When someone confesses or is caught in an affair, one of the first things they say is something to this effect, “I didn’t mean it.” Or “She/he meant nothing to me.” In other words, they end up in a place they never wanted to be. Most people don’t set out to cheat on their spouse. It starts small. It begins with a thought that goes uncontested, perhaps even nurtured into a fantasy. Those thoughts grow into an attitude and then the attitude grows into a disposition. That disposition erodes boundaries and clouds our sense of right and wrong.
When thinking about chivalrous acts, medieval moral codes and norms may come to mind. Some might think it is an archaic notion that has long since faded away. It actually makes me think of the Marines. If you have ever observed a Marine flag-folding ceremony, you will notice a few things. The general attitude towards the flag is one of reverence, tenderness, and respect. There is a clear desire to defend it from harm. You can tell it is more than fabric to them. It represents something of significant value.
In the movie Castaway, the main character Chuck Noland, played by Tom Hanks, is stuck on a deserted island. At one point, he is trying to start a fire by rubbing a stick on a wood plank near dried up grass. Despite his best effort, he can’t seem to get the fire started. It’s only when the plank splits a little the air is able to get through from the bottom to feed the fire. It wasn’t until he applied both heat and air that he was successful.