Taomeow

What is courage?

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Yes, facing a sword-wielding aggressive maniac while your intention was to take an evening stroll would take some courage. 

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Posted (edited)

Perhaps my finest moment came while I was working the door at a neighborhood tap room on a busy Friday night.  

 

The door was eclipsed by an absolute cave troll. Huge, drunk and sneering directly into my face as I asked for id.

 

He started to shove past, I stood my ground...pretty much the whole job.

 

We stood there, all Eastwood eying each other. He informed me of his intention to enter; i informed him that would not happen. The whole thing dragged on, pokes and puffing.

Then, he turned and walked away. I puffed up a bit more and turned around to preen at the bar. Everyone in the room was standing behind me, had been joining the line since early in the confrontation.  

 

I had no idea...my eyes never left the cave troll.

 

I washed the adrenaline down and basked in the glow of barroom love.

Edited by Sketch
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7 minutes ago, dwai said:

Courage is the absence of fear :) 


Why would courage have any reason to arise in the absence of fear?

 

To me, courage is something along the lines of knowing you may just get your tushie handed to you, and standing your ground anyway.

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35 minutes ago, dwai said:

Courage is the absence of fear :) 

Sun Tzu said that the stupid soldier had no fear of death, does that imply courage =stupidity 😁? 

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I was afraid this guy would crush my head. In his hands.

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My take:

 

Courage is the absence of cowardice.  

 

Cowardice is knowing what's right and doing what's wrong because the circumstances make it appear safer to do what's wrong than what's right.  Cowardice comes hand in hand with deep dishonesty -- one has to lie to oneself continuously so as to convince oneself that what's wrong is right and what's right is wrong.  

 

The antidote to cowardice is wisdom.  

 

Wisdom can accurately assess the size of one's fear and decide if actions must be based on fear or on something bigger than fear.  A coward has no values higher than her fear, and continuously acts (or fails to act) based on fear's dictates.  A courageous person may have fear as great or greater -- but act (or refuse to act) on behalf of something bigger than her fear.  Wisdom is what helps tell the difference between fear to heed and accommodate, and fear to rebel against and overcome.  

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Courage is what remains after the weeds die. 

What some call growth, I call *courage*. 

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50 minutes ago, Cleansox said:

Sun Tzu said that the stupid soldier had no fear of death, does that imply courage =stupidity 😁? 

Why fear something that is inevitable? Take the right precautions but don’t give in to fear. Neither was Sun Tzu’s birth in his control, nor was his death. So who is more stupid? The one who cowers in fear or one who is not afraid? ;) 

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26 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

My take:

 

Courage is the absence of cowardice.  

 

The antidote to cowardice is wisdom.  

Nice take!  I love that picture, as well (is that Samurai Jack?).  One of my favorite things is someone who's (for the right reasons): 

 

A. Out of their depth

 

B. Smart enough to know it

 

C. Not going to stop despite A & B 

 

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Just now, dwai said:

Why fear something that is inevitable? Take the right precautions but don’t give in to fear. Neither was Sun Tzu’s birth in his control, nor was his death. So who is more stupid? The one who cowers in fear or one who is not afraid? ;) 


But....
 

The final either/or scenario of the quoted post is actually a false dichotomy which (imo) actually negates any possibility of courage.. cowering is not courageous, and a complete lack of fear is not fertile soil for “the growth’ of courage either.

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41 minutes ago, Sketch said:

I was afraid this guy would crush my head. In his hands.


You faced off against The Mountain, and didn’t meet the same fate of the emotionally charged and overly confident Oberyn Martell. ;)
 

Apologies for the GoT geek-out moment...

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3 minutes ago, ilumairen said:


But....
 

The final either/or scenario of the quoted post is actually a false dichotomy which (imo) actually negates any possibility of courage.. cowering is not courageous, and a complete lack of fear is not fertile soil for “the growth’ of courage either.

I am suggesting that courage is not a virtue that needs to be cultivated, but it simply requires unmasking by dropping the veil of fear. 

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In the lapidary style of Castaneda's Don Juan, “A man goes to knowledge as he goes to war: wide-awake, with fear, with respect, and with absolute assurance. Going to knowledge or going to war in any other manner is a mistake, and whoever makes it might never live to regret it.”

 

Always liked that statement.  Substitute "a woman" for "a man" and "contempt" for "respect" and you got my number.  

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2 minutes ago, dwai said:

I am suggesting that courage is not a virtue that needs to be cultivated, but it simply requires unmasking by dropping the veil of fear. 


And I am suggesting that your definition regarding the utter and complete transcendence of fear renders the generally accepted definition and understanding of courage completely and utterly meaningless and moot.

 

it (imo) simply does not apply to what you are pointing towards and referring to (speaking from my own understanding and experience of course).

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43 minutes ago, Taomeow said:

The antidote to cowardice is wisdom.  

I would say that Wisdom is understanding/realizing one's true nature. When this happens, fear doesn't arise anymore. All actions occur from a place of equanimity -- and that itself is courage. What must be done, gets done, what must not, does not. 

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, ilumairen said:


And I am suggesting that your definition regarding the utter and complete transcendence of fear renders the generally accepted definition and understanding of courage completely and utterly meaningless and moot.

Yes :)  (to be a bit more elaborate -- the generally understood/accepted definition of courage is done in ignorance, and therefore is either incomplete or incorrect). 

Quote

 

it (imo) simply does not apply to what you are pointing towards and referring to (speaking from my own understanding and experience of course).

Yes :) 

Edited by dwai

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Though there is another thread on the nature of fear, I thought it might be pertinent to add the following here, which then will make the understanding of what courage is, a bit more clear --

Spoiler

2. What Is Fear?

The Sanskrit equivalent for fear is "Bhaya". Fear is an emotion or Vritti in the mind that is produced when one’s life is in danger on account of external forces or things. Man reacts to the situation with a fear-emotion.

It is characterized by pallor of the face, palpitation of heart, slowing of pulse or stoppage, tremor of limbs, perspiration, expressionless condition of the eyes, passing of urine and faeces unaware, in extreme cases, choking of voice, inability to speak, etc. The body becomes like a log of wood. The mind gets stunned. The functions of the senses are inhibited. In extreme cases one may die of shock. In ordinary cases when the cause of fear is removed, he slowly recovers from the morbid symptoms and comes back to his original state.

3. Cause Of Fear

Ignorance is the cause of fear. Man tasted the "forbidden fruit" and became a slave of lust. He forgot his original, divine nature and was thus caught up in the whirlpool of ignorance. The infinite fearless Brahman became the finite Jiva with fear. Identification of the body or Dehadhyasa is the cause of fear.

Dehadhyasa is another form of ignorance. This physical body is an instrument for man’s sensual enjoyment. If he suffers from any disease he is afraid that he will lose this body which serves him as a vehicle for his enjoyment. He tries his level best to preserve this body. All other causes of fear are traceable to Dehadhyasa.

Feeling of inferiority is another cause of fear.. This negative feeling produces lack of self-reliance or self-confidence in man. He is afraid of those who are superior to him in talents, power, position and efficiency. He feels that he is incapable of doing anything.

Some physical deformity or deficiency, lack of physical and mental efficiency, wrong training in children, are other causes of fear.

There is no other way to get rid of fear than realization of the Self.

 

And about courage 

Spoiler

1. Rise Up! O Man!

Fear is illusory; it cannot live. Courage is eternal, it will not die. Perils, calamities, dangers are the certain lot of every man who is a denizen of this world. Therefore, O Man! Fortify your mind with courage and patience. Fortitude, courage, presence of mind will sustain you through all dangers. Just as a rock on the sea-shore stands firm and the dashing of the waves does not affect it even a bit, even so a man who is endowed with courage is not affected by the dark perilous waves of this Samsara. He stands adamant in all trying conditions and circumstances and comes out victorious.

A man of courage does not tremble in the hour of danger. He is not embarrassed and bewildered. He does not sink down. He is not overwhelmed by despair.. He smiles away all dangers and difficulties, blows the trumpet of triumph and attains victory in the end.

The threatenings of fear are a terror to the heart. Lead a virtuous life. Live in God. Be good. Serve. Love. Give. Meditate. Nothing can frighten you. The Lord of Death will be afraid of you. The terrors, even of death, will be no terror to you.

Terrify not your soul with vain imaginary fears. From fear proceeds misfortune and failure. The fears of a coward expose him to danger. A coward dies many times before his actual death. Be bold. Be cheerful. Allow not your heart to sink down from the phantasy of imaginary fears. Have self-confidence and faith. Thy birthright is courage. You are Nectar’s son. You are a child of light. You are an offspring of Immortal Brahman. Claim thy Birthright now. Rise Up! O Man! Roar OM OM OM. You are the lion of Vedanta.

Here's the full document by Swami Sivananda -- https://www.dlshq.org/download/conquest_fear.htm#_Toc407261878

 

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5 minutes ago, dwai said:

I am suggesting that courage is not a virtue that needs to be cultivated, but it simply requires unmasking by dropping the veil of fear. 

 

I believe it is the only virtue worth cultivating.  Everything else is the veil.  Courage is the axis mundi.

 

Existence itself is predicated on courage.  Of course if the goal is nonexistence it might lose its appeal...  ...but to a taoist, one begets the other -- nonexistence is mother of existence ("being comes from nonbeing), existence reverts back to nonexistence (nonbeing reverts back to being"), in an eternal and continuous process of return that is tao.  Both existence and nonexistence are an act of courage.  A leap into the unknown and unknowable. 

 

To claim knowledge where there isn't and can't be any is an act of self-deception -- which, as I noted earlier, is part of what cowardice requires of those who refuse or fail to cultivate courage.

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Just now, Taomeow said:

 

I believe it is the only virtue worth cultivating.  Everything else is the veil.  Courage is the axis mundi.

I am saying that courage that is "cultivated" is not courage at all...it is simply mathematics of benefit and loss. 

Just now, Taomeow said:

Existence itself is predicated on courage.  Of course if the goal is nonexistence it might lose its appeal...  ...but to a taoist, one begets the other -- nonexistence is mother of existence ("being comes from nonbeing), existence reverts back to nonexistence (nonbeing reverts back to being"), in an eternal and continuous process of return that is tao.  Both existence and nonexistence are an act of courage.  A leap into the unknown and unknowable. 

Existence itself IS Courage. Drop the fear of non-existence, and what you are left with is courage :) 

 

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1 minute ago, dwai said:

I am saying that courage that is "cultivated" is not courage at all...it is simply mathematics of benefit and loss. 

Existence itself IS Courage. Drop the fear of non-existence, and what you are left with is courage :) 

 

 

The fear of nonexistence is a very minor issue compared to some other possible reasons for fear.  The universe has way scarier stuff to fear, believe me.  Dropping the fear of nonexistence doesn't begin to make a dent.  

 

Fear can't be "dropped" based on a belief that it "should" be dropped.  This only accomplishes counterphobic ideation and/or behavior, not true courage.  Counterphobic=dishonest.  Dishonest=fearful of truth.  Fearful of truth=devoid of wisdom.  Devoid of wisdom=devoid of courage. 

 

Also sprach Taomeow. ;)      

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2 minutes ago, sagebrush said:

drop the fear of non existence--

 

I want everyone OUT!

 


If you don’t want others in your mind space (what I think you’re referring to), then stop carrying them around in your mind space. 

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