Courage vs naivete and cowardice

Regarding courage, let’s clarify a contrast first. We all start naive (ignorant: not knowing that we do not know, like the “common criminals” crucified next to Jesus, etc). Next, we *all* develop what I will call “cowardice” (to add a little extra drama). Cowardice is functional at a certain stage.

In cowardice, we may pretend that we have never been naive. We may also pretend that we are brave (or whatever else is expected to “look good”).
We may display confidence not because of any competence, but in order “to avoid looking bad and to look good.” We conform to silly idealisms that are popular in institutions (which could include “the Landmark community / cult”). Carl Freestone’s uncle (with last name Skousen- and not Mark Skousen) wrote a booklet in which he referenced “the crystalization of evil” (which is a phrase that he apparently borrowed from Werner Erhard, who was the “architect” behind Landmark). In any institution, “evil” will develop: sabotaging the institution unconsciously by rigidly preserving traditions at the expense of effectiveness, innovation, and relevance.

So, we inadvertently bring down the institution while justifying that we are saving it (from the future). Why? We are still naive!

We go from being naive fools who are ignorant and “innocent” (say, before age 7), to eventually being guilt-stricken cowards panicking in our pretenses that attempt to hide the panic and hysteria and shame.

We fantasize about BS like “I will escape from regret first and then eventually (*someday maybe*) my life will be utopian and heavenly, BUT NOT YET!”

That is “sinful.” That is “missing the mark” or “out of focus” or delusional. Also, it is very common and may even be encouraged in certain institutions
(such a company called “Landmark Worldwide”).

How? Landmark itself is related to (by many “fanatics” as “the only savior.” Ironically, Landmark programs bring SOME attention to the issue of fantasizing ineffectively- including fantasizing about the worship of a “someday maybe” fantasy, but Landmark only addresses those issues within the context of the limited “games” of that institution.

Landmark does provide an opportunity to repent of naivete and cowardice (and regret)- to admit them and embrace them. However, they only present the opportunity in a very specific kind of way. For one thing, there is no institutional savior required for someone (such as Isaiah or Jesus Christ) to go from naivete through tribulations (temptation, etc) and eventually to develop faith and the experience of salvation.

So what is courage? It is not simply doing something that others consider dangerous. That might be attractive to an adolescent male who wants to impress girls or other peers. The can earn medals and parades and big tombstones as heroic patriotic soldiers, but takings actions in conformity to peer pressure is seeking glory. That is not quite courage yet.

Adolescent boys (and young men) can be very naive, which means they do things without regard for danger. That is not courageous!

Courage implies a precise assessment of risks and priorities, then an awareness that the assessment is just an assessment, and then *either* action or inaction. There is comprehension of the potential risks and interest in recognizing those risks (such as the risk of the experience of regret) and then responsibly “dancing” with the risks that are part of life.



One Response to “Courage vs naivete and cowardice”

  1. Fred Wahlstrom Says:

    This very good, when I was younger I couldn’t see everything in life has an up side and a downside, in other words consequences. I felt I was bullitproof. I ignored the fact that I needed something greater then myself to live a life where I was comfortable in my own skin, I crashed and burned, at the time I really recognized this need, not intellectually but moraly, it appeared. Actually it was always there.

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