Jan 9, 2009

Posted by in Living By A Code | Comments Off on 7th Tenet of the Code – Defend Humanity

7th Tenet of the Code – Defend Humanity

7th Tenet of the Code 

  

The MDI Code of Honor was created by the men of what was then known as the Sterling Men’s Divisions.  It was intended to reflect some very basic core values that all men could rally behind and support.

 

Back in the late 1990s the men of the Western Region created an ark which contained 15 different pieces of word. Each stick was made of a specific type of wood and bore a specific design that reflected the way in which the men of the Western Region related to the tenets of the Code of Honor. The ark has made its way throughout North America and men throughout MDI have had the opportunity to connect with it.  I had the honor serving as the caretaker for the ark and was moved to write a bit on how I related to the Code.

 

Defend Humanity

 

The wood that reflects this tenet is cactus. The cactus is used to create the Rain Stick – Many indigenous people use the rain stick to call forth rain when there is drought or the grandfather spirits when men of the tribe suffer from an emotional drought or crisis of faith.

 

The symbol on the stick is reflected in the colored bands that represent the colors of man.  Yellow, red, black and white, they reflect all humanity.

 

Definition:

 

To Defend – to take a stand in support of something without regard to the cost.

 

There are at least two levels to this tenet.  One is to take a stand for all humankind.  To strive for a higher purpose, something larger than oneself.  This may seem daunting to some because you may ask, “How can one person change the world?”  But in truth the world changes every second because of the acts of millions of people acting alone.   The challenge is in helping each of those individuals to find the higher purpose that allows their actions to move in harmony rather than conflict. 

 

Personally, striving for a higher purpose seems easy because I am aiming at a large target.  I have no idea if anything I do is actually making a difference but it feels good to be doing something I, and others, deem to be worthy. After all, even the most altruistic act is driven by the simplest impulse — it feels good.  Or I feel so guilty that in doing an act of contrition, the guilt wanes and….. I feel good.

 

 However actually attaining a higher purpose requires a long-term commitment to excellence and consistency because to achieve something beyond and bigger than me, I need to strive to be better than what I already am.  Now that is daunting, the notion of actually being great on a daily basis.  That’s a little more challenging than just recycling newspapers.  It is also something most people never choose to take on because it is long term.  Few of us have the tenacity to strive for something that probably won’t be attained until long after we are dead and gone. And since we won’t be there at the end, we don’t get the feel good payoff…so we — or more to the point I – give up.

 

So let’s look at the other level:  to take a stand for that which is humane in every man.  That seems a little more do able to look for and embrace that essence within each person that makes them distinct and unique.  The definition of humane is “the best qualities of mankind – mercy, honor, compassion.”  To work at this level you must be tenacious enough to fight to bring out these qualities in every man you come in contact with and to trust that these qualities exist in every man, especially you.

 

Honoring this tenet at this level can be challenging as well.  There are many times I want to dismiss someone I find obnoxious or childish or pigheaded.  What I try to do instead is figure out how to meet that person half way.  Somewhere between the conduct that is irritating me and my sense of what is right there is a point that the two of us can probably both settle on and interact in a meaningful way.  To me being willing to search for that point is defending humanity.

 

However you hold the tenet it still requires you to take a stand for something outside of yourself and to do so without regard to what is personally at stake for you.  It is a discipline that if practiced consistently, should make you feel good.  Which in the end is really all any of us want, right?

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