The Death of Chivalry
Written by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.

CHIVALRY:

The concept of knights and chivalry began to florish from 1120 and 1170. The magic spell that transmitted knighthood into chivalry is that of courtly love. Courtly love was in the works of mostly male poets and writers of romance. Medieval romances of chivalry developed, in literature, as:

  1. Heroism or prowess (the epic)
  2. Love (the lyric)
  3. Marvels (the folktale)
  4. Romance (heroes and heroines)

The epic was the oldest form going back to the Gilamesh and Biblical times. Homer's Iliad and Odyssey was another example. The epic has a heavy portion of action. Heroes are measured by their victories, and they escape from danger against impossible odds. Two epics were the Chansons de Roland (French) and Cantar del Mio Cid (Spanish).

Loyalty, comradeship, and prowess are the knight's greatest virtues. Treachery, faithlessness, and cowardice are their counterparts. The Chanson de Roland was influenced by the First Crusade. Cantar del Mio Cid was about Roderigo Diaz de Vivar, a historical character.

The Quest for the Holy Grail, in Arthurian legends, can be see as representing the finding of our true selves. Sir Galahad finds the Grail and ascends into heaven. Heroes and mountains are other symbols of self. This is not a selfish self, but a means to improve oneself to reach a higher plain.

WHAT IS KNIGHTLY BEHAVIOR?:

It seems that some of us have lost touch with this concept today. Here is a reminder.

A Knight:

These knightly rules greatly reflect the Christian ideal and the Ten Commandments as given to Moses.

As a refresher, The Ten Commandments are:
[as taken from the King James Bible]:

  1. Thou shalt have no other gods before thee.
  2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.
  3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.
  4. Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy.
  5. Honor thy father and thy mother.
  6. Thou shalt not kill.
  7. Thou shalt not commit adultery.
  8. Thou shall not steal.
  9. Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
  10. Thou shalt not covet any thing that [is] thy neighbour's.

These are the commandments of God in the shortened version, the longer version can be found in Exodus 20:3-17.

These commandments and chivalric rules are good rules, but not many people can achieve them. However, as Christians they were to try their best, and thus be forgiven. Christianity was in danger, as the Muslims conquered Spain and planned to conquer all of Europe.

Men are expected to be strong and protect the realm.

In the olden days of chivalry and courtly love, there was a lot of flirting going on. Men and women enjoyed each other's company. Smart and witty women were greatly valued by both men and other strong women.

Men are not the enemies of women. Some men are brutes, but for every brute there is an honest man who wishes to have companionship, love, and treats women gently.

WHAT IS A HERO:

Heroic battles often involve the hero/heroines putting their lives on the line for another person or for their ideals. Folktales tell us of knights slaying dragons (the Devil) to save damsels in distress. There are also women who must resist the temptations of the Devil. Those that do this usually are named as saints.

In Cervantes' Don Quixote (our hero) rides out to find a lady. For "a knight without a lady is like a tree without leaves or a body without a soul." He would slay a giant to protect his true love. Don Quixote's object of his affections was a farm girl named Aldonza Lorenza. She would be renamed Dulcinea de Toboso, since Toboso was the town of her birth. Instead of fighting giants, he ended up fighting the windmills (symbolizing technology). Don Quixote was unlucky in both love and battle.

Odysseus had his crew fill their ears with wax to avoid the siren calls on one voyage. Men are many times shown trying to resist the wiles of evil women. As society becomes more complex, so do the role structures within them. Women traditionally married and wore engagement rings and wedding rings as symbols of mutual and equal commitment. Nowadays people say they will love and honor their spouse [in their marriage vows], but in reality things last only as long as things are perfect. There is no compromise to get through hard times, instead there is flight from their spouse or significant other.

Symbolism plays an important role in the psychic processes that influence human life. The collective unconscious, which is common to all humanity, goes beyond race, place, or history. Archtypes help us to understand common human experiences such as birth, death, transformation, growth, achievements, failure, wisdom, and love. Many people are turning from modern religion and finding practices from ancient times. Body piercings were practices by the ancient Mayans, Incas, and Aztecs (to name a few). The Berber, Beju, and Bedouin had nose rings. These are again practiced in modern society as a means of group identity or rebellion against society and as sexual fetishes (when placed on the nipples and private parts}. The tattoo acts as a totem, or symbol of aggression, in the west. People are reverting to pagan ways. Chivalry is all but dead, and the world is not as friendly.

WOMEN'S ROLE IN THE DESTRUCTION OF CHIVALRY:

Earlier feminists had many good ideas about the conduct of women in the twentieth century, but now it seems that these ideals have changed into a set of different agendas. The twenty-first century, like the end of the twentieth has touted some very strange anomalies. Now we have "Political Correctness," Personal Protection Orders," "Affirmative Action," and "Sexual Harrassment." All these laws are enacted as they were thought to protect women. However, they seem instead to vilify men. The pretext is that ALL MEN make women uncomfortable. What one women sees as normal behavior, another might see as threatening. The crime is in the eyes of the beholder, even if the woman is not mentally stable. Women are santified as never lying, a precious little child that must be protected at all costs, while men are guilty until proven innocent.

Certainly we have all seen how college students act at "spring break." VH1 is only one of the cable channels that shows us that hedonism reigns on these trips. Girls show their body parts, let guys drink out of their navels, and lick food off their body. This is reminisce of ancient Roman orgies. Many women considered this behavior their own sexual freedom. Even cigarette ads featured the phrase: "You've come a long way baby." What has happened? Well, now women do all the things that they abhored in men, in past generations. How many men are tried for these crimes when they get home? Many I am sure. It seems that anything goes as long as young women can get filmed and be seen later on these "spring break" videos. The world is not our grandmother's world anymore. How and when did this change?

The answer is the universities now have "Women's Studies Classes" that tell young women that all men are to be feared as "sexual predators." These classes encourage women to see all male behavior as threatening. Even asking a woman out can be a crime. If you WANT to date a man it is called "courtship." If you DON'T WANT to date a man it is labeled "Sexual Harrassment."

It seems in today's world that one can not call "a sour lemon" a sour lemon. "Political Correctness" can be a "bitter fruit." What we use in today's world is a bunch of euphemisms. These politically correct words are supposed to make communications more friendly. Why in today's world can't we call things what they are? "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" (Shakespeare), conversely a skunk by any other name would still stink.

People today do NOT know how to communicate with each other. They are either scared or they haven't been taught good communication skills? ... OR they rely too much on visual and audio stimulation on T.V. and other entertainment venues. One T.V. show called Sex in the City basically tells women they can now be sexual predators, just like men. Men are now their puppets. Many women use sex as a way of entrapping men and sex can be control tactic.

In today's world, everyone must be given a good sense of "self-esteem." Isn't this a lie? Not all people are born with the same genes. Not all people are smart enough to go to college and be successful. This I find odd since I was born in 1944 during World War II, and graduated from high school in 1962. This was the time of the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King. There was the war in Korea, the War in Vietnam. There were draft dodgers. I graduated from college in 1968, and before I graduated there was a serial killer at my school. Yet I never felt threatened by having conversations with my fellow students or teachers. In fact, I attended both faculty and student parties. Professors didn't have to worry about being accused of "sexual harassment" back then. People were strong enough to stand up for their own rights without the courts. If someone harassed you, you quite simply told them to stop and rarely had to had the law intervene.

I had two REAL stalkers in my life. One in my second year in college and one in the last ten years of life. Through all this, I have not become a "man-hater." No, I am still happy and upbeat. Today, I am sixty-nine (69) and I have have many experiences in my life both good and bad.

I have not let the bad things ruin me. I am a great believer in the phrase: "What does not kill you only makes you stronger."

Some of the early feminists [the founders] have even said that "Women's Liberation" has not liberated women, because most women don't understand what women's liberation is. It doesn't mean that you use your feminine side to win favors from the man, of your choice, and then turn around and get angry when another guy asks you out, if he isn't your idea of "Prince Charming." It is not blaming others for your shortcomings.

IN THE WORDS OF ELEANOR ROOSEVELT:

Quote One: "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
..... This means: You are responsible for your own destiny. You should not blame others. Blaming others is a cop-out.

Quote Two: "A woman is like a tea bag- you never know how strong she is until she gets in hot water."
..... This means: some of us have more strength than we think we have. However, this quote speaks to death, sickness, and folly - not to stupid lies to "get even." PPO (Personal Protection Order) courts are filled with women who want to "get even." Many times this is only because a man does not return their affections. This is a two-way street. Men get rejected all the time.

Quote Three: "People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built."
..... I know this one all too well, since I have had to devote the last twelve years of my life [before their deaths in 1995 and 2007] to caring for my own parents and in-laws. I could have chosen to ignore these problems and betray my parents who nurtured me as a child. But "turn about is fair play." Some have no guilt for turning their backs, but what will they think about this when they are old. Will their own children step up to help them? "What goes around comes around."

Quote Four: "Friendship with oneself is all-important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world."
..... This is true, but the difference lies in that fact that: some people choose themselves over everyone in the world and cause hurt feelings and sometimes even death. This would be if a person drove drunk or was under the influence of drugs. You can't really go through life thinking only of yourself.

Quote Five: "If someone betrays you once, itís their fault; if they betray you twice, itís your fault."
..... If you don't respect yourself don't expect others to respect you. There is an old adage: "to get respect, you must earn it." You can not have a tizzy-fit about your own self worth, when you have not proven yourself. Think about it!

Quote Six: "Life was meant to be lived, and curiosity must be kept alive. One must never, for whatever reason, turn his back on life."
..... Take a few chances on other people. If you don't you will NEVER really know them or yourself.

Quote Seven: "The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience."
..... This I find akin to some people traveling to a foreign country, and spending all your time in a self-contained environment, sheltered from the people who live there. It this out of fear? or laziness? On the other hand, if you go around satisfying all your own desires, others can be hurt. So you can enjoy life to the fullest only if you do not step on the backs of others. Consideration for others is the by-word.

Quote Eight: "You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
..... No one respects a person that complains about their lot in life and mopes around. Do something! You need to get out in the world, you do not witness it from a TV screen. I've met some very interesting people in airports, hotels, on cruises and even at nursing homes. Some became new friends.

Eleanor Roosevelt was a pretty smart woman and she got admiration for her strength. However, she would NEVER advocate things that are happening in today's world.

"Women's Studies" classes seem to perpetuate women's seeing everything a man does as some sort of threat. Men should not be the enemy. Men and women, who work together, can do wonderful things. Stereotypes pertaining to gender, race, and religious preferences should stop. Dividing a nation makes it weak. United you stand together like a bundle of arrows. One arrow can be a simple matter to break between your two hands, but ten or twelve united together will not. This concept was know to early Native American Indian cultures. The Iroquois Nation knew this and that is why they united their tribes together in both peace and war. The broken arrow signified the breaking of treaties, as well as a lack of strength.

I see men as less of a threat than most women. Today there is the PPO, that is used by too many women as a get-even tactic. In my youth, I stood up for myself. I did not involve the courts. I dated a variety of men in college and most were not people I ever thought I would marry. I found them good company. Some were my gallery buddies, people I went to art shows with. Some were my shopping buddies, some were my confidants, etc..

SOME BETTY FRIEDAN QUOTES:

Quote One: "Men are not the enemy, but the fellow victims. The real enemy is women's denigration of themselves."
..... Men and women have many of the same emotions, and a woman who does NOT respect herself can often lose the respect of both men and other women.

Men are so discriminated against in today's world it is a crime. Some women will say they had it coming, however, NOT ALL MEN are "sexist pigs" who beat woman...thank goodness this type of man is in the MINORITY.

"Sexual Harassment" laws were made to protect women with REAL problems and many of these laws have been used improperly. Women can and do lie for selfish reasons, and now there are finally penalties for women who bring false accusations against men in a PPO court. The women who lie are making other honest women look bad. They make a total mockery of future court cases, as judges, of both sexes, see women as liars.

Quote Two: "It is better for a woman to compete impersonally in society, as men do, than to compete for dominance in her own home with her husband, compete with her neighbors for empty status, and so smother her son that he cannot compete at all."
..... This is the dark, negative side of motherhood/womanhood. Never harm others, be kind.

Women Studies Group Leaders need to keep current. Laws that were made in 1993 or before are now being rethought because of the back-lash and outcry from both men and other women. I, for one, am often embarassed by the actions of some of my "sisters." Some of these laws were formulated by man-haters. These man-haters set laws up so "women are innocent until proven quilty." While men are "guilty until proven innocent." In many schools across the nation, people of authority never investigate a man's point of view. They only give lip service to the women's point of view. In "Sexual Harrassment" cases, of the past, women were given total and complete power and were even said to NEVER LIE??? Anyone with a pulse knows that women lie at the same rate as anybody else...they are not all saints anymore than all men are the devil incarnate. "The Devil made me do it," was a comedy line delivered by black comedian, Flip Wilson's (1933-1998) female character named Geraldine.

In chivalry, men tended to put women on pedestals. They were seen as precious jewels. However, that image is not held today. Gloria Steinem, a lesbian, feminist, and an atheist changed all that with her loud rantings. However, Betty Friedan and Eleanor Roosevelt have a more logical approach. Gloria Steinem prefers to put more space between common understanding:

GLORIA STEINEM QUOTES:

Quote One: "A pedestal is as much a prison as any small, confined space."
.....To me this means that women can be put on pedestals by their men, but many may not be able to live up to that image. Too many blame men for what they did not have the courage to fight against. A home is not a prison, but a place of love and bonding. If neither partner keeps up the home it becomes a breeding grown of hatred and disease. It should be a friendly place for all to grow, and all members of the family should work towards this end together. Children, men and women should all do chores. Then no one feels taken advantage of. Problems arise when one does not contribute.

Quote Two: "I don't breed well in captivity."
..... A flippant comment. Basically this is a dig at men for supposedly keeping women pregnant and in the home. That no longer applies today. However, if a mother works, she and her husband should be careful not to ignore the nurturing of their children. If both work, they should both share these duties.

Quote Three: "Childbirth is more admirable than conquest, more amazing than self-defense, and as courageous as either one."
..... For years feminists have said that men cheat more than women. However, this is a fallacy of reasoning. Unless a man is cheating with another man in a homosexual relationship this can't be true. Heterosexual men cheat with women. Thus both sexes are equal in cheating. Unless women want you to think that all men cheat with the same woman?

There are certain women who seek to cheat with all men without consideration of whom they might hurt in the process. They think sexual freedom means to be with whomever they want, when thy want and this is a dangerous game, that leaves other women as victims.

Remember the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not covet any thing that [is] thy neighbour's."

Now that women have power, they have seemingly taken on all that was considered wrong in the men's world. We do have women as political leaders and women do take self-defense classes right along side of men. Many tried to say that women were the gentle sex, but since the dawn of women [in the workplace] this is not shown to be true. However, childbirth is a woman's biological function. There is no other choice. Men can not have children. This is a woman's biological burden. You must not blame the man. Do you blame God? Then remember that not all women are good mothers, anymore than all men are into conquest, be they sexual or actual. You can not make stereotypes.

Quote Four: "A liberated woman is one who has sex before marriage and a job after."
..... Again this is making women do what they always blamed men for. Hmmm. Most women who have sex before marriage are left as "unwed mothers." Their children carry a certain stigma. Pregnancy is a women's biological burden. Children born out of wedlock can hinder women's progress in many ways. They must find someone to care for their children. This must be thought out, AND their profits [from work] often times must support this care. Only women in jobs that provide child-care as part of their contract avoid this. Often women are not given enough time to be with their children when they are born. Some women harbor a lot of guilt about this. It also makes her less likely to get married at all. Unless she gets married to a man who is divorced and is willing to take on both his and her kids. Then there are problems with getting all the children to adjust to this situation. Many man simply can not afford this type of an arrangement, either psychologically or monetarily.

Mothers are normally thought of as nurturing and protecting. However, mothers are NOT created equally. The negative side of mothering is dominating, interfering, jealousy, and the taking of, or destroying, of lives. How many women get overwhelmed and kill their own children? Women must learn to nurture, otherwise they can be destructive, like the Hindu goddess Kali, the Destroyer. Witches can represent the negative aspects of a earth-mother. White witches and green witches are good witches. While those that practice black arts are feared by all.

IN CONCLUSION:

One friendly gesture or one date does not mean you are permanently tied to any person. How is one to know of the ways of men or women without testing the water? This does not mean jumping into bed on the first date, but has more to do with being together to learn more about each other. Today's divorce rates are the highest in the history of mankind. This tells us much about our society. It shows that people don't "give and take" equally, or even try to see anybody's view but their own. The "ME" generation thinks of themselves too much. One day they will realize who they are. Not everyone can be the smartest, the most successful, the most adored. This is not real. Everyone has highs and lows in their life. In today's world we SHOULD strive towards more perfection and REALLY be kind to one another in ACTIONS not in "politically correct" words.

Today's heroes are anti-heroes, as more and more people shy from established mores. There will be more hatred, more conflict, and more disappointment in life in general. This can only change with mutual respect.

Please write to your representatives in Congress and the Senate, in regards to the educational dogmas of colleges and universities to change these unfair laws.

In Michigan, "Affirmative Action" was defeated in November 2006. This law basically took the power away from white men, as payback for blacks [that were slaves] and for women [who were denied the vote]. Well women have the vote now, and men helped make this happen. Regarding slavery, many men and women, in this country, do not come from ancestors who had slaves.

Many people have ancestors who were brought here with the agreement that they would re-pay their benefactors as "indentured servants." Indentured servants (white slaves) would work off their passage. After this duty ended, they were released into the world with little more than a few items and the clothes on their backs. Many of these people were indentured to family members who later on stole their family fortunes. Fortunes which were to be held in trust for them until they reached adulthood. This happened in the case of young children who were left as orphans. Their family made an arrangement with a relative or friend to take care of them, however, often times these trusts were broken. In my own family, this happened. Two of the younger brothers of the Bartholomew family were indentured to a prominent lawyer, and the lawyer basically left them penniless. I have the documents. My husband's Sypniewski line had the same thing happen.

Many people came to the U.S.A. in the early 1900s [as immigrants] when slavery practices were dead. Reparations are being discussed. Supporters of reparations, would have all non-blacks footing the bill.

What could happen is that they [ex slaves] do what the Jewish did. They can do research and find out what families had slaves and fine ONLY them. Although this is most likely not fair either. To punish the children for the "sins of their fathers" is not moral either, since you had no control of the past. Today it seems that all white men are lumped together as scapecoats for all the world's crimes. This is known as the "White Man's Burden."

Modern day laws seem to be "get even" laws, and only have the effect of being "reverse discrimination." Do two wrongs make a right? I think not. There is not one culture in the world who has not invaded another in war; who has not had slavery in their history; who has not killed in the name of religion, etc. Some ancient cultures were matrilineal, meaning that women were the rulers. As stated above, this changed with Christianity, which was based on ancient Roman society which was patrilineal.

The Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Women and Feminisms

Society must rise above these "get even" tactics and unite all citizens together for a common cause. Only then will the United States of America once more be a powerful and fair nation.

The current division of the Democratic and Republican parties falls into the same category. "United we win. Divided we fall."

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