Love Letters to the Universe #26: Know Thyself- The Cavalier and the Paladin

4 Jun

Dear Universe,

Oh, to fall in love! Surely, that is the epitome of happiness? When else does one see the rose tint behind each scene unscrolled before them like a universe remade? When else does happiness reach such heights that it encompasses terror? When one falls in love (as I have with you), one sees his or her own existence in a new light; aye, sometimes as if he or she had not been privy to the solace of light before. In love, you know the crispness of the apple, for it is knowledge that you not only gain, but to which you must surrender.

Just as I have fallen in love with you, I have fallen in love with myself, for that one to be in love one must truly love and recognize that twin star that radiates from within oneself, not just from the object of one’s affection.

I would argue this happiness and its continuing growth should comprise the greatest proportion of one’s life. We should all be so enamored with you, that, through pursuit of your affection, we find an undiminishing appreciation for our own loveliness. To know you, my dear, is to love you. Socrates said: “Know thyself!” Surely then, this most beneficial of decrees and our need to heed it in acquiescence is never seen as poignantly as with the next two Superstar Archetypes that I lay before you to glitter in this most needed and appreciated spring sunshine:


  1. The Cavalier

Primary Mode of Operation: Recognition (South)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Influence (South)

Epithets: The Knight of Staves, Prince Charming, The Golden Boy, The MVP

Mythic Examples: Captain James T. Kirk, Sir Lancelot-du-Lac, Buffalo Bill

Description: When one thinks of the dashing knight in shining armor, one usually is summoning the archetype of the Cavalier to mind. The Cavalier constructs meaning for himself by establishing recognition, and through that, manifesting influence. The cavalier is usually known for his accomplishments for which he strives for tirelessly. His need for recognition also manifests as competitiveness the likes of which are not seen elsewhere in the other types. The true peacock, the Cavalier is often known for his pleasing appearance, his ingratiating charisma, his uncanny skill and drive, or a combination of all three. The cavalier enjoys attention and so will often be seen as an unrepentant flirt.

As a child, the Cavalier is the ultimate mama’s boy. His mother is of course his first audience,  and the Cavalier will challenge his father, his brothers, sisters or anyone else for her affections, attention and time. He will continue this pattern with other women as he grows, but in the end he will always remain the most faithful and the most hung up on his mommy dearest. It is why he often will leave many a starstruck maiden crushed against the rocks of lost love on his journey toward perfection.

The cavalier will find that the world is a place of masks, and he will become highly adept at fashioning a pleasing one and polishing it to a shine. He will sublimate everything about himself under this showy and gallant mask, to the point where he will often be confused about his own private inner life (with which he can dangerously lose all familiarity), and his grand social life. At heart, the cavalier can become secretly quite lonely, as he does not truly like himself, especially if he remains stunted as externally motivated for the attention of others.

Indeed, under the veneer of gallant success, the cavalier may appear to some as quite sociopathic, as he forgets that using influence to manipulate others constantly is not appropriate or beneficial for his own moral development.

Because of his drive, the Cavalier will master any number of pursuits, skills and fields of study. In his company, anyone can be made to feel a winner, however, and at his most magnanimous the Cavalier is a true champion of the people. He is a solid educator, guide, trainer, athlete, speaker, and when drawn to the helping careers, will shine as a healthcare practitioner.

The cavalier can master any external exercise, but his real problem will always stem for his often neglected inner self. This can eventually lead him into the more shadowy aspects of his archetypal personality. However, when balanced and at peace, the Cavalier will inspire, protect and aid his fellow hairless monkeys with a grace and a smile that will charm the most downhearted and sullied of souls.

Captain James T. Kirk is the perfect example of the Cavalier from popular science-fiction. His guarded inner life allows him to command the Federation’s premiere starship, while his affable charisma and competitive drive makes him suitable for dealing with whatever strange races he should encounter (both out and in the bed chamber).

A starlet will understand the Cavalier’s need for maintaining an image. She will become his best audience and a shining light, herself, inspiring the Cavalier to attain further glory on her behalf.

Ideal match: The Starlet

Challenging types for the Cavalier: The Craftsman, the She-Bear

The Shadow Type: The Glory Hound- When the Cavalier loses sight of his own inner conflicts, he is subsumed by his own ego which he wears as a mask, replete with matching tunic festooned with epaulettes and hanging medals. The Glory Hound is a self aggrandizing braggart, a heart-breaking cuckolder, and a true schlub. A good example of this would be the glory hound, Gaston, as we see in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. The Glory Hound becomes a caricature of himself, a grand and showy buffoon.

There is a much darker side to many a glory hound. The desire to influence becomes so complete, that he becomes a sort of vampiric sociopath, who will revel in emotional sadism, and could very well hide the tastes of a serial killer, who one would never guess is there, buried under the pleasing and gallant aspect of the gentleman next door.


  1. The Paladin

Primary Mode of Operation: Recognition (South)

Secondary Mode of Operation: Intuition (West)

Epithets: The Grail Knight, the Good Cop, the Seeker

Mythic Examples: James Gordon (of Batman/Gotham), Roland Deschaines of Stephen, King’s Dark Tower series, Kung Fu

Description: When one envisions a lone rider with a white hat coming into town and having to step up against a swarm of black-hearted no-goods, that is the Paladin. The Paladin uses recognition to carve his way through the world, both externally and internally. Externally he relies on his reputation as a straight shooter and a competent adversary (or ally) to survive a world that does not walk the same path as he. Internally, he uses recognition to assess the reactions of others and aide his perceptive sense of intuition. It is this inner-compass which sets and guides the Paladin on his path through life. It makes him a highly virtuous (or at least scrupulous) individual. Although he may be the least initially trusted of his fellow knight superstars, for he answers to the sovereignty of his own conscience, which will not take orders from anyone, unless the Paladin deems their perceptions and goals are aligned.

As a young child and man, the Paladin will often dabble in many pursuits, as he is anxious to try things out and find out where he can best be recognized. The most important difference between the Paladin and the other Superstars is that recognition must also allow the Paladin the freedom to develop and act further, against his own reputation if his intuition should call for it. It is this fact which has often gotten the Paladin ousted and hunted in the very societies in which he serves.

In the end the Paladin wants to be recognized as a good man, a virtuous and honorable person. However, the realized and mature Paladin has learned to really only live off the need to recognize himself as a decent and well-intentioned person.

The Paladin will often attract many friends and admirers who will try to walk in his footsteps. He will often allow them to stumble, but will patiently turn back and show the new upstart how it should be done properly and effectively. Thus Paladin’s make excellent teachers and guides. They also would make equitable and fair lawyers, judges, and policemen. They often can be seen involved in activist, volunteer, or philanthropic services. Their career will largely depend upon the path that they are following.

The paladin’s quiet confidence can inspire a state of calm and security to people and animals, for which most paladins have a knack and affection.

A paladin is on a mission to reach a state dictated by his ideals and inner-direction. He will die on this road, and this does not bother him over much, as long as he dies well, and that is with his integrity intact. Heaven help those who try to prevent the Paladin from living according to his code. There will be no help to those who stand in direct contrast to the moral fiber of this wandering hero, not when the Paladin comes to town, that is.

Ideal match: Enchantress

Challenging types for the Paladin: The Chief (Warlord), The Matriarch

The Shadow Type: The Outlaw: Just as in the case of the Glory Hound, the Outlaw is the Paladin who has failed to understand himself and heed that singular calling of his intuition. He has lost faith in the quest, and instead has chosen some other artificial means of establishing his path. This inner calling will often be replaced by the sole desire to establish his reputation with whatever immoral means necessary. Here we have the outlaws of old, living by a code that is little better than dog eat dog. It is this philosophical failing which is the tragic and bitter fall of the outlaw. He has nothing to live for, and his anger and brutality reflects his turmoil. Occasionally a truly mad Outlaw will appear in life and in art, such as the merciless likes of the antagonist of McCarthy’s No Country For Old Man and Batman’s Two-Face, who hinge their decisions not on their own compass, but the flip of a coin.

The most interesting character in this regard is that of Jules Winnfield of Pulp Fiction fame played by Samuel Jackson. This character begins the film as an outlaw and by the end has experienced a denouement that has turned him into the roving paladin that has decided to save life rather than take it.

Just as the the Cavalier can be the inspiration for his people, the Paladin, in his fullness, can be their savior. However, they both must learn to understand their own natures and heed their own inner-calling, and, of course, undertake to fulfill the responsibilities that such natures embody.

Let’s hope there will be more heroes that undertake the quest for the betterment of themselves. For we accompany them, and become better ourselves in the process.

I promise to write more often, my sweet universe. I apologize for my interruption in our correspondence. I have been busy tackling and beating my addiction to tobacco so that the two of us will have a much longer correspondence indeed.

Your loving admirer,



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