I read two articles this week that both impressed me greatly. The first article was about Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and her decision to commence a hunger strike. The second was Ladar Levison’s refusal to “become complicit in crimes against the American people.”
Many people are talking about what these two people did, and I agree their choices deserve to be both discussed and supported. However, I’m not going to discuss their specific actions. Rather, I’m very interested in these two people’s decisions.
Sure, both of their stories gained a lot of attention recently before I came across them on the internet. So an argument could be made that attention was a root cause for their decisions. I want to bring this up firstly, and reject it. In both cases, it was quite possible that they would never receive media attention.
I’m very fascinated by the courage and decisiveness exhibited by Ladar and Nadezhda. I’m extremely impressed by those who have the conviction to make a hard decision and accept whatever fate is a result.
I find myself asking the question of why am I impressed. Why am I, and so many others, noticing the courage that these two people exhibited. I am frightened by the realization this uncovers. I think as a society we are becoming more and more scared of making the decisions we believe are right.
Many people do not care, or atleast do not care enough to take action about whatever they feel most important about in their worlds. Some feel guilty about their inaction. Others do not. What I realize more and more around me is that we are living our lives in fear. Not the primordial fear of death in the eyes of a tiger; but the slight unconscious fear that we call anxiety. The fear that we will lose our jobs, fail our classes, disappoint.
Google tells me that courage is the ability to do something that frightens one. I am nearly ready to believe that the most terrifying thing about all the wrong things in our world is the quietness of the masses. As an individual steps beyond their fear and does that which they believe is right – something so necessary that they accept any repercussions – do we notice the societal fear from which they emerged.
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