YOU are a COWARD!
We would never dare to think of ourselves as cowards. Cowardly is always for the other.
But, if that is true and each of us is always courageous, who then, are the cowards? Hmmmm, could they be the ones in the mirror? 😉
I am fascinated by my obsession with courage for it is simply the flip-side of the coin that reveals my disgust for cowardice – something I/we all act upon – yet cowardice is unspoken, reviled and hidden in our society.
<<by now you may have noticed that anything in the shadow-realm intrigues me, piques my curiosity, for it often drives my behavior 🙂 >>
Søren Kierkegaard – a Danish philosopher – paid more attention to cowardice than any other philosopher and one of his main concerns was how it evades our attention, and how we evade it’s existence in ourselves.
…cowardice…is so detested, so averse to being mentioned… ~ Søren Kierkegaard
Cowardice is clever and slippery, says Kierkegaard, for it sinks deep into our shadow-realm and cloaks itself in more appealing clothes – those of humility, common sense, intelligence, and even pride.
The powerful paradox of cowardice is that it instills in us the fear of reacting to our fear.
Cowardly use of Cowardice
I am especially curious about our ‘use’ of the word “cowardly” and how we freely toss it onto our enemies but never consider our own actions as such. When we hurl ‘coward’ at others and express our contempt for those who take advantage of the vulnerable or helpless, we often distract ourselves from pondering our own cowardice.
Yet, we all face moral reckonings – instances where the shame of cowardice is more useful than the pride of heroism – but no one speaks about their moments of cowardice and the corresponding lessons yielded from it, nor the need for cowardice, at times.
Perhaps the most common and profound cowardice has to do with the long tradition of not thinking about it.
<<anything considered unthinkable is a good place to begin being thoughtful 🙂 >>
To Be, Or Not To Be – HUMAN
Do you recall the final question I asked you to be thoughtful about in last weeks blog on Courage?
- Is it necessary/beneficial for me to always be courageous? Why?
Were you able to wrestle with this question last week? Did you find a slippery slope in which there were times when you absolutely must act courageously, and others when you absolutely must act cowardly? I did.
So, I wish to defend cowardice. First, against the thoughtless application of the term to ‘others’ along with the absurd lack of it’s existence in our speech concerning our selves, our society, our nation.
Secondly, I wish to defend cowardice for the power that it has, both as a guide into our inner landscape and as an action which may be the wisest choice in a given situation.
Precipice of Contradiction
Now that I <<hopefully>> have piqued your attention about the virtues of cowardice, I will contradict myself – quite purposefully and with glee, for contradictions excite me as they are the precipice upon which one must perch in order to fully experience the richness of life that is Itself a contradiction – and ask you to consider how your own cowardice prevents you from behaving in ways that are helpful/healthy to all beings on this planet.
The thing that cowardice fears most is decision. – Søren Kierkegaard
Pondering your own cowardice allows you to be human. And that, is the Gift. To be human.
Following are a few questions to be thoughtful about:
- Is it necessary/beneficial for me to always be courageous? Why? When?
- Recall one of my most spectacular moments of cowardice: Does anyone know of my cowardly act? If not, do I dare share/speak of it to someone?
- Am I cowardly in small ways, everyday? If so, in what ways? Should I seek to change those ways, or do I feel they are harmless to myself/others?
- Can I only be courageous or cowardly? Can I be both – simultaneously?
- How much do I rely on society to determine courage/coward? How much does this differ from my inner barometer on courage/coward?