Chivalric Humanism is a branch of naturalism philosophy; that is, it is rooted in the belief that only natural forces operate in the world. Chivalric Humanism is characterized by its emphasis on virtue and excellence while also stressing that its adherents become champions for the rights of others in order to serve the common good. It is a form of humanism that explains the role of humans in the world and prescribes a rewarding purpose for our lives.
It is the goal of Chivalric Humanism to rehabilitate the individual's moral nature so that he or she may reach his or her full potential. It is the cultivation of human potential which grants a person more joy, more reality, more connectedness, more accomplishment and more opportunities for other people to grow.
Chivalric Humanism encourages the individual to come to an intimate understanding of reality and truth through direct experience. It is a philosophy of personal development where the individual works to understand their true nature and the laws of the universe that govern the world.
Logic and Science Are Necessary to Find Truth
To be a Chivalric Humanist means to become highly educated in the employment of logic and the scientific method.
Chivalric Humanism teaches people how to hone their minds until the mind is so sharp that it cuts through lies as effortlessly as a blade cuts through air. Metaphysical beliefs and explanations are wholeheartedly rejected, as are pseudo-scientific processes of inquiry.
Truth Is Not Subjective
Chivalric Humanism makes a distinction between reality and a person’s perceptions of reality.
It also teaches that ideas are not objectively part of reality, but rather a component of the problem solving abilities of the human mind, and a tool for communication. It teaches that because morality is a construct of the human mind, a moral framework can be constructed in a way to best encourage behavior that benefits the survival of the human species.
'Survival' Is The Goal of Life
Any moral framework requires some high principle that is placed above all others in order to provide direction for how a person should live their life. For Chivalric Humanism it is ‘survival’ that is the true north of its moral compass.
This is because survival is the principle for which human instincts drive a person, and the most critical mistakes a person makes in their life is a consequence of failing to correctly apply ‘survival’ as a principle.
This ‘survival’ is not necessarily of the individual, but of the collective group a person belongs to. As an individual human cannot live forever, human instincts instead drive people toward survival of offspring that possess the genetic legacy of the individual, as well as drive a person to make choices to ensure the survival of the group the individual identifies with, as this represents survival of the ideas of the individual.
Chivalric Humanism promotes the survival of the human species by encouraging individuals to take those actions which ensure our collective survival as a species.
Rights Are Not Natural or Gifted By Deities
In comparison to other Humanist philosophies, Chivalric Humanism is different in that it does not assume the existence of natural rights.
Most Humanist ideologies still possess some metaphysical beliefs at their heart, which leads to certain irrational conclusions as a core part of their philosophies. A commonplace metaphysical belief is the idea that some mystical force has given humans ‘natural rights’.
In contrast, Chivalric Humanism wholeheartedly rejects the idea a person can be born with rights, and explains that it is actually that a community bestows entitlements to its members in order to implement a system of conflict resolution for situations when members’ personal interests place them in conflict with each other.
As a result of this belief, Chivalric Humanism identifies a number of core principles that a community should possess in order to serve the common good, and this includes what kind of rights that individuals should possess within the community, as well as terms for when they should lose these rights.
Virtues Are Essential For Stable Societies
Chivalric Humanism is a form of humanism that uses the time-proven concept of moral virtues to define the boundaries of human morality.
Most Humanist ideologies tend to promote hedonistic values; that is, they place preference on happiness and pleasure. Chivalric Humanism stresses that just because something can make you feel happy does not necessarily mean it is a morally good action, and instead introduces the concept of Eight Noble Virtues that a person should strive to cultivate in themselves. By following these principles a person can make morally good choices that will lead to improving the quality of their life, as well as contributing positively to their local communities.
People Should Focus On Wholeness
Chivalric Humanism does not place specific emotions like pleasure and happiness above all else.
Instead it preaches for wholeness; that a person should be emotionally balanced and make important decisions by employing critical thinking. To assist with making optimal choices, it strongly encourages the adherent to become educated in the sciences so that the individual can make informed decisions.
Wholeness is the state of being in tune with all your emotional states and able to recognize when you are engaging in irrational thoughts as a result of a certain emotion you are feeling. Wholeness is necessary to be able to detach your thoughts from these emotional states when necessary. Wholeness, more than happiness, is what actually leads a person to be capable of achieving their full potential in life.
The Eight Noble Virtues
Virtues serve as some of the most important rules for Chivalric Humanists; these rules being necessary because attempting to calculate the consequences of actions during the moment one needs to make decisions will frequently result in a person making hasty decisions that result in less than optimal courses of action being pursued. In summary it is difficult to remember the many rules of proper conduct a person should abide by in order to be a good person.
By instead following the principles of virtues that describe the type of character a person should strive for then an individual has a very flexible rule structure that can accommodate many different kinds of scenarios. Essentially by focusing on being a good person then the right actions will follow.
Be faithful to your family, your friends, and your community.
Treat others with dignity and courtesy while expecting others to do the same.
Do what is right, morally and legally.
Be concerned for the suffering and misfortunes of others.
Possess an optimistic attitude, no matter the challenges you face.
Be without fear in the face of adversity.
To recognize and accept your own shortcomings with grace.
Fulfil your obligations to humanity.
The Eight Faults to Avoid
The Eight Faults are the opposite of the Eight Noble Virtues.
They are faults, not vices, because it is the nature of humans to make mistakes.
By acknowledging these faults in our thoughts and actions we can learn to realize our drawbacks and then work to improve those aspects of ourselves which are in need of bolstering, transforming a fault within ourselves into a virtue.
The opposite of Loyalty. Treachery leads people to betray their friends and family so they can be oppressed for the benefit of the traitor. Betrayal is the breaking or violation of a contract, trust, or confidence. Treachery creates conflict within a relationship amongst individuals, between organizations or between individuals and organizations.
The opposite of Respect. This is when a person disregard the affairs of anyone else, even if they are loyal to you. If you make no attempt to respect others they will not attempt to respect you for you have shown hostilities toward them which they find uncivil. Disrespect results in unnecessary fights to occur, which may result in either parties suffering, or even resulting in untimely death of the participants. Thus it is that to disrespect others is to invite conflict.
The opposite of Integrity. Dishonesty is born from fears that one cannot succeed in goals through honest means. Sometimes we are also dishonest with ourselves and fabricate a belief as a means to avoid confronting a disappointing truth.
The opposite of Altruism. Selfishness is being concerned excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one's own advantage, pleasure, or welfare, regardless of others. Selfishness often leads to cruel behavior, such as to enjoy causing the pain and suffering of others. When one hates and is narcissistic they often begin to think pleasantly of any manner of ill omen coming upon their enemies and this masochism is cruelty. Selfishness is based on ignorance of how a person should act for the benefit of humankind.
The opposite of Hope. Despair is very self-destructive and can lead to self-doubt and hesitation when faced with important matters that result in tragedies for ourselves and others. To not act because we are afraid yet lie to ourselves about being afraid, this is what despair is. Despair can even cause a person to lose the will to live.
The opposite of Valor. Those who live in fear desire power in order to compensate for their perceived insufficiencies stemming from their fears. Yet Greed is also built on ignorance because power cannot compensate for personal defects of character.
Greed often leads a person to become loathsome, which is a contempt of others for the perceived advantages they have while we perceive ourselves as being less fortunate. Loathing is a form of self-pity, despicable and cowardly. An attempt to tear down others fortunes because of our misfortunes and attempt to make them suffer because we suffer. This is a terrible thing to do.
The opposite of Humility. Vanity brings about arrogance and the delusion that others are not as worthy of comforts and happiness as you. If you cannot look at others as being equally worthy of courtesy and value then you will not treat them properly as they should be treated and thus will disrespect them. This is to be conceited,
The opposite of Duty. It stems from all of the Negative Principles: Ignorance for it is based in not thinking carefully about the consequences of one’s actions; Falsehood because reckless actions ignore the reality of circumstances surrounding a situation; Cowardice because it is fear that drives a person to reckless action; and Hatred because it is anger that guides the reckless mind. The Fault of Recklessness causes a person to be irresponsible and incapable of performing Duty on behalf of humankind.
How Chivalric Humanism Helps People
Chivalric Humanism places a strong emphasis on individual civic duty. It teaches that nobility is not merely a kind of social status a person is born into, but rather that whoever claims to be noble must conduct themselves nobly, and that privilege entails to responsibility.
It teaches that the personal success of an individual who benefits from the social contracts of a civilization has a moral responsibility to the other members of that civilization who contributed to their success. For example, a merchant owes their customers for their patronage and a ruler owes their citizens for their political support. In this way Chivalric Humanism encourages its members to be valuable and contributive members of societies, and to not adopt any isolationist habits that ultimately hinder the common good.
In all these ways, Chivalric Humanism creates a new definition of chivalry that is applicable to the current state of human civilizations and is meant to help address many key social problems that have not yet been resolved.
Why Is It Called Chivalric Humanism?
This moral framework is called ‘Chivalric Humanism’ because it is a form of humanism that uses the time-proven concept of moral virtues to define the boundaries of human morality.
Historically, chivalry was a code of behavior for the medieval European institution of knighthood which emphasized a number of moral principles with the goal of civilizing an otherwise brutal warrior caste, encouraging them to act honorably and act in the best interests of the realm they served. The origins of chivalry descend from the beliefs of crusader military orders such as the Knights Hospitaller, whose origins lay in operating hospitals and providing safe haven and protection to traveling pilgrims on their way to Jerusalem.
The Hospitallers also provided food banks and alimony for the poor (especially for widowed mothers and the elderly) and they also operated orphanages for children who had lost their parents in bandit attacks, to disease or had been otherwise abandoned. The orphanages provided an education for the children so that they would be able to make a life for themselves in the city or even join the order themselves. The charitable actions and noble ideals of the Hospitallers would inspire other knightly orders and influence the concept of chivalry itself, and partly as a tribute to these progenitors of chivalry the symbol for Chivalric Humanism uses a maltese cross, which is one of the insignia of the Hospitallers.
Each arm of the four golden arms of the Chivalric Humanism maltese cross variant represents a key positive principle of the philosophy, and the eight points of the golden arms represent virtues; the smaller silver arms inside each golden arm represent the four negative principles and eight faults that shadow the positive principles and eight virtues.
The humans who sought to live a life rooted in chivalry believed in concepts such as noblesse oblige; that with wealth, power and fame come obligations to use those resources to behave more civilized. Yet chivalry is not entirely unique to Europe; throughout history there have been ethic codes similar to chivalry such as the Japanese bushido and the Chinese xia.
What Chivalric Humanism seeks to do is create a new kind of chivalry for the modern age which promotes the sense of civic duty that is greatly lacking in other varieties of humanism. It is through the purpose of civic duty that old and new chivalry can be linked together.
It must be noted that Chivalric Humanism is not a form of Christianity, as it does not promote metaphysical ideas. It does however use a variant of the cardinal virtues of Christianity, which themselves were based on the virtues of Greco-Roman philosophies. As a naturalistic philosophy, Chivalric Humanism provides logical reasons for why virtues should be cultivated in a person and how they promote the common good.
Atheists who were formerly Christians will find that Chivalric Humanism promotes many of the same moral behaviors that Christianity does, without metaphysical justifications for why these behaviors are good. Instead, Chivalric Humanism promotes the use of logic and the employment of the scientific method to validate its moral beliefs.