zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Here's a little forsoothly for ya.


Gather round, all, and hear my words. I, Ambrose, Knight and Baron, Viscount, and Squire of old to Dublin, do tell now two stories. Let no man doubt the truth of these tales, for I was there and saw the fields upon which they happened. (It may be that the words I report were not spoken with such eloquence upon the day; I follow the example of Herodotus, Father of History, and make true those things which should have been...)

I sing you of the deeds of Sir Dublin, Baron and Knight. In his deeds of valor unmatched, in humors bold and virtuous, in the legends of his life unleavened by lies, I tell you true: here is a man of An tir and Summits, who may stand unashamed in the company of any.

Long ago it was, and far to the south: Sir Dublin strode the field, Roachy Crest upon his helm, a pike in his hands, sneaking...er, searching the edges of the field for Western foemen.

Whence came that foul roche that sat upon his helm, as it were a crest? And by what foul spell did it dance and sing, distracting friend and foe alike? I know not, nor I deem does any man now living.

It came to pass that certain Knights of Western fealty were at rest beside the trunk of a great Tree; and Sir Dublin came upon them at unawares, and approached them from behind.

Alas! That roachish Crest upon his helm, rocking side to side as he approached his foes, must needs have felt some twig or leaf against it brush; and waking from its torpor, began to sing and dance as was its wont.

“Slay him!” warbled Westies, and charged the Hero, intent, it would seem, upon his demise. Sir Dublin stood, and struck, and slew the enemy Knights ere they could approach.

Save one; that one drew back his mace and made a mighty blow---and slew not Dublin, but the singing Insect that had so taunted him.

That night, the Knight who slew the beast did drink and dance and brag of his great deed, and all there feted him, Monarchs and peasants alike. Gold he gained, and great gratitude for his deed.

Was it Western King that so rewarded the Slayer of the Roach? Or some other Monarch?

Two years passed, and it came to pass that another great field was fought, upon the Ground Where the Roach Died. This field had before been known as the Field of Pigs, and as the Place of Never-ending Wind.

For the wind blew there, and never steady in its course, came from all directions, severally or all at once. And when the wind blew from the west, it carried to the assembled armies the odor of a Great Farm of Swine. And it was very foul.

On that field Sir Dublin strode, strong if squat, and bore up the surcote and banner of his newest rank: Prince of the Summits was he, and led a mighty force to the aid of the King of An tir.

It came to pass as the battle swept back and forth across the land, that An tir’s mighty army gained most of the field; and for that time, the Western King and all of his host were pent within their own Castle, and they valiantly defended the smashed Gate thereof.

Mighty Dublin, Warrior Prince, led the Muster of his realm into battle, driving the Western host deep within its own redoubt. But the Western King, clever and cunning, brought forth fresh troops to the battle.

Step by step the Host of the Summits retreated, beset by Dukes, Knights and Footmen three times our number and more. As we fell back to the gate and beyond, His Highness turned his back upon his foemen.

Did he flee? A pox upon he who thinks it! He stepped backwards into the line of the foe, and made as if to strike us, his own men.

The foe, thinking him one of them (Cynagua, perhaps?) strode to the breach and to the fight...and Dublin, ever clever, called out: “Stand your ground, O men of the West! Hold the gate, for the enemy brings many more men to the field, and we are like to be o’erwhelmed!”

(It was true; a host of An tirians was there, just out of bowshot, preparing to charge. ’Twas Sir Daegar led them.)

But even as the Westies backed up to hold their broken Gate, Prince Dublin turned upon them. He struck and slew as Western footmen floundered, flustered and frustrated. We of Summits’ Muster pressed them yet again, and Dublin, mighty Prince, returned into our midst; unscathed—indeed, untouched.

Did Castle West then fall? Did fail the stout and lordly defense of the Western Host? Did the King die, or did he escape?

These are tales for another day. ’Tis Viscount Dublin whose deeds we celebrate today: Knight, Baron, and Sheriff of lands untold and people unnumbered.

Good Gentles All, I remain your Loyal Servant,

—Viscount Ambrose, Knight and Baron
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
This past week, from Tuesday to Friday, was the annual A3 Campout. A3 is The Springfield Academy for Arts and Academics. The campout this year had 400 students, all of their teachers, and enough parent-chaperones to (sorta) keep the kids under control. Herding cats and all, y’know.

What’s this have to do with zzambrose, you ask…

Well. Last year Marian became the Chief Cook for this event, and I became a guest teacher. The class I taught was: “The Art and Philosophy of Swordplay: How to stand, walk, turn, block, and cut like a real knight.” Additionally, I told each class a few stories about life in the Middle Ages: William Marshal played a central role in all of those stories (what a surprise).

I taught the class twice, each time to a group of ca. 20 students. I thought it went pretty well, while it was on. Afterwards, though…

I could barely show my face in the commons without one or more of the students buttonholing me to ask questions about the stuff we covered, or to inquire about things I only hinted at, or to ask about actually learning the Art. This continued for the whole of Thursday evening, and well into the next day. If I was sitting with or talking to another adult, the kids kept their distance. But if I was alone, they wanted to talk.

Jonna (who arranged for M and me to get these gigs) told me that the previous year’s version of the class had been the talk of the school, especially one of the handouts I distributed: “Knightly Virtues for the Digital Age” (You can read that essay here on LJ, tag Knightly Virtues). One of the teachers also told me that: “That Knightly Virtues essay was a hot topic for the first two weeks of school last year.”

So-o-o. Given that each class had at least a few kids who didn’t really give a bleep and were utterly not paying attention to their stances or footwork. Also given that some kids in each class were striving to do as I instructed, but needed a lot more than 1.5 hours to learn the basics. Still, I saw a lot of progress in all those things as each class went on, and there were at least 10 kids in the 40 who showed real talent, considering the restrictions I placed on them: “Don’t strike each other, we are none of us sufficiently insured for that. Practice slowly, learn quickly. Don’t smack your partner’s bamboo baton too hard, these are drills, you can’t ‘win’ a drill.” (A fair number of the ‘swords’ got splintered to death anyway. If I do this again, I’ll bring more bamboo sticks.) And so on, you get the idea.

Considering all of the above, I have re-calculated my self-evaluation and I have to say that the work of the last few days went very well indeed.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
One of the ‘minor’ characters in my latest project has me wondering: when you see (or interact with) a ‘party girl’ (boy?), do you automatically assume that she (he) is less than you?
This is what I’ve noticed:
She has a drug of choice, which she enjoys a lot. Sometimes (often?) she overindulges.
She is more emotional than intellectual: feeling, laughing, crying, pouting. It’s all ‘on her sleeve’ and in your face.
She is sexually aggressive: she knows what she likes and by her mid-20s she will take emotional risks in order to get it.
If she has a ‘real job’ (most of her cohort do), it is not her real life. She works for that party: then she can stay up late, use her favorite drug(s), persevere until she obtains the sexual (sensual?), and emotional gratification that she really desires, or until she knows that such gratification is out of her reach for the night. Then she will sleep in, and do it all again.
Is she a lesser person than me? Than you? Why?
As I struggle to understand the world and write about it, looking in the odd corners of history for moments of clarity, I wonder: “Why Bother?” If, as I fear, there really is no hope for the human species, & we really are going to extinct ourselves, then how is my ‘struggle to comprehend’ any more than an indulgence? If it is something I am doing because the process attracts me, how is that different from her desire to party?
AND suppose she actually once said to herself: “This is ridiculous. The system is rigged. We’re killing the planet and ourselves. Nobody is listening to me. I’m gonna get high, and get laid, and sleep in. Screw the rest of it.” Is that analysis less sophisticated than mine? Or yours?
OR is it just more elegant? “Efficient,” says hrothgar1.
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
This is the last version of this that anyone will have to put up with until after OryCon, at least. If you are joining the discussion at my class at Harvest Feast (Philosophy and Armored Combat; entry hall, 2:30 to 4:00PM.)you might want to read/skim/study this version, and the Oct 3 version of 'Four by Four' before then, as these will be the starting points from which we will diverge.
Read more )

If this seems to you to be a weird amalgam of political, economic, cultural and psychological viewpoints, well, consider the source. And I barely touched on the Jungian stuff!
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
The latest version:

Knightly Virtues for the Digital Age

Courage:
“Courage, Sir, is the first of virtues, because without it, it is sometimes difficult to exercise the others.” -Samuel Johnson
-Fortitude
-Steadfastness
-Dignity
To remain calm and unruffled when attacked, and to stand your ground in a tough spot, is in some ways the definition of courage. The great Samurai Musashi advised his readers to “Have a defense but don’t be defensive.” If you absorb this truth and make it part of you, you will find a dignified response to attacks of all kinds becomes natural to you.

Prowess:
-More and the Most- Whoever does more is better, whoever does the most is best.
This is my paraphrase of a sentiment which runs throughout the book 'On Chivalry' by Geoffrey de Charnay. De Charnay’s book is a primer on ‘The Profession of Arms’ by a working French knight of the 14th Century. In it he discusses the various estates of French society: the professions of peasant farmer, merchant, clergyman, nun, monk, and the various orders of nobility. He speaks about how he thinks each estate should comport themselves, and insists that each is worthy of honor, for doing their own jobs as they should do. He writes also of women and ladies, and how (he thinks) they should act and bring honor to themselves. He then concludes that the ‘profession of arms’ is the most lofty and worthy of all professions, and offers practical advice to any young man who desires to take it up.
Throughout the book he repeats his theme: that whatever the estate of a person, whoever does more is better and whoever does the most is best. This I see as a form of Prowess in itself, regardless of your modern profession, vocation, or avocation. Do whatever is in your power to do, and strive to improve in the doing.
-Stamina
-Arete
Arete is an ancient Greek concept, meaning “excellence striven for and recognized”. Not just word-fame, nor simply accomplishment, but all three things: You strive (no one achieves Arete by accident); you succeed
(your striving leads to an excellent result); and others take note, honoring your results and the improvement of your whole self.

Courtesy:
-Chivalry
Chivalry in the Medieval context was defined loosely as “courtesy between warriors.” In some ways, the code of chivalry was the Geneva Conventions of its time, containing as it did the rules about capturing and ransoming other knight and nobles. It was intended to regulate the Profession of Arms, protect non-combatants, limit looting and such. The Code oftentimes failed to inspire people to achieve these goals. But then, so do we, in our time, often fail of our aspirations, ethically as well as practically.
Extending this idea to modern times, chivalry would be the rules and codes that regulate the various professions. So a stockbroker who cheats his clients and the other brokers by means of insider trading is, in a sense, unchivalrous.
-Gallantry
What most modern people mean when they speak of ‘Chivalry’ is what a citizen of the medieval world would call ‘Gallantry’. That is, it’s not just proper behavior between men and women, between equals, or between ‘higher’ and ‘lower’ strata of Society. It is that proper behavior carried to an art form, executed with élan and grace. We no longer accept all the _forms_ of Gallantry as then practiced. But the élan and grace, that we can emulate in any situation, making our lives fuller and the lives of others less gray and ugly.
-Reliability
On a completely practical note, no one can be considered Courteous who is not first Reliable. Do what you say will do, at the time arranged. If you fail at this, then all the fair words and formal etiquette that you can muster will not fool anyone.

Magnanimity – From Webster’s:
Magnanimity- 1. Quality of being magnanimous; that quality or combination of qualities in character enabling one to encounter danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, to disdain injustice, meanness and revenge, and to act and sacrifice for noble objects. 2. A deed or disposition characterized by magnanimity. 3. Grandiose temperament; extravagance of soul. Rare.
-Humility
-Patience
-Mercy

Loyalty
-Grounded-ness
-Commitment
-The Social Contract

Honesty “Always tell the truth but don’t always be telling it.”
-Tempered w/ kindness
-Also with Regard
-And with Caution

Franchise
-Confidence
-Presentation
-Presence
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Knightly Virtues for the Digital Age

Courage:
“Courage, Sir, is the first of virtues, because without it, it is sometimes difficult to exercise the others.” -Samuel Johnson
-Fortitude
-Steadfastness
-Dignity

Prowess:
-More and the Most
-Stamina
-Arete

Courtesy:
-Chivalry
-Gallantry
-Reliability

Magnanimity – From Webster’s:
Magnanimity- 1. Quality of being magnanimous; that quality or combination of qualities in character enabling one to encounter danger and trouble with tranquility and firmness, to disdain injustice, meanness and revenge, and to act and sacrifice for noble objects. 2. A deed or disposition characterized by magnanimity. 3. Grandiose temperament; extravagance of soul. Rare.
-Humility
-Patience
-Mercy

Loyalty
-Grounded-ness
-Commitment
-The Social Contract

Honesty “Always tell the truth but don’t always be telling it.”
-Tempered w/ kindness
-Also with Regard
-And with Caution

Franchise
-Confidence
-Presentation
-Presence
zzambrosius_02: (Default)
Here is the outline for a new essay:

Knightly Virtues for the Digital Age

Courage:
-Fortitude
-Steadfastness
-Dignity

Prowess:
-Arete
-More and the Most
-Stamina

Courtesy:
-Chivalry
-Gallantry
-Reliability

Magnanimity
-Humility
-Patience
-Mercy

Loyalty
-Grounded-ness
-Commitment
-The Social Contract

Honesty
-Tempered w/ kindness
-Also with Regard
-And with Caution

Franchise
-Confidence
-Presentation
-Presence

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zzambrosius_02

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