“The motto of chivalry is also the motto of wisdom; to serve all, but love only one.”
----Honore de Balzac
Really? Wow! I wish I lived in a time where this chivalry thing existed more widely! Today’s motto of wisdom might be rewritten as, “to serve oneself, and love only oneself.”
You see, most people who really ought to be practising chivalry are instead being very selfish. They have little to no respect for what is left of the good, the true, and the beautiful. They are drawn irresistibly to the perverted and wrong. They seek it out and (incredible to comprehend) seem to thrive on it. All they have at heart is their own self-interest. Why? When did we change from noble knights and gracious ladies into selfish pigs without so much as a thought for others?
Under ‘Nobility’ on the Code of Chivalry, we see ‘Respect Women.’ What? Respect? How old fashioned! Today’s young men would not be caught dead respecting their female friends, if they are even lucky enough to have any real ones. You will never hear a boy telling a girl she looks pretty. Oh no. Instead will be heard all manner of other words, (e.g., the infamous “hot”) which, though are meant to be flattering in today’s society, are actually very disrespectful. There is no idolisation of virtue. There is no talk of beauty, of purity. There is no decency.
But, nevertheless, there should be. Chivalric virtues are important for men, and to women. Respect is, in a way, a kind of attention. To be respectful to anybody, you must acknowledge them and speak to them. This is paying them something we all seek, in one form or another, and it is attention. Attention is sought after instead of respect. Respect has evolved into attention, sadly, and oftentimes the methods employed to gain attention are downright sad. For example, having a lewd mouth, a lot of touching, immodest dress--it would be ridiculous, if it weren’t pathetically sad.
What’s even more ridiculous, though, is that this kind of behaviour has become the norm for so many. Girls today think attention is absolutely the thing to be getting from a guy, no matter what the attentions may be, or how those attentions are attained. And those guys know that girls are just hanging on their every action, waiting for a word or look.
When did all this happen, and why? I do not know. But one thing I am sure of; real friendship between boys and girls is very important. Many friendships are tainted, but if one strives for the good, the true, and the beautiful, you will be someone who anybody with sense would be proud to call a friend.
So, what to do? There seems nothing is to be done. Nothing can change all the boys and all the girls in the world. But we can change ourselves. We can be kind to one another. We can help people in difficulty. This is a good thing to do, and goodness is key in a world gone bad. And if people see us changing, maybe they will want to emulate us. Inside every person is a wish for good. And the best way to propagate that good is by showing examples of kindness to our friends and family.