Meditation for Sunday of Week 31 in the season of Ripening

Displaying Courage

 

Unknown man facing down military tanks in Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China, June 5, 1989 (Jeff Widener photograph)

 

  • It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone even if you believe in something very strongly. [Reginald Rose, “Twelve Angry Men” (1954), Act 2]

Courage is an action taken at risk to the self. It is the active component of dignity. By now, it should be clear how each of the elements of dignity – wisdom, caring and courage, inculcate the habit of ego-transcendence and lead to spiritual development.

Real

Documentary and Educational Films

True Narratives

From the dark side:

Imaginary

Visual Arts

Fictional Narratives

"Ah! It is crushing me!" cried the old man.  Madeleine raised his head, met Javert's falcon eye still fixed upon him, looked at the motionless peasants, and smiled sadly. Then, without saying a word, he fell on his knees, and before the crowd had even had time to utter a cry, he was underneath the vehicle.  A terrible moment of expectation and silence ensued.  They beheld Madeleine, almost flat on his stomach beneath that terrible weight, make two vain efforts to bring his knees and his elbows together. They shouted to him, "Father Madeleine, come out!" Old Fauchelevent himself said to him, "Monsieur Madeleine, go away! You see that I am fated to die! Leave me! You will get yourself crushed also!" Madeleine made no reply.  All the spectators were panting. The wheels had continued to sink, and it had become almost impossible for Madeleine to make his way from under the vehicle.  Suddenly the enormous mass was seen to quiver, the cart rose slowly, the wheels half emerged from the ruts. They heard a stifled voice crying, "Make haste! Help!" It was Madeleine, who had just made a final effort.  They rushed forwards. The devotion of a single man had given force and courage to all. The cart was raised by twenty arms. Old Fauchelevent was saved. [Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (1862), Volume I – Fantine; Book Fifth – The Descent Begins, Chapter VI, Father Fauchelevent.]

Novels:

Film and Stage

Music: Composers, artists, and major works

Three operas:

Other works:

This Is Our Story

A religion of values and Ethics, driven by love and compassion, informed by science and reason.

PART ONE: OUR STORY

First ingredient: Distinctions. What is the core and essence of being human? What is contentment, or kindliness, or Love? What is gentleness, or service, or enthusiasm, or courage? If you follow the links, you see at a glance what these concepts mean.

PART TWO: ANALYSIS

This site would be incomplete without an analytical framework. After you have digested a few of the examples, feel free to explore the ideas behind the model. I would be remiss if I did not give credit to my inspiration for this work: the Human Faith Project of Calvin Chatlos, M.D. His demonstration of a model for Human Faith began my exploration of this subject matter.

A RELIGION OF VALUES

A baby first begins to learn about the world by experiencing it. A room may be warm or cool. The baby learns that distinction. As a toddler, the child may strike her head with a rag doll, and see that it is soft; then strike her head with a wooden block, and see that it is hard. Love is a distinction: she loves me, or she doesn’t love me. This is true of every human value:

justice, humility, wisdom, courage . . . every single one of them.

This site is dedicated to exploring those distinctions. It is based on a model of values that you can read about on the “About” page. However, the best way to learn about what is in here is the same as the baby’s way of learning about the world: open the pages, and see what happens.

ants organic action machines

Octavio Ocampo, Forever Always

Jacek Yerka, House over the Waterfall

Norman Rockwell, Carefree Days Ahead

WHAT YOU WILL SEE HERE

When you open www.thisisourstory.net, you will see a human value identified at the top of the page. The value changes daily. These values are designed to follow the seasons of the year.

You will also see an overview of the value, or subject for the day, and then two columns of materials.

The left-side column presents true narratives, which include biographies, memoirs, histories, documentary films and the like; and also technical and analytical writings.

The right-side columns presents the work of the human imagination: fictional novels and stories, music, visual art, poetry and fictional film.

Each entry is presented to help identify the value. Open some of the links and experience our human story, again. It belongs to us all, and each of us is a part of it.

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