Recently, I re-read a book on the Buddhist approach to courage, which provides a number of quotes on the subject of, you guessed it, courage. This has got me thinking about what courage is.
The book essentially highlights undertaking ‘just’ and ‘beneficial activities’, ‘living honestly’, ‘the wish to do right’, ‘building a just society’ and to be a ‘good’ human being. Now, I appreciate the sincere place these words come from in this book, but let’s think about this a moment please.
What is right is different for everyone and will change over time depending on our life circumstances.
I thought initially that perhaps it would be more beneficial to say something like ‘fair’ or ‘reasonable’ or indeed ‘non-abusive’ but then I found myself pondering: Does this make it any clearer? Can we not say that what is fair, reasonable and non-abusive depends on the people involved, where they live, and the culture and any religion adhered to?
So, I am going to define the words that were used in line with what they mean for me. If you have a different idea and would like to share those ideas constructively, by all means post a comment on this blog.
To me, to build a just society is to create a system and infrastructure that supports the people that comprise that society. A system that enables each individual in that society to be emotionally responsible, as well as have emotional awareness. A system that cultivates compassion and acceptance in its people and instils in them a passion for collaboration and creativity, whether that be in arts, science, business – all walks. It is possible to be collaborative, creative and competitive at the same time.
A society that values each sector that creates that society and a legal system that is genuinely fair and reasonable not only in principle but in demonstration through how the law is enforced and carried out.
There is no place in a governmental system or policing system of any fair, reasonable, civilised and democratic society, for manipulation of its people in any way. A genuine partnership between the societal organisations and the society’s population, is required.
A ‘good human being’ for me is a non-abusive human being, that is a person who does not treat others as if they are fair game and fodder for their own purposes (this is over simplifying it somewhat, but I hope captures the essence), a person who is courteous, friendly in receiving people and who is not hostile and aggressive. Respectful boundaries are a must for a healthy individual and healthy relationships and so a healthy society.
One of the quotes in the book was saying that there can be no compassion without courage, to an extent I agree. One needs to have courage of heart for compassion to be present, as well as courage to maintain compassion especially when faced with hostility, distrust etc. However, I think it can also be said that for courage to be present we need compassion. When I hold compassion in my heart and this flows through my sense of being, I feel stronger, I am more able to tackle things in life. So, could it not be said that compassion brings forth space for courage to reside?
I think so.
I have deliberately not provided the details of the book I read as I do not want to detract from the very credible and positive place the book was clearly written. This blog concerns my thoughts on what I have read, so it is more about me than it is the book I read. I dare say I shall dip back into the little book of courage again, I like works that get me thinking and considering what it is I am thinking and feeling. With this thought in mind, I hope you have found this yourself in reading my blog.