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Live as a coward or die as a hero?

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ashkanazi

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Post Number:#16  PostDecember 13th, 2008, 9:15 pm

This has all to do with the philosophical idea in which you believe. A utilitarian would say that if being heroic would create the most aggregate happiness then being the hero would be the most moral choice. A Kantian would say that the moral thing to do would be to preserve and respect humanity, which would depend on the particular heroic situation. A virtue ethicist would say that "the good life," which is what Aristotle said we are striving for, would consist of certain virtues. If the medium of cowardice and rashness is bravery, then bravery is what should be striven for. Aristotle admitted that the trait that you should strive for is the one closest to the extreme that promotes activity, such as rashness. or you might believe in another theory. It all depends on the theory that you subscribe to.

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ape

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Re: Live as a coward or die as a hero?

Post Number:#17  PostMay 6th, 2009, 6:05 pm

Scott wrote:I recently came across the question, "Is it better to be a live coward or a dead hero?"

ape: Depends on if one hates being dead more than one hates being a coward, or vice versa!
"A coward [who hates himself as a coward and so hates other cowards as himself] is incapable of exhibiting Love;
it[Love] is the prerogative of the brave [who love heroes and cowards]."

MKGandhi
But in Love of self as both coward and hero, as dead and alive,
we have options.
At least 4 options, and all good options or choices!
1. Cower and run away in Love --and be and/or look like a coward---to fight another day.
2. Stand up in Love as a coward and die in Love like a hero.
3.Stand up in Love as hero and win and live in Love.
4. Stand up in Love as a hero, tho a coward, or vice versa, and die in Love.
"If you want to see the heroic, look at those who can love in return for Hatred." Gita
Scott wrote:But that's not generally what is meant by heroism.

ape: Right.
True heroism is being a hero in Love of all cowards.
Last edited by ape on May 8th, 2009, 6:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Belinda

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Post Number:#18  PostMay 7th, 2009, 4:39 am

Scott wrote:

But that's not generally what is meant by heroism.

ape:
Right.
True heroism is being a hero in Love of all cowards.


This reminds me of 'The Sovereignty of Love' by Iris Murdoch. It's years since I read it but I think I remember that Iris has virtues in a hierarchy with love at the top, so that all virtues are virtues by virtue of being facets of love. She is a Christian.
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ape

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Post Number:#19  PostMay 7th, 2009, 7:10 pm

Belinda wrote:
Scott wrote:

But that's not generally what is meant by heroism.

ape:
Right.
True heroism is being a hero in Love of all cowards.


This reminds me of 'The Sovereignty of Love' by Iris Murdoch. It's years since I read it but I think I remember that Iris has virtues in a hierarchy with love at the top, so that all virtues are virtues by virtue of being facets of love. She is a Christian.

ape:
Thanx for the intro, Belinda!
I think that's The Sovereignty of Good?

"We can only learn to love by loving."
Iris Murdoch (The Bell)
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Toronto

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Post Number:#20  PostMay 7th, 2009, 9:03 pm

It would be better to live "well" as a coward than die as a hero in my view.
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ape

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Post Number:#21  PostMay 7th, 2009, 9:07 pm

Toronto wrote:It would be better to live "well" as a coward than die as a hero in my view.

ape:
That's it:
A coward in Love of heroes is better than any hero in Hate of cowards.

He who saves his life in Love is better than he who gives it in Hate.

He who loses his life in Love is better than he who saves it in Hate.
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Mike A.

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Post Number:#22  PostMay 8th, 2009, 8:55 am

"Is it better to be a live coward or a dead hero?"

Is it better to live as a coward or have died as a hero?

Cowardice is easy. Just do nothing, or avoid issues, or run away from unpleasant things. Being heroic is demensional [I think]. Standing for some thing or some one, dealing with unpleasantness or uncomfortable issues, not avoiding.

I don't think a person is heroic intentionally. It has to do with ethical foundation, perhaps. How is a person predisposed [for lack of a better word] or conditioned [again, for lack of a better word] to act?

In any event the external perception of cowardice or heroism is far from the internal. I think it entirely probable a person can occasionally feel the coward in every day life but those observing would see an average person [I wonder what an 'average person' might be].

From a military view point I know the act of throwing one's body on a gernade to save others is not a considered act. It is a spontaneous act of selflessness. Is it heroic?

I have a motion picture that occasionally plays in my mind that is of Jews running to a pit to be shot by Nazi SS. I see people running to their deaths. I try to immagine what I would do. Would I simply run to the inevitable or would I strike out? I don't know.

Is running to the pit an act of cowardice or heroism, I mean, it takes incredible courage to face obvious and immediate death.

It is not always possible to stand and fight the apparently heroic fight.

In death there is no cowardice; there is but death. It is in the musings of the living, values are ascribed. In death there is no heroism, there is but the stuff of legend passed on by word of mouth, or scribed citation.

In my mind it is better to stand for some thing than to fall for nothing. I do not think cowardice can hide from the inevitable nor do I think heroism can, of itself, overcome all.

So I guess, for me, it is better to try to stand - and that is not to assert I am not a coward, for I do not know.

But between my ears, I question stuff and how I act or have acted, and wonder.

"Thus conscience does make cowards of us all..."

As in Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 1

Hamlet: To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause: there's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life;
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office and the spurns
That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pith and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.

Amazing bit of writing, and of some use in considering the pith of the original question, perhaps.

Too long... Sorry.
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Post Number:#23  PostMay 11th, 2009, 3:05 pm

"Is it better to be a live coward or a dead hero?"

A live hero would be my preferance. Are you implying that one must die to be a hero? Or just be willing to die for one's beliefs?
Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by language. - Wittgenstein
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ontologic_conceptualist

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Post Number:#24  PostMay 11th, 2009, 3:17 pm

Dead or alive, coward or brave, the child who is still alive because of the actions of another will consider that person a hero no matter what, A "Hero" per se' is not about the giving of one's life for another, but going against the odds and common sence, the giving up of something of great value for little reward, yes, it may involve life or well being, but a hero can also be the guy that goes out on Sunday mornings, collecting money to buy dew rags for the bald children at the hospital with cancer !!!
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ape

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Post Number:#25  PostMay 11th, 2009, 3:41 pm

"Men find it easier to die [and be a hero] for a cause in a crisis than to live for it [and be no hero] in ordinary hours. They do not really believe that self-realization through self-surrender is a universal law of life."
Harry Emerson Fosdick, The Meaning of Service

They serve, and are heroes, who only stand and wait --in Love. Luke 1:19.
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Mike A.

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Post Number:#26  PostMay 11th, 2009, 6:41 pm

I do not think one's demise is a prequisite for 'earning' the title hero, or for that matter, coward.

There are, to be fair, all sorts of definitions for hero. As there are all sorts of definitions for coward. In the eye of the beholder one might opine.

A mirror is helpful when trying to sort out the two, I think.

It seems clear to me the two sides [hero / coward] are objective and subjective depending on if one assigns one of the values to other or to self. Then too, there are a range of values for the two.

I want to live. How I live - good or bad - is part of the decision tree of life, eh?
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Invictus_88

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Post Number:#27  PostMay 12th, 2009, 7:12 am

We all have moments of cowardice and moments of bravery, so I'm not sure how valuable it is to die following an act of significant bravery or cowardice.
We're all cowardly heroes, and always will be. Whether we die at a peak or trough is largely a matter of chance and circumstance.
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Mike A.

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Post Number:#28  PostMay 12th, 2009, 7:48 am

Invictus_88

I agree. Life is chance and circumstance or chance driven circumstance.

I suppose we should listen closely, while waiting on the edge of our seat, for that knock on the door of opportunity to be a hero.

Or not.

The truth of the matter is that most of us will never choose the time and/or circumstance of our death. I mean, if it were so, we would probably never make the decision because we would never be completely or suffeciently satisfied with ourself at any given time. After all, we are legends in our own minds.

The discussion is an interesting one in that it is just that, a discussion of opinions not overly burdened by factual condition. We will live and we will die, and in the ebb and flow of life we will die some where on our wave - at the crest or at the trough or some where on the rise or fall.
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ape

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Post Number:#29  PostMay 12th, 2009, 11:12 am

Invictus_88 wrote:[color=darkblue]We all have moments of cowardice and moments of bravery, so I'm not sure how valuable it is to die following an act of significant bravery or cowardice.
We're all cowardly heroes, and always will be. Whether we die at a peak or trough is largely a matter of chance and circumstance.

ape:
Yes!
Perfectly well said!
Cowardly heroes and heroic cowards!
With Love for both, we can die as either or as both by chance or by deliberate circumstance and still be of finest value.
Plus, we can then genuinely love Noel Coward and family of Cowards!:)
"Some are born [cowards or heroes], some achieve [heroism or cowardice, and some have heroism or cowardice] thrust upon 'em."
Twelfth Night[II, 5][/quote]
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Post Number:#30  PostAugust 9th, 2009, 1:38 pm

There are no monuments to cowards.

Cowards can never be moral.
Author: Mahatma Gandhi
When everyone looks to better their own future then the future will be better for everyone.

An explanation of cause is not a justification by reason.
C. S. Lewis

Fight the illusion!
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