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Virtues: Courage

Please write to me any mistakes or weird wordings you find, native speakers :-) - Should be gramatically correct by now.

Courage, in my opinion, is the most important and yet the most widely misunderstood virtue at the same time.

The root for “courage” (odvaha) is the same from which words like vážit (to weight), váhy (the scales) or uvážlivý (deliberate) derive. Courage then, as our language reveals, has to do with weighting something against something else, and choosing right. Courage (Odvaha) is the sister of Deliberation (Rozvaha).

If we can´t tell right from wrong, if we don´t perceive the supreme good correctly, how can we tell a courageous act from a mindless one? (The Czech equivalent aptly translates as “headless”.)

Our standards for what courage is are subject to continuous evolution. There are WWII memorials scattered across my country, erected to commemorate acts of heroism, but a closer look sometimes reveals that what was deemed a virtuous act at that time would now be condemned as vengeance.

Courage means you act for the supreme good, ignoring for the moment all the instincts you normally listen to – to maintain your well-being, status, health, freedom and eventually your own life. The people who took vengeance on the Germans, only to be later killed by the returning troops certainly followed some higher principle, but did they really exhibit the virtue of Courage?

To gain the right understanding of the supreme good takes a lifetime effort on the path of Virtue, Piety and Study. That makes Courage the most important, most widely misunderstood and the most difficult virtue to master.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Aug. 27th, 2008 04:34 am (UTC)
Re: Well Said
Thanks :-)

Actually it was Kirk Thomas who advised me to provide etymologies from my own language.
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