Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Courage – Individualisation and Transcendence


The courage to be as oneself is the courage to follow reason and to DEFY irrational authority.

The courage to be oneself… is the courage to affirm oneself as a bridge from a lower to a higher state of rationality.

(A benefit of courage to be oneself is one can operate at a higher state of rationality!)

The courage to be as oneself has the character of the self-affirmation of the individual self in spite of the elements of non-being threatening it.[1]

The individual with courage to be can stand tragedy and death in “heroic affect” and have still a love for the universe which he or she mirrors.

The courage to take the anxiety of the demonic upon him or her self in spite of destructive and often despairing character is the form in which the anxiety of guilt was conquered.

The courage to take the anxiety of guilt upon oneself has become the courage to affirm the demonic trends within oneself.

(That is the internal agreement that evil exists and the humility to drive courage in dealing with it.)


Courage is the self-affirmation of being in spite of the fact of non-being. It is the act of the individual self in taking the anxiety of non-being upon itself by affirming itself either as part of an embracing whole or in its individual selfhood.

Courage needs the power of being, a power transcending the non-being which is:

Experienced in the anxiety of fate and death,

- which is -

Present in the anxiety of emptiness and meaninglessness,

- and which is -

Effective in the anxiety of guilt and condemnation.

The courage which takes this threefold anxiety into itself must be rooted in a power of being that is greater than the power of oneself and the power of one’s world.


Every courage to be has openly or covertly a religious (or spiritual) root.


The courage to take the anxiety of meaninglessness upon oneself is the boundary line up to which the courage to be can go.

Beyond it is mere non-being.

Source Reference: Paul Tillich, The Courage to Be (London, England: Nisbet & Co., Ltd, 1952).

[1] As in, for example, anxiety... “Anxiety is a state in which a being is aware of its possible non-being.”

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