A man grows up with a strong sense of morality. He believes that if he ever finds himself in a situation where someone is in danger, he should put his life on the line to help them, no matter the danger involved.
However, this never happens. His life ends up being calm and quiet, and by the time he dies he finds no situation has presented itself to prove his courage. No buildings on fire, no drowning children, no kids standing in the way of a drunk driver.
Was this person courageous, and thus virtuous?
I believe so. Actions needn't represent who you are. You don't need a partner to know you would be loving. You don't need to speak to know you would be honest. You don't need to save people from a buliding on fire to know you're courageous.
Yes, reality puts our inner beliefs to the test. But reality is also deceiving. A firefighter may save people just for the fame of it all, not for altruistic reasons. Someone may be loving to secure an inheritance, not for love. Someone may be honest because the reputation that creates works in his favor, not due to principles.
Your inner world depicts who you are, not your actions - though they certainly help.Back