It is not revolutionary to suggest that most relationships of both the congenial and amorous nature fail. One-time acquaintances from New Student Orientation or the first weeks of school fade away. Study buddies from that difficult economics or calculus class drift apart after final exams are turned in. Promising couples quickly blossom, then whither. In the end, very few people remain life-long friends or long-term significant others.
Though we attempt to persuade ourselves otherwise, our generation has learned to seek relationships that yield powerful feelings and surface-level emotions; we seek companions that allow us to laugh at others’ expense or, quite frankly, provide sexual pleasure. Simply put, our generation’s relationships lack true substance, and therefore it is no wonder that our intra-generational interactions instigate so much confusion, pain, rejection and fear. The hedonistic, individualistic manual to creating relationships that we have followed for so long needs to be replaced. Our generation needs a new lifestyle, a new fundamental value that will guide our actions and interactions. Our generation needs to bring back to society the notion of chivalry.
Now, Georgetown’s Medieval Society may be disappointed, but this is not an invitation for students to walk around campus with metal swords and utilize “thou” in daily conversation. More importantly, this is not simply a request for students to hold open doors more often for their peers and to avoid cussing in mixed company. While beneficial, chivalry does not mean simply general politeness, and, sorry ladies, certainly does not only apply to men. It is an egalitarian concept, and one that has been trivialized by our society. If every Georgetown student got on bended knee and took a vow of chivalry, how would such a generational knighthood transform our daily lives?
Everyone learns about knights at least once during their span of history classes. Yet while the concept of knighthood gets a bad rap for such activities as the Crusades, these events did not embody the daily mission and routine of a knight. Instead, the codes of chivalry that true knights followed spoke of honor, valor, service, compassion, courtesy, bravery, generosity and goodness. To live a chivalrous life meant always protecting the weak, never speaking a lie, never reneging on a promise and never abandoning a friend.
No one ever said that the chivalrous life was an easy one.
For that reason, our society rejects this code of conduct. Modern society wants a person to have an easy and self-gratifying life. The idea of utilitarian selfishness pervades modern society from psychology to economics to politics. The message of modern society is straightforward: Do not support from which you cannot gain. Chivalry, on the other hand, is fundamentally about honor and selflessness, even at the cost of individual pleasure.
Instead of personal gratification, chivalry is motivated by finding something in life worth serving, growing, caring for and protecting, even if it means defending it with your life. This something can be a person, a people, an idea or a belief, as long at it is a worthy ideal. Chivalry is a fundamental life choice, a public declaration that there are still things worth serving, and ideals worth living and dying for.
Fortunately, our university unknowingly advocates chivalry. For what are modern-day knights if not the fulfillment of the Jesuit standard “women and men for others”? Chivalry cries out for justice in our society. It strives to transform every aspect of our lives for the better. It demands magis, the characteristic more, from every individual Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, for the greater glory of God.
It may not be a revolutionary revelation to recognize that most relationships don’t last. But it will require both a revelation and a revolution in our generation to hold ourselves to a new chivalric standard. It is time to take the more difficult road, and to treat one another with honor, not as means to pleasure and power. So, let us become a chivalric generation, a generation that fosters true friendship, true companionship and true love.
Steve Ross says
I agree with every factor that you have pointed out. Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts on this.
In today’s world, dating is hard and relationships are even harder. There are many reasons why most relationships.
Check my blog about Top 3 Reasons Relationships Fail
Hope this will also help. Thank you!