For the GEEK in you

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

On Bravery

What does it mean to be truly brave?

I had this thought recently and no answer seems to fit. It seems to be standing up against a superior opponent and holding your ground, even if you know you're going to lose. When somebody strong stands against a weak foe, nobody seems to applaud him, even if the strong is in the right. It appears to be the expected thing, that the strong should overturn the weak.

The thing is, how many of us are actually that strong? We all like to think we are. And when we tell the story later, our words carry more punch, our actions speak lwith the report of a thousand rifles.

Not, however, at the time. When in a pressure situation, with everything on the line, what actually happens? I think most people are scared. Not a little bit, but a whole damn lot. Their every action, their whole facade revolves around masking this fear. But it's there, biding its time and gnawing away at your resolve. While in the meantime, you keep talking, keep adjusting, negotiating without words to avoid the confrontation which your fear will use to tear free.

We live in a country where machismo and chutzpah rule our everyday interactions. To not be brave here is a terrible thing. It is unthinkable. People would rather die than be seen to be the 'c-word' - a coward. It's easy to die, to switch yourself off like a light. A coward though - you can't come back from that. Once you fall down, down, down, no one will look you in the eye again. It is the worst fate. No one feels for a coward, there is no redemption. The word itself is disgusting, atrocious, distasteful. The only thing a coward can do is go where no one knows that he is one and hope to start again.

I think most people would say, "Then don't be one." If only it were that easy. To be not a coward, you need some kind of inner strength, some cement to hold you together when that first shot strikes. But what if you don't have it? What if you can't find it? Maybe you don't have what it takes. After all, not everyone can be a hero, which is by definition, an exceptional person. If everyone was brave, the coward would be king. (Actually, I wonder how far that is from reality.)

So what happens to the 99.99% of us who are not brave? We live our lives in gentle fear and hope that one day, we leave without incident.


Blogger secretdubai said...

I think bravery is about acting with courage and integrity, no matter how much you fear. It's not about being mega strong, or fearless: if you have no fear, you don't have to be brave.

People may wrongly think that machismo is bravery, but it isn't at all. Bravery is a noble quality. Avoiding conflict - when it is the right thing to do - is far braver than ending up in a fight. Because it can take more courage to act in a way that you know will get you accusations of cowardice, to "turn the other cheek".

Standing by and watching someone else get beaten up is cowardly. But not reacting to provocation - eg someone hurling an insult at you - and walking away from an unecessary fight is brave.

3:06 PM  
Blogger moryarti said...

You know something .. after being in several situations, today i choose to walk away.

You have 2 options. Risk in reacting to the situation without the slightest idea on whats gonna happen next. Things go well and you get away with, for example, beating the crap out of someone.. believe me, you will spend 3 days feeling like crap.. until i got married, I was very hotheaded and i can flip faster than your fingers snap. You just go blind, you embarrass yourself and the people who are with you, and always -always- you end up hurting someone along the way. Worst part about this whole thing are the following days you spend tormenting yourself.

Today, and in this crazy fuckedup place, the best thing to do is to walk away. And this is from someone who would pick up a fight with someone just for the thought of giving me the wrong look.

When you walk away, you are walking away not because you are afraid of confrontation. No, Its because you don't want to end up hurting the dearest person you know: Yourself.

I swear Marwan, until today, i wish i can see the people I hurt along the way. I want to hug and tell them and ask for their forgiveness.

As for those who think they got away with hurting or insulting you when you decided to just walk away. Believe me, God never lets them go... and retaliation, just like revenge, is a dish best served COLD :)

10:05 PM  

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