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What is Courage?


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#1    coberst

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Posted 28 March 2010 - 07:00 PM

What is Courage?

Courage has two components; the ontological (body in action) and the conceptual (mind in action).

Paul Tillich, “Apostle to the intellectuals”, attempts to provide a new theological vocabulary by which modern wo/man might deal with the human situation.  Tillich informs us that “Few concepts are as useful for the analysis of the human situation” as the concept of courage.

In his acclaimed book The Courage to Be Tillich sees courage as an “ethical reality”, i.e. courage is foremost a conceptual reality, which is rooted in the whole gestalt of human existence and “ultimately in the structure of being itself.  It must be considered ontologically [body-mind in action] in order to be understood ethically”.

When one speaks of mind almost everyone thinks of a stand alone entity functioning in a logical manner in which the body is merely a house for its place of habitation until death, at which time it, sometimes called the soul, floats away to a spiritual kingdom.  I wish to correct that erroneous idea.  

I have coined the word body-mind, which I first discovered by reading Mark Johnson’s book The Meaning of the Body, because I wish the reader to think not of the mind as a separate entity residing in the body but because I want the reader to think of a body-mind gestalt.  That is to say that the mind is an embodied mind, which cannot stand alone just as the heart cannot stand alone with the body bracketed.

Quickie from Wiki: “The psychologist, Carl Jung, who studied archetypes, proposed an alternative definition of symbol, distinguishing it from the term "sign". In Jung's view, a sign stands for something known, as a word stands for its referent. He contrasted this with symbol, which he used to stand for something that is unknown and that cannot be made clear or precise.”

In accordance with Carl Jung I would say that the term “body-mind” is a symbol.

Humans, when they became conscious of their mortality, became overly anxious upon discovering their forthcoming death and they conceptualized the soul, which over millions of years morphed into monotheism and religion.  Religion became the promise of life everlasting and thus assuaged the anxiety of death.

This anxiety over mortality caused a self-critical humanity to develop the mind/body dichotomy.   This dichotomy leads to the idea that there is an essential difference between body and mind.  But SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) informs us that we have a body-mind, that is to say that we are a gestalt, not two parts working separately but an integrated functioning whole.  The body and mind works as a single unit.  The body in action and the mind in action make the human being in action with a constant interrelationship between these two aspects of the gestalt.

Tillich informs us that the human act of courage is fundamentally a body-mind action driven by an ethical concept.  “The courage to be is the ethical act in which man affirms his own being in spite of those elements of his existence which conflict with his essential self-affirmation.”


#2    The Big Boss

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Posted 29 March 2010 - 04:34 PM

Courage is what makes you do things you probably should not do.  ;)

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#3    unexplained sam

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 11:32 AM

Sometime I think that courage is unnoticed at first, you take grant you had courage. Courage is being modest about it. But thats just my opinion.


#4    TheResearcher

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 12:18 PM

Courage, to me, is simply acting regardless of fear.  You can't have courage without having fear.

A man who will do his duty
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#5    coberst

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Posted 31 March 2010 - 06:57 PM

View PostTheResearcher, on 31 March 2010 - 12:18 PM, said:

Courage, to me, is simply acting regardless of fear.  You can't have courage without having fear.


Plato informs us that the armed aristocracy is the representative of what is noble and graceful.  “Out of them the bearers of wisdom arise, adding wisdom to courage.”

Aristotle informs us that the courageous man acts “for the sake of what is noble, for that is the aim of virtue.”  The noble is understood by Aristotle as being the beautiful, in contrast to the ugly or base.

Self-actualization is the pinnacle of Maslow’s hierarchy and represents the affirmation of one’s essential nature.  “Courage is the affirmation of one’s essential nature, one’s inner aim or entelechy, but it is an affirmation which has in itself the character of “in spite of”.

“There is a tendency to use the term ‘virtue’ in an abstract “moralistic” sense—a way that makes it almost Pharisaic in character.”--John Dewey My first thought after reading this and ‘looking up’ the word ‘Pharisaic’ (self-righteous) turns to William Bennett, gambler, ideologue, czar, and author of “The Book of Virtues”.

John Dewey wrote the above quote about virtue in his book “Ethics”. He further identifies the concept ‘virtue’ to mean a talent turned toward enhancing social values. Dewey says “every natural capacity, every talent or ability, whether of inquiring mind, of gentle affection, or of executive skill, becomes a virtue when it is turned to account in supporting or extending the fabric of social values.”


#6    The Defector

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Posted 05 April 2010 - 09:53 PM

Courage is the absence of fear.
It's a habit.
Nothing much else to say.

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#7    Black Hound

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 08:46 PM

Being too stupid to know what fear is and making the wrong choice.


#8    Belial

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 08:48 PM

Courage is not thinking first.

Where it states "For official use only" - gently rub a white wax candle over the area indicated.

Kick a habit - i never did like Tolkien...

#9    IamsSon

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 09:24 PM

What would lead a human, if he is nothing more than body-mind to become concerned about death? Do we become overly concerned about the loss of "self" that occurs with going to sleep? Do we become overly concerned about losing something by defecating or urinating? The sane, rational human does not, yet, the sane rational human does have a concern for death. I believe the body-mind symbol does not encompass the reality that humans seem to innately understand that death is different, wrong somehow, which I believe points to an unconscious knowledge that we are meant not to die.

Courage is doing what one knows to be right in spite of feeling fear or even terror. The fearless soldier is not courageous, he is a dead soldier, the courageous soldier faces his fear and acts through it.

Edited by IamsSon, 13 April 2010 - 09:27 PM.

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#10    icile_xele

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 10:11 PM

I'm not exactly sure what connection you're wanting to draw between courage and the body-mind concept, or why the body-mind would be a symbol instead of a sign. If a pencil is a sign, and the lead is not some part wholly independent of the wood (as the many parts are what make up the pencil), according to this explanation I would see the body-mind in the same way. If we're removing the notion of the soul or some other spiritual existence, why wouldn't the body-mind be a sign? In my opinion, at least, removing spiritual concepts from the human existence would make this more simple, not more complicated in terms of definition.

I bought a book called Courage which I haven't read yet. With it being written from an Atheistic standpoint, I wasn't yet ready to read it without wrinkling my brow. :) For some reason, your post reminded me of that book.

As for the definition of courage, I define it as has already been stated above by others... Doing something in the face of fear because it's the right or necessary thing to do.

Edited by icile_xele, 13 April 2010 - 10:13 PM.


#11    chaoszerg

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Posted 13 April 2010 - 11:44 PM

View PostMangled7, on 05 April 2010 - 09:53 PM, said:

Courage is the absence of fear.
It's a habit.
Nothing much else to say.


No courage is doing something even though it is scary.



Doing something dangerous and not being afraid is not courage that's just stupidity.


#12    IamsSon

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 01:07 AM

View Postchaoszerg, on 13 April 2010 - 11:44 PM, said:

No courage is doing something even though it is scary.



Doing something dangerous and not being afraid is not courage that's just stupidity.

:tu:

"But then with me that horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" - Charles Darwin, in a letter to William Graham on July 3, 1881

#13    WoIverine

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 01:16 AM

I would think that a lot of courage comes from testosterone. Ever since my doctor put me on these injections, I feel like I could literally UFC fight, which is probably a bad thing. lol

Edited by SpiderCyde, 14 April 2010 - 01:18 AM.


#14    Stormy777

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 10:28 PM




#15    Alienated Being

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Posted 14 April 2010 - 10:33 PM

View PostThe Big Boss, on 29 March 2010 - 04:34 PM, said:

Courage is what makes you do things you probably should not do.  ;)
If risks weren't meant to be taken, then we would still be living in the stone age.





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