True valor is not proclaiming your courage but rather in confessing your cowardice.
I posted this "killer thread" (Spanish text on the link) which was masterly translated by Izanoni1.
Please read the text, this is a highly controversial opinion, no offence meant. Please express your opinion either in English or Spanish. You may even agree with this writer, any opinion is welcome, however, please be polite and respectful.
Its already been quite some time since I lost my innocence, so it doesnt bother me to admit that the only decent concept that I find regarding wars is the cowardice. Aside from the fact that it has served as a pretext for a few splendid novels and for some magnificent movies, bravery is often a useless byproduct of intelligence, an irrational emotion that leads men to make decisions in which reason cedes its rightful place to defiant foolhardiness. The soldiers get stirred up about hard work and noble ideals within their barracks, where they receive training on how to risk life and limb in the name of their country: that professional entity which many youths surrender themselves to in exchange for a few bucks.
In the list of fallen recruits in Afghanistan, seldom seldom the names of the rich show,, surely because recklessness is directly proportional to an ability to pay ones debts, so that the rich only risk their lives once in a blue moon when, out of arrogant feelings of invincibility, they decide to indulge in reckless behavior. The latest soldier to die in the name of Spain is a Columbian fellow who I daresay had likely enlisted in the Armed Forces because he knew that bravery was as good a way as any to put food on the table. An idealist? Truly, I think not. Perhaps, a victim of his own youth and inexperience, a courageous specimen, someone without enough wisdom to understand that in the times in which it is considered truly necessary to run, true valor is not in boisterously proclaiming your courage but rather in confessing your cowardice.
Unfortunately, that understanding regarding the utility of emotions is acquired altogether too late, once your number is called, and your ticket has been punched, only then do you understand that courage is only useful in extreme cases where the risk of losing your life is balanced out by the danger inherent in saving it.
It is obvious to me that the author, who has no shred of intestinal fortiude, has ever once served in any capacity in anything that could be considered challenging. One of my main quotes about serving, and I have many, is that if it were easy everyone would do it. There are a few soldiers I serve with who are in it strictly for the financial gain, but there are many more who see it as their duty. I am one of the ones who fit in the category of duty. When I am not in uniform I feel incomplete. There are so many people out there who feel free to voice their opinions about the military and about the war, but they forget that soldiers are the ones who gave them the right to run their mouths. I feel a sense of pride when I read the dross they spew from the comfort and saftey I have helped to preserve them. Finally, remember, that all men think meanly of themselves for not having been a soldier or having been to sea. Phil
This doesn't seem particularly controversial to me. It's another way of saying that the older you are and the more you have to lose, the less likely that you will be willing to go fight (and die or get maimed) in a war. Whether that is seen as cowardice, common sense, maturity, or selfishness is up to interpretation, and those blurred lines change from war to war, country to country, and person to person.
I will add a thought...nobody suggests that war is "fun", but those selfless individuals who willingly go to defend their families and their countries deserve our respect and our gratitude. Yes, in an ideal world we will all get along, but since we are not living in a perfect world, that isn't going to happen. The older I get, the more I understand that armed conflict is part of the human condition. It is terrible and it is brutal, but it is shallow to deny its inevitability.
I think the first time that I truly understood what makes people fight wars is when I first gave birth. I distinctly remember that I knew I would be capable of killing another human being in order to protect my son. Now he is a grown man, and it is his responsibility to keep his children safe.
Scripture confirms that there will be wars...and I'm not going to presume that I know more than the Creator!
Well I can't top what Phil said, so I'm not even going to try. As I was reading the article though, I had this memory which flashed through my mind. This was a huge story in my part of the world and even throughout the entire U.S. about three years ago. The hero of this event was fifty, which I do not think the writer of the article would consider young. He also had something to lose...two precious daughters, who were watching as this whole event played out in front of their young eyes. Subway Hero
I did enjoy the way that the author presented his ideas, and the intellect behind the ideas. I do have somewhat different views on the topic, but every person has their own opinion. I liked the read.
I suppose the first thing that I disagree with is the statement, "Bravery is often a useless byproduct of intelligence, an irrational emotion that leads men to make decisions in which reason cedes its rightful place to defiant foolhardiness." I don't believe that bravery and cowardice are emotions, rather that they are characteristics of the heart - not of the mind. Perhaps it may be related to one's intelligence, but it is certainly not a byproduct. And to call it irrational... I would use the word incomprehensible. Bravery is somewhat like a deep love. You can't fully understand it, but you know what it is(and not just as in a factual form, rather a personal experience or depth of knowledge). After all, you must truly love something to be brave and battle for it. I will agree that, on rare occasions, that it results in "foolhardiness." But even if someone like me were to end up making a foolish decision because of bravery, who am I to regret it? I stood up for what I believed [in] and I conquered the fear that was inside of me. Now, of course, foolishness(take an intoxicated act) can be mistaken for a heroic deed, but that is a bit different.
Secondly, how dare the author rationally think of writing "... country: that professional entity which many youths surrender themselves to in exchange for a few bucks." Certainly this is not patriotism, and with rational contemplation, this can be ruled as nonsense!
I do think that I am not receiving "recklessness" as the author is intending it, so I will not make a fuss about it. Nevertheless, is this to say that rich have one main emotion: money? Many deliberately risk their lives in the name of patriotism, freedom, and prosperity no matter what social status, no matter what age, no matter what race, no matter what gender, no matter what size! Intentional "recklessness" in reasonable manners is not nonsense, rather another act of Bravery.
"...bravery was a good way as any to put food on the table." It is not bravery that put food on his table, but rather bravery through his work that rewarded him. True bravery is only rewarded when a reward is not sought for.
"True valor is not boisterously proclaiming your courage but rather in confessing your cowardice." This is perhaps one of the strongest statements in the passage. It is very intellectual and triggers a mass amount of contemplation. Humility is not boisterously proclaiming your courage. For lack of a better phrase, there is no need to confess your cowardice. It is in all of us, but it is what we choose to do with it. Will you side with your bravery? The human mind has no limits, so why make limits? Why hide under fear? Why dissolve bravery in cowardice?
The story of Petra in Tolstoy's great novel War and Peace
The darling youngest child of the Rostov family. Petra managed to enlist in the Russian army at the tender age of fifteen years old because Napoleon and his army were invading and occupying Moscow - then, in the long deadly retreat of the Napoleon's Grand Army, young Petra gets himself involved in a partisan raid and in the last moments of the attack, when the frozen and starving French soldiers were all surrendering,. Petra on horseback charges into a stockade waving his sword above his head unluckily to get shot through the head. Later, Petra's mother dies of grief
One thing is really missing from all those posts: those that fight wars and those that have interests in wars are not the same people. The first ones die while the others profit.
When I was much much much younger French men had to do 1 year in the military. I had joined the military (by big mistake, not really knowing why) and got out of it as fast I could, which was 3 years later. I was a sergeant instructor. I met some nice guys, even some smart ones (that left as I did lol) but the enormous majority of professional military personnel were (low-mid ranks) devoted alcoholics and school rejects. The higher rank personnel was just a bunch of fat guys playing gods. Yes it was the French military yet what I saw on TV and discussions with younger folk that are part of the American military lead me to believe it's just about the same here. Let's not even get into Afghans and Iraquis we are here to clean up your country of your bad compatriots oops we destroyed it it's ok, tax payers will rebuild your country oops some crooked politician gave the contract to a friend that forgot to actually build anything!!! Meanwhile some American young kids died for that let me "barf." Or was it 911, good excuse to attack an Arabic country, anyone. Now that we are here let's attack Iraq and get a strategic position on the oil market? Many years later Osama Bin Laden is still running, the terrorist movement are actually stronger than they were and our kids are still dying. Anyone sees anything beneficial in that for our country? Heroes, cowards, who cares, they died for NOTHING that will benefit us (the people.) They are lied to, we are lied to in exchange of a few good words and maybe a medal.
We are all programmed to survive. Survival is our first and strongest response to danger. I believe the old saying, "Discretion is the better part of valor". Therefore might one surmise that the "brave are being "indiscrete" ?
Fear is an instinct that all mammals have. Now, cowardice is fear run wild, and it is not a virtue.
The reason that humanity has gotten so far is because we have been able to control our fear. This is why I dont understand the author point of view on cowardice.
Say what you want about Christopher Columbus, but one thing he had was courage. With out it he wouldnt have risked his life in finding a shortcut to India. There are numerous men like him who put their life on the line to make their dreams come true and this has helped humanity to not only survive but to control its destiny.
The following statement is not true at all: *The soldiers get stirred up about hard work and noble ideals within their barracks, where they receive training on how to risk life and limb in the name of their country.
Man and or woman dont get trained* to get hurt or get kill; rather they are taught how to stay alive under difficult situations. Believe you me, Generals dont want their soldiers killed or wounded. An incapacitated soldier is off no use to him.
Now about the Colombian soldier John Felipe Romero Meneses
We really dont know why he enlisted in the armed forces of Spain, the author claims he did it to gain riches; but, it does not matter why he joined the army. He should credit him for having the courage to work, to fight for an idea a dream, what ever that was.
There are other young men that just give up and turn over their lives to fear and drugs.
I honor, respect and admire the soldier John Felipe Romero Meneses who died fighting for his dream. I hope that God can give me the courage to live my dream or die fighting for it. Viva heroism, viva John Felipe Romero Meneses. My hero-.
Cowardice is not an emotion,it is uncontrollable fear. Fear is an emotion that all of us humans have. Controlable fear is healthy.
Por desgracia, lo que este autor dice es muy cierto desde mi punto de vista. Para cuando se tiene la suficiente conciencia de lo que se está haciendo -ir a una guerra como soldado a matar gente- la mayoría de las veces es muy tarde, ya que los soldados que mueren son aún muy jóvenes...
Sinceramente, para una persona que lo ha tenido difícil en su país -no se si será este el caso del jovén colombiano- es una buena salida para tener un trabajo el enrolarse en las Fuerzas Armadas. A veces por necesidad, a veces por valentía o patriotismo, se comete este error de ir a un país a 'matar gente'.
Las guerras son una de las mayores lacras de este mundo bajo mi punto de vista.
Unfortenately, it is very true what this autor says, under my point of view. For when you have enough conscience of what you are doing -going to a war as a soldier to kill people- most of the times is already too late, because the soldiers that die, they are stil way too young...
Sincerely, for a person that have had a hard time in his own country - I don't know if this would be the case of this young colombian boy- a good way for having a job is enlist in the army. Sometimes because of 'necessity', others because of courage or patriotism, it is comitted the error of going to a country to 'kill people'.
Under my point of view, the wars are one of the biggest 'scourge'? of this world.
I need corrections on this one, thanks
but those selfless individuals who willingly go to defend their families and their countries deserve our respect and our gratitude.
I agree with you mountaingirl, nice thought. In Spain in my opinion soldiers are not sufficiently appreciated. their life is hard and dangerous, yet they do not get a plus for any of the terrible moments they have to live.
they certainly have my respect, and so have the American people, who have not fear to openly praise their soldiers.
Thanks for joining us on the thread, Phil, great post, one notices you are in there out of pride not for the money
Thanks for answering my quest, very much appreciated
Thanks, nrdy, why not tell us what your opinion is? We would enjoy to hear may be a different view.
Anybody: Feel free to participate in the debate