Courage to Think. Courage to Love. Courage to Hope.
In the 2008 documentary, The Examined Life, philosopher Cornel West sits in the back of a cab on the fast streets of New York City, riffing, like a jazz player, about the virtues and depths of philosophy. His words are lyrical, prophetic, wise.
West considers the courage and discipline it takes to reflect philosophically, to question your life, your mind, your values. He says:
A philosopher is a lover of wisdom. It takes tremendous discipline, it takes tremendous courage to think for yourself, to examine yourself. The Socratic imperative of examining yourself requires courage. William Butler Yeats used to say that it takes more courage to examine the dark corners of your own soul than it does for a soldier to fight on the battlefield. Courage to think critically. Courage is the enabling virtue for any philosopher, for any human being I think in the end. Courage to think, courage to love, courage to hope.
I've been thinking a lot about how much courage it takes to live with purpose. We must look inside ourselves, see our weaknesses, our faults, our failures, but we must also see our strengths, our talents, our dreams.
We must have the courage to acknowledge that we want something, knowing all the while we may never get it, and the courage to go after it, knowing that we may fall short.
We must have the courage to say what we believe, knowing that we may be criticized, chastised, rejected, and the courage to recognize when we were wrong.
We must have the courage to take the one difficult step that will move us forward, rather than take all the easy steps that will keep us in place.
We must have the courage to face ourselves.
We need not do this work alone. If you would like a little boost of courage, I invite you to connect with me and let me be your guide. We'll develop your courage to look deeply at your inner life, so that you can live more courageously. Contact me by email or phone, join my mailing list, and connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Medium.