Sunday, October 23, 2005

And Hold Their Manhoods Cheap

Courage is that which carries a man beyond his fears into otherwise unrealizable accomplishment. It is a conveyance or a means to an end at a specific moment in time and has no sense outside of that context. A contextualized definition, therefore, would be that courage is the love of glory, the abhorrence of shame, the lust for gold, the desire for a higher social station, or the eagerness to lower the station of others. Within the paradigm of evolutionary psychology, we can pursue this to another level. Since glory, freedom from shame, wealth, and relative social rank provided our hunting and gathering ancestors improved reproductive opportunities, courage is a Saint Crispin’s Day speech given to us by genes trying to win the French princess and get themselves copied.

15 comments:

Nimiwey said...

My understanding of phenomenology is that reality is something that is simply perceived by the human consciousness and nothing more. Solipism would be another thing to fall into its category. On the same token, things are thought to be assigned meanings phenomenologically, not to possess meanings of their own.

A good example of this school of thought would be the idea of gender reassignment (John/Joan) case in which it was believed that gender identity is not innate but something that is learned.

Gopher said...

Hey, where'd you get the pic of me Nim?

I believe courage can be altruistic and ethical rather than a reaction to fears, although the latter is more plausible in modern society.

brainmarket said...

Reciprocal altruism.

Gopher said...

Not necessarily. My personal philosophy is to begin being altruistic first as it is usually reciprocated - someone has to start somewhere.

Nimiwey said...

Pay it forward!

Nimiwey said...

PS Gopher you sent it to me, remember?

Gopher said...

:P

Nature's Rebel said...

Okay, we can agree on a defnition of phenomenology then: reality as consciousness. This is a school of thought started by Husserl, by the way, and picked up by the existentialists Heidegger and Sartre. I have a hard time understanding, though, what it can mean that words are victims of phenomenology, or that gender identity is something not innate by rather learned. Both of these statements imply that there is something beyond the reality of consciousness, which somehow we have some understanding of. As soon as we claim to have any understanding of it at all, even of its existence, we explode phenomenolgy, because now we are saying that we know something other than our own consciousness.

Ever since Plato conceived of a realm beyond sensible reality, philosophers have been going in search of it. It seems that for 2500 years they have been telling people what it is that is wrong with their perception. Phenomenology is one more interation of it. Human reality is consciousness. Consciousness is flawed. True reality is x or y or z or whatever. But if we have insight into true reality, then reality cannot be mere consciousness. If we know that gender identity is something learned rather than something "innate" (understand "real" and "philosophically perceived"), then phenomenology applies only to the ignorant and not to everybody.

What is our reality, after all? Is it truly dual, or have we learned from our culture, ultimately through philosophers, to believe that it is without knowing why?

My definition of courage as the overcoming of fear is not meant as an ethical definition, but rather a practical one. I think that for an act to be defined as courageous, there has to be something about it that makes it out of the ordinary. That something is that the average person wouldn't do it, out of fear. I believe, Gopher, that you are referring actually to the motivation behind it: lust for gold, etc. You are suggesting that people act courageously not out of such seemingly self-serving motives, but out of selfless ones. Brainmarket's comment about reciprocal altruism is the one I too would start with. We simply are not evolved to act with total altruism toward anyone who does not share our genetic material, i.e. a close family member. The underlying motivations behind an act of altruism toward a stranger evolved in an environment where everyone knew everyone else and helped one another. If you were to refuse help to someone in that context, you would find yourself shunned in turn, which would be a dangerous circumstance for you to be in. The fact that you retain that sense of needing to help others in a much more impersonal world is a little joke of human evolution. And that we now like to think of ourselves as ethical because we do so is something we have learned from our friends the philosophers and theologians.

Nature's Rebel said...

P.S. I do need more readers. It's my fear of mediocrity talking. It makes me courageous. You have no idea how hard it was to get myself to start this blog in the first place.

brainmarket said...

Readers are harder to count than commenters. There are several free counters you can get which tell you how many "hits" your blog gets.

I have learned that there are often unlikely readers who choose not to comment.

I suspect that the unique allure of your blog will continue to draw an ever increasing amount of curious readers.

brainmarket said...

I would be interested to hear more from you at some point about whether our use of laws somehow elevates us above other species or whether it is our inferiority which makes them a necessity. Or something else entirely.

Gopher said...

Interesting thoughts Brain. And yes I agree that this blog will get an increasing number of visitors as it goes, but I have got a link on my blog anyway.

Nimiwey said...

Why do you need more readers? You got us by posting on brain's blog, I posted on Danny's which led me to Paul, who led me to Gopher who led Gopher to brain and then to you. You get more readers by posting on other blogs, that's what I'm saying, I guess. I'm too stupid for this blog anyway. I prefer to think in more...day to day way? Keeps me sane-ish.

Nature's Rebel said...

I have just started looking into counters. There appears to be a number of them to choose from. Any suggestions? I am also aware of how I gained the readership I have so far. I've actually been looking for other blogs to post on. I need a bit more time than I have right now, though.

And I certainly appreciate the links that you have put on your blogs. Nimiwey, I haven't found that chain thing that you mentioned. Technologically I'm a bit disoriented at this point, but again I need some time to look into it.

A quick comment on laws. I do not think that they elevate us. In fact, I raise the question why we are the only species that seeks to restrain or limit itself. Is it because we cannot tolerate our fully expressed nature? If that is the case, then what is the presence of law telling us about ourselves? What part of us needs laws? This grows complex, though, because there is a difference between local law and the law that is considered universal. The latter is something that I not only have no respect for but also believe needs to be eliminated for the sake of the health of our species.

Nimiwey said...

www.amazingcounters.com