A major reason why modern people are such cowards (compared with all previous generations) is that they lack strong motivation - this is ultimately because they lack religion; and proximately because the actual primary motivations that modern people do have are feak and weeble.
We are officially supposed to be motivated by artifical, false, incoherent, changeable, and distant concerns. That is what is permitted and encouraged; and any other concerns we might have that are personal, based on experience and common sense - are demonised and (increasingly) punished.
Modern motivations are feak and weeble because they are misdirected: deliberately. What I mean by this is that our precise, primary natural and spontaneous motivations; are culturally-misdirected into vague, secondhand abstractions.
Take for example the three things that are this week supposed to motivate the people of the world: 1. the birdemic, 2. antiracism and 3. CO2-related global/ climate/ warming/ change...
1. Pretty-much everything we know about the threat of global pandemic is abstract, statistical and via the mass media; concerning people we don't know, don't care about - and maybe don't exist. We are supposed to be concerned not by the actual risks to our health but acting to keep 'other people' safe. And this is not something that lasts a few days or weeks, but the New Normal. In essence, we are supposed to be motivated in our moment-to-moment actions, now and forever, by our desire to contribute to better data summaries, and the blanket approval of the media/ government.
2. Antiracism. Everybody is supposed to care passionately about some incident that is supposed to have happened in the USA. We know nothing about this except what comes via the mass media; and we have been told what this is supposed to mean, and what we are supposed to do about it. In sum, the supposedly major ethical principle of our lives is that unknown strangers in foreign countries who are (apparently in as many ways as possible) defined as qualitatively different from ourselves (yet, somehow, simultaneously identical...); must matter more to each of us than people who we know and love - our relations, friends and neighbours.
3. The 'environmentalism' of change/ warming/ climate/ global/ carbon... Again personal knowledge and experience counts for nothing. We are instead told to care only about the average concentration of a chemical, assertions about what is has happened thousands of miles away and hundreds of years ago. We must believe the truth and accuracy of statements linking remote causes with distant effects, mathematical theories about the future, socio-economic hypotheses about what 'must' be done - and we are expected to feel all this as an overwhelmingly urgent imperative.
In sum, we are cowards because we cannot genuinely and strongly and personally be motivated by unnatural, artificial abstractions; and these unnatural, artificial abstractions are the only ones officially allowed us.
Thus abstraction doth make cowards of us all...