The Imperative of Civil Courage
Prof. Esad Bajtal, PhD, a philosopher, sociologist, psychologist from Sarajevo, is one of the most influential intellectuals in the region. He is known for his ruthless critical analysis of the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
"In this context, the courage to use reason is shown to be the foundation of an individual’s ethical profiling; that is, the courage to use one's own reason becomes the basis of public life (civil) attitude that is (psycho) politically articulated as a bold self-affirmation of the individual self in resistance to oppressive, or otherwise civilized, unacceptable rule of government. That courage of self-affirmation of the self as a rational being determined to think for itself - in the world here we call it - civic courage.
Thus, civil courage must be awakened individually in us. Examples of the personal courage of individuals throughout history should empower us to associate individually aware civil courage so that we can more strongly resist various systematic attacks. So, the system is not a solution but a problem.
Whether we resist the oppression of the religious, national, political, or some other majority, we resist the system because all these oppressions are its foundation - in our countries, it is not democratic, least of all, civil.
The starting point for awakening civil courage is our own conscience..
"A civil brave human is only one who (before himself, before his conscience), does not have the courage to be a coward. Only he who, instead of the Other, fears Himself ", we quote again Professor Bajtal.
It can also be said popularly: "A civil brave person is one who is not afraid to look in the mirror". When our conscience awakens and we develop compassion for others, we are ready for civil courage. Worse than living a non-conformist it is a life to live a life of cowardice and the negation of one's own identity.
The question of civil courage as the core question of a community's democratization, in the originally psychological sense, is the question of the deal an ethically aware individual has achieved with oneself. As an act of rational self-confirmation, led by conscience, civil courage provides us with the dignity of a being capable of making a choice, and thus, saying NO! to destiny.
Due to the lack of civil courage, by consenting to the system of conceptually marketed values, individuals would lose the social battle and wave their natural right to doubt and decide. True (civil) courage is possible only as self-confirmation "in spite" – in spite of the dread from the Un-being. Brave is only those who are capable (Socrates, Giordano Bruno, and the like) to take in the dread of the Un-being. Courageous are only those whose Conscience is stronger than the Dread.
Formally and logically a paradox, but psychologically true and confirmed by self-experience, civically courageous are only those who (facing themselves and facing their conscience) lack the courage to be cowards.
Only those, who instead of the Other, fear Themselves.