Meaning of Cowardice

What is Cowardice:

Cowardice is a noun that means the absence of courage, determination, and the will to act when necessary in a potentially risky or compromising situation. Thus, he opposes the notion of courage, considered as a virtue. If courage is a virtue, cowardice is understood to be a vice.

Among the synonyms and words related to the term cowardice can be referred: cowardice, dread, weakness, intimidation, cowardice and fear.

However, it is important to distinguish that cowardice and fear are not equivalent. Fear is a universal feeling that constitutes the first and essential defense mechanism of the human being.

It is also necessary to distinguish cowardice from prudence. While prudence is the ability to discern how and when to act in a given situation, cowardice consists in stopping acting or acting treacherously after having discerned, due to fear of facing the consequences. In other words, the cowardly person knows what is right, but still decides not to do the right thing out of fear of the consequences.

This means that a cowardly act is a deliberate act of evasion of responsibility in a situation that involves a level of risk and / or commitment. For example, in the face of a dangerous situation from someone close, a situation of injustice or a confrontation.

A possible and fairly common example is the following: when a person witnesses child abuse in their neighborhood and prefers to remain silent to avoid trouble, they act cowardly by omission.

He is also a coward who does not have the courage to declare his opinion at a necessary moment. Example: "They asked him for his opinion and yet he was silent. Now we will all suffer the consequences. He is a coward."

The same term applies to a person who waits for his enemy to turn his back to inflict a treacherous blow to him, thereby achieving one of two things: either the victim will not be able to defend himself or, if he manages to defend himself, the coward you will always have an advantage. "The very cowardly stabbed him in the back!"

These situations are exemplary cases of the use of the qualification "cowardly" or "acts of cowardice". These examples show that cowardice is not only manifested in the fear of risking life. The fear can be, for example, fear of losing comfort, losing a certain lifestyle or losing a certain image, among others.

For these types of reasons, cowardice and cowards are rejected in all cultures, which is clearly represented in contemptuous expressions such as "you're a chicken." It is not surprising that this phrase has been included as an engine of conflict in the famous Spielberg saga called Back to the Future. Such is the disgrace of being called a coward that whenever Marty McFly is called a "chicken," he feels compelled to show his bravery.

Cowardice according to ethics

From the ethical and social point of view, cowardice is seen as an attitude of complicity that favors the perpetuation of social injustice. Acts of cowardice are considered jointly responsible for social damage, even when people have not conspired or even when they have not wished for misfortune.

Cowardice according to religion

From a religious point of view, cowardice is considered a sin based on the extreme lack of self-confidence as a result of different internal contradictions. Consequently, cowardice is the absence of trust in divinity.

Phrases about cowardice

  • “The brave man is afraid of the opposite; the coward, from his own fear ”. Francisco de Quevedo.
  • "Cowardice is a matter of men, not of lovers. Cowardly loves do not come to love or stories, they stay there. Neither memory can save them, nor can the best speaker conjugate them." Silvio Rodríguez.
  • "You are a chicken". Popular saying.
  • "They better say he ran here than he died here." Popular saying.

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