Virtue and Fear
Making mistakes is a part of humanity. Things that look wrong and ideas that sound blasphemous may be just different. We often mix up virtue and fear.
Fear makes us comply, but that is not always fruitful. We often say those are good whose only action is inaction. Staying inert is good neither for us nor them.
Virtue is having all the qualities of goodness. The virtuous are modest, prudent, and quiet. However, this means they try to give everyone the floor—the spotlight.
The fearful cower only for their fear, and as a result, they lose their respect. On the other hand, the virtuous make the choice to be modest, observant, and wise. Virtue and fear rule our lives.
What are Virtue and Fear?
Virtue and fear are so polar one may call out this comparison as unfair. Virtue and fear may be a podium of humanity apart, but we often mistake the fearful for the virtuous.
Virtue is doing good that defies logic. Humanity transcends all else, and virtue shows just this. The virtuous stay humble yet have high self-esteem. They are open to others’ points of view, and know that truth is the only way forward. They judge with fairness and justness.
Fear is a primal instinct of any animal. It makes us act awkward and spend energy to either run or fight our way out. We call this the fight or flight response.
We imagine this happening in the wilderness, but humans do this in their homes. When problems arise, we usually set them aside—burdening ourselves—or use too much force—wreaking havoc. We are neither smart nor brave for this. Others may see us as composed and this inaction as virtue. Still, fear drives this. It is not what we want.
Two Displays of Virtue and Fear
I am a bit of a perfectionist. Now, you may say that contradicts itself, but I mean I tend to care about the little things. This is sometimes bad as it leads me to commit the grave sin of lying. I lie to my tutors just out of mind; to my parents that I would like no more food; and to my friends that nothing is ever wrong. This inertia is fear, and no: I do not care my studies that much; I am not dieting; and I fall ill. Then, I am not virtuous. I am fearful of not being perfect.
We show virtue in our own quirky, unique, and weird ways. I could not say how I do it if I do. I could say those we keep power over can step in here. I can only say I feel virtuous when I let my little cousins play with my guitar, markers, and tech. Besides, I feel so when I tip the rickshaw puller 25%. Moreover, handing a poor family my saved money makes me feel free and godlike.
A Movie I Saw Recently
The movie My First Client (2019) is about a lawyer and his first case involving an abused teen. The law student was a firm believer inaction was no crime until he realised what an atrocity it is. The film captures the horror of systemic abuse due to inaction, which we can break down into inertia.
Inertia is our tendency to stay put or moving. Fear could cause inertia. Suppose you are a deer running from a lion. You run, and you keep running until you see safety. If you were a chameleon, you would freeze at the sight of a predator. You would inertiate from that frozen position until the threat was gone. Imagine a human being walking with earphones and one in his house. When either hears a scream, not virtue but courtesy is to take a look. We are social animals, after all.
Why Virtue and Fear Matter
Unfortunately, inaction defines not only us but also eventually our creed and ultimately our kind. Thus, it keeps us stuck in an inertial phase forever. Realise the difference between virtue and fear to free yourself.
I see virtue and fear as two sides of a leaf not green but crimson. It is red as the underside of fear, must represent inaction and terror. Virtue, the other part, fills everyone up and makes society ideal.
We must not only stop to smell the roses and get up for the fireworks. Instead, a threat to another is our burden, too. Inaction separates virtue and fear.