“I did it out of, well, I had to, you know,” is what the actor Benedict Cumberbatch is reported as saying to the report that he helped fight off four muggers from a cyclist in London last November.
Everyone is hailing the actor for his bravery.
The story is that he was in a cab and saw the cyclist being attacked and simply jumped out and helped fight off the attackers.
Known for playing tough characters he is clearly made of strong stuff in real life too.
Well done Benedict!
What struck me though was the way he has tried to shrug off the praise.
In his own words, he only did what he “had to.”
Instinct plays a big part in all of this.
It is that driving force so deep within us that when faced by a situation, whatever it may be, we simply react to it.
In the case of threat and personal danger it may either be to fight or run away, the ‘fight or flight’ response.
True bravery lies in having the instinct of flight but nevertheless entering into the danger all the time fighting what is the natural instinct of fear.
In this particular case though, it wasn’t even Benedict who was in danger but him seeing someone who was and responding to it, because he “had to.”
We often see people in need around us but there is a general mindset which holds so many of us back from getting involved.
There is fear of being seen to be a busybody, or fear of being rebuffed, causing offence, or of personal injury if it is a dangerous situation.
Our intellects take control over and above what the human and the right thing to do is.
When we are confronted by an injustice, or mindless violence, or another’s deep need we shouldn’t let our intellect blind us to the possibility of what can be achieved.
May more of us be able to live by the dictum of doing something right simply because we “had to”!