Saturday, 9 December 2017

Moral Courage

A recent exchange on Facebook introduced me to the concept of moral courage. I was discussing how to be aware of strong emotions and their negative impact upon our ability to think and act. Which is 'Awareness of Self.'

My friend wrote, 'Moral courage requires only the willingness to accept such morality in all situations. This includes simple day to day living. It need not require a life or death reality. Only the confidence in one’s convictions.

My 'way' is reactive.  You live your life and are aware when your emotions are either helping, hindering or influencing your behaviour. Many of us can recollect an incident that we are not proud of. One where we wish we had said or done something differently. One where our anger or frustration has lead to irrational thought or questionable actions. An incident where we were not 'our self'. Of course, we were ourselves. Just not the self we would like to be.

My interpretation of moral courage, is one where we deliberately be who we believe ourselves to be. This difference, at least to me, is fundamental. It is only a slight change of focus but it is necessary to be able to live life and enjoy it as you would like. Once you have chosen to deliberately be yourself, you may realise that being yourself does not require any effort.

For example, a colleague is struggling with something at work and you know they will cause disruption to suppliers, customers and whoever else becomes involved. You feel yourself getting angry at their lack of ability. You realise you are becoming angry and that your own judgement is now impaired. This is good but it isn't exactly helping birth a new civilisation is it?

What would a soul do if they actually had moral courage? Perhaps ask a question, 'you appear to have taken on quite a big job, is there anything I can help you with?'. Perhaps you are too busy to help. Mention that too but tell them when you will be able to spare them some time. Or simply tell them you have a few minutes now and is there anything you can do to help later on.

Which colleague would you prefer? One who get angry with you? One that simply disappears in your time of need. Or one that notices and acknowledges that you are tackling a complex and difficult task. Better still, one that offers some help?

We can all justify, to ourselves why we act as we do.
  • I shouted at him because he always makes a mess of these thing and ends up making us all look incompetent. Never accepting responsibility for his own errors.
  • I left the room before I shouted at him
These are hardly the actions of a man with moral courage, a civilised man. A man with moral courage would briefly consider his options. Not simply justify his actions. Simply be (himself) and respond accordingly. He would not excuse himself by saying he was 'not himself'. A moral man is always himself. He would simply be. A moral man who had lapsed as described, would not do so a second time. The failing was not with the incompetent man but with himself, the moral man.

I hope I have made clear how subtle a difference this is. You may be mindful of self, aware of others and sensitive to the demands of society. Now, we have the topic for a fourth book. Or perhaps this one post is sufficient. Simply being who you are. Simply being. Having the moral courage to be you. The you that you believe yourself to be. The you that you already are but not recognising that you already have the moral courage to simply be (yourself).

Moral courage is just two words but the concept runs very deep.

Perhaps you need to read my three books and perhaps you don't. What is important is that to be here, now, being me required me to write them. The me of the past. Assuming time is linear, which it isn't.

The me now, of this moment, is realising a core of moral courage. I have always been me. I have always had a core of moral courage, as have we all. My friend has simply / magically created a brief connection to me and made me aware of it. In the same way one might pluck a guitar string to create a note. Or to jump start a car to make the engine run. How amazing is he? Perhaps he would just say he is simply being. Just being. In which case, we ought to realise that we are all equally amazing, as is everything.

We are all part of 'this universe', whatever 'this universe' is. As is a potted plant and a rock. We can choose to move the rock, to carve the rock, to crush the rock and create something else. Each of us shares an ability to create, with our universe which created the rock, the potted plant and us. We are of the universe and not simply in it. The universe is 'energy' and we are an eddy of that 'energy'.

You may not agree, which is fine. You may believe something else entirely, that is fine too. Moral courage allows me to believe in my own feelings and personal beliefs about what 'this universe' is. It also allows me to accept that you may feel or believe differently. We can discuss these differences in good cheer as your faith is yours and we are all part of the 'entire thing'. As is the rock and the potted plant. In actual fact, as an Engineer, I know quite a lot about matter and energy. From our perspective, they are quite different. Remembering know that Einstein stated that E=MC^2, which means that energy and matter are the same and interchangeable. From a certain perspective, everything is energy and all the energy is the same and connected. Perspective is what 'it' is all about.

I don't feel the need to write a fourth book. I may choose to but not today. The words that I may choose to assemble together to form a book would just be words and we are so much more than words, as is 'everything'.