Rafed English

Neither Timidity Nor Rashness

From the viewpoint of the science of ethics, virtue lies midway between the two extremes of excess and neglect. Courage is a virtue that lies midway between rashness and timidity. One who is free from recklessness and fear possesses the virtue of courage. It is a veritable truth that human advancement in various fields, and even vital discoveries and explorations of unknown continents, owe their existence to the courage of brave persons. It was their courage which was responsible for certain crucial developments in science.

On the whole, spiritual strength makes up the real factor behind human advancement and progress. The stronger one's spirit is in the struggle of life, the more brilliant will be one's achievements.

Intellectual and social revolutions cannot succeed without the element of courage. The role of this moral virtue in the course of human advancement in the material and intellectual spheres, as well as the results of practical experience, have convinced even the biggest sceptics of the truth of this matter. The strength and power exhibited by the character and conduct of positive personalities also effectively proves it.

The great men of history, who have played the most effective role in the deliverance of their nations and their release from distressing conditions, have generally been men of great valour and courage. In fact, the development of this quality will lead to the growth of other capacities as well.

Hence it is the duty of every individual to himself to pay more attention to the attainment of this great moral virtue which is one of the most beneficial of human qualities. The problems that should be solved, the tasks that must be carried out, and the results that should be obtained from them, may vary from one individual to another; but in practice their foundations rest upon personal courage. For often many fruitful and formative ideas and innovative thoughts that come to the minds of some persons never cross the frontiers of their private thoughts due to fear and apprehension. They do possess the capacity and talent to attain personal excellence, but they lack the spirit of courage. Although in many cases they have faith in the validity of their opinions and their creative ideas, but, unfortunately, they do not possess the courage and confidence to express their fruitful opinions.

Whenever they are called upon to present their plans and proposals, they immediately become alarmed and upset, like someone who distrusts himself. Even in scientific and social debates, when faced with contrary opinions they retreat without making the least defence of their opinions. They withdraw their arguments, though their views are more logical and better reasoned than those of others and based on firmer and more valid foundations.

The causes and factors that lead to such a condition in persons should be explored and investigated, and unless these factors are not identified they will not achieve mental peace and personal courage. Possibly, such a person might have been full of hope and courage in his childhood years, but some unfortunate incidents might have arrested the growth of those capacities, or his fruitful and superior thoughts might have been repressed by his guardians and teachers due to neglect and ignorance.

When it becomes established that one's creative and constructive faculties have been weakened, one can take remedial steps for strengthening them by resorting to certain fundamental means. If he can expel the baseless fears that dominate his being, he will gradually regain self-confidence. It is under the influence of the formative power of courage that doubts and misgivings will give way to inner composure and security.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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