A Contrarian View on Virtues

Display of courage or for that matter any inherent trait is quite essential.

Like any other human attribute or acquired skill, reading, writing, driving, culinary skills, athletic abilities, physical or mental strength, characteristics such as courage, kindness, empathy, compassion or in general any virtue needs occasions of expression without which left unused and unexpressed these virtues too welter and may eventually perish as is the case with acquired skills which require regular exercising to remain in proper fitness and state of promptness.

virtues
Source of the image: Positive Psychology

What is the use of a courageous heart and soul if the one who has them never finds any opportunity where the depth and strength of his courage can be put to use?

What good a heart overflowing with empathy can bring about, if the one who on the inside drenched by the virtue hardly ever exhibits it nor succeeds in generating corresponding feelings in any other by his or her empathetic behavior?

Can a person remain courageous or empathetic without ever finding a way to show his or her courage or empathy?

If one never exhibits any act of kindness, can such a person still be called kind? Definitely not.

The sole basis of these labels is the actual performance of the acts which lead to outcomes where some other person on whom the attributes are aimed at experiences them as such.

If a supposed beneficiary of an act of courage fails to experience a particular act as courageous, the act simply doesn’t qualify as courageous. If you are being kind to someone, yet the other person experiences your act hurtful, will your act still be qualified as being kind? This is somewhat contentious, because here we are involving ourselves with both the expression of a virtue and its actual impact on the person who is the intended subject of the act.help

More pertinent to our discussion is the situation where a person totally lacks any opportunity to express the virtues he or she believes to be a beholder of.

For many generations, women were squarely termed timid and simply incapable of acts which require strenuous physical activity.

With the advancement of civilization and progressive thinking, women have shown themselves on numerous occasions capable of physical endurance and rigor at times even in ways better and more courageous than men.

courage
Source of the image: Candace Doby

Many academicians and professionals interested in mapping and understanding the evolution and progress of human concerns agree that the assumed timidity of women had more to do with their relative exclusion from public spaces and male centered activities than any inherent natural design.

Here, isolation and exclusion emerge as the key stones to our discussion.

Much like an infant or a child who grows up in isolation and exclusion from average social activities and as a consequence is somewhat underdeveloped with regards to his or her particular social skills and socially valued and recognized virtues, even an adult if remained cut-off from the normal range of social exposure soon start to lose the edge and sharpness of his or her virtues and skills.

Angry girl
Isolation is the biggest killer of potential

The important point here is to continue looking for ways to give expression to our virtues and skills.

Without practice even the virtues and skills we take for granted as inherent may considerably lessen in their impact.

Though, such is not a common occurrence. A person once recognized as kind is treated so by his peers and even in novel situations because of the mannerisms and idiosyncrasies he or she may have acquired is soon discovered as a kind person. However, in cases where a complete change of social variables take place, such as the instances of cultural shifts, a person who has lived a long life of kindness may find himself or herself adrift and without anchor.

Many for this simple reason are averse to any change in their cultural and social settings as it leads to de-recognition of sorts of the virtues and attributes they identify themselves with.

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