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A courage which conquers the negativities of the individual life is possible for those who participate in the universal process in which the absolute mind actualizes itself. The anxieties of fate, guilt, and doubt are overcome by means of an elevation through the different degrees of meanings toward the highest, the philosophical intuition of the universal process itself. Hegel tries to unite the courage to be as a part (especially of a nation) with the courage to be as oneself (especially as a thinker) in a courage which transcends both and has a mystical background.
In Kafka novels The Castle and The Trial the unapproachable remoteness of the source of meaning and the obscurity of the source of justice and mercy are expressed in language which is pure and classical. The courage to take upon oneself the loneliness of such creativity and the horror of such visions is an outstanding expression of the courage to be as oneself. Man is separated from the sources of courage--but not completely: he is still able to face and to accept his own separation. In Auden the Age of Anxiety the courage to take upon oneself the anxiety in a world which has lost the meaning is as obvious as the profound experience of this loss: the two poles which are united in the phrase "courage of despair" receive equal emphasis. In Sartre The Age of Reason the hero faces a situation in which his passionate desire to be himself drives him to the rejection of every human commitment. He refuses to accept anything which could limit his freedom. Nothing has ultimate meaning for him, neither love nor friendship nor politics. The only immovable point is the unlimited freedom to change, to preserve freedom without content. He represents one of the most extreme forms of the courage to be as oneself, the courage to be a self which is free from any bond and which pays the price of complete emptiness. In the invention of such a figure Sartre proves his courage of despair.