Bushido - Day 7
(7) Loyalty - 忠義
Definition / Formal Thoughts
Merriam- Webster definition: the quality or state or an instance of being loyal (unswerving in allegiance: as
a : faithful in allegiance to one's lawful sovereign or government
b : faithful to a private person to whom fidelity is due
c : faithful to a cause, ideal, custom, institution, or product
Interesting references on Wikipedia. It seems like loyalty was mainly associated with governments, royalty (kings and queens) or God until very recently.
1911 Encyclopædia Britannica
The Encyclopædia Britannica Eleventh Edition defines loyalty as "allegiance to the sovereign or established government of one's country" and also "personal devotion and reverence to the sovereign and royal family". It traces the word "loyalty" to the 15th century, noting that then it primarily referred to fidelity in service, in love, or to an oath that one has made. The meaning that the Britannica gives as primary, it attributes to a shift during the 16th century, noting that the origin of the word is in the Old French "loialte", that is in turn rooted in the Latin "lex", meaning "law". One who is loyal, in the feudal sense of fealty, is one who is lawful (as opposed to an outlaw), who has full legal rights as a consequence of faithful allegiance to a feudal lord. Hence the 1911 Britannica derived its (early 20th century) primary meaning of loyalty to a monarch. This definition of loyalty based upon the word's etymology is echoed by Vandekerckhove, when he relates loyalty and whistleblowing.
Biblical and Christian views
In the Christian Bible, Jesus states "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's." So, it acknowledges a limit to the authority of man. In the Christian view, there is a sphere beyond the earthly, and if loyalty to man conflicts with loyalty to God, the latter takes precedence. Moreover, Christianity rejects the notion of dual loyalty. In the Gospel of Matthew 6:24, Jesus states "No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon". This relates to the authority of a master over his servants (as per Ephesians 6:5), who according to (Biblical) law owe undivided loyalty to their master (as per Leviticus 25:44–46).
It then talks about a book written in 1908: Josiah Royce in his 1908 book The Philosophy of Loyalty presented a different definition of the concept. According to Royce, loyalty is a virtue, indeed a primary virtue, "the heart of all the virtues, the central duty amongst all the duties". Royce presents loyalty, which he defines at length, as the basic moral principle from which all other principles can be derived. The short definition that he gives of the idea is that loyalty is "the willing and practical and thoroughgoing devotion of a person to a cause". The cause has to be an objective one. It cannot be one's personal self. It is something external to oneself that one looks outward to the world to find, and that cannot be found within. It concerns not one's own person, but other people. The devotion is active, a surrendering of one's self-will to the cause, that one loves.
I tend to agree with this definition...and rather like the thought.
I am fiercely loyal to my family and friends...this is definitely where I agree with Royce's definition including length. In order, I strive to be loyal to (1) God (2) family (3) friends. As I've stated with previous virtues of Bushido, I am not perfect and fail to live up to this standard 100% of the time, but I do strive to be loyal to God, family and friends consistently. This goes back to a comment I made when I discussed "Respect" on day 4. And this is where I also agree with Royce that loyalty is the "heart of all the virtues". Because it is to people I am most loyal and respect that brings out, what I can only define as an innate fire in my personality (just ask my family, Garrett, Mitch...).
And this is where, after a week in writing about Bushido, it does all make (more) sense. For a group like the samurai, who's job it was to defend the nobility of the country, the country itself and be held up as an example for all to follow (less than 10% of the Japanese population were samurai)...it is impossible not to be a fierce warrior for any cause if you strive to live up to:
365 day challenge - day 145
After a long day of work, I was able to get in a ride...this time on my brother's Harley