Cowardice is a concept that has a negative social assessment, implying the lack of spiritual power in a person to perform the necessary actions or decisions, to maintain a firm stance in a situation of experiencing emotional fear and extreme incidents. Cowardice, as a quality of a person, is not a concept synonymous with fear, since fear and horror serve as mechanisms for survival and orientation in the outside world, they are natural and regular, while the person maintains the direction of movement. Fear corrects actions, forces one to be more attentive, to take into account more various features, perhaps, to change the strategy of achievement. Cowardice deprives the ability to perceive the situation objectively and stops all human activity. Usually, moving forward in people with a predominance of cowardice is forced, because in many situations they stop not only their own progress, but also the movement of the entire team.

Everyone shows cowardice, but those who have this trait becomes the leader are called cowards. It is useless to struggle with such reactions by an effort of will, it is possible only to develop one’s own courage, as the opposite of cowardice.

What it is

The definition of cowardice in any sources implies the attitude to this quality as a weakness, and the weakness of the condemned, criminal. This is explained by the fact that under the influence of emotions a person is capable of any actions, sometimes a high degree of cowardice can push on serious crimes. It turns out that fear can really have a strong stimulating effect, but when there is a trait of cowardice in a person, this takes on destructive forms.

Next to the destructive forms of cowardice, betrayal often stands, since, without having internal strength to withstand outside pressure, a person’s opinion will change in order to suit circumstances with the sole purpose of avoiding personal negative consequences. Cowardice excludes personal responsibility; the ability to rationally make decisions about any actions; all human activity is subject to fear. It is worth noting that fear can arise from a real threat or contrived problems, but is experienced by a person equally.

Carefully it is necessary to distinguish between cowardice and caution, attentiveness, accuracy - a temporary retreat, waiting for the right moment have nothing to do with the stopped activity, implying rather tactics. Cowardice does not want to look closely and look for solutions, it is not able to wait or be attentive - it is a bright instinctive feeling that turns a person into a run when the source of fear approaches.

A cautious and contemptuous attitude towards cowards in society, since there is no reason to wait for reliability from a person. They are saved first, leaving the weak and helpless in trouble, resorting to lies and sabotage for the sake of their own safety and gain, it happens that because of the fear of disclosing secrets, murders were committed. A coward is an unreliable person for joint activities or relationships. After all, there is no main ability - processing of internal fear.

In a normal developmental situation and with a harmonious personality, a person is able to process his own experiences, to highlight the main values ​​on the basis of moral norms, ethical principles, and not instinctive direct reactions. In a coward, there are no limiting factors of internal principles, allowing instincts to direct behavior. Many consider that cowardice is the most terrible vice that descends a person to the level of an animal, and comparisons from the animal kingdom are also not quite flattering, because among lions, wolves, elephants there is a tendency to protect their kin, and not cowardly escape.

Cowardice helps a person to move away from solving important social and life tasks. Procrastination, constant entertainment, aimless pastime, activity tools, the use of which organizes a cowardly escape from a collision with unpleasant, but demanding participation moments.

The problem of human cowardice

The problem of such manifestations as cowardice has a long history of philosophical and military disputes, this question was raised by Socrates. Unfortunately, there is no single clear understanding of what cowardice is, despite the rather clear definition of a given word. Now in every single social group there is a certain understanding of who is a coward and this is not connected with the substitution of concepts, just for some it’s the one who doesn’t make decisions quickly, for others it’s a mother who hasn’t stood for her son, but for the third it’s a traitor to the motherland. Different categories of values ​​and the general cultural level of society also determine cowards.

In wartime, the attitude towards cowards was quite sharp - they could be executed or imprisoned for life. The meaning of this was to secure the bulk of the population, because in war conditions, the instability of the internal forces of one person can cost millions of lives and the freedom of an entire nation. Less acute punishments, but necessarily present in every society and at any time - this is a necessity that ensures the protection of all individuals. This is an artificial mechanism developed over thousands of years aimed at the survival of the species. There is a punishment for cowardice on all continents, regardless of whether the nation is high-tech in its development or this tribe is devoid of connection with civilization.

Cowardice is an exclusively human problem, since there is no such thing in the manifestation of the animal world. The mechanism regulating the existence of the species makes the animals, when approaching the danger, first of all notify their relatives, despite drawing attention to themselves and risking their lives.

The more opportunities a person gets for a separate existence, the higher the likelihood of developing cowardice in society. No one cares about the general well-being, since it does not affect the individual, and the meaning is solely in maintaining his position. This tendency makes the concept of cowardice more blurry, but does not neglect contemptuously the attitude of the public to manifestations of mental weakness. Initially, deserters and military traitors were called cowards, those who did not want to go hunting and risk their lives to feed the tribe, that is, cowards are those who directly threaten the lives of many people at once. This memory of the inadmissibility of cowardly behavior is fixed at the genetic level, except that the manifestations of this quality become completely different in modern society.

In peacetime, an increasing emphasis is being placed on the moral side of the process of cowardice, that is, this is no longer the absence of active actions, but a departure from the conversation, an inability to take responsibility, a change in life in a fundamental way. Even a simple meeting can manifest a coward, for example, by the fact that he will not come to her, having learned that important things will be discussed. Personality immaturity becomes the cause of an increasing manifestation of moral cowardice in a person - people abandon children, abandon families for fear of responsibility, make critical mistakes, or skip prospective work, fearing a further increase in responsibility.

The problem of human cowardice remains relevant and is modified along with social restructuring of the main social models of interaction and the immediate real civil situation. One cannot take as a point of reference those examples that spoke of cowardice several centuries ago, because perhaps now there are simply no conditions for manifestation, but others have appeared and there is a need to create new criteria.


A coward manifests itself to be passive, and any active actions are directed solely at avoiding any other, required, but perceived, as dangerous. Vivid and unforgivable examples of cowardly behavior manifest themselves in wartime, when a fully capable person ejaculates from service. It can also be desertion from the battlefield, self-injured wounds for speedy sending to the hospital, surrender to the enemy of their fellow soldiers in exchange for promises to save lives.

In crisis situations, cowardice is manifested by the lack of human participation in resolving a common cause or misfortune. So a coward can refer to a sudden weakness in case of a fire, suddenly remember about the unfinished business at home, when a friend needs help in defending against offenders.

Refusal from risks can be both a manifestation of prudence and cowardice - the main thing is to take into account the context of the situation. If a person is paralyzed with fear, and he refuses to jump on a rope from a bridge, then this may be a logical decision. But the refusal to jump with a parachute from a burning plane is not justified either by saving life or by a decision dictated by common sense; moreover, a person who refuses to make a jump delays the line and endangers the others.

The coward will not go to the authorities to find out the problems associated with payment, for fear of losing his job. The guy will not intervene for his girlfriend, fearing a fight with boors or antisocial groups. A friend will not say words of support to his companion in the presence of a large number of condemning or even one significant person.

Everyone has weaknesses, on which human behavior depends. In any case, betrayal of some kind of universal or social values ​​takes place in favor of fears and its own illusory well-being. The illusion is that constantly running away from problems, a coward not only does not solve the situation in favor of change, but also contributes to aggravation.