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January 9th, 2006


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12:46 pm - Courage
Over the weekend, as I was looking for examples of essays on courage for the Dedicant booklet I was working on, I suddenly remembered that the military keeps their complete list of Medal of Honor recipients online, including the citations.

And I realized that there was probably nothing we could write that would reflect a more perfect example of courage.

So I've placed a recommendation that those who have difficulty understanding courage read through some of the full-text citations on the army's website:

http://www.army.mil/cmh/Moh1.htm

Take a few minutes to read some. The more recent ones are somewhat more verbose and less technical, but they all reflect the courage that won the medal.

I was a bit torn on including the link, I admit: not everyone finds wars courageous. I made sure to talk about other forms of courage, not just that found on the battlefield, and I think that evens it out. We'll see, though :)
Current Mood: accomplished
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[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:January 9th, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
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I was a bit torn on including the link, I admit: not everyone finds wars courageous. I made sure to talk about other forms of courage, not just that found on the battlefield, and I think that evens it out.

Have you read/do you have a copy of Tillich's The Courage to Be? I think his more existential approach -- 'courage' as movement of the heart ("coeur") and center, inseperable from will-to-power and personal integrity -- it more in line with the IE obsession with ontological Truth, much more than a superficial resemblance between their warrior culture and ours (in fact, I would argue that our military does not represent a warrior culture in the traditional sense, but that's another post).

Here's a quote from Tillich I found on a website:
"Courage is an ethical reality, but it is rooted in the whole breadth of human existence and ultimately in the structure of being itself.

The courage to be is the ethical act in which man affirms his own being in spite of those elements of his existence which conflict with his essential self-affirmation."
The rest of the essay is good, too.

Anyway, yes, not everyone finds wars courageous. In fact, I would say that if courageous acts can be found in war time, they are acts done in spite of war -- possibly fostered through the inhuman hardship created by war, just as any natural disaster may prompt us to courageous acts. But in either case, it's neither the war nor the natural disaster in themselves which are bearers of courage (they are tragedies); courage is something deep inside our humanity, something that acts to negate these tragedies.

Just my $.02.
[User Picture]
From:trogula
Date:January 9th, 2006 07:56 pm (UTC)
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in fact, I would argue that our military does not represent a warrior culture in the traditional sense, but that's another post

I'd be very interested in this post, as I strongly disagree with you here. I'd love to talk to you more about this.

(Full Disclaimer: I am an American, I am very much against the current war in Iraq, I've never been active duty military myself, but I grew up the child of a career military man, so I've got a lot of experience inside the military social culture itself from which to draw my opinion).
[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:January 9th, 2006 08:42 pm (UTC)

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I'd be very interested in this post, as I strongly disagree with you here. I'd love to talk to you more about this.

Sure. Give me some time as I'm avoiding work enough as it is. ;)
Plus, I'll post a start to the conversation on my LJ, and 'ping' you when it's there.


(Full Disclaimer: I am an American, I am very much against the current war in Iraq, I've never been active duty military myself, but I grew up the child of a career military man, so I've got a lot of experience inside the military social culture itself from which to draw my opinion).

I appreciate disclaimers. Mine: I'm an American as well. I'm also very much against the war in Iraq, and, as the bumper sticker says, I'm already against the next war :P. I've never been in the military myself, though I flirted pretty heavily with it when I was young. My father is a Vietnam veteran, not career, and my knowledge of current American military culture is primarily formed from the experiences of enlisted friends and family. My knowledge of traditional warrior cultures is cursory and academic, but I think adequate.

More later.
[User Picture]
From:trogula
Date:January 9th, 2006 10:31 pm (UTC)
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Very cool. I look forward to the discussion.

A point of clarification: Dad was a Vietnam vet as well, having earned WAY too many purple hearts for any one body (5 of them). So he experienced the military during late 60's/early 70's mess, on into and during the 1980's "cleanup" of the military, before retiring. I'd say that the military of the 1980's onward fits a traditional warrior culture (depending upon how you define a "traditional warrior culture" - there is quite a bit of romanticism in some of those history books).

Mind if I friend you? You are more than welcome to friend me back. Your interests page is quite fascinating.

[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:January 10th, 2006 05:41 pm (UTC)
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(depending upon how you define a "traditional warrior culture" - there is quite a bit of romanticism in some of those history books).

Yeah, I admit it's hard for me to avoid cynicism even with traditional warrior culture, as much of it involves mystification and romanticization.

But then again, that may just be my inner Brahmin poo-pooing the gauche Kshatriyas. ;)


Mind if I friend you? You are more than welcome to friend me back. Your interests page is quite fascinating.

Sure, friend away. I'll warn you, though -- I've been too busy and preoccupied lately to post anything more interesting than the occasional meme. Most of my post activity consists of comments.

Anyway, I'm more than willing to discuss anything in my interests, and then some.
[User Picture]
From:_boy_
Date:January 14th, 2006 06:53 am (UTC)

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Here's your ping.

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