June 19, 2015 by phicks2012
I’ve been active in the SCA (The Society for Creative Anachronism) for over 27 years now, and in that organization I’ve learned a lot of wonderful things, found acceptance for my creative endeavors, found encouragement for my talents (such as they are), and met a lot of amazing people. I have always “tried” to live up to the high goals the organization attempts to promote and to embrace, and the people I most admire in the SCA are those who have best achieved these ideals.
But, let’s face it, we are an organization made up of human beings, and because of this we will always have those few among us who are thoughtless, petty, vindictive, power-hungry, manipulative, dishonest, self-serving, and disloyal. Even in an organization placing high value on, and rewarding virtues like honor, chivalry, service and knowledge we simply cannot realistically get entirely away from the harsher realities of the human condition.
Just as in the real world, though thankfully less often in my opinion, we sometimes see people rise in influence and rank who give only lip-service to the finer aspirations of the SCA, and we see some of those people behave badly, and treat others shamefully, without facing any apparent repercussions. Though the power exists only within the confines of our organization, we see occasional abuses of power and gnash our teeth when those abusers are then sometimes lauded for their “chivalry”. It happens, and a recent discussion on Facebook reminded me again, and regrettably, of this.
Fortuntely, most of the folks I’ve met in the SCA are good people who really do aspire to maintain a higher standard. Unfortunately, we cannot defeat all infamy, either in the SCA or in the mundane world. I believe that we, hopefully good folk, can but refuse to behave badly ourselves, choose well our battles, and strive to live in such a way that we influence and inspire others to do the same.
Those sentiments inspired the verse below.
We dream of chivaly, and coats of maille;
Where Ladies silken-clad stand tall in grace;
Where Lords may utter oaths that will not fail,
And in a better world may find their place.
We dream that honor’s light may yet prevail,
And human souls may wear a kinder face.
We dream of visions from beyond the pale,
But we are children of an errant race.
We dream of fealty and a gentler truth,
Where gallantry may hubris overcome,
And we may see the visions of our youth
Rise up unfettered, soaring to become
Far better heartfelt verities, forsooth,
And would not be to imperfections numb.
We hunger to exalt no deeds uncooth,
While adding in heroics to the sum.
Yet we are human, and are easy prey
To pride, and anger, and to vanity.
We use our power unwisely every day,
And choose self interest over charity,
And watch unpunished infamy hold sway,
And suffer fools who rise to high degree.
Though we may well lament, lip-service pay
To higher goals, and curse such villany.
Yes, we are folk of an imperfect race,
That taken as a whole is flawed, we know,
Yet each of us can hope to live with grace,
And to inspire others even so.
We can but pick our battles, and make space
Within a faulty world for honor, so
That we our own life’s deeds might well embrace,
And leave a better vision when we go.
[15 May, 2015]