Friday, March 24, 2006

The Word of a Gentleman: Rule Fifteen

A Gentleman understands the Dignity of Manners.
He reverences the degree to which he has risen.

The word "dignity" is rarely used positively. Americans understand subconsciously that the word refers to something that they will not like. We suspect emotionally that our "betters" exist but our political/social theory denies it. We use a corollary word when we speak of "dignitaries" and it, as well, hints at the embarrassing subject. One's dignity is one's placement in the up and down axis of the Universe. Your dignity is the realm of responsibility to which you have been appointed and the reason for the honor that you ought to be given. The world today, although it needs Gentlemen and accepts the services and kindnesses of the Gentleman, rarely responds well to the realization of one. To acknowledge the actuality of a Gentleman is to be, probably, below him. The Western world, out of its addiction to leveling egalitarianism, tends not be willing to honor the rank to which a Gentleman rises. The Gentleman might be the only one who knows what exactly he is and he himself must honor it. We are not speaking of bragging or self reward but of the realization that it is a higher person the Gentleman has become and he must hold that person in appropriate respect. It is as if, in the governing of His Universe, God delegated realms to various authorities to hold chaos in check. In the immediate social moment, it is the Gentleman who is in charge. He doesn't have police action power, the task is too low for that. He captains the rudder of the conversation and the Universe has need of him. The Gentlemen ought to know, even if no one else does, that they are part of the Great Chain of Being and part of God's system of Law and Order. Somewhere between the obsequious admiration of those who erroneously believe they can't govern themselves adequately and the envious rebellion of those who erroneously think they can, between them is the government of the Gentleman and the wise society that gratefully, and graciously accepts that guidance.

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