In Damon Davis’s TED Talk, Courage is Contagious, he names fear and courage as having a contagious effect on people in groups. I think not only are those things contagious, they also cause movement in people to act. Act is part of action. Action is what people do, even if you think they are not doing anything. Action is walking towards something or walking away. Even inaction is an action. The stillness we exhibit to think or the standing by as something happens and we do nothing. Desicion to do or not do is an action.
Sometimes inaction causes us to jugde and place shame. Shame on the person who didn’t act how we thought they should act. Shame on them. Because if we were there we would have done something.
But what if doing nothing, inaction, is contagious? Then doing nothing can infected those around it. If fear is contagious and we believe that it is, should we shame others for catching it? Was it their fault?
Maybe they were never inoculated from it. Maybe it has already effected them so much their bodies are riddled with inaction.
We don’t shame others when they get cancer. Why shame someone when they are infected by fear? Perhaps, we can help them get treated. We can help inoculate them with courage. That would mean giving of ourselves to infecting another.
Can we do that?
Shame is thrown too quickly onto others who fail to act within at particular time frame; a matter of seconds. Or onto those who don’t act at all. Assumption and shame are precursors to the spread of fear.
Fear has three symptoms: fight, flight and freeze. You don’t know which fear you or someone else will get or how the body will react. All infections are like that. Unpredictable.
If we can see these contagious behaviors as changeable with support, care and love, then the infection won’t spend so much or so quickly.
We can help each other. I believe we all want to help each other. What infection inside of us keeps us from doing that?
My take away from these thoughts and Damon Davis’s talk is that we have the inoculation already inside of us. Courage. Two easy things we can do to get at it: search within ourselves or search for others who have it.