On a globe of uncertainty, fear and hopelessness are a quiet cancer that slowly invades and consumes the hearts of millions. People fear the unknown. We fear what lies ahead of us. We horde food in fear that its availability could soon dwindle dramatically. We fear economic depressions, sometimes so much that we become the cause of that very thing. We're scared to lose our jobs, our homes, cars, and material possessions. We fear our enemies, so we attack them "before they get a chance to get us". We fear big change, death, losing love, and we fear the truth.
Fear drives our actions, but even with all of its derived negativeness, we could not live without it. It can save a life, cure a disease, and end wars. It is a perfectly natural, highly evolved sense that has us all fearing many things, and indeed to be fearless, should be reserved for the utterly stupid.
In fact with this in mind, it goes to say that the popular quote; "there's nothing to fear but fear itself", could be viewed as a rather misguided suggestion to ignore our basic human instincts.
To avoid fear is cowardice, and to fear not is borderline insane.
"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death."
-- Omar Bradley
So what then is bravery, if not fearlessness?
Simply put, bravery is having the courage to face fear. That means that in spite of fearing being burned by flame, a firefighter still enters a blazing home. A cop who fears being struck by a bullet, holds his ground during a shoot out, instead of running away. A child learns to swim by letting go, or rides his bicycle for the first time without training wheels. Indeed, acts of bravery are committed by everyone, everyday.
"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid."
-- Franklin P. Jones
Amongst the most harmful of human characteristics is begotten when poison mixtures--such as fear and narcissism--combine to intertwine with our actions (or lack of). We encroach upon the realm of our greatest fears here...the fear to question our own selves, our judgments, and our very own thoughts and beliefs, long held deep. The fear of being wrong about something held close and dear to us. For instance, for a religious man or woman to question his or her life-long held faith, would be an act of extreme bravery on their part. Mother Teresa was brave when she did this very thing, and even more brave to publicly announce her questions regarding her own religious faith.
Today, we live in a world where fear is used as a tool by governments, gangs, greedy corporations, and organized religions. We are asked to have "Hope", or to seek "Change", on one TV channel, while being constantly reminded to be afraid of something on the next. Lies, deceit, misinformation, and flat out propaganda are everywhere, and the only way to find out what is real, whats important, and what is truth, is to have the courage to question authority and question our very own beliefs.
Lest we let the world crumble to ash, and future generations judge us as selfish cowardly fools, it is a time to find strength in ourselves. It is a time to free our minds, and be hero's for our children, and their children. It is a time to have guts to face our own preconceived notions. It is a time for bravery.