1. Whoa! Getting all philosophical… In a few words, my opinion is, the difference is Fear is a healthy respect for danger. Cowardice is an unhealthy resistance to change.
    A fearful person understands possible danger of a situation but will act anyway.
    A cowardly person will do whatever possible to avoid having to act.

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    1. LOL, yes, philosophy — especially legal philosophy. Yesterday I got “served” (if I’m using that term correctly), and the stack of legal documents I received included a bunch of sworn affidavits from MetLife employees claiming to be afraid of me. But I know for a fact that I’m not dangerous — never have been, never will be — so from my perspective, these affidavits look like formal confessions of cowardice. So now I’m thinking about what the difference is between them. At what point does fear stop being cowardice and begin to earn the sort of respect these rich corporate cowards seem to imagine it deserves? (FYI, I’m fairly certain that the majority of them earn upwards of $100K per year).

      In any case, thank you for taking the time to think it through. Regarding your own answer, I think I agree that cowardice is essentially a response to fear — in particular, stubbornly refusing to act in the face of perceived risk. But what you said about a fearful person understanding the risks of acting, but acting anyway: for me, that’s actually how I would describe courage. Can you recognize any differences between between being fearful and being courageous?

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      1. Thinking more about my answer after I posted it, I have to agree with you. I was writing about courage or bravery in the face of fear.
        I still think fear is more ‘rational’ and cowardice ‘irrational’.

        What exactly were the employees fearful of? Did they think you were going to come in a shoot everyone? I guess in this day & age that’s not an irrational fear. One would think that after working with you, they’d know that you’re not the uzi-toting type. But again, one never knows…
        Maybe a protest, with signs, OUTSIDE the campus would be a safer alternative. For you especially. Because the flip side is, you don’t know about any of those people either. You could get shot yourself.
        Civil disobedience is dangerous. Effecting real change is dangerous. People either don’t know or forgot how dangerous things were for Dr King and his followers.

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      2. I did actually think about the possibility that I might get myself shot somehow. But I was very careful not to make any aggressive moves. When the cops showed up I opened my hands and spread my arms far away from my body. The cops seemed completely relaxed and unconcerned. They told me I could put my hands down almost immediately.

        Thanks for revising what you said about fear and cowardice. The way you have it fits much better with my own perspective at the moment. And I do like your suggestion about protesting off campus. I realize that’s how it’s usually done, but I had a number of other objectives that really required me to do what I did. 🙂

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      3. The fibromyalgia “fibro fog” steals my ability to form coherent sentences sometimes. I knew I wrote it wrong the first time, but my words weren’t cooperating.
        I wasn’t so much worried about the cops shooting you (you’re a white male after all) but one of the “fearful” employees.
        But, like I always say… You gotta do things the way you deem right. ✊

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      1. Yeah, me too. And I really like the fact that you’re not 100% certain. Did you learn to do that by studying philosophy? I’m a big fan of Socrates (Plato). Not necessarily his conclusions, but his commitment to uncertainty. Thanks for helping me with this. 🙂

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      2. I have a similar perspective. Unless we’re talking about a logical or mathematical proof, there’s always room for doubt, even if it’s not necessarily “reasonable doubt”. One of my favorite and most helpful philosophical distinctions is between belief and commitment. For example, faced with having to guess which of two blue marbles and one yellow marble will be randomly selected next from an otherwise empty bag containing all three marbles, the rational 100% commitment is to guessing blue (it is rational to always guess blue in that situation), whereas the rational belief in blue is only 66% (2 out of 3). The gist here is that one can be 100% committed to some course of action, while only being, say, 66% certain that it’s the right course of action. 🙂

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  2. I’ve always thought of cowardice as thinking of one’s own safety/self preservation over the safety of others when being fearful. In other words when one experiences fear but does the right thing regardless, that is bravery. But if one experiences fear and acts only in one’s self interest irrespective of the interests of others, that is cowardice.

    But I’m not sure if it’s applicable in your particular case. One can be afraid/fearful of another without being a coward. People can be afraid of another person even if they don’t perceive a risk of physical danger. And of course a sense of fear doesn’t have to be rational. Only the reaction to that fear will determine if someone is brave or cowardly.

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    1. What you wrote about cowardice being when one places one’s own safety at a higher priority than that of others sounds correct to me. And I agree that being afraid of someone doesn’t make one a coward, but being afraid of someone who is in fact harmless and blindly trusting that fear to the point where you fire that person who send him to jail seems quite cowardly. I think in such a situation the brave thing to do is proceed with caution and not jump to conclusions.



      1. I know I have been afraid of some people simply because from my point of view that person was too aggressive. And by aggressive, I mean in a confrontational way, not because I feared for my safety. In other words, I didn’t know how to handle the situation appropriately, which was the foundation of the fear. In such situations I find it better to avoid those situations, although that is a purely personal (and Kiwi) way of handling it.

        It’s clear the the company misunderstands the way you have reacted, and due to the amount of misinformation circulating about autism, it’s hardly surprising. What is glaringly obvious to you and me is not so for neurotypicals, and visa versa.

        And while I can see things from your point of view, I wonder if the language you use on your blog is also what you use face to face, where an explanation of your use of particular words is likely to be very brief or missing entirely. If so, and particularly in America, where almost everyone seems to live in fear of something, perhaps traditional forms of protest such as you have been doing are no longer appropriate?

        The laws in this country are obviously different to those where you live. Entering a premises by tailgating would not be illegal here, unless there was a criminal intent for doing so (entering with intent). Breaking and entering means exactly that, and you didn’t break or force anything to gain access. It would be necessary for a person responsible for the premises to advise you that you are trespassing, and only if you didn’t take immediate steps to leave the premises would you be guilty of a crime. Only when you have been issued with a trespass notice (written or verbal) is it a criminal offence to go onto the property. As we live in different jurisdictions, I really don’t know the best way forward for you.

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      2. The fact that you’ve taken the time to think all of this through and to articulate your thoughts so well means more to me than I know how to express. I’m feeling very misunderstood right now, but you’ve taken the chill off that a bit with your friendly contributions to this conversation. 🙂

        I’m afraid I’m going to have to bow out of this discussion for now. Yesterday I was ordered by a Wake County District Judge to stop blogging about obsession with my former employer. 🙂

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