Braveheart. Courageous. Gallant. Lionheart.
As I write these words, there is an image of brave people with muscular arms and scowling faces that may come to your mind. Or at least my mind, that is. Perhaps we’re driven to consider them brave because they’ve single-handedly ripped a crocodile’s jaws apart. Or perhaps you consider someone like Alexander III of Macedon, brave. Collecting states like one collects stamps.
But I don’t agree with any of you. All these acts of bravery involve something; safety, pride, honor, ego. As if they stand guard over these acts of valor and monitor them. So what exactly is dauntlessness according to my labyrinthine ideas?
True valor is the act of signing your own fate in black. Someone like Macbeth, who created his own torturous reality, even when he knew all the consequences. What greater dauntlessness than the act of writing your own fate on the oracle of doom?
When you are brave enough to skydive without a parachute, just to see how you fare. Those who are rational, would probably scrunch their faces in disgust at this thought. They’ll consider this utter foolishness.
But then again, I’m not rational, hence the immense capacity to self-destruct.
What has rationality given us anyway? That moment of pure thrill and apprehension is better than all the years spent in fear. You can either hide in a damp basement or you can come out to play. You’ll die either way, so why shouldn’t you make it worthwhile?
Perhaps being smart is the way to go. Speaking only when you’re spoken to. Navigating carefully through life. But for those who plan ahead, aren’t they robbed of the joy of the moment?
Carpe diem, a cliche aphorism, is not that easy to embody. The struggle behind it makes it all the more intriguing, if not practical, for some.
True bravery is the act of putting yourself in danger, for yourself and by yourself. Paradoxical? Maybe. Completely against man’s nature to survive? Maybe. But doesn’t nature evolve and change ever so slyly? Handpicking only those who have adapted to the maximum capacity. Perhaps we’ve created such an environment for ourselves that self-destruction is the only way to survive?
Isn’t that quite addicting in itself? Thrilling, even? You do the opposite of what is expected from you. You wholeheartedly embrace everything that was designed to hurt you, until it can’t hurt you anymore. Isn’t that the crux of bravery? Knowing the consequences but still going in for the jump? Perhaps we still haven’t ventured in the true concept of bravery because we lack the proper apparatus.
We are too busy trying to destroy our demons instead of learning how to tame them.