Recommit to Virtue: Part 5 of 10 – Courage or Cowardice

Gandhi identified commerce without morality as a common societal mistake.  It requires courage to uphold moral values.  When we face our fears and challenges, we display courage.  Commerce, on the other hand, is capitalism, and by its very nature, if it goes unchecked, will lead to cowardice as displayed in corruption, abuse, manipulation, squandering, hoarding, subversion, and greed.  Business has become a religion for many; it is powerful, defiant, and worshipped by devout believers in the cause of making money.  The executive call of “fiduciary responsibility” places an amoral directive to unethical practices.  Depersonalized and debased, executives practice the craft of business, and then overcompensate themselves accordingly.  They tout ennobling mission statements without integrity and without morality.  They lack courage as they succumb to their passions. text

The difference between courage and cowardice is all about commitment.  A decision is made prior to the event to be strong and proactive in the face of adversity.  The fundamental moment underlying courage is this personal resolve. The choice to be courageous occurs prior to the challenge.  Either by training or through a pre-determined personal pledge, when confronted with challenges or obstacles, fear and vulnerability must be neutralized.  Left unchecked, the immediate reaction is flight.  Courage is a social behavior that comes from facing fears and challenges.  Cowardice, on the other hand, is a lack of robustness or internal strength when challenged with danger or dread.  Cowardice is weakness of character due to a non-committed nature.  Without principles, values, or a moral code, cowardly people are unable to resist opposition.

Originally posted on October 6, 2011 on