Observa esta virtud cardinal en tu vida
As you continue to work on your habituation plan, meet with your character friend and build your virtue literacy, you are a little less than half way through your intensive practice stage. Well done.
The focus of your virtue literacy component this week is the cardinal virtue of courage. This is a much needed virtue because the world is a frightening place.
Think of the fears we encounter in the different stages of life. As children, we fear things that are new and we instinctively retract to the safety of our parent’s protection. As we enter school age, we fear exams and the comparison with our peers. In the world of work we fear for our job security and experience the fears of challenges and difficult decisions. If we choose to set up our own family, we fear the responsibilities of long-term relationships and of parenting. Then as we age we begin fearing illness, boredom and death.
So courage is an essential virtue if we are to live fully in the presence of the fears and challenges of life. Courage helps a child learn how to ride a bicycle. Courage takes us through the challenges of education. Courage enables the manager to make difficult decisions and drives the innovator to try what has never been done before. Courage allows a mother to stand up and protect her child from bullying. Courage accompanies a couple in not avoiding difficult discussions. Courage gives us the will to fight our diseases and eventually it is courage that will be with us as our life comes to an end.
It is frequent in classical literature to find courage associated with war, as that which the soldier needs to do his duty in the face of danger. This metaphor can be applied to many situations of life.
The virtue of courage is best described as taming your will to do what is good and right in the face of legitimate fears.
Be clear. Courage is not absence of fear, but right action in the presence of fear. There are times when we need to be rightly terrified of what is before us, but despite that we need to be strong and courageous and move forward to do what is right. Captain Ahab feared the whale in Moby Dick, but that did not deter him from hunting down the beast that had bitten off his leg.
La virtud de la valentía se encuentra en tu carácter cuando te enfrentas a situaciones temibles que son más grandes que tú, y sin embargo doblegas tu voluntad para cumplir con tu deber. La clave no es que nunca tengas miedo. Lo que cuenta es que el miedo no te controle.
¿Esto te describe? Si es así, bien hecho, eres una persona valiente.
The main vice that opposes courage is cowardice, which is when you allow your fears to dominate you and you avoid all risks of pain and forfeit doing what is right. Cowardice is a devastating vice for those around you who may rely on you, but also for yourself as you give up on living fully because of fear. The bicycle is there, but you will never ride it.
Courage can also be limited if we never allow ourselves wrath, which can be an important facet of courage in some circumstances.
But courage can also go too far and fall into the vices of imprudence, rashness, foolhardiness and recklessness. This is when you do not have sufficient fear of the things that you should fear.
Do any of these describe you? If they do, and if your score in the Virtue Test was low in this virtue, then you may need to work on the virtue of courage in your character.
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien has earned itself a rightful place among the great pieces of world literature. And one of the things that turn this fascinating story into a true epic is the constant depiction of virtue that the characters exhibit across innumerable circumstances.
Courage is a prominent virtue in the Lord of the Rings, but what is remarkable is that the characters are not shown as fearless and inherently courageous. That is a Hollywood Hero view, where courage is something that ‘some people have’. Rather, Tolkien shows real people, who face real fears and who ‘find courage within’ to do the right thing. He gives us a model of virtue, not as a capacity, but as a repeated choice.
Some of Tolkien’s characters and indeed heroic in many senses, like Gandalf, Aragorn, Legolas or Gimli. But their courage is most clearly expressed in situations they would have rather avoided, and where they respond to save their lives, the lives of their fellows and communities or the outcome of their mission for the good of Middle Earth.
But we perhaps empathise most with the hobbits, that Tolkien shows us as weak and insignificant, but rising to deeds of unthinkable courage. So we have Frodo at Rivendell facing the Nazgul (whose power lies in fear), vowing that they would have “neither the Ring nor me! We have Samwise who fights off the spider Shelob blinding her with the Phial of Galadriel to save Frodo. We have Merry of whom Aragorn claims ‘He knows not to what end he rides; yet if he knew, he would still go on’.
To face the unknown even while flinching, unsteady or downright terrified: this is courage.[MES]
If you have never read Lord of the Rings or watched the movie trilogy by Peter Jackson, you might consider it as a great exercise in virtue literacy.