We have a long history of a really active and action-packed existence where the most respected and admired was the person who had the most courage, a trait depicted by excellence on the battlefield, or when made to survive in adverse circumstances. In a world where we are no longer threatened by wild animals, violent attacks from other tribes, getting lost in the wilderness, being stranded in a desert or anything like that, the meaning of courage has changed. Now courage means
- Disagreeing with your Boss.
- Stopping at a Red Light when there’s no policeman around.
- Farting in public when you have diarrhea.
- Discussing something other than politics and making others listen.
- Speaking to a large audience and giving views that they will probably not like.
- Pointing out some absurd misconception about religion.
- Admitting that you are not always right.
- Pursuing an intellectual career when you have the option of making money instead.
- Not giving a bribe even when it means delays and inconvenience.
- Telling the truth.
Obviously, courage no longer commands the same admiration anymore. Maybe because it is not the domain of superhuman heroes now, but something every single one of us can achieve, and any exhibition of courage from someone is a slap on the face of all those who cannot do these things. Now, courage is not admired, it is ridiculed.