Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

Action

"The most drastic and usually the most effective remedy for fear is direct action." - William Burnham

"It is not necessary for all men to be great in action. The greatest and sublimest power is simple patience." - Horace Bushnell

"There are five tests of the evidence of education - correctness and precision in the use of the mother tongue; refined and gentle manners, the result of fixed habits of thought and action; sound standards of appreciation of beauty and of worth, and a character based on those standards; power and habit of reflection, efficiency or the power to do." - Nicholas Murray Butler

"The alternative to recalling and interpreting dreams is not always pleasant. Individuals cannot expect to drift forever. If they do not puzzle out their identity, and the direction of their lives by the aid of their dreams, then they may be brought, by the relentless action of their own pent-up souls, into some crisis which requires that they come to terms with themselves. It may be a medical crisis. It may be the end of a marriage or of a job. It may be depression or withdrawal." - Edgar Cayce, known as the "Sleeping Prophet"

"Every action of our lives touches in some chord that will vibrate in eternity." - Edwin Hubbell Chapin

"If the aim of the military action is an equivalent for the political object, that action will in general diminish as the political object diminishes. The more this object comes to the front, the more will this be so. This explains how, without self-contradiction, there can be wars of all degrees of importance and energy, from a war of extermination down to a mere state of armed observation." - Carl von Clausewitz, fully Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz, also Karl von Clausewitz

"War is an act of force, and to the application of that force there is no limit. Each of the adversaries forces the hand of the other, and a reciprocal action results which in theory can have no limit." - Carl von Clausewitz, fully Carl Philipp Gottfried von Clausewitz, also Karl von Clausewitz

"An artist is a man of action, whether he creates a personality, invents an expedient, or finds the issue of a complicated situation." - Joseph Conrad, born Teodor Josef Konrad Korzeniowski

"Ambition is a spirit in the world that causes all the ebbs and flows of nations, keeps mankind sweet by action; without that, the world would be a filthy, settled mud." -

"It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us. These laws, taken in the largest sense, being Growth with Reproduction; Inheritance which is almost implied by reproduction; Variability from the indirect and direct action of the conditions of life and from use and disuse: a Ratio of Increase so high as to lead to a Struggle for Life, and as a consequence to Natural Selection, entailing Divergence of Character and the Extinction of less-improved forms, Thus, from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely, the production of the higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and wonderful have been, and are being evolved." - Charles Darwin, fully Charles Robert Darwin

""Faith is tendency toward action." According to such a view, faith is the matrix of formulated creeds and the inspiration of endeavor... Faith in its newer sense signifies that experience itself is the sole ultimate authority." - John Dewey

"Love of certainty is a demand for guarantees in advance of action." - John Dewey

"The future of religion is connected with the possibility of developing a faith in the possibilities of human experience and human relationships that will create a vital sense of the solidarity of human interests and inspire action to make that sense a reality." - John Dewey

"We cannot seek or attain health, wealth, learning, justice or kindness in general. Action is always specific, concrete, individualized, unique." - John Dewey

"Some people, in working toward a goal, find themselves seized by inertia when it comes time for action. If this should happen to you, despite the small graduated steps, then it is time to reexamine your goal. Consider how important it actually is and then either discard the goal and replace it with a more suitable one or continue the steps with a renewed sense of the value of achieving it." - Fitzhugh Dodson

"Enthusiasm is the dynamics of your personality. Without it whatever you may possess lies dormant: and it is safe to say that nearly every man has more latent power than he ever learns to use. You may have knowledge, sound judgment, good reasoning faculties; but no one - not even yourself - will know it until you discover how to put your heart into thought and action. When a man dies, if he can pass enthusiasm along to his children he has left them an estate of incalculable value." -

"Religion, in its purity, is not so much a pursuit as a temper; or rather it is a temper, leading to the pursuit of all that is high and holy. Its foundation is faith; its action, works; its tempter, holiness; its aim, obedience to God in improvement of self and benevolence to men." - Tyron Edwards

"In all men, thought and action start from a single source, namely feeling." -

"Better to die in action than sitting still." - Euripedes NULL

"While others talked about what they would do if they heard that they had to die within that very hour, Saint Charles Borromaeus said he would continue his game of chess. For he had begun it only in honor of god, and he could wish for nothing better than to be called away in the midst of an action undertaken in the honor of God." -

"Not alone to know, but to act according to thy knowledge, is thy destination, proclaims the voice of thy inmost soul. Not for indolent contemplation and study of thyself, nor for brooding over emotions of piety - no, for action was existence given thee; thy actions, and thy actions alone, determine thy worth." -

"Nobody can think straight who does not work. Idleness warps the mind. Thinking without constructive action becomes a disease." - Henry Ford

"Religion is action not diction." - Harry Emerson Fosdick

"Inspirations never go in for long engagements; they demand immediate marriage to action." - Brendan Francis Behan

"Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy. Action is no less necessary than thought to the instinctive tendencies of the human frame." -

"The quality of our expectations determines the quality of our action." - Jean-Baptiste André Godin

"Knowledge of our duties is the most essential part of the philosophy of life. If you escape duty you avoid action. The world demands results." - George Washington Goethals

"Nothing is more dreadful than ignorance in action." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"Self knowledge is best learned, not by contemplation, but action. Strive to do your duty and you will soon discover of what stuff you are made." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"We crave freedom, but freedom is never an end in itself; it is a means to be used for further aims. Its value lies in the extent to which it can assist the development of life. To possess freedom with no life for which to use it is but the bitterest farce. Life never means complete freedom, and every action and relation is an added bond. Life is to be attained, not through a non-moral freedom of caprice, but through a glad welcoming and loyal fulfillment of every bond and obligation which comes in the daily path of life." - Edward Howard Griggs

"Remember you have not a sinew whose law of strength is not action; not a faculty of body, mind, or soul, whose law of improvement is not energy." - Edwin Bradford Hall

"A good character is, in all cases, the fruit of personal exertion. It is not inherited from parents; it is not created by external advantages; it is no necessary appendage of birth; wealth, talents, or station; but it is the results of one's good principles manifested in a course of virtuous and honorable action." - Josiah Johnson "J." Hawes

"The men of action are, after all, only the unconscious instruments of the men of thought." - Heinrich Heine

"Every man without passions has within him no principle of action, nor motive to act." - Claude-Adrien Helvétius

"God then, is the source of all things; the Aeon is the power of God; and the work of the Aeon is the Kosmos which never came into being, but is ever coming into being, by the action of the Aeon, and that which olds the universe together is the Aeon." - Hermetica NULL

"Success seems to be connected with action. Successful men keep moving. They make mistakes, but they never quit." -

"Reason is the director of man's will, discovering in action what is good, for the laws of well-doing are the dictates of right reason." - Richard Hooker

"Economic depression cannot be cured by legislative action or executive pronouncement. Economic wounds must be healed by the action of the cells of the economic body, the producers and consumers themselves." - Herbert Hoover, fully Herbert Clark Hoover

"If we look abroad upon the great multitude of mankind, and endeavor to trace out the principles of action in every individual, it will, I think, seem highly probably that ambition runs through the whole species, and that every man, in proportion to the vigor of his complexion, is more or less actuated by it." - Thomas Hughes

"It is harder to avoid censure than to gain applause; for this may be done by one great or wise action in an age. But to escape censure a man must pass his whole life without saying or doing one ill or foolish thing." - David Hume

"Mankind are so much the same, in all times and places, that history informs us of nothing new or strange in this particular. Its chief use is only to discover the constant and universal principles of human nature, by showing men in all varieties of circumstances and situations, and furnishing us with materials from which we may form our observations and become acquainted with the regular springs of human action and behavior." - David Hume

"All the commandments follow three ways: faith, word, and deed. As one is basic in mathematics, so the essence of every commandment, whether it depends on speech or action, is faith of heart. If it has not that , all else is meaningless." - Abraham ben Meir ibn Ezra, also known as Ben Ezra or Abenezra

"The whole defense of religious faith hinges upon action." - William James

"Death - the ultimate deadline. The first step in seeing death as an ally of accomplishment is to remove the childhood fears we have concerning death... Death encourages action... Death encourages risk." -

"Chain reaction is popularly associated with the atomic bomb, but it is no less gigantic a force in your daily life. Every word you speak, every action you perform sets up a chain of reaction that can end in a damaging explosion or a shower of blessings." - Harold S. Kahm

"There are risks and costs to a program of action, but they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction." - John F. Kennedy, fully John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy

"Let the motive be in the deed and not in the event. Be not one whose motive for action is the hope of reward." -

"Knowledge in relationship creates division... knowledge becomes a barrier in relationship... Where there is division there must be conflict. And therefore an action born out of conflict is a non-intelligent action. So intelligent action is an action that is without friction, without conflict... Dependence is an action of a mind that is not intelligent." - Jiddu Krishnamurti

"The greatest pleasure I know is to do a good action by stealth, and to have it found out by accident." - Charles Lamb

"Although generalizations are dangerous, I venture to say that at the bottom of most fears, both mild and severe, will be found an overactive mind and an underactive body. Hence, I have advised many people, in their quest for happiness, to use their heads less and their arms and legs more... in useful work or play. We generate fears while we sit; we overcome them in action. Fear is nature's warning signal to get busy." - Henry C. Link