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What is Courage?

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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.”

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

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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.

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

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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.”

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Courage is the absence of fear.

It's a habit.

Nothing much else to say.

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

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Courage is not thinking first.

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Posted (edited)

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

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Posted (edited)

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

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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.

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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:

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Posted (edited)

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

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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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No courage is doing something even though it is scary.

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

I disagree - doing something dangerous and not fully acknowledging the risks and consequences behind it is stupid. For example, I am going to get my skydiving license in the near future. Does that make me stupid? I don't think it does. When I do things like that, something so invigorating.. it makes me appreciate life more. It makes me feel truly alive.

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Courage, to me, is simply acting regardless of fear.

Exactly.

For example, I am going to get my skydiving license in the near future. Does that make me stupid? I don't think it does. When I do things like that, something so invigorating.. it makes me appreciate life more. It makes me feel truly alive.

But doesn't it also make you a little bit nervous? Don't you think you will have a fear-reaction the first time you jump out of a plane?

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But doesn't it also make you a little bit nervous? Don't you think you will have a fear-reaction the first time you jump out of a plane?

It does make me a tad nervous, I'll admit. But if anything bad happens, then it was meant to happen, in my opinion. I believe in fate and have faith in God.. and if he had intended me to die jumping out of an airplane, well hell.. at least I died doing something I loved! You see, if people lived their lives fearing what could happen all the time.. then they would get nowhere. You need to get out and LIVE -- and overcoming fear is the best way to live.

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Personal heroism by means of individualism is a task requiring courage and self-confidence. Courage and self-confidence are characteristics of few sapiens, young or old. It is a path less traveled because it imposes terrifying burdens; these burdens display themselves by isolation from the common herd. “This move exposes the person to the sense of being completely crushed and annihilated because he sticks out so much, has to carry so much in himself.”

Personal heroism demands that one exposes her self, i.e. s/he sticks out dramatically from the herd. Those creative types who expose themselves so must create their own justification. Herein we find something that may seem illogical “the more you develop as a distinctive free and critical human being, the more guilt you have. Your very work accuses you; it makes you feel inferior. What right do you have to play God?” By what authority do you presume to introduce new meaning into the world?

Otto Rank was a colleague of Freud and, like Jung, carried theories far beyond those which Freud created. “Freud’s reality psychology emphasized essentially the influence of outer factor, of the outer milieu, upon the development of the individual and the formation of character,…I [was] opposed to this biological principle, the spiritual principle which alone is meaningful in the development of the essentially human.”

For Freud the id is the nucleus of being and it, the id, is subject to the natural laws. In such a frame the personality consists of layers of identification that “form the basis of the parental super-ego.” This might be properly considered to be the spiritual structure of the average individual, i.e. the average personality results from the natural influences developed against the naturally evolved super-ego.

Such a theory accounts for the average but does not account for the two creative extremes: the creative type and the so-called “neurotic” type. I would label the average personality to be a reactive individual; an individual who goes with the flow.

There are two personality types that make up the proactive personality: one creative type squeezes him or her self into a tight ball in reaction to the inner and outer milieu, i.e. the so-called “neurotic” and the second creative type who creates a personality wherein the ego “is strong just in the degree to which it is the representative of this primal force and the strength of this force represented in the individual we call will.”

This second creative type, which Rank identifies as the creative type while he identifies the other creative type as the “neurotic”, creates “voluntarily from the impulsive elements and moreover to develop his standards beyond the identifications of the super-ego morality to an ideal formation which consciously guides and rules this creative will in terms of the personality.”

“The essential point in this process is the fact that he evolves his ego ideal from himself, not merely on the ground of the given but also of self-chosen factors which he strives after consciously.”

Quotes from Will Therapy and Truth and Reality by Otto Rank

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Some concepts cannot be accurately defined nor understood. To try to do so serves no purpose and takes away from those who exhibited what is generally considered "courage".

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

hahah, sounds like the same definition as that for "stupid".

"Hmm, I probably should pick up this unexploded mortar round that I dug up, but I'll do it anyway!"

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Courage is looking past your personal goals and dedicating your life for the betterment of mankind. It is also known as fortitude, will, and intrepidity. It is a matter of routine more than anything else. People tend to speak of courage only in terms of deeds and courage is not merely the name you can give to your putting up with a bad situation.

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Courage is the ability to face and conquer your fears.

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Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you.

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For some strange reason I hear an echo.

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