And then there's courage. Courage, people say is not the absence of fear but the ability to face it. The primal instincts leave no room for courage. The first instinct is to fear, to stay away, the second is flight, to run and only the third is to fight. Yet courage seems almost the polar opposite of our basic survival instincts.
What motivates this instinct? Is it to break away from that which seemingly ties us to our "animal" roots? To be courageous is to be noble, to be human. It also symbolizes to some extent hope; in the words of the great Architect of the Matrix "The quintessential human emotion; simultaneously the source of your greatest strength and your greatest weakness." It really must be quite some emotion to be described as the quintessentia of humanity, and indeed it is. After all, it is the last thing to come out of Pandora's Box; the metaphorical box that was the cause of all suffering and disease also contained hope.
Nobody embodied hope as much as did Robert Krueger, a man I met while on my way to India from GYLC. Flying to Canada on an emergency Visa, he was imprisoned for eight months in Nigeria when someone stole his identity. A millionaire, he was forced to undergo brutal treatment at the hands of the authorities, yet he lost not hope and was eventually rescued.
Indeed, it is as much a strength as it is a weakness. It's what keeps people going when all seems lost. It's also why people risk so much in their attempt to gain something, when they know they could lose everything.
All other emotions seem to follow; love, courage, ambition and happiness, and it seems to answer why hope is so essential. It's a key to the other emotions; including happiness. If we never hoped and treated everything as mere fact, then none of the other emotions would exist. And if happiness is the reason to live, then we couldn't afford to lose emotion. After all, it isn't possible to feel happy without feeling anything at all. Is it?