Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fickle Fellowships (second of five)

Five fundamental values continually challenge. Lady, or Gentleman. Since the age of Arthur's knights the three C's and two F's of the pentagon emblazoned on the knight's chest call the cultured person, the one ‘in the know’ to espouse the virtues of Compassion, Courage, Courtesy, Frankness, and Fellowship. And that last one, Fellowship, seems to me not necessarily about being part of a club, worshiping in a congregation, or being a bonhomme, nor even being a perpetual pal, but being conscious of the essential value of another. Fellowship, in Biblical terms, appears to be about treating thy neighbour as thyself.

Martin Luther King, champion of the civil rights movement, upholder of the grail of equality, racial, relational, male or female, had it that the accord of fellowship be extended beyond all bondage. Fellowship was, is, the essential dignity we allow in another, let alone in ourselves.

The Dali Lama has it that the inequality we experience results chiefly from our own insecurity. We deem others greater than ourselves, or worse, we deem others less than ourselves. Our need to assert our individuality engenders subtle if not overt placement of rank and status, psychically, consciously, subconsciously, and continuously. Fellowship (we almost instinctively gather) is about birds of a feather flocking together.

Diversification is natural to us. Polo clubs and soccer clubs and hockey clubs and football clubs and gladiator combats are varieties of establishing bands of brothers, clutches of sisterhoods. Fellowship is seen to be deserved, or not. Sororities ensure that passage to their fellowship is met only by passing certain standards. So too for virtually any group; the necessity is that one ascribe to the predominant cultural and societal expectations of the group, no matter how gaily clad, boldly bruited, or esoterically evinced. Fellowship is a natural progress of being human; we find our companionship most easily among the like-minded. Even the knights had very many challenges to fulfill before they ceremoniously were granted the status of ‘Sir’, and knave and vassal knew their place. We have not that much changed in the natural order of selection, testing, evaluating, and approving of persons before we call them 'fellow'. After all, in order to be a colleague one needs first to attain the required rank. So too for every peer. Arrogance can so easily be an abrogation of fellowship. True individuality is about, well, exercising one’s individuality.

But why then Fellowship as a Knightly Virtue, or is it a simple 'all for one and one for all' only as long as you are a musketeer? Fellowship on a much larger scale is surely the recognition of the essential interconnection among all of us, organisms on a planet, in what might be viewed as our symbiotic relationship with the universe; an essential inter-dependence. Or are we cancerous cells gobbling up our every resource? Fellowship is surely about extending accord and deference and respect and value to everything and everyone that is encountered, all as a part of oneself and oneself a part within all. Respect Everything and Everybody, the rule of fellowship would read; now which part of 'every' shall be excluded? And of those people and things that are negative, like dragons and warlords and evil witches and warlocks, why, we deal with them too as but part of the whole, yet they deserve our Compassion. Yet another link! But must it really be Fellowship for all?

Three C’s and two F’s, eh? Frankness and Fellowship, Compassion, Courage and Courtesy. All five of them, for all? Given the history of mankind, why does that seem so hard? Oh well, “Tally ho!”

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