The Courage to Be

by Paul Tillich

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Last Updated on September 5, 2023, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 167

Paul Tillich was a German theologian and philosopher who moved to the United States after having to flee from Nazis in the 1930s. He became a lecturer at Yale University in Connecticut.

Tillich expanded his lectures into the book The Courage to Be. In the book, Tillich incorporates early philosophies of Socrates, Aquinas, and Nietzsche into his own philosophies about courage. Tillich believes that "courage is directly tied to being, or a self-affirmation of one's being."

In order to explain how courage is connected to personal being, Tillich also explains the concept of "nonbeing." When a person does not believe in their personal being, this results in anxiety. Tillich states that this anxiety has three forms: anxiety related to fate and death, anxiety related to emptiness and meaninglessness, and anxiety related to guilt.

Tillich states that "courage is self-affirmation in spite of anxiety." He also claims that for humans to have this type of courage, they must receive help from a higher power other than human beings.

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