“We’ve all started to put down the virtues of the other factions in the process of bolstering our own. I don’t want to do that. I want to be brave, and selfless, and smart, and kind, and honest.” – Four <Divergent>
“Virtue refuses facility for her companion … the easy, gentle, and sloping path that guides the footsteps of a good natural disposition is not the path of true virtue. It demands a rough and thorny road.” - Michel de Montaigne
In an otherwise incredibly poorly written great story <the Divergent trilogy> we get to think about the value of … well … virtue.
The book places society into five different factions … each espousing one specific virtue <at the expense of other virtues>.
I imagine one of the points is that making one virtue your Life focus is bad in that we are a complex balance of a number of virtues.
The factions are <virtues>:
It is in the Dauntless idea in which I found something that truly struck a chord.
Something I found valuable to think about.
Not just for me … but society and people in general.
Let me share some words in the Dauntless Manifesto:
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
There is a thought.
There is a BIG thought.
Why do I think so?
In a me, me, me world <or at least it sometimes feels that way these days> … in a world where if I see never ending advice like ‘no one will stand up for you but yourself’ … or … ‘the only one you can count on is yourself’ one more time … I will … well … begin to lose a little faith in humanity … this thought is something we should all wrap our heads around.
In ordinary acts of bravery.
Bravery as in everyday actions and not in running into fires to save someone or stepping in front of a bullet.
Bravery as in stepping in front of criticism.
Bravery as in stepping in front of ‘doing nothing.’
Bravery as in stepping in and doing what is right <even if it may not be the easiest thing to do>.
How about these words:
“We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.”
To be clear.
The thought is not that I am not suggesting shouting … but rather speaking out for those who only whisper.
And defending those who cannot defend themselves.
The world is made up of a bunch of different people.
It is crazy … fucking crazy … to criticize and diminish the people who only whisper … or do not always defend themselves. We may not like it … we may wish that they stood up and spoke out … but just because they don’t doesn’t make them ‘lesser than.’ It is simply what it is. Accept it. and if you can make a difference … and you want to make a difference … then make a difference. You are no better than the other person … you are simply doing what you do.
If you are dauntless … then be dauntless.
But I imagine my real point is … well … if you have this dauntless virtue than accept the responsibility.
It is who you are and you should be it.
My next point?
Fearless and dauntless are two completely different things.
Dauntless doesn’t mean you do not have fear … it simply means ‘going the way despite maybe having fear.’
Dauntless is a relentless pursuit of what you believe is right.
As Montaigne suggests it is not an easy gentle slope of living life … it is a rough and thorny road.
But Montaigne <and I imagine Divergent suggested> understood that there is a Life worth fighting for.
At least there is a vision of what Life should be.
I found it interesting that the author of the Divergent trilogy suggested the following lyrics to this song captured the essence of what she was writing about <and I thought it also was relevant to being dauntless>:
“Hold on to the world we all remember fighting for
There’s some strength left in you yet
Hold on to the world we all remember dying for
There’s some hope left in it yet
Arise and be
All that you dreamed.
– Flyleaf <Arise>
Arise and be all that you dreamed.
Do we not all dream about standing up for those who cannot stand on their own?
Do we not dream about speaking up for those who can only whisper?
Or defending those who cannot defend themselves?
Maybe that is dauntless.
And if that is being Dauntless … well … sign me up.
We may all dream of being ‘that person.’
But that is not for everyone. And it shouldn’t be. Because sometimes being dauntless means you are simply clearing the way … opening the pathway … so someone can get through and do what they do.
And what they do is make the world a little more like the world we remember worth dying for.
Roles & responsibilities.
We all have roles & responsibilities in Life. We may seek or desire to be ‘more’ … but reality often suggests we have a specific role … and responsibility.
Embrace your role.
Embrace your responsibility.
And embrace being dauntless in doing so.
The Dauntless Manifesto has some thoughtful thoughts. Things we should all think about. Things that may remind us of the world we remember worth dying for.
And, what the hell, if I can channel Montaigne thru the Divergent trilogy there certainly has to be some meaning worthwhile to ponder.
Parts of the Dauntless Manifesto are silly … but it is a poorly written young adult book so just focus on the sometimes breathtaking choice of words:
We believe that cowardice is to blame for the world’s injustices.
We believe that peace is hard-won, that sometimes it is necessary to fight for peace. But more than that: We believe that justice is more important than peace.
We believe in freedom from fear, in denying fear the power to influence our decisions. We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.
We believe in acknowledging fear and the extent to which it rules us. We believe in facing that fear no matter what the cost to our comfort, our happiness, or even our sanity.
We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.
We believe, not just in bold words but in bold deeds to match them. We believe that pain and death are better than cowardice and inaction because we believe in action.
We do not believe in living comfortable lives. We do not believe that silence is useful.
We do not believe in good manners.
We do not believe in empty heads, empty mouths, or empty hands.
We do not believe that learning to master violence encourages unnecessary violence.
We do not believe that we should be allowed to stand idly by. We do not believe that any other virtue is more important than bravery.