My Musings

Courage

Courage

In The Wizard of Oz, the Tin Man, Scarecrow and Lion are all defined by their deepest desires (a heart, a brain and courage respectively).

Did you catch the classical Greek philosophy there? In his book, The Republic, Plato (424 – 348 BC) outlined the three parts of the human soul thusly:

  • Eros: the feeling part (desiring; caring).
  • Nous: the thinking part (or logos, the reasoning part).
  • Thumos: the volitional part (willing).

Some translate the three parts as appetite, reason and spirit, but you see the connection with the three wishful characters of Oz.

For old Plato, we humans are defined by more than just our desires. That’s only a third of what makes us, well, so human. He thought that the reasoning part was the most important but I think it’s that third one—the volitional part.

The thymos, as I see it, is primarily what defines us as creatures made in the image of God. It establishes us as free moral agents. The heart and the head play a huge role in deciphering right from wrong and weighing the consequences either way, but actually doing what is right is more a matter of the free human will (thumos). Thinking and feeling right are important, but when dire consequences loom over truth and goodness, it takes courage to choose to stand by them and do right. That’s essential!

God wants our heads and hearts in tune with Him, but the will is the part of us that God demands completely and the part we most want to keep for ourselves. It’s easy to be religious with our hearts (emotions) and minds (logic) but God wants nothing less than our will, the single hardest thing for us to surrender.

dorothy says, "You ought to be ashamed of yourself!" to the cowardly lion.

 

The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

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About the Author:

Joel graduated from Pepperdine University with a B.A., completing two majors: Art and Religion. He went on to earn the Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. The views expressed on this blog are personal and belong to Joel Solliday unless otherwise stated. They are not, intended to characterize the views of the Lewiston Church of Christ or other organizations to which I may refer.

Discussion

  1. Claire  April 11, 2012

    Interesting! Think I’ll take Plato’s _Republic_ off the shelf and renew some of this stuff.

    (reply)
  2. Claire  April 11, 2012

    That’s “review” some of this stuff–but I guess it amounts to the same thing. ; )

    (reply)

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