Paul Tillich (1886-1965)

The courage to be


  • Few concepts [as courage] are as useful for the analysis of the human situation. (p.13)

  • For the failure to find a definition of courage [in Laches from Plato] as a virtue among other virtues reveals a basic problem of human existence. It shows that un understanding of courage presupposes an understanding of man and his word, its structure and values. Only he who knows this knows what to affirm and what to negate. The ethical question of the nature of courage leads inescapably to the ontological question of the nature of being. (p.14)

  • The courage to be is the ethical act in which man affirms his owhn being in spite of [underscored by YF] those elements of his existence which conflit with his essentiel self affirmation (p.15)

  • ...in the act of courage the most essential part if our being prevails against the less essential. (p.16)

  • ..courage could be defindes as the universal knowwledge of what is goor and evil,.. (p.17)

  • ...Courage listens to reason and carries out the intentions of the mind. (p.20)

  • ...the Stoic has a social and personal courage which is a real alternative to Christian courage. (p.22)

  • One event especially gave the Stoics courage lasting power - the death of Socrates... Is showd the human situation in the face of fate and death. Il showed a courage which could affirm life because it could affirm death. (p.22

  • The anxiety of fait and death controls the lives even of those who have lost the will to live. (p.23)

  • The Stoic courage is, in the ontological as well as the moral sense, «courage to be». it is based on the control of reason in man. (p.23)

  • The courage to be is the courage to affirm one's own reasonable nature over against what is accidental in us. (p.24)

  • The decisive difference between both types of humanism [Stoic and Christian] is the answer to the question wether being is essentially good or not. (p.29)

  • The first assertion about the nature of anxiety is this: anxiety is the stat in which a being is aware of its possible non-being. (p.44)

  • The basic anxiety, the anxiety of a finite being about the threat of non-being, cannot be eliminated. It belongs to exitence itself. (p.48)

  • Extreme situations are not reached frequently and perhaps they are never reached by some people. The purpose of an analysis of such a situation [ of despair] is not to record ordinary human experiences but to show extreme possibilities in the lights of which the ordinary situations must be understood. We are not always aware of our having to die, but in the light of the experience of our having to die our whole life is experienced differently. In the same way the anxiety which is despair is not alays present. But the rare occasions in which it is present determine the interpretatin of existence as a whole. (p.63)

  • Neurosis is the way of avoiding non-being by avoiding being. [ underscored by the author] (p.71)

  • The courage to be is a function of vitality. Diminishing vitality consequently entails diminishing courage. (p.83)

    (Edition Collins (GB) First published in 1952)



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dernière mise à jour : 21/07/2001 version: YF-07/2001