Monday, July 27, 2009

Courage

A fellow contributor to an internet forum I frequent presented this quote for general discussion

In "Time Out of Mind," Leonard Michaels wrote: "Courage is continuing to perform your daily tasks, and being hopeful despite the odds; not inflicting your fears on others, and remaining sensitive to their needs and expectations; and also not supposing, because you're dying, nothing matters any more."

My two cents, uncommonly succinct:I agree with the quote to an extent, with the idea that someone with responsibilities and problems should just "man-up" , as the phrase goes, and live up to their end of the bargains they strike. I am taken with Robert Hughes' The Culture of Complaint that cogently described a country where complaining , whining, and victim-hood were taken to be the proper response to one's daily burden. Getting proactive with one's problems and obligations wasn't admirable at all. There are times, though, when there is too much on one's plate--the thinking remains that one should be self-sufficient and handle their affairs without aid, but this is a recipe for disaster, for oneself and those about him. Asking for help when help is required isn't a moral failing.

The other side of it, though, is just as odious; suffering in silence. The Hemingway code of personal stoicism makes for a fine trope filtered through a literature dealing with a male perspective of a post war generation, but one's life isn't a short story with obvious external mechanisms dictating how events and actions lead toward an ironic result. One does need to speak up, voice what it is they find objectionable, correct the record when lies are told by government and cultural elites, we need to critique, we need to debate, we need to keep stay vigilant.

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