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M. Taylor




Location: Chesterland, Ohio
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 4:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well said, Patrick! That is absolutely fabulous advice. My wife and I try to drum the same things into our four kids. It drives us both crazy when we so many shallow, egotistical parents raising shallow, egotistical kids; both of which think they have the right to do whatever they wish no matter how much it annoys, inconveniences and sometimes endangers themselves and others. My wife and I are by no means perfect but it really saddens me to see so many 'negative examples' out there.

Patrick, I'm sorry you hate your job so much, but I sincerely thank you for the service you (and your brothers in blue) do for us each day. One of the many things we drive into our kids is 'keep out of trouble and you'll never have to be afraid of the cops' Happy

I also appreciate your comments about a purpose-driven life. If there's nothing in your life that's worth dying for, there's nothing in your life worth living for.

I haven't had a chance to read Lewis's essay (I love Lewis), but here's a line from Lewis that this thread made me think of. From "The Last Battle" -
Quote:

And peace, Eustace. Do not scold, like a kitchen-girl. No warrior scolds. Courteous words or else hard knocks are his only language. - King Tirian, last king of Narnia

All the best,

Mark

"Only people not able to grow tall from their own efforts and achievements seek to subdue their fellow man."
"Only people not being able to find comfort in their own mind seek to silence others. " - Per Bylund
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Hank Reinhardt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 5:33 pm    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Patrick , Excellent, you're a man after my own heart. No, wait a minute, thats not something you say to a sword nut, is it. Kidding adie, that is an excllent way to live, and very much in keeping with my own views. I have two daughters, and am pleased with the way they have turned out. Since they were old enough to talk to I've told that that I owed them one thing in life, the ability to survive and function after I am dead. As a note, my wife was killed in a car wreck when they were 7& 8 years old. I only remarried 23 years after her death.So I raised them pretty much myself. I have been quite fortunate in that I have always been surrounded by young boys. When we moved to Birmingham in 1966, I had a whole group of them hanging around and asking questions about swords and guns. Almost 40 years later they're still hanging around, some here in Atlanta and others still in Birmingham. Am happy to report that they have all grown up to be fine decent tough men. Several have ended up as cops. (sigh, I can't really outshoot them anymore) The say, and I hope its true, that I influenced them and kept them onthe straight and narrow. If so, then I am well rewarded. We live in strange and disturbing times, which is why I brought up Lewis to begin with. I think what he says is more important now than it was when he wrote it in 1941. Best, Hank
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Kirk Lee Spencer




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hi all...

Interesting discussion!
Made me think of the first chapter in Lewis' "The Abolition of Man," where he plays with Plato's symbolic anatomy. Lewis talks about how the head (reason) rules over the belly (desires) by way of the chest (Magnanimity) that he later associates with "virtue" and "honor." We are raising men without chest (a sense of honor) and yet still expect that they will think and act honorably.

"We were told it all long ago by Plato. As the king governs by his executive, so Reason in man must rule the mere appetites by means of the 'spirited element'.20 The head rules the belly through the chest—the seat, as Alanus tells us, of Magnanimity, of emotions organized by trained habit into stable sentiments. The Chest-Magnanimity-Sentiment—these are the indispensable liaison officers between cerebral man and visceral man. It may even be said that it is by this middle element that man is man: for by his intellect he is mere spirit and by his appetite mere animal. The operation of The Green Book and its kind is to produce what may be called Men without Chests...
Their heads are no bigger than the ordinary: it is the atrophy of the chest beneath that makes them seem so.
And all the time—such is the tragi-comedy of our situation—we continue to clamour for those very qualities we are rendering impossible. You can hardly open a periodical without coming across the statement that what our civilization needs is more 'drive', or dynamism, or self-sacrifice, or 'creativity'. In a sort of ghastly simplicity we remove the organ and demand the function. We make men without chests and expect of them virtue and enterprise. We laugh at honour and are shocked to find traitors in our midst. We castrate and bid the geldings be fruitful."
C.S. Lewis "The Abolition of Man"

Here is a link to the complete text:
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/lewis/abolition1.htm

Dynamic men of action and enterprise willing to self-sacrifice to show and protect honor and virtue, if only for honor's sake. Sounds like the best of knights and the best of police officers.

ks

Two swords
Lit in Eden’s flame
One of iron and one of ink
To place within a bloody hand
One of God or one of man
Our souls to one of
Two eternities
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Don Stanko




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 6:44 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Hank! My name is Don. I must start by saying thank you for your contribution to historical reproduction market. I confess that I still have all of my museum replicas catalogs from the 80's and 90's. I truly enjoyed the portion titled "From the Pen of Oakeshott", my favorite was the story of "The Knight and the Chemise", chivalry with a hint of reckless abandon, got to love it.

Now back to the point, I couldn't agree with you more. A man by the name of Lt. Col. Dave Grossman wrote an essay that captured the sentiment well. It was titled "On Sheep, Wolves and Sheepdogs". This is the link http://hobbes.ncsa.uiuc.edu/onsheepwolvesandsheepdogs.html

Basically, Grossmann has determined that there are three types of people in this world. The first and the most common is the sheep, the kind and gentle people of the world. The type who wouldn't normally hurt a soul. Then there are the wolves, evil people capable of evil deeds. And of course there are the Sheepdogs, those who live to protect the flock and confront the wolves. Grossman goes on to say that the only problem is that the sheepdog looks too much like the wolf and that makes the sheep uneasy. The sheepdogs aren't seen in a very favorable light until the wolf comes around.

It seems that many people are against any use of force, that is until it it needed to protect their best interests. As a result, chivalry is becoming quite a rare trait, in my opinion.
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Gordon Frye




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I want to pitch in again to second Don's advice per Dr. Grossman's writings. He also wrote a fascinating book called "On Killing" which delves into the psycological aspects of what violence means, and what it does, to a person (as in the perpetrator, rather than the victim). What is deeply troubling is his note that the same basic techniques that are used by the military to de-sensitize soldiers to firing upon living targets are those used by video-games to "entertain" the youth market. So not only are kids not getting virtues such as "Duty, Honour, Country" or "Ride, Shoot Straight and Always Speak the Truth" instilled into them, but they're being desensitized towards senseless violence at the same time.

But on the other hand, I do fully believe that there are a significant number of men out there (many posting here) who have given of themselves to be mentors and teachers to young men, instilling in them the virtues noted above. That this conversation is even happening shows that the shortcomings are noticeable, and therefore can be corrected. I have faith in our young men today, for the more I see and meet of them (and I see plenty in my line of work), the more honoured I am to know them.

Take Heart.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Hank Reinhardt
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 9:46 pm    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Suddenly this discussion has taken on increased depth and awareness. I am quite heartened and pleased by this, now I'm wondering where I will find the time to fully explore and fully explain my thoughts on this. A short time ago I started an essay of my own dealing with this subject, but got so busy that I haven't had time to finish it. I had planned to put in on my web site and when I do will ask those interested to check it out. First let me mention Grossman. My wife, Toni, is the executive editor for Baen Books, and I believe they published the first book, "On Killing". She had me glance through it and give her my opinion. I thought many of his comments were silly, and in direct opposition to historical fact. The one that grated on me the most was statements to the effect that men did not like to thrust and had to be taught to do it. That there was a natural aversion to this action. The natural motion of the arm is the swing, but once some smart guy made a sharp point on the end of stick, men have been killing by thrusting. It may have been wrong of me, but when I ran across that bit I dismissed him. However I do fully agree with him regarding the sheep, wolves and the sheepdog. I was in the army in 56-58, and tried to get to Lebenon, but the Colonel wouldn't release me. (I wrote news stories that got him promoted to Brig.Gen. I had worked for the AP before going into the army) But in Basic and the 2nd Eight we did not get anything that resembling trying to dehumanize the enemy. It was simply the enemy, and he's trying to kill you, so you'd better kill him first. (I've just remembered being on the grenade range. The Sgt told me, verty kindly I might add, " Son, if you ever get into combat. You rely on your rifle. Don't even try to throw a grenade. You can't get it far enough to keep from getting killed yourself. Sigh, I can't throw. Not spear, baseball, football, but I can throw an axe, and pretty well. But its a different arm motion.)
Sorry, sometimes old men get carried away with thoughts of their youth. Man has a strong and basic streak of violence in him. It is innate. But we live in a world of violence, where nature is red in tooth and claw. It is very important that this violence be controlled. It is equally important that this violence not be eradicated. It is necessary for our survival. Violence can be the result of aggression, but aggression is also the father of achievement, whether in art of science or any other human endeavor. We are now in a period where we are being told that we are not responsible for our actions, and that we must never be violent. The reality is one that scares people, most of our problems have been solved by violence! But enough of my ranting. This is really interesting, and the input has been delightful and quite rewarding. I haven't read the Lewis essy, byt am hunting it up now. Best, Hank

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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Thu 17 Nov, 2005 10:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you for the kind words gentlemen.

Gordon wrote:
But on the other hand, I do fully believe that there are a significant number of men out there (many posting here) who have given of themselves to be mentors and teachers to young men, instilling in them the virtues noted above. That this conversation is even happening shows that the shortcomings are noticeable, and therefore can be corrected. I have faith in our young men today, for the more I see and meet of them (and I see plenty in my line of work), the more honoured I am to know them.


I agree with your sentiments Gordon. When we get into these discussions it does help to show us that we're not alone in our dissatisfaction or our ideals. Another thing that keeps me at my job is the men I work with. Even though we're all very different in our personalities and desires there is a very similar moral code present in most of us. Out here where the tumbleweeds blow we work alone in a patrol car, but there are at least two of us on each shift in our seven county zone. My partner Mike and I have worked together for over seven years, longer than anyone else in our area of the state. I'm a distrustful person by nature so I don't give my trust easily. However, while there are very few people I trust completely Mike is high on that short list. We don't associate much in our off time so I can't say that we're best friends, but we've "rode the river" together more than once over the years. If Mike ever lets me down it will be because he's dead. The other night the Gregger and his lady Linda had dinner with us, while we were on duty. The next day Greg told me the two of us acted like we were married. Eek! All kidding aside, I suppose that's true in a way.

Earlier I used the analogy of standing in the breach and the men I work with are the ones I'd want to do that with. If I had stood in the pass at Thermopylae, or fought that rear-gaurd action with Roland at Roncevalles, I would have wanted men like these to stand next to. That warrior code is one of the things that originally attracted me to the job and one of the few reasons why I stick with it. I suppose that sense of loyalty is another thing that keeps me at it. I also think it's one of the things that is largely missing from our society. Our comfort and our technology have made us so disconnected from each other that there's no sense of community or group loyalty anymore. Unfortunately it seems to take a crisis to bring this out in people. It's also unfortunate that it doesn't seem to last long after the crisis has passed.

Hank's right when he says that human beings are inherently violent creatures. Anyone who denies that is living with their head in the sand. The reality is that we're an animal species that strives to dominate it's environment like many other species. Throughout history most of our economic and technological advancements have come through conflict, so has much of our social reform. The common view is to deny the reality through the haze of political correctness but that doesn't change the reality. You can dress a lion in wool but that won't make him a sheep.

Two other interesting books on warfare and it's effect on world culture are Ancient Warfare by Carman and Harding, and Soul of the Sword by Robert L. O'Connell.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2005 8:57 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Violence goes deeper than just being humans: being alive means having to kill or live off the death of other life forms.

Even the most fanatical vegetarian only survives by eating plant flesh i.e. something that was once alive.

When the first group of cells organized into groups and became animals there has been a constant arms race to have sharp teeth or scaly hide or fast legs: killing and fighting is first of all the need for resources, finding food and not becoming food.

The DNA of living things does one thing and that is to make life and continued life possible.

No animal is a pacifist, no carnivore is ashamed of his teeth.

I could maybe go on for too long here as I am searching what to say more than having a clear and finished conclusion to offer: But in the human context the idea that the ability, need, obligation to fight and struggle will ever be done away with is an illusion, at minimum one has to at least retain the ability to fight.

When to fight, for what reason to fight, we may be able to choose: But fight we must even if just to push back the darkness.

( This may be good or it may be nonsense: I'm writing more from my gut here than from my brain, hope it at least worth some thought. Question )

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




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2005 9:40 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:

Earlier I used the analogy of standing in the breach and the men I work with are the ones I'd want to do that with. If I had stood in the pass at Thermopylae, or fought that rear-gaurd action with Roland at Roncevalles, I would have wanted men like these to stand next to. That warrior code is one of the things that originally attracted me to the job and one of the few reasons why I stick with it. I suppose that sense of loyalty is another thing that keeps me at it. I also think it's one of the things that is largely missing from our society. Our comfort and our technology have made us so disconnected from each other that there's no sense of community or group loyalty anymore. Unfortunately it seems to take a crisis to bring this out in people. It's also unfortunate that it doesn't seem to last long after the crisis has passed.


Patrick, I think that this is one of the reasons that so many of us are drawn to reenacting, or collecting weapons, etc. We aren't in general given the opportunities to "stand at the breech" in modern society (though there have been plenty of young men over the past several years in our military who have!), to fulfill that "warrior spirit" that was once a part and parcel of our every day lives. When you consider that the Old Testament's "Book of Numbers" is a recitation of the number of fighting men that the Tribes of Israel could muster, on a daily basis, it sinks in just how ancient and inborne concept it is. That even our own ill-used militia system and laws maintain that every able-bodied man between 16 and 65 be ready to serve to defend his homeland (the so-called "un-organized militia" in 1903 legal parlance) echo's that. (This is also the legal fiction that allows for the Draft in time of war.)

But though we're in spirit willing to serve, the economic realities get in the way (as they did in the past as well, thus the rise of professional armies. If everyone serves, no one is there to pay for it all). So to fill that spiritual void, we band together to take part in mock battles, study those real ones of our ancestors, and try to live, and instill in others, some of the virtues and skills of those self-same ancestors. We form our own "Bands of Brothers", some poor, some mediocre, some of high standards and abilities, but all with a similar urge behind them. We can channel our energies, and indeed our deep-seated urge to violence, into these "hobbies". Small wonder that so much of "living history" is focused upon the more militant parts of our history!

(Needless to say, in those communities wherein there aren't avenues like this to pursue, such similar, but far less savory groups, AKA "gangs" exist for similar reasons. Younger men looking up to only slightly older men, without good foundation or virtue, and leading down a path of actual, rather than pantomime, violence. Sad... but also from similar urges to form "warrior bands" I believe. And those who try to suppress, rather than channel such activites are doomed to failure, I'm afraid.)

Anyway, waxing frighteningly close to philisophical here, so I'd best stop now while I'm ahead.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Patrick Kelly




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2005 10:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Well said Gordon and I agree completely.
"In valor there is hope.".................. Tacitus
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2005 10:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello all,

First, I'd like to say I'm very impressed with the calibre of posts in this thread. Thanks for getting the ball rolling Mr. Reinhardt - it's very nice to see you posting here.

Chivalry, in its most general sense, is a necessity, particularly as it has become all the more clear in recent times that our species' technological advancement far outstrips its moral progress. It's interesting and ironic that many modern thinkers are very comfortable in dismissing it because they believe it is the cypher of a brutal age; ironic indeed, given that the 20th century is unsurpassed for sheer barbarism in terms of civilian deaths in wars, attempts at genocide, etc.

What makes chivalry a compelling idea, and I fervently believe, a hope for human salvation, is found in the core of what makes it appealing; I like to define chivalry as "the art of making good deeds joyful." It is a code, no, a way of life, that surrounds right conduct with reward and glory. In our modern culture, we nod our heads in approval of the good deed, but Chivalry celebrates them - in feast, in story, in song. Renown is a powerful force for good.

I could go on indefinitely on this topic, but it's time to get back to writing about Paulus Kal, my next book. But one of these days it will be time to write another - the working title is "Mystic Chivalry" - and it is about how much we need to reconnect our culture with the knightly code. I'm not ready to write that just yet, but I thank you all for your passionately expressed views here that are no doubt signposts on the journey toward that project.

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Greg Griggs




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PostPosted: Fri 18 Nov, 2005 1:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow.
A LOT of good thought and advice posted here. Thanks Hank for bringing it up, and thanks to those who add your own bit of "Chivaly" into this bleak world. It's too bad more of our society can't read and understand what it is that makes a man "honorable", "just", or "true", in the sense of Lewis' writings and in these gentlemens' lives. I salute each man who learns how to control that human animal within all of us and is willing to pass the knowledge on to the next generation. It may seem there aren't enough to win the battle, but each person makes his/her own mark.

Not one shred of evidence supports the notion that life is serious.
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Joe Maccarrone




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2005 2:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Patrick Kelly wrote:
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.


Perhaps it isn't a coincidence, since I do the same job Patrick does, but the above diatribe describes my own thoughts perfectly.

A few presidential elections ago a friend and I were discussing the merits of the candidates. I told him that one of them appeared to be, in my opinion, a man without honor, and I explained why. He giggled as if I was making a joke, saying that I sounded "like a Klingon" (for having referred to honor). Worried

This particular friend has never left an academic environment, having worked toward a series of advanced degrees, and now being a college professor. Infer what you will from that; I don't intend it as a jab at academia.

Thanks to Hank for bringing this up; it's an important point, and as he noted, it's a bit like preaching to the choir around this forum. The folks who need to hear and understand this aren't likely to be here.

I've been involved in training new police officers for many years, as I know Patrick has, and I can quickly spot those who will be a danger to themselves and their partners on the street -- because they either lack natural aggression, or have had it suppressed throughout their lives. We seem to be having an increasingly difficult time recruiting warriors of the brand Hank (and Lewis) is describing.

Fortuntely, it's rare for the unchecked-aggressive person to make it onto a law enforcement agency these days; most of these people will have prior arrests that disqualify them to begin with, or will lack the humility and good judgment required to make it through training.

And yeah, I don't really enjoy my job much anymore, either. I'm still here because this is what I do, I can still be proud of doing it, and at this point, it's all I'm suited for. This is where I'm best put to use. I'd be quite out of place in any other career.

Patrick, I have no doubt your kids will thank you. I've never forgotten the words of my first Field Training Officer, after I sat in the patrol car one day whining about my personal life:
"Are you finished? I'm not here to be your friend. I'm here to show you what you need to know to do this job."
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Felix Wang




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2005 10:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I feel obliged to mention that, in addition to the avoidance of violence, the other side of the coin is this: so many modern people have not been taught the basics of courtesy. By this I refer to the medieval concept and the modern one (which is a fragment of its predecessor). This is, I think, a great liability to the naturally aggressive / fierce person. Some people need encouragement to show backbone, but others need to be taught to regard other people with inherent respect. Certain kinds of (physical and nonphysical) aggressive behaviour are encouraged, and spill over into all kinds of behaviour. This applies to drivers on the highways, atheletes on the field and off the field, and financial wizards. The behaviour of atheletes is striking, as these people are the closest (in other ways) to showing the physical prowess which was fundamental to medieval knighthood. "Sportsmanship" is an almost obsolete concept (as compared with trash talking), and the behaviour of parents at their kids' organized sporting events has recently reached lethal levels. Professional atheletes have, in some cases, accquired impressive rap sheets; the current snafu about illegal drugs in professional baseball would be regarded as outrageous if these men were plumbers. Not that business types have been that much better - the shennanigans at Enron being a fine example of wholesale duplicity and robbery. In much of modern life, the attitude seems to be "if it isn't specifically illegal, then it is okay; and even if it is illegal, that doesn't really apply to me anyway".

I like one definition of a gentleman: "a gentleman is never unintentionally rude to anyone". This applies to garbage collectors, meter maids, business competitors, children, and seniors.
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2005 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Felix;

I agree courtesy is a basis on which good behaviour is built: If you can teach someone to be considerate I doubt that this person would show unprovoked violent behaviour.

Do polite kids become gang members ? Are there any courteous gangs ? Well maybe within their own code of behaviour
( Misbehaviour ) " dissing " someone else in the your gang or another gang can get you killed ! So I guess even among the wolves there has to be some forms of perverted respect or they would all have killed each other already. Sort of a form of :
" An armed society is a polite society " !

Naturally this doesn't translate to being courteous to us " civilians ".

Even the bad guys need some control over their anger to function as a group. The totally dysfunctional end up killed just by pissing off the wrong people or if they survive at all as total loners.

When courtesy becomes as unfashionable as valour a civilization is well on the way to chaos. ( Interesting times. )

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Christian Henry Tobler
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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2005 10:41 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hello Felix,

Thank you for another excellent post (I'll have you know that I read just about everything you post, regardless of subject), which I think speaks to my point too. Part of why people act discourteously is that they are now 'trained' to derive pleasure from acting rudely. I don't believe I was born with a particularly better set of genetics or inherent morality - it's just that I've been trained to enjoy being polite.

Such differences can be so profound as to be apparent in our very bearing. There is an 'air' about the gentleman that is obvious to those who have been brought up with the notion of what one is. This is really what the knightly virtue of "Franchise" is all about: the complete and total 'buy-in' of the chivalric way such that it is reflected in all aspects of one's being, carriage, demeanor and ways of doing everything.

This can be a powerful force for good works, large and small: on no less than three occassions during visits to the city of New York (I live in Connecticut and visit there infrequently), I have been sought out by elderly women - complete strangers - to assist them in crossing the street. Now, one might assume I merely appear responsible to them because I tend to dress more formally, but these were Manhattan street corner's lousy with men in suits. It is instead, I believe, my attempts, imperfect though they surely are, to be a gentleman that inspires that confidence and willingness to entrust themselves, albeit momentarily, to my care and protection.

So how does it all get better? Well, by us being better, for one thing. And by talking to others and refuting their cynical claims that the world cannot improve. By *insisting* they be better. By answering John Ruskin's question - "Might we not live in a nobler dream than this?" - with an emphatic, irrefutable "YES!"

All the best,

Christian

Christian Henry Tobler
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Reading list: 15 books

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PostPosted: Sat 19 Nov, 2005 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Gentlemen, I couldn't agree with you more. There is a definite dissolution of what used to be referred to as "Common Courtesy" which is far from common anymore (though probably more common that we think). The need for courtesy pervades our lives, from how we deal with our family members to how we drive our cars. Without it, society comes to a screeching halt, for like traffic signals, one must suffer some minor inconveniences in order for to be thereby granted free passage by others in turn. Without the "signals", chaos and gridlock ensue.

I was having this same discussion recently with my wife, and it seems as though this topic is raging over many very different websites as we speak, so it must be a timely subject for discourse. But much of the problem, I believe, lies in our surface attempts at "mass equality" and a subsequent over-familiarity with strangers. There were excellent reasons for a certain formality in conduct, and referring to a person who you weren't well acquainted with as "Mr.", "Miss" or "Mrs" rather than by their first names is one is one of those little things that breeds respect, I believe. I would really prefer to refer to my superiors at work by "Mr.", but sadly it's considered to be not just quaint, but somewhat of an affront any more, which is very strange.

There is a certain freedom in knowing one's place in the social structure, and how to conduct one's self within it. To harken back to my earlier comments, I believe that this is one more reason for the popularity of reenacting: one is expected to know one's place, and behave accordingly. I think it is also a major draw to the Military: There is an ancient structure to it that, enjoy it or not, everyone knows exactly where he stands, and he knows exactly where everyone else stands too.

At any rate, it's a difficult uphill battle, fought one-on-one, but as I always pointed out to my own daughters, it never hurts to be polite to your inferiors, and you should always be polite to your superiors. And thank you for that quote, Felix: "A Gentleman is never unintentionally rude to anyone". Or as a friend said her grandmother instilled in her: "If you know proper manners, you can hold your head up among kings". Too bad that sort of ethic isn't instilled in everyone.

Chivalry, courtesy, and a basic respect for others, be they friend or foe: something missing in our age of mass pandering to the lowest common deniminator.

Cheers!

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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Hank Reinhardt
Industry Professional



Location: oxford,ga.
Joined: 10 Nov 2005
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PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 9:33 am    Post subject: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

I cannot tell all of you how happy I am to hear the expressed comments on this forum. You might be surprised if you knew how rare this is, even among those who are interested in arms,armor, history, warfatre, etc. When engaged in in war, or deadly combat, I am a firm believer in doing what is needed to win. After all, I am not fighting a friend of mine, and one case make a good case for survival being the ultimate morality. But in all other forms of social interaction I am also a firm believer i courtesy, good sportsmanship, etc. I have a deep comtempt for trash talking and belittling of opponents that seem tyo be common in our sports field. One definition of a Gentleman that I really like, is " A gentleman expects nothing from anyone else, and everything from himself."
We live in "interesting times" to say the least. All of the virtues that I was taught by my parents and society, plus those I learned in books, are being attacked on a daily basis. I have examined those virtues throughtly, and I felel that I understand where they fail, but more important, I also understand where the work, and how terribly they are needed. Without these virtues we are little more than wild animals. which I am fearful, some people want. Enough of my ranting and soapbox preaching.
Let me go back to my wild barbarian persona and quote a an Arabic poem that I changed from "We" to "My
My flowers are the swortd and the dagger
For gold and jewels I care naught
My wine is the blood of my foeman,
My goblet, his skull when we've fought.

Us old men are full of nonsense. Hank

Hank Reinhardt
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Gordon Frye




Location: Kingston, Washington
Joined: 20 Apr 2004
Reading list: 15 books

Spotlight topics: 2
Posts: 1,191

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 11:18 am    Post subject: Re: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:

Us old men are full of nonsense. Hank


Hardly, Sir. It is only through the respectful listening to, and learning from our Elders that we may learn, and in our own turn hand down. So I thank you for your imparted wisdom, and salute you for your work in this.

Your Servant,,

Gordon

"After God, we owe our victory to our Horses"
Gonsalo Jimenez de Quesada
http://www.renaissancesoldier.com/
http://historypundit.blogspot.com/
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John Cooksey




Location: NW Ark
Joined: 15 Nov 2003

Posts: 291

PostPosted: Sun 20 Nov, 2005 11:19 am    Post subject: Re: Lewis Chivalry         Reply with quote

Hank Reinhardt wrote:
First let me mention Grossman. My wife, Toni, is the executive editor for Baen Books, and I believe they published the first book, "On Killing". She had me glance through it and give her my opinion. I thought many of his comments were silly, and in direct opposition to historical fact. The one that grated on me the most was statements to the effect that men did not like to thrust and had to be taught to do it. That there was a natural aversion to this action. The natural motion of the arm is the swing, but once some smart guy made a sharp point on the end of stick, men have been killing by thrusting. It may have been wrong of me, but when I ran across that bit I dismissed him.


Not to hijack this thread, but I think he might have gotten that little tidbit from Oakeshott. I just re-read that in one of my nightly perusals of "The Archaeology of Weapons", and it grated then, also . . . . . .

On Chivalry in the modern world:

Aren't we really going back here to the ancient idea of Virtue, in the proper sense of the word?
Virtus, the state of being of a proper man?
A man (or a person, in the modern sensibility) who has the ability to do what his necessary and proper in all circumstances?
Brave on the battlefield, steadfast in defense of his values and his community, who can pick up shield and sword to fight the most vicious of battles, and then seamlessly blend back into the community at the end of every campaign season?

It's an ancient idea that can be found (written down) at least as far back as the Classical era. Some idea or ideal of chivalry, being the proper conduct of a fighting man, is found in almost all cultures.
Certainly it is predominant in Classical Arabo-Islamic and and all Iranian martial literature, in almost identical form to that of Medieval Europe.

It can certainly be taught to receptive minds, but some minds (thinking of youthful ones, here) may not be receptive.
I have been around a lot of kids and teenagers and young adults: one thing that I have learned is that some people, by their nature, are just savages. I have seen perfect young gentlemen and utter savages raised as siblings by the same parents, in the same environment, and with the same upbringing.
This nature vs. nurture argument is kind of old and worn now, but it still holds true to a degree.
You can inculcate all the values (of any kind) that you want in a properly receptive mind (nurture) but that receptivity is determined, at least in part, by nature (whether you want to describe nature, here, as simple biology or as something as indefinable as a soul).

That is not to say that I don't think education isn't worthwhile. If for no other reason, teaching your children to read well and enjoy reading will open up their minds to lifetimes' worth of knowledge and experience that can help them measure themselves and their own circumstances by "a larger measure".
And of course, if your kids know how to read well, you can steer them to what you think are the right books . . . . . . :-)

I know that my own nature and my education (formal and informal) have given me a rather long view of things. Some people would say "too long". . . . .

I ramble, now . . . . .
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