An Analysis of Courage
Thanks to the courage you put yourself in harm’s way and in most of the cases you do it in order to help or to save someone else.
Many people say that the firefighters are the most courageous people in the world, as their job often requires them to go inside of a burning house in order to rescue someone who is located there. However, regardless of their courage, the firefighters are still humans, and they are affected by their job. Bruce Monson, 43, has been a firefighter for 20 years, and he has seen lots of terrible things. He stated that regardless of the situation, the most terrible thing one can see is the accidents which involve children. He had numerous cases when he and his colleagues were called to an apartment in order to save a baby who was already dead. They tried to rescue him for more than one hour, even though they did not have any chances. They did it because they felt that it was their job to do so, and because maybe deep inside, they had a small hope that they will be able to save the baby somehow. The scenes from the hospital when the children are pronounced dead are just as terrible, as they have to witness the crying of the family members. He stated that these are the scenes which make him, and probably the rest of the firefighters go on with their job.
Because of these scenes they do their best in order to avoid making mistakes, and in order to save the lives of the people they have to save. They do it because of the courage, that thing we all crave, and which we admire when we see it in someone else. What boy did not dream of becoming a firefighter when he was a child, or to save the life of a person? Deep inside we all wanted and maybe we still want to have a little more courage; not necessarily to do extreme things, but to have more courage in order to do something, anything. Courage has been inside of some of use since we first roamed this planet, in the states that we were back then. Surprisingly enough, not too many things are known about courage, and the scientists are just starting to find out more about it. They want to find out exactly what it is, where it comes from, the way in which it manifest itself, and so on. There were cases of people who did not feel fear because of various syndromes which they had. They had no idea what fear was, and they would do the most incredible things which any normal person would not be able to do because of the lack of courage. It is said that one of the greatest things an individual can do for himself is to conquer the fears he has, but there might be sometimes when you might desire that you were born with that syndrome which does not allow you to feel fear.
The scientists started to analyze the brains of the people who have certain phobias, when they interact with the things which they are afraid the most. Other scientists are trying to identify the moment when the courage starts to occur in children, and the way in which it manifests itself. The theme of courage has been praised for a very long time, even from the Ancient times. Plato was one of the philosophers who considered courage to be one of the most important qualities a man could posses. He considered the courage to be just as important as the justice, moderation, and wisdom. People who are considered to be courageous are praised by the other people, and one of the worst things for a person is to be called a coward. Being called a coward is one of the biggest insults one could take, and in most of the cases that person will try to do anything in order to prove that he isn’t “yellow”. Because of the need to prove that they are not cowards many people have done some really stupid things, and they have ended up hurting themselves. It is said that the line between courage and stupidity is very thin, and on numerous occasions the people cross it. Trying to prove that you are brave might make you do certain foolish things and that might lead to various problems.
Many philosophers and great thinkers have stated that the best way of displaying the courage is in the battle. They have stated that the true courage is displayed by a soldier who is ready to fight against his fellow men and who are aware that they might die. Some say that the brave people are the ones who do not sense the fear, but that is wrong. The courageous people do sense fear, but they overcome it, and that is what makes them great. Courage is not about being scared; it’s about being terrified, but persevering anyway. George Kateb, who is a political theorist and emeritus professor at Princeton University, stated that the courage can not only be displayed in war, because if that would be the case, then courage would be equal with killing and with immorality. Novelist Marilynne Robinson believes that courage is not universal, and that it is strictly related to the environment and to the society one belongs to. For example the men from certain tribes have to prove their courage by doing certain things which a man from the city will never be asked to do.
The things which a man from the city considers to be brave might be irrelevant for the men from certain locations from the world. There are certain tribes where the boys might prove their courage by enduring hours of flagellation, or of flesh carving. Once they do that, they are considered to be brave, and to be men. If they do not complete that task, they will have to live in shame for the rest of their life. That does not apply to the other regions of the world, where the flesh carving for example would be considered a stupidity, or a desire to draw attention. In the places where the martyrdoms are idolized, the martyrs will be the brave ones. In the regions where humping from a tall cliff into the water is considered an admirable thing, the one who does it will be respected by the other people. Stanley J. Rachman of the University of British Columbia, studied in the 1970s the topic of fear and courage. He studied the paratroopers who were about to jump from the plane for the very first time.
He stated that there were three kinds of people that reacted in different manner when it came to the act of jumping. One of the groups of paratroopers was the handwringers, who reacted in a very powerful manner to the fear, and who did not jump because of that. The handwringers were paralyzed by the fear, and because of that they remained on the board of the plane. Another group was the preternaturally fearless, and these paratroopers did not show any signs of being afraid. Their hands were not shaky, they did not sweat, and they voices were calm. They were very cool about it, and they had no problems when it came to jumping. The third group was represented by a combination of the first two groups. These paratroopers showed signs of being afraid because of the fact that they had to jump, as they had shaky palms, and so on, but when it was time to jump, they did not hesitate. Dr. Rachman stated that the last group was the most courageous one, as it acted despite of the fact that t felt fear. The first group acted as well, but they did not sense fear, which means that their task was much easier. He believes that the people who manage to give a speech even though they are paralyzed by the fact that they will have to stay in front of other people and talk, or the ones who pet a dog even though the sheer sight of a dog makes them tremble, are very courageous.
The deed which they do is not too important; what is more important is the fact that they managed to conquer their fears, and they acted in a manner in which they never thought that they would be able to do. Peter Muris of Erasmus University Rotterdam has interviewed 320 children with ages between 8 and 13, and he has discovered that the children consider that the conquering of the fear is one of the most admirable a courageous person can do. He has discovered that the acts of bravery are very common when it comes to children, as there were many cases when they jumped in the water because their smaller brother or sister had troubles swimming, or that they climbed a tree in order to rescue a cat, and so on. These deeds might seem without significance, but the truth is that they are very important for them. It is funny that many children have stated that one of the bravest things which they did was stealing money from their mother’s purse. They knew that it was wrong, but they also were proud by the fact that they managed to beat the rush. It seems that the situation is kind of similar in the case of the animals as well. There are many animals that do lots of dangerous things because they do not know that what they do is dangerous.
For example there are many animals that go in the proximity of people, as they do not know that the humans represent a danger for them. On the other hand, there are many animals who are aware of the dangers, but who decide to act regardless of the situation. There were certain situations which fascinated the scientists; for example when they prepared to collected blood samples from a young animal, they observed that a larger animal of that kind tried to protect the younger one. There is also the famous case of the fight between the buffalos, the lions, and the crocodiles, in which the buffalos went in and rescued one of their own from the jaws of both the crocodiles and the lions. They are animals, so no one would have expected for them to react in such a manner, because animals usually act on instinct. The scientists from Israel wanted to see the brain processes which take place inside of the brain when people are facing their fears. They observed that the area of the brain which is triggered in that case is the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex. The people who faced their fears had this area much more active than the ones who decided to remain inactive.
This region of the brain is located in the front of it, and it has been linked with the altruistic behavior, and with the depression. When that region of the brain becomes very active, the amygdala, which is the regions of the brain associated with fear, becomes less active. There are many who have stated that it would be a very good thing to be fearless from birth, but that would not be too great. First of all, a person who does not feel fear has very high chances of dying because of the dangerous things he/she does. Imagine seeing a wild animal, and instead of getting away from it, as fear would dictate you to, you go towards it, as you consider it to be inoffensive. This is just one of the examples, but height, water, and many other things could represent a great danger for the ones who do not sense fear.11