Friday, November 6, 2009

Courage - the wiser brother of Fear

Humility may the root of virtue but courage is its spirit. Courage is the spirit of virtue because as C.S. Lewis said, courage is the form of every virtue at the testing point. Virtues are by definition qualities we choose (if we are wise) and develop and by definition they are often not easy to practice, otherwise everyone one would be virtuous all the time. Therefore we sometimes need courage to stick to the path of virtue when it would be easier and safer not to.
But what is courage?

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear. Ambrose Redmoon

Courage is doing what you're afraid to do. There can be no courage unless you're scared. Edward Vernon Rickenbacker

Valour is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it till the test comes. And those having it in one test never know for sure if they will have it when the next test comes. Carl Sandburg

There is no such thing as bravery; only degrees of fear. John Wainwright

Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. George S. Patton

Some have been thought brave because they were afraid to run away. Thomas Fuller

Fear and courage are brothers. Proverb

Courage is subordinating fear to the background as we give priority to a higher purpose, more important to us than our safety or comfort. Courage hears the voice of Fear, as an older wiser brother hears the complaints of his sibling, but he doesn’t allow it to stop him.

Do not take counsel of your fears. George Patton

The goal is too important to be left in the hands of fear. There is a kind of necessity to courage, a kind of obligation. That is why often heroes will say they did nothing courageous, they only did what had to be done, what anyone would have done. They did not hesitate.

If you have a strong enough why you can bear almost any how. Nietzshe

Real valour consists not in being insensible to danger; but in being prompt to confront and disarm it. Sir Walter Scott

Courage is not recklessness. Courage has confidence, wisdom, awareness. It is a conscious choice, not a moment of panic. There is no honour in recklessness, there is much honour in courage.

Courage is a virtue only so far as it is directed by prudence. Fran├žois de Fenelon

Courage is... the knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared. David Ben-Gurion

Life is a series of choices. Every moment we decide what we will do in the next moment, either through good habits or by considered thought. This is the beauty of life, our ability to consciously choose. And with courage, we assure that our choices will always be consistently good when what is happening to us is not.

Facing it - always facing it - that's the way to get through. Face it! Joseph Conrad

As we shall see, fortune smiles on the brave. But that is not the reason to be brave, though it is a nice side benefit. Virtue is its own reward, courage also. What does it matter that we succeeded or not, as long as we acted virtuously with courage? By definition, courage will have no regrets.

Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt. Shakespeare/De Vere

There would be nothing to frighten you if you refused to be afraid. Gandhi

Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers, but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Rabindranath Tagore

Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Rabindranath Tagore

Health, happiness and success depend upon the fighting spirit of each person. The big thing is not what happens to us in life - but what we do about what happens to us. George Allen

The best way out is always through. Robert Frost
Image from Documents and Designs

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond