I spent a few days last week offshore. It had been months, as my new sales job keeps me mostly on land. As always, the ways of men presented themselves to me. A young man of about thirty-three and I were having a conversation about marriage when he indicated to me that there was a bit of strain in his. He questioned his motivation and feelings.
“Well, I can tell you right off if you love your wife.” I said.
“Yea? How’s that?” he said with a smile.
Right up, I said: “Would you die for her?”
He hesitated, and came back with: “I wouldn’t die for any woman!”
“Well,” I said, “you have answered your own question.”
Now we know that men don’t always mean what they say, and I’m certain he did not mean this. It is like this with a lot of men, American men, and the men of the world alike. There is something deep inside all men, well guarded, a standard of what is right and wrong, and surrounded by an armor of our own design.
Some men will cry by the sentimentality of a simple movie, and others who would never admit it touched them, even putting on a display that would show them to be crass and insensitive. They would rather be thought of as insensitive then display emotion! To some, showing emotion is a sign of weakness. They haven’t yet understood that it is our emotion which is the finest element of men, and a real man is not only in touch with these feelings, but uses them for the good. Emotion is stronger then anything this world can present.
These emotions are hard won. They span our manhood, our civilization, for many thousands of years. There was a time when there was no written law, and men tried to come up with a way not to hack each other to death. A small group of enlightened souls realized what energy emotions could promote, trying to explain it to the rest of us. There have been times where it was actually woven into the fabric of society, it fell, rose grandly again, and fell again.
In our times, I am ashamed and reluctant to say that for the most part these ideals that took so long to develop, like chivalry, honor, charity, and justice, are for the most part today, lost. Ideals that were once so precious, molding and lighting the hearts of men, are generally forgotten. Before written law, men lived by a code called justice, but today, though we have written law, justice is mostly lost.
Sure, we still remember the Knights of old. Those polished armor men on powerful steeds who learned the code that might for right was better then might is right. Inside of every man there is an element of that Knight.
However, the world we live in does not adhere to these fundamental and treasured rules. People make up standards to suit themselves, or by public opinion, without virtue, or regard for the good of others. Most live fast lives, and work toward goals to fill the voids laid bare, …with the baubles our so called success buys, spurred by its competitions, its rivalries, and yet, frequently leaves us asking why… It is as if our actual reason for being is in question! Surely, as we attempt to slow down, when we see that there is more to being then the drudgery of wringing from our fellow man meaningless possessions… If in just a brief intermission we can stand back and realize that there is a real lack of devotion to the world. If we could see that our passions are myopic and evil, and the love we possess selfish, we will begin to see the grand waste of it all. All of our earthly desires will come to nothing in the end, while we race each other to acquire. The acquisition becomes our god, and our reason.
Sure, position and wealth are great incentives. That will may overcome many obstacles, overturn barriers, and bring material possessions. But what does any of it mean without our most prized, “Home Sweet Home”, our loving social intermingling and alliances, our brotherhood, and personal friends? What good can come from something born of evil intent?
And more, what can we hold inside of us to keep us on the path to justice; What will see us through, when all earthly acquisition may be lost? How can one man face loss by jumping from a Wall Street window, while another would stand tall in a soup line. How can one man be caught stealing, with no evident remorse, while another would take his life by Samurai justice, for lack of honor? How could two men fight to the death by sword, or dueling pistols, just over a hundred years ago, but today, kill another for the tennis shoes they are wearing? We are not naive enough not to realize that horror, and injustice did not exist in yesteryear, but established principles, I propose, were in place where the hearts and souls of men could be illuminated by them.
What we see today are self serving opportunist, and egalitarians who manipulate the law by loop and knowledge of Achilles' heel. Men who find it easy to tear down traditional value, replacing it with their own agenda, and for their own good. Men who care little or nothing but for what they can carve from the derrière’ of justice, with little or no regard for the safety, the good, or the value that is broken on the backs of men.
Perhaps there are a few left, men who will take up the banner of justice once again, with a clear vision to do right, when the world revels in wrongness. Men with strength of purpose who will stand guard as examples of what finer illuminations are possible. Men with strength of purpose, and who could never be bought. Men who have mastered themselves, and the passions and selfishness that corrupts the spirit. Men, who are found in the bright and shining armor of righteousness, indomitable and purposeful, and with no trace fear…
Where did it all begin? Who was the first to document these jewels of moral purpose, past the veils of time? Though there have been men far beyond recorded history, and in every nation, every continent, to see this light of reason. The very first one of European decent, in my homework, to intelligently unify these truths, upon the rock, in a time of disintegrating virtue and primeval superstition, was called Pythagoras.
In the year 570BC, Pythagoras was born on the island of Sicily, off the coast of Italy. Though his life has been passed down to us through legend and fable, distorted by the ages, the core of his philosophy lives on in our hearts even today. All so called Secret Societies of the Western hemisphere, in my opinion, the Knights Templar, The Magi of Zoroaster, the Illuminati, The Skull and Bones, The Jesuits, Freemasonry, and the Knights of Pythias, all had as a base the teaching of Pythagoras as blueprint. As founder of the Italic School of Philosophy, codes of honor, chivalry, friendship, and justice became a guiding light for the goodness of humanity. This Pythagorean fraternity of men still exist today, and though diminished, our founding fathers all knew and belonged to several, with non-sectarian and non-political Pythinism as the core. What our nation is founded on are these high principles, wrought by a man who now dwells in obscurity, in a world run amuck.
I can tell you this, unless we pick up this banner again, we are lost…
Whitter, of the Pythagorean Fraternity wrote in the 1800’s:
“ ‘Live for something, have a purpose,’ ”
And that purpose keep in view,
Drifting like a helmless vessel,
Thou canst ne’er to life be true.
Half the wrecks that strew life’s ocean,
If some star had been their guide,
Might have now been riding safely;
But they drifted on the tide.”