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arts / rec.arts.books / Ingredients of Courage

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o Ingredients of CourageIlya Shambat

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Ingredients of Courage

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Subject: Ingredients of Courage
From: ibsham...@gmail.com (Ilya Shambat)
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 by: Ilya Shambat - Wed, 13 Dec 2023 03:04 UTC

I do not consider myself an especially brave person, but I’ve known people who were very brave. And from observing these people I came to have an understanding of what makes for courage.

The first ingredient of courage is competence. If you know how to run into a burning building to save people trapped there, then you are more likely to do it than if you don’t. Competence is necessary for courage, and professions demanding of courage – the military, the firemen and the police – go to great lengths to train people in them.

Another ingredient is caring. If you care about someone or something, then you are more likely to do difficult and dangerous things for them than if you do not. Similarly people who care about their country are more likely to put their lives in line for their country than people who do not.

Another – and something I’ve seen in some people – is the opposite: not caring. Some people are daredevils who don’t care what happens to them and do all sorts of death-defying things. The problem with these people is that the risks that they take are uncalculated, and often they seriously hurt themselves.

Another is ethics. If you believe that you are doing the right thing, then you are more likely to act courageously than if you do not. Of course ethics can be constituted in all sorts of ways, some better than others; and that someone thinks that he is ethical does not always mean that he is right.

Is courage a good thing? Yes it is. However it often is associated with things that aren’t so good at all. The Texans and the Muslims are brave. They are also rash and hot-headed, and they do stupid things.

One thing I’ve found in the people who were genuinely courageous is that they did not claim to disown fear. They claimed willingness to act, however afraid they were. The people who think that fear is at the root of the problems of the world don’t know what they are talking about. They haven’t been through experiences that genuinely test courage. They have no authority on the matter.

Courage is something to teach and reward. However it needs to not be identified with things that are wrong. Rashness, homophobia, misogyny and other things that are taught in the same breath as courage discredit courage by association. It is valid to strive for courage; it is not valid to strive for these other things. And then the value itself will be rewarded without being associated with things that are wrong.


arts / rec.arts.books / Ingredients of Courage

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