Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Virtus Nobilitat

Virtus Nobilitat has for the last few years, been a personal motto of mine. In English, directly translated, it means Virtue Ennobles. I've always found the direct translation a bit lacking without the proper context. The Latin meaning of Virtus is a bit more complex then the English meaning of Virtue, for example. Virtus represents manliness, excellence, character, worth, courage. I think if we look toward the Prussian Virtues we see a good representation of just what Virtus represents. The translation of Nobilitat is correct, but here the context is more important. This phrase is from an older time, when to be noble often meant a birthright. With this context in place the direct translation can take on a more proper meaning.

Nobility is not a birthright, but attained by Virtue. Living a Virtuous life makes one Noble. I think this sums up my interpretation of the Latin phrase. One of noble birth who is not virtuous is not truly noble. One of normal birth can rise to nobility through virtuousness. Granted virtues are a fluid concept, they can vary on the individual. This is why I reference the Prussian Virtues. Although they certainly don't mesh perfectly with the modern world, one would have a hard time arguing against the merits of most of the Prussian Virtues.

When I push myself to become a better person it is this Latin motto, and the Prussian Virtues that I turn toward. They represent my own personal interpretation of what it means to rise above the average and become an individual of great quality. I have a long journey to reach this goal, and change is always difficult. However, with these set standards, I can fix my gaze toward them in times when I feel that I must improve myself. Slowly, over time, and with the maturity of age, my every hope is to find this nobility. To the ends that not my motto, but my very definition becomes Virtus Nobilitat.