a Hero and how do we define and label Heros today.

The programs we have developed so far have met with a lot of interest from the kids and the teachers and we hope to keep expanding this material over the years.

Craig
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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 7:19 am    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Jonathan, as defined in the dictionary, meek means to endure injury without resentment and the secondary meaning is deficient in spirit and courage. So yes, Meek does mean a wimp. However, the subject was not the meaning of meekness, but of the essay by Lewis.I would strongly suggest reading it, and as soon as I can arrange I will post in on my web site. The whole point, which he present much better than I can, is that the ability to be "meek in hall" and stern and ferocious on the battlefield is not a natural tendency, but is rather learned, and this type of person is what is needed greatly. Curiously, this was written in 1941, and I feel it is more appropriate today than then. Both Ewart and Sybil typified what I would consider that Lewis meant. As John Waller phrased it about Ewart, "Such a small man who becomes Conan the Barbarian when he picks up a sword."
Craig, I would that more of that was done. The state of High Culture and Personal Responsibility in this day and age is pathetic. Nils is handling my web site, and we still get together and play some. He is doing some movie stunt work, and seems to be enjoying it. Has his own dojo, Blacknight.com.

Hank Reinhardt
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 7:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank;

I think some very rare and exceptional people can start out being both fierce in battle and meek in hall and don't need to learn it.

But the vast majority will, if fierce have to learn restraint or become monsters and the meek find their courage or become used to being victims.

Both roads difficult, but very different paths to what could end up to being the same: I wonder if finding courage is harder when starting out meek or finding kindness when fury comes to easily ?

As to the word meek: The old meaning includes positive qualities but the negative meaning of timidity and lack of courage is the first one thinks of today.

In any case at some point this can become " how many angels dancing on the point of a pin " type of discussion.

What is important is how one can become a balanced personallity who can be either at the appropriate time and the importance of courage, honour, honesty in a World that has forgotten the meaning of these words.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:09 am    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Am I wrong in thinking that there is too much quibbling here, and that some seem to be missing the point? In my opinion it takes an exceptional man to either develop his courage when it does not come naturally, or to tame his brutal nature when brutality comes naturally to him. In either case, it is a learned response. This is a short essay, but one thing he mentioned, and I have found it to be all too true, is that the bully is not a coward as is frequently stated. I have known some that I consider true psychopaths, brutal, sadistic and yet willing to take on several guys at once. (I was merely an interested observer). The basic point is that the ability to fight, to be aggressive and yet to be able to live in harmony with your fellows is a learned and taught response. This is what is needed. It is an essay I suggest people read, one can agree, disagree, or not bother. I however, do think its important.
Hank Reinhardt
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Jonathan Blair




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Meek (ME meke akin to ON mjukr "gentle" akin to Welsh mwyth "soft") adj: 1. showing patience and humility; gentle. 2. easily imposed upon; submissive. 3. humble in spirit or manner; suggesting retiring mildness or even cowed submissiveness; mild; modest. 4. very docile; obedient; tame. 5. evidencing little spirit or courage; overly submissive or compliant.

One who has submitted his or her own will to God or to a liege would be meek. The French at Crecy were not meek toward Philip VI and it cost them the battle. The opposite of meek is proud.

"Late twentieth-century Western culture does not hold meekness to be a virtue, in contrast to the ancient Near East and the Greco-Roman world, which placed a high premium on it. This dramatic shift in values is problematic for contemporary biblical translation. Most modern versions [of the Bible] replace the noun "meekness" by "gentleness" or "humility, " largely as a result of the pejorative overtones of weakness and effeminacy now associated with meekness. These connotations were not always predominant in the word, for ancient Near Eastern kings were not reluctant to describe themselves as meek in the same context in which they described themselves as mighty kings (Babylonian asru and sanaqu; Aramaic nh).
"...Meekness is...an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are wisely seen by the individual as only part of a larger picture. Meekness is not a resignation to fate, a passive and reluctant submission to events, for there is little virtue in such a response. Nevertheless, since the two responses—resignation and meekness—are externally often indistinguishable, it is easy to see how what was once perceived as a virtue has become a defect in contemporary society. The patient and hopeful endurance of undesirable circumstances identifies the person as externally vulnerable and weak but inwardly resilient and strong. Meekness does not identify the weak but more precisely the strong who have been placed in a position of weakness where they persevere without giving up. The use of the Greek word [transliterated as praus] when applied to animals makes this clear, for it means "tame" when applied to wild animals. In other words, such animals have not lost their strength but have learned to control the destructive instincts that prevent them from living in harmony with others." - definition of Meekness from Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, 2nd edition, Walter A. Elwell, ed.
"Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men which were upon the face of the earth." Numbers xii:3.

"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword." - The Lord Jesus Christ, from The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, chapter x, verse 34, Authorized Version of 1611
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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
Am I wrong in thinking that there is too much quibbling here, and that some seem to be missing the point? In my opinion it takes an exceptional man to either develop his courage when it does not come naturally, or to tame his brutal nature when brutality comes naturally to him. In either case, it is a learned response. This is a short essay, but one thing he mentioned, and I have found it to be all too true, is that the bully is not a coward as is frequently stated. I have known some that I consider true psychopaths, brutal, sadistic and yet willing to take on several guys at once. (I was merely an interested observer). The basic point is that the ability to fight, to be aggressive and yet to be able to live in harmony with your fellows is a learned and taught response. This is what is needed. It is an essay I suggest people read, one can agree, disagree, or not bother. I however, do think its important.


No you're not wrong, and I agree. Unfortunately one of the hazards of conversing on the internet is that people tend to get caught up in the minutae of a discussion instead of focusing on the big picture. It's also one of the issues you deal with when discussing a written text, when all you have to analyze is the written word. Write a review with hundreds of positive comments and one negative one and people will fixate on the one negative thing, while seeming to blow right over the positive information. Make a post like this and people will want to turn it into a semantic argument that revolves around grammar and vocabulary instead of discussing the important issues.

It happens nearly every time.
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Felix Wang




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The Touchstone article does have a couple of significant flaws in it. The first is that it ignores the Orthodox Byzantine Christian position on the relationship of war and evil and sin. The Byzantines had over a millenium in which their empire had to survive, yet was seen (by them) as the leading Christian institution in the world. Their doctrine acccepted that war was necessary, but the individual soldier did commit a sin by killing. He was expected to repent and do penance for this act. Even a just war was a bad thing, although the alternatives were even worse. Second, the author tars "liberal humanists" with making war especially barbaric. This is highly dubious, considering the acts of Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, Vlad the Impaler, Hitler, and Stalin and other non-humanists. It also overlooks the acts of Grotius and the Enlightenment, which tried to codify (in non-religious terms) a just war and rules of war to which a country might legally bind itself. These were eminently humanist persons.

There is a lot to be said for the part of Lewis's position mentioned here: "As Lewis reminds us, the knight is a work of art, not nature. Those who are naturally fitted to war-like pursuits will have to acquire the virtues of humility and mercy to supplement their inherent fierceness. Those who are naturally meek will have to acquire the virtues of courage and valor to supplement their natural humility and mildness. " Neither the naturally fierce or naturally meek (which does not equal cowardly/timid, as Jonathan points out) are inherently suited to the strain of a just war, and both need training and spiritual aid to become chivalric.
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Gordon Frye




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 10:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank;

I believe that what much of the argument Lewis uses may also be described with the word "discipline". One must discipline one's self both on and off the field, and it is, indeed, a learned behaviour (for as anyone who has observed small children can see, they are callous little brutes in their natural state). Courage on the battlefield without the discipline to use it wisely (such as obeying the orders of a superior, or holding back from slaughtering innocents or prisoners in the heat of combat) is often as not either in vain (note Jonathan's comments about the French Chivalerie at Crecy), or leads to vengance; while a lack of discipline in civil life leads to various complications such as disrupted relationships and long prison terms. Either way, lack of control over one's emotions is a major failure for anyone who considers himself to be a man.

I believe that everyone/thing has the essence within himself to be either the patient donkey, or the courageous lion depending upon circumstances (as anyone who as seen the photo essay of the Mule attacking and killing the Cougar, or seen Lions allowing their cubs to bite their ears may attest to). But to do it regularly, as a matter of course, takes much learning and, well, Discipline.

I very much look forward to reading Lewis' entire discourse, and thank you for starting this interesting discussion. Hopefully it shall lead to greater understanding of what we presently consider to be Chivalry. Maybe even the following of it! Happy

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
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Hank Reinhardt




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 1:39 pm    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Well, I really wasn't interested in starting a debate on the meaning of "meek" and I will agree that discipline might be a valid term. Chivalry, as Lewis points out, has had many meanings. I was quite amused many years ago when the SCA in the South, after I had dropped out, installed rules for Chivalry. You couldn't do this, you couldn't do that. Of course that killed any chivalry you might wish to show to an opponent. Goedel's incompleteness theorem applies not only to mathematical systems, but to the Human Endeavor as well. You simply cannot fully emcompass the range of human actions and thought. The point the Lewis is making is that the ability and the willingness to fight must not be surpressed, but it must not be allowed to run untamed and unchannelled. This is something that I agree with, and is why i am pleased that many groups actually promote this, albeit unknowlingly.
Hank Reinhardt
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 3:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

After reading this topic, I suspect that Hank and I would see eye to eye on many things. The concepts he's bringing forth here are a consistent and ever-present theme in my life and I've become quite aware of them over the last couple of years. I don't have the time to be detailed right now, but I just wanted to quickly write and say that so few people even consider this context, let alone understand its implications to such things as "honor, chivalry, and virtue." I think these three things cannot be fully understood without examining the concepts brought forth in the essay by C.S. Lewis.
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 3:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hank;

Rethinking it: Maybe it is learned behaviour after all, only that some " children " become civilized and start learning self-control or courage earlier than others so that it only seems innate when they reach adulthood ( Some never do ! ).

The ability to fight and competence with weapons is essential to maturity: There is no virtue in being " meek " if it is only because of not having the skill, confidence and courage to fight when fighting is the right thing to do.

When needed one must be able to loose the dogs of war.

Hope, I'm getting closer to the point you wanted to make or discuss. Big Grin

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Patrick Kelly




PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 4:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I like Lewis' essay very much and agree with Hank's opinion across the board.

In a way I have two advantages that some others don't. First, my job forces me to be "my brother's keeper". I've always been something of a student of human nature and my job has taken this one step further. Consequently, I study human behavior close-up every day. Second, I'm a parent. I have three children, two of whom I've raised to adulthood so I've run the gamut in regards to shaping and forming children into adults.

What I have seen in terms of our collective society is quite disturbing to me on a personal level. We now live in a world largely devoid of honor and virtue. These are looked upon as "quaint" and "backward" beliefs. Anyone espousing the beliefs of honor and duty is looked upon as some kind of backward neanderthal. Not only have we taught our children to shun violence at any cost, but we have also taught them that adversity isn't a challenge to be overcome but rather something to seek therapy for. As a generation they have largely been taught that privilege isn't something to be earned but is some kind of inalienable right. The end result is a group of people who are entirely too self-absorbed, self-centered, and with an overinflated sense of their own self-worth. Perhaps worst of all, a group that is psychologically and emotionally soft. They aren't ready to conquer the hardships of life because they haven't been given the mental toughness to deal with it.

By today's standards I've been very hard on my children. I was told this more than once by my in-laws when my two older children were younger. I always told my children, "We always do the right thing, not because it's profitable, convenient, or comfortable, because it is rarely any of those things. We do it simply because it's the right thing to do." I also told them, "I'm not your friend, come back when you're an adult and I'll be your friend. Right now I'm your father and there's a big difference." I want my children to love me, but more than that I want them to have a moral compass that points true north and I want them to be tough enough to handle whatever life throws at them. I've also tried to teach them to have respect and consideration for others. Recently my oldest son was going through a rough patch wherein I gave him my honest opinion and he didn't speak to me for over two months. One of the things I told him was that, while I didn't really care about his love life or his religious beliefs, I wasn't prepared to tolerate the way in which he was treating those around him. My final question to him was, " A man lives his life by a code son. What's yours?" It took a while for that to sink in but it did.

There have been many times when my children have been very angry with their old dad. I can't say that it makes me feel good, but I've always been of the "hate me now love me later" school. Next month I turn 40. Most people my age don't have children in their 20's. Consequently I get asked for parental advice by friends who are new parents. I tell them the following:

1) Be consistent from the day they're born. Lay down the law and make sure it's the same today, tomorrow, and thereafter.
2) Make sure they know you love them. They won't always act like it but they'll know. Make sure they know you'd die for them but don't turn them into your obsession because this will blind you to their imperfections.
3) Perhaps most importantly: be willing to have your kids tell you they hate you. Sooner or later they will, but be willing to be unpopular and stick to your principles. They won't appreciate it then but they will in the future.
4) Teach them that honor, commitment, and responsibility are more important than comfort, position or profit.

(That last one is particularly hard to get across in today's world.)

As some of you know I hate my job and I'd love to find something else to do. However, when I think of leaving one of the things that keeps me on the job is the fact that somebody has to do it. Someone has to stand in the breach. On the day I graduated from the academy I raised my right hand and swore an oath to protect the people of my state and country. I don't remember anything in there saying "Do it only as long as it's fun." It may seem quaint but I take that seriously. People often ask me how I can do such a dangerous job, afterall I could be killed. Well, the only sure thing in life is that no one gets out alive. I've often said, "How a man lives is more important than how long". (yes I'm full of quaint sayings) I would rather live a shorter purpose driven life than die old and in bed sucking through a tube. When I say that most people look at me like I'm from another planet. Afterall, the most important thing is to be safe and to collect as much stuff as we possibly can right?

I don't think so.


Last edited by Patrick Kelly on Thu 17 Nov, 2005 5:44 pm; edited 1 time in total
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