By Sir Laurence Gardner
The Holy Grail Code was established in the 14th century as a precept of chivalric service. In essence, it is a parable for the human condition in that it is the quest of us all to serve and, by serving, to achieve.
The problem is that the Holy Grail Code has been overwhelmed by an avaricious society complex based on the notion of the survival of the fittest.
Today, it is plain that wealth, rather than health, is a major stepping-stone towards being socially fit.
Above all such considerations, however, there is a further requirement to toe the party line while paying homage to the demigods of power.
This prerequisite has nothing to do with obeying the law or with behaving properly - it relies on not rocking the boat, and on withholding opinions that do not conform.
Those who break ranks are declared heretics, meddlers and troublemakers, and as such are deemed socially unfit by their governing establishment.
Perceived social fitness is consequently attained by submitting to indoctrination and forsaking personal individuality in order to preserve the administrative status quo.
By any standard of reckoning, this can hardly be described as a democratic way of life.
The democratic ideal is expressed as: Government BY the people FOR the people.
To facilitate the process, democracies are organized on an electoral basis whereby the few represent the many.
The representatives are chosen BY the people to govern FOR the people - but the paradoxical result is generally their government OF the people.
This is contrary to all the principles of democratic community and has nothing whatever to do with service.
It is, therefore, in direct opposition to the Holy Grail Code.
At a national and local level, elected representatives have long managed to reverse the harmonious ideal by setting themselves upon pedestals above their electorate. By virtue of this, individual rights, liberties and welfare are controlled by political dictate, and such dictates determine who is socially fit and who is socially unfit at any given time.
In many cases this even corresponds to decisions on who shall survive and who shall not. To this end, there are many who seek positions of influence for the sheer sake of gaining power over others. Serving their own interests, they become manipulators of society, causing the disempowerment of the majority.
The result is that instead of being rightly served, that same majority is reduced to a state of servitude.
It is not by any chance that, from the Middle Ages, the motto of Britain's Princes of Wales has been 'Ich dien' (I serve). The motto was born directly from the Holy Grail Code during the Age of Chivalry.
In coming to office through hereditary lineage rather than being elected, it was important for those next in line to promote the ideal of service.
But have the Monarchs actually Served?
More to the point: Whom have they Served?
In general terms (certainly through the feudal and imperial eras) they have Ruled.
The same can be said in respect of our modern elected political representatives.
Rule is not Service, and it has no part in the justice, equality and tolerance of the democratic ideal.
It is therefore quite inconsistent with the Maxim of the Holy Grail.
In the past two centuries or so, many radical events have taken place: the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, two major World Wars, and a host of changes as countries have swapped one style of government for another.
Meanwhile, civil and international disputes continue just as they did in medieval times. They are motivated by trade, politics, religion and whatever other banners are flown to justify the constant struggle for territorial and economic control. The Holy Roman Empire has disappeared, the German Reichs have failed and the British Empire has collapsed. The Russian Empire fell to Communism, which has itself been disgraced and crumbled to ruin, while Capitalism teeters on the very brink of acceptability. In the meantime, the nations of Europe band together in what was once a seemingly well conceived economic community, but which is already suffering from the same pressures of individual custom and national sovereignty that beset the Holy Roman Empire.
Whether nations are governed by military-style regimes or elected parliaments, whether by autocrats or democrats, and whether formally described as monarchist, socialist or republican, the net product is always the same: the few control the fate of the many. In situations of dictatorship this is a natural experience, but it should not be the case in a democratic institution based on the principle of majority representation.
As stated, true democracy is Government BY the people FOR the people, in either direct or representative form, ignoring class distinctions and tolerating minority views.
The American Constitution, for example, sets out an ideal for this form of democracy but, in line with other nations, there is always a large sector of the community that is not represented by the party in power.
Because presidents and prime ministers are politically tied, and because political parties take their respective turns at individual helms, the inevitable result is a lack of continuity for the nations concerned. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but there is no reliable ongoing institution to champion the civil rights and liberties of people in such conditions of ever-changing leadership. Britain does, at least, retain a monarchy, but it is a politically constrained monarchy, operating only by the 'consent' of Parliament. It is therefore ineffectual in performing its role as Guardian of the Realm.
The United States, unlike Britain, has a Written Constitution, but has no one with the power to uphold its principles against successive governments who determinedly pursue their own politically vested interests. The Supreme Court is not elected by the people; it is presidentially appointed.
Is there an answer to the anomaly?
Is there an answer that could bring not just a ray of hope but a shining light for the future?
There certainly is, but its energy relies on those in governmental service appreciating their roles as Representatives of Society rather than presuming to stand at the Head of Society. The current class structure is always decided from above, never from below. It is therefore for those on self-made pedestals to be seen to kick them aside in the interests of Harmony and Unity.
Jesus was not in the least humbled when he washed his Apostles' feet at the Last Supper; he was raised to the Realm of a True Grail King - the Realm of Equality and Princely Service.
This is the Eternal Precept of the Holy Grail.