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Fear vs. Courage



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  #1  
Old February 5th, 2007, 6:45 pm
more2live4  Female.gif more2live4 is offline
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Fear vs. Courage

This is to dicuss the editorial Fear vs. Courage by Melissa Britton.



Last edited by more2live4; February 5th, 2007 at 10:52 pm.
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  #2  
Old February 6th, 2007, 4:43 am
sriharish  Male.gif sriharish is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

I agree with this editorial upto some extent. Courage lies in overcoming fear, that is true bravery.


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  #3  
Old February 6th, 2007, 6:45 am
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

The whole courage v. fear debate is a vast grey area. Many of the most couragous acts throughout history have been prompted by fear. In warfare, and the wizarding community is, after all, at war, many acts of bravery come about through fear of what the enemy is planning.

In the end, though, true courage is about overcoming fear and doing what must be done for the benefit of all concerned. I don't doubt Harry and his friends will all perform a number of brave acts in the leadup to the final defeat of Voldemort.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 8:30 am
saschia  Female.gif saschia is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Hi, your editorial was well-written and well-cited, but I cannot agree with it anyway.

Fisrt thing, as was already mentioned - courage is not lack of fear, courage is overcoming the fear, acting inspite of it.

Secondly, to use any means to achieve one's ends is not cowardice, but pragmatism. What means you use depends on your moralty, on the ethics of your culture and on your own grasping of those ethics. You can use different means and still be moral. You can be brave, but if you are not stupid, you will decide what means you will use to achieve something, before you act.

Thirdly - if you say that you either are brave or coward (or something inbetween) and it doesn't change - how could Pettigrew then turn from Gryffindor do total coward? It is more probable that he was not complete brave man and he is not completely coward now.

And finally - fear may drive you to do something (usually to overcome lesser fear of two) but bravery is only an ability to do things you wouldn't do if you weren't brave, but the driving force behind it is something else. It can be love, or sense of responsibility, or even greed. To be afraid is not evil. It is not immoral to be a coward. But it is evil to use fear and cowardice (or lack of bravery) of others for your own purposes.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 6:15 pm
HandofFate HandofFate is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Melissa, I have read each and every editorial I could get my hands on. You have dealt with this subject plainly and clearly. I find this truly enjoyable and accurate. Your analysis of the difference between courage and fear with respect to the willingness to sacrifice one's self for another is spot on. Courage does not mandate foolish risk taking to save another, but it does mandate that all life is precious and worthy of being preserved. Fear, in direct contrast, is all about self-preservation. As obvious as this assertion seems, I am sure that the distinction has been missed by many. Thank you for reminding us what courage is.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 7:23 pm
MelissaBritton  Female.gif MelissaBritton is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Hello Everyone!

I'd just like to say, regarless of you opinions, I truly appreciate you taking the time to read my piece. I'm sure that many of our personal experiences influence our views on the subject of fear, as well as courage. I encourage everyone to reply with their own ideas. To me, it doesn't really matter if you agree or disagree (of course it's always nice when others can see your perspective). I'm a big fan of friendly debate and personal expression. I really enjoy reading other people's opinions even if I don't share them. So once again, thank you.

HandofFate - I'm so glad you enjoyed the editorial. I completely agree with your summary of what fear and courage truly mean. It's important, I think, for people to not get too caught up in the minute details and step back to examine the big themes and motivations.



Last edited by MelissaBritton; February 6th, 2007 at 7:28 pm.
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  #7  
Old February 6th, 2007, 8:34 pm
JOFAN  Female.gif JOFAN is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Thank you for a good article and starting point for discussion. Your second to last paragraph should perhaps be read by Ms. Laura Mallory. Perhaps she will see herself as one who is driven by fear. But then again probably not, as you pointed out -fear blinds.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 9:39 pm
Volodymyr  Undisclosed.gif Volodymyr is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Courage may conquer fear, but courage cannot truly exist without fear. To be fearless is to be rash, not courageous.

Nor is Harry fearless, and his fear seems most obvious in the Chamber of Secrets, when he's blindly dodging the Basilisk and thinking "Help me, help me" to the Sorting Hat.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:48 pm
Graduand_Esk  Female.gif Graduand_Esk is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Fear drives so many of the characters in the HP books, often in quite subtle ways. Ignorance, dislike and prejudice are all fuelled by fear - fear of something we can't or don't want to understand. I see the Dursleys as being very fearful people. They live in a very little world and don't understand Harry's magical abilities, so they act in a bigoted way. There are a lot of people like that, in every country in the world.

Neville is probably my favourite example of a truly courageous person in the books. He demonstrates that quite often courage will have nothing showy about it and may well go unnoticed by a lot of people. It will simply be that something in you which allows you to follow your own path, no matter what other people think.


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Old February 6th, 2007, 11:57 pm
Youdan Youdan is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

The only thing that conquers fear is love. And it is that Love which is what Harry is so full of. Dumbledore explanation to Harry. and Harry's abilty to feel pain is his greatest strength.
False Evidence Assumed Real



Last edited by Youdan; February 7th, 2007 at 12:19 am.
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  #11  
Old February 7th, 2007, 1:24 am
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Good topic, well written editorial, but I tend to agree with post #4 by Saschia.

Obviously courage and sacrificial love are going to be important themes in DH, and I hope that Harry destroys Voldemort and survives, but I think the editorial falls down a bit in its use of concepts about courage and fear to analyze characters and to predict their futures.

Rehashing the "mysteries" of Snape and Draco is getting a bit old.

Snape promised a pretty woman whose husband was in prison that he would murder Voldemort's most feared enemy if Draco couldn't finish the job. Then Snape murdered the one man who had the courage and the love of others that was needed to see the good in Snape and to give him a second chance. Dumbledore didn't want to be murdered. Life means as much to an old person as it does to a young person, and Dumbledore left a lot of unfinished business behind. Snape's bad. He's been bad from the start. Snape probably helped Quirrell get past the logic puzzle with the seven potions and Voldemort made Quirrell lie to Harry to protect Snape's cover. Snape is more afraid of the Dark Lord than he's afraid of a forgiving schoolmaster. Fear drives Snape and he loathes it. That's why he went off when Harry called him a coward.

Draco let Death Eaters and a killer werewolf into the school. He nearly killed Katie Bell and Ron Weasley with his lame but dangerous schemes to kill Dumbledore on his own. Draco got buck fever when he was looking into Dumbledore's kindly face, but in the end he fled with the Death Eaters. He's made his decision and he's stuck now. The odds of Draco being saved are very slim.

But what of Harry's friends? The example of Peter Pettigrew proves that even a Gryffindor boy can be driven to the dark side by fear. Judas Iscariot was one of the closest disciples to Jesus, but something, probably fear of the Roman and Jewish authorities, caused him to go over the edge. Do all of Harry's friends have the courage that will be needed to stay loyal when they are truly tested?


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Old February 7th, 2007, 2:10 am
Night Owl  Undisclosed.gif Night Owl is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Mrs. Weasley's greatest fear is that one of her children will be hurt or killed. Is that something that should be conquered, and that necessarily leads to evil?

Lupin's greatest fear is turning into a warewolf and killing someone innocent. Does that also need to be conquered? Would it be a good idea for him to ignore that fear?

Sometimes fear needs to be managed, so that it does not paralyze one from moving forward. Both Mrs. Weasley and Lupin learn to manage and to cope with their fears - they are not trying to make their fears disappear, nor would they want to do so, I think. Fear can be evidence of deep love, as in the case of Molly Weasley. If she didn't fear for the safety of her children, she might be considered heartless or heedless. Fear can be evidence of wisdom, as in the case of Remus Lupin. That fear of hurting the innocent will keep him from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is such a thing as a healthy fear of unnecessary danger that keeps people from constantly hurting themselves for no reason. If Dumbledore didn't fear for the safety of his students, Hogwarts might not have been protected as well as it was in the first few years.

Generally a lot of what is written in the editorial about fear and bravery has merit, and will play a role in the final book, but both fear and bravery must be looked at from several different angles while reading the books in order to get to the underlying philosophy regarding them.

(BTW for references regarding Lupin's fear - Lupin's boggart is the moon, and part of the reason he leaves Hogwarts is the fear that he will hurt a student - in the book, not the movie. It is implied that his greatest fear is hurting someone when he is not in control of himself.)


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Old February 7th, 2007, 2:10 am
MelissaBritton  Female.gif MelissaBritton is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

I think it is important to clarify one point. My intention was not in any way to say that fear equals evil, therefore, all who are good are without fear. Each character's "driving force" is their core motivation, not their temporary feelings about a particular situation. So even a courageous hero will, at some point, be fearful. At the point of real importance, those with true courage will overcome their fear and choose to act according to their core motivation, even if that includes self-sacrifice. The negative effects of letting fear overtake and dictate actions come in many forms. A person with fear at their very core will not sacrifice himself, but sacrifice others for his own gain.

It is a complex issue with a few basic concepts. I hope this helps you to understand my perspective a bit more.

Thanks!

JOFAN - good point.

Graduand_Esk - I completely agree. The Dursley's are a wonderful example of characters that let fear dictate their actions.

king - Unfortunately, the Draco/Snape moral arguements have been hashed and rehashed way too much. My intention was to examine those same topics under the light of my whole "driving force" analysis. I intentionally spent very little effort discussing those two particular characters.

Night_Owl - Thank you for your thoughts. The many angles of these topics keep us guessing and fuel the need for more analysis. Keep it up.


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  #14  
Old February 7th, 2007, 5:58 am
Youdan Youdan is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Quote:
Originally Posted by Night Owl View Post
Mrs. Weasley's greatest fear is that one of her children will be hurt or killed. Is that something that should be conquered, and that necessarily leads to evil?
Every one has fears. It is how one over comes those fears is through love not letting those fears control or paralyze our thoughts and actions but contolling those fears through love. What shoud Mrs Weasley have done sit at home crying in a corner worry all the time? Not letting any of her children out of her sight? Submit to Voldermort? Letting them go back to Hogwarts freed that fear which could have control her. Through her love for her children she let them to go back to school. It also didn't install her fear into her children or cause resentment in her children staying home. and as we see when her son Bill was hurt what could she have done to pervent it.

Quote:
Lupin's greatest fear is turning into a warewolf and killing someone innocent. Does that also need to be conquered? Would it be a good idea for him to ignore that fear?
If that fear wasn't conquered or controlled he wouldn't have gone to Hogwarts to teach or be part of the order. To be around innocent people
Ignor fear never or confront it always?
Fear is always around but do we let it control us or do we control it?

Quote:
Sometimes fear needs to be managed, so that it does not paralyze one from moving forward. Both Mrs. Weasley and Lupin learn to manage and to cope with their fears - they are not trying to make their fears disappear, nor would they want to do so, I think. Fear can be evidence of deep love, as in the case of Molly Weasley. If she didn't fear for the safety of her children, she might be considered heartless or heedless. Fear can be evidence of wisdom, as in the case of Remus Lupin. That fear of hurting the innocent will keep him from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. There is such a thing as a healthy fear of unnecessary danger that keeps people from constantly hurting themselves for no reason. If Dumbledore didn't fear for the safety of his students, Hogwarts might not have been protected as well as it was in the first few years.
It could be said that the love of those children that protection was inplaced.
How is fear managed, controlled or conquered but thorugh love?
it has been said the love conquers all.
where Fear controls our thoughts and actions if left to fester and grow. Confront it acknowledge it but never ingore it.
Many people never even acknowledge their fears so they can't confront them, they just sumit to their fears and lets those fears control their lives and actions.
Quote:
Generally a lot of what is written in the editorial about fear and bravery has merit, and will play a role in the final book, but both fear and bravery must be looked at from several different angles while reading the books in order to get to the underlying philosophy regarding them.

(BTW for references regarding Lupin's fear - Lupin's boggart is the moon, and part of the reason he leaves Hogwarts is the fear that he will hurt a student - in the book, not the movie. It is implied that his greatest fear is hurting someone when he is not in control of himself.)



Last edited by Youdan; February 7th, 2007 at 6:05 am.
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  #15  
Old February 7th, 2007, 12:00 pm
Boromir  Male.gif Boromir is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

An exceptional edtorial your presntation of fear and courage and how fear will be conquered by courage is second to none. A fantastic job. well done.


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  #16  
Old February 7th, 2007, 4:00 pm
vlasiou  Female.gif vlasiou is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

I so missed editorials tha present a fresh theory (rather than a school essay -- albeit well-written -- on this or that moral subject)...

I don't know how to judge this editorial. Was it well written? Yes. Many students would be proud (and their teachers too).

Was it even remotely interesting to me? No. I can see these things for myself, but I cannot come up with a fresh theory that will help me solve the puzzle.


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Old February 7th, 2007, 5:19 pm
veelavouivre veelavouivre is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

I think it was a nice editorial, though difficult and vast to discuss. As many pointed before, fear can be good as well as evil. Good in the case of fearing for somebody else's life or security. Bad in the case of fearing for one's self.

As someone else said as well, to counteract fear, you must feel love. After all, if you dig the story of serial killers or tyrants, lots of time you see an awful childhood, beaten or scolded children, no love. Voldemort is no different. Lack of love and abandon is what makes him seek power, admiration, etc, through the only means he knows ofower of fear. In the case of malfoy and Dudley, it is a case of love being given without discernement. So love can also be bad.
As the greek philosophers would say, we must keep an equilibrium in everything, and everything should be just. A perfect human being should use love, fear, punition, ambition, courage, power, kindness, discernment etc in the right amount. A perfect person in the potter world should be part of Slytherin, Gryffindor, Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw, as DD and the sorting hat say repeatedly :-))
Difficult, but wise. In this precise case, I think I am a bit of a coward, since it is easier to be what I am than to better myself. That makes me and a huge majority a good person, but not a perfect one, though I am fine with this statement :-)


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Old February 7th, 2007, 5:34 pm
Youdan Youdan is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

What are the long term effect of fear? If one dosen't recognize what is behind their behavior how can one manage it? Survival mechanisms kick in when fear over takes a person over a long period of time. Small fears grow into bigger fears. Denial, controlling, seeking afirmation, losing self control easy, over extening yourself, accepting unacceptable behavior. losing yourself in others. Angery at others acomplishments.Always blaming others when things go wrong. Never responsible for your own actions. Are just a few of things that dose happen if fear is not confronted and controlled and conquered.



Last edited by Youdan; February 7th, 2007 at 6:04 pm.
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  #19  
Old February 7th, 2007, 6:58 pm
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Youdan, your list of a few things that can happen when fear is not confronted, controlled and conquered is food for thought. Over a long period of time, small fears grow into bigger fears. Controlling, seeking affirmation, losing self-control easily, accepting unacceptable behavior, anger at others accomplishments, blaming others when things go wrong.

My question is this: Is Ron Weasley going to be courageous or fearful in DH? The twelve-year old Ron of PS took charge on the chessboard and sacrificed himself so Harry could go on. But the older Ron of HBP is another story. I'm worried about the way that character is developing.


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Old February 7th, 2007, 9:08 pm
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justaHPfan  Female.gif justaHPfan is offline
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Re: Fear vs. Courage

Good posts everyone! I enjoyed reading the editorial and agreed with a good amount of it. One thought you mentioned briefly that I thought was very good was the idea that being afraid of a particular outcome to the point that you are unwilling to approach the subject (i.e. Fudge with V's return) tends to bring about the feared result. In other words, you're going to face it no matter what! Face it (with courage) in spite of the fear that is still present or allow the fear to drive you from the subject and have it put in your lap later to deal with anyway! The really interesting thing about Fudge's situation is that, if he had listened to Dumbledore and the others and tackled the return of Voldemort, he may have been seen as a great leader and still be in power today.

There is one point of disagreement that I do want to bring up. Please correct me, Melissa, if I have this wrong. I felt the editorial was saying that all people are basically fearful or basically courageous innately and that they will go with that innate "ability" most, if not all the time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by editorial
Courage isn’t something a fearful man can obtain; conversely, fear cannot spoil true courage. Each exists deep inside the individual, engrained in the soul.
Yet, I think that undermines free choice. Fear comes from a lot of different things. It can be a false perception of something (doesn't the Forbidden Forest have werewolves in it?) - it can be based on an experience (Harry with the dementors after his first encounter) - it can relate to a possible known outcome (Harry might be kicked out of Hogwarts in book 5's trial) or a very dangerous situation (who wouldn't be afraid of Aragog's webby domain?) *shudders* The point is that none of these instances go to the core of someone, as in beginning at that point. Perception relates to information that has been received and the other instances I listed are all external.

Neville is fearful probably because his grandmother is constantly telling him what he can't do, what he isn't doing correctly, and what his future will probably be like (i.e. you won't be as good as your father) so Neville is fearful of the consequences of his stern (and demeaning) grandmother and of trying anything because he might fail. But, is Neville fearful to the core? No because he obviously got placed in Gryffindor and we've seen Neville act courageous. Draco, on the other hand, generally behaves the coward but I don't think that's because he was "born that way" as is implied by saying someone is fearful to the core. Rather, Draco has been pampered and protected and rescued from all types of consequences ("my father will have something to say about that!") and has had no opportunities to employ courage. Plus, saying that Voldemort is fearful to the core and cannot then gain courage means that Voldemort has no choice but to act the way he does (driven by fear) and this is so contradictory to JKR's constant examples of choice throughout the series.

king, I think Ron's courage has evolved. I think he chooses to stay out of the role of giving Harry advice as opposed to Hermione! But, I don't think that means he lacks courage. His response to Harry in book 6's conclusion is essentially, "dude, we're going with you" in an almost "duh" kind of way - as if there really is no other option. This, to me, speaks of his courage since he knows what Harry and Dumbledore went through to get one (fake) horcrux and knows that Harry is off to find 4 real ones.


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