New Wallpaper

•April 26, 2009 • 2 Comments
My alternate reality name in a rainbow of light circles.

My alternate reality name in a rainbow of light circles.


Chivalry v. Knavery: A Comparison

•April 23, 2009 • 1 Comment

Today, chivalry usually means courteous behavior, usually between men and women. In the past, however, it was a whole different way of life, usually associated with knighthood, knightly values, honor, and courtly love. In stark contrast, knavery is defined as roughish, dishonest, crafty, and tricky behavior. Today, both chivalry and knavery exist in our society. To compare medieval chivalry and knavery with their modern counterparts, it is essential to define them, compare their integration in various literary works, and evaluate their modern day characteristics.

In the medieval society, chivalry was a way of life. The term chivalry originated from the French word chevalier for mounted knight. Knights possessed military training, horses, and equipment that required substantial wealth and prestige to acquire. Knights were also taught to excel in weapons training, show courage, be gallant, be loyal, and swear against cowardice. This mindset was the essence of chivalry. In medieval Spain, traits expected of a Moorish knight were piety, courtesy, prowess in war, the gift of eloquence, the art of poetry, skill on horseback, dexterity with sword, lance, and bow. As the evidence dictates, the medieval world had stringent views on chivalry.

To contradict the strict chivalrous characteristics of medieval knighthood, a knave was a tricky or deceitful person. The etymology, however, comes from the Old High German word knabo meaning boy. The archaic definitions for knave include a boy servant, or of humble birth of position. In the medieval times, children were apprenticed and put to work. Children were thought of in the same line as women; under submission to men. Also, low ranking people in the society were stereotyped as dirty, filthy, low leveled, animal-like sub-people. Thus the modern definition of knavery arises; to be marked by trickery or deceit.

The idea of chivalry came out of the fundamental Western values that bind our civilization. It came out of the dark ages of fighting, first emerging from the virtues set by Charlemagne to unify Europe in the eighth century. As the feudal system was founded, warriors became important social figures, glorified as heroes. As time progressed, the church began to shape the image of knights to their own use. Knights became beacons of light in dark times; standing for all that was true, just, and virtuous. During the 12th century, the church added piety, defense of the innocent and the weak, honesty, and purity to the religious chivalry image. Out of this, secular influences arose that had an equally strong effect on the popular view of knights. Courtly love affected the strength of a knight. Out of this love, tales of romance and war came about, such as the legends of Charlemagne and Alexander. This chivalric heroism did not stop, however. A perfect example of this chivalric heroism exists in the form of a prominent British lore: the story of King Arthur of Camelot and his Knights of the Round Table. King Arthur is the epitome of a chivalrous king and knight. Due in part to the very nature of the Round Table in itself, King Arthur is often shown as an equal to his knights, rather than their ruler. In Lord Alfred Tennyson’s poems The Idylls of the King, Arthur is portrayed as the perfect king in his rule of Camelot, and the perfect husband in his marriage to Guinevere. His chivalry is so great, that when Guinevere commits adultery with Arthur’s best knight, Sir Lancelot, he is still able to forgive her. The stories of King Arthur are vast and widespread, but all of them include the chivalrous nature of King Arthur, from the earliest Celtic storytellers in Wales and Brittany, and the full account from Geoffrey of Monmouth. No matter the author, King Arthur represents the Golden Age of Chivalry.

Knavery, on the other hand is present in the play The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice by William Shakespeare. Knavery is the reason that the play is even a tragedy. The story of Othello was first coined by the Italian novelist and poet Giovanni Battista Giraldi, better known as Cinthio. The antagonist Iago is a double crossing knave that’s only goals are revenge and self-content. Iago devilishly twists and manipulates the plot, turning friends, lovers, and colleagues against each other, causing mayhem, confusion, jalousie, sadness, and death. Iago is to knavery as King Arthur is to chivalry.

As time passed, chivalry changed. Although chivalry once provided the foundation for the male code of ethics, it still had flaws. Nevertheless, its influence shaped the basic tenets for later European gentlemanly behavior. In the late 1700’s, it was embraced by the forefathers of the United States who envisioned proper social interaction as an integral part of what America was all about. The freedom that they so desperately sought took for granted personal ethics and responsibility. They knew that without a moral base, freedom easily degenerates into social liability, as opposed to serving as a source of prodigious personal inspiration. They knew that freedom without ethics is like a ship without a heading, unable to reach its final destination. Chivalry spells out this sort of code of ethics. It encompasses various morals such as truthfulness, loyalty, courtesy, justice, defense of the weak, honesty, kindness, and compassion. Chivalry today, however, is quite different from the code of ethics that was the way of life centuries ago. Chivalry has been largely overrun by the abundance of knavery in the current modern society. Capitalism dominates our lives. Our current society mandates that every person is for themselves. Unfortunately, that is temptation for knavery. Business scandals and dishonesty reigns in the financial world; finances rule the lives of the people. No longer do people care about the welfare of others, but rather for the personal survival of one’s self. However, in spite of the knaveries of the world, random acts of kindness still occur. People act chivalrously not by gallantly fighting in heraldry, but rather hold open doors, give coats to the cold, or other little things that can be called kindness.

Throughout the ages, the definition of chivalry has changed. Knavery has taken control of the society. Chivalry used to be honor and glory in heraldry. Knavery was looked down upon, and Chivalry was worshipped. What was once a way of life is now a forgotten remnant in the knavery of the world.

The Library

•April 22, 2009 • 2 Comments

The air is musty, the light dim. The flickering glow from the light bulbs become visible as the sun sets, casting amber rays of light across the room. Visible are the endless rows of worn wooden shelves, smooth from decades of use.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you can almost smell the brisk scent of the ocean, the soft sound of waves lapping on the sides of the ship, the slow rocking of the floor. Outside, the muffled shouts of men remind you of the ever-present danger in the unknown route to the end of the world.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you can almost hear the harsh metallic clangs of sword on sword, the glorious sound of the trumpeters sounding their song, the shouts of men dying on the blood soaked field. Looking outside, you can see smoke rising over the horizon, marking the casualties of battle, the bitter smell of ashes faint, but ever present.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you can almost feel the wave of disparity hit you as you watch the stock prices plummet. All around you, people collapse from shock, or just stand there, dazed. The whole world is grinding to a slow and painful halt it seems. Men who used to own the world, now barely own the clothes on their back. Men that used to own nothing are now kings of the street. The violent upheaval of world order was so sudden; no one knew what to believe. What used to be the pinnacle of society was now the ordinary scene.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you can almost see the excitement in the room. The men sitting on the edges of their seats staring at the screens in front of them as if they were in a trance, listening to the garbled voices on their headsets as they witnessed history in the making. They all knew that one mistake; one tiny flaw could easily kill then two men currently flying in orbit of a galactic entity besides our own. For the first time, men like themselves had been sent to the moon, fulfilling the timeless saying that the cow jumped over the moon. Men will now walk on the moon.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you can almost feel the erratic trembling of the earth. As you sit, men shout all around you, yelling incoherently as high pitched whines sounded through the air, followed by earth-shattering booms and violent quakes. Rapid splats of sound make talking almost impossible. Men all around are dying as shards of metal tear through their soft bodies, leaving them dead or marred for life.

Sitting on the smooth leather armchair, you travel through time and space; you leaf through the crisp pages of the thousands of books stored in the room, reliving the endless stories of the past, the present, the future, and the land of the imagination, where reality has no hold. Sitting on the smooth leather armchair in the library, you feel at home.

Life of a Lemon

•April 22, 2009 • 1 Comment

Being a lemon is no easy task. Most people think that it is a piece of cake just sitting in a bowl and waiting to be eaten. How wrong they are. Us lemons have feelings too! Just because we are inanimate objects does not take away our sense of vitality and self-awareness. Trust me, we don’t like being eaten.

From the time when we slowly emerged from buds on the fruit farm to the time when we expire, we are always dreading the inevitable. As a matter of fact, we view life in such a sour perspective, we become sour ourselves. This bit of evolution became a lifesaver until the humans arrived. Now, our sour feelings toward them just stimulate their appetites,

I, for one, am not one to sit around feeling sorry for myself, or blaming humans for causing us so much grief. Instead, I use my time to prepare myself to live the longest. I arrived in a home after being purchased at a local grocery store. I currently reside in a small glass bowl on the top of a long wood table in a large room, amongst a few other fruits. Not that I mean any disrespect, but the other fruits are nowhere close to my intellectual league. All they do is brag about how they’ve increased their ethylene production tenfold with their new diets. The fools. They have no clue that doing so will expedite their demise. Rather than participate in that sort of intellectually degrading activity, I pride myself in extended longevity. My skin makes me look like when I was barely 20 days old. I suppose that’s why I have remained in the bowl the longest.

Now, you might be thinking, “Why is living in a bowl the longest a good thing?” Well, the first most obvious reason is that I am still alive right now. Why, the poor banana was consumed last week by some giant ape of a man right after he ate lunch! His excuse was that eating fruits late was better than never. Pathetic.

Being a rather curious individual, I also pick up on a lot of very interesting conversations that the residents I coincide with make. It differs from day to day, but patterns do occur. For instance, during the winter season, most of the conversations have to do with a fat red man by the name of “Santa Claus.” Why, they even leave out cookies and milk to attempt to entice the poor fellow to give free gifts! Other times, the conversations can be very unusual, and very emotional. Sometimes, I hear unspeakable secrets that individual do not wish to be repeated. Luckily for them, I am a very quiet and respectful audience.

What most people don’t realize is how much a lemon can be in their lives. Our role is varied, from decoration, to flavoring, to secret-keeping. If only they would allow us to live our lives out to their fullest, then we would be more than happy to provide them the services that they expect from us. There will be no bad lemon.