Monday, October 29, 2007

courage -- firefighters

cour·age [kúr ij] n -
quality of being brave: the ability to face danger, difficulty, uncertainty, or pain without being overcome by fear or being deflected from a chosen course of action.

That is the definition that my computer gives me, but how is that possible? Everything in life has consequences and most people in their rational minds think about those consequences before taking action. And if you do that, wouldn’t you have some sort of uncourageous thought?

Perhaps courage is subjective. Maybe all the words in that thing we call the “dictionary” don’t really mean anything. Someone who I think is courageous, you may think is a wimp. And the same with someone you may think is courageous. Last week there was a lot of news on television about the fires in California, or at least on the only news station I watch. I’d like to say that all the fire fighters out there could be the definition of courage. But are they really? Okay, they aren’t completely overcome by fear because if they were, they would be somewhere else, at home or at the Qualcomm Stadium, but there must be at least one drop of fear somewhere in those muscular bodies of theirs. Okay, maybe they’re just super amazing and really have no fear of flames flying in every direction, but they must have been scared at one point in life or another. Maybe you’re not scared of bombs and grenades but you could be scared of bugs. Or maybe you’re not afraid of bugs but you’re afraid of the dark or afraid to talk to that handsome guy you see all too often. Does that mean you can be courageous sometimes and not at others?

I know people that have done things that some may think is courageous, but I know the truth. They only did those “courageous” things because it was the last possible chance. More like a do-it-because-you-may-regret-it-later kind of thing. It still fits the definition, but in cases like that is it courage or is it fear, fear of regret? I think the latter.

I would have also thought that reporters, correspondents on the scene could possibly be considered courageous. However, if firefighters who run to where everyone is running from aren’t the epitome of courage, than reporters definitely aren’t, right?

I think I‘m starting to finally see it, yes, courage is subjective. Not only in the sense that each individual has a different idea of the perfect definition, but in the varying circumstances. Doing something because you don’t want to regret it later isn’t courage, it’s fear. I guess it’s just overcoming one fear because you’re scared of something else. But, firefighting and all the branches of the military and everyone that tries to make a difference without selfish reasoning (even reporters), now that’s courage. People who ill risk their lives or the stability of their lives to help the lives of other, that sure is the “quality of being brave.”

I’d love to boycott the dictionary, and not end up with definitions that I find impossible to fit or too vague. Unfortunately, without the dictionary I wouldn’t be able to define words like dacryocystorhinostomy (surgery to correct tear blockage).

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