Quotes with actions
We become just by performing just action, temperate by performing temperate actions, brave by performing brave action.
The only correct actions are those that demand no explanation and no apology.
The cynic puts all human actions into two classes — openly bad and secretly bad.
Lectures to Young Men: On Various Important Subjects (1856)
I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. [He was speaking of Quantum Mechanics and the breaking down of determinism.] My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God.
'The Human Side', 1954
Don't be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment.
There is enormous inertia -- a tyranny of the status quo -- in private and especially governmental arrangements. Only a crisis -- actual or perceived -- produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around. That, I believe, is our basic function: to develop alternatives to existing policies, to keep them alive and available until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.
Capitalism and Freedom (1962)
When I first started under LSD, I found myself turning and turning on the couch. I said to the doctor, ‘Why am I turning around on this sofa?’ and he said ‘Don’t you know why?’ and I said I didn't have the vaguest idea, but I wondered when it was going to stop. ‘When you stop it,’ he answered. Well, it was like a revelation to me, taking complete responsibility for one’s own actions. I thought ‘I’m unscrewing myself.’ That’s why people use the phrase, ‘all screwed up.’
Speaking to a reporter about his experience taking LSD.
History is essential to wisdom and statesmanship. It teaches the young the virtues of freedom. By apprising them of the past it will enable them to judge the future; it will qualify them as judges of the actions and designs of men; it will enable them to know ambition under every disguise and knowing it, to defeat its views.
May you live your life as if the maxim of your actions were to become universal law.
We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.
Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
History, as I've always said, is more than politics and military actions. It is medicine, art, literature, science. All that is an important part of who we are.
At my age, 85, I'm at age where I can look back and derive some conclusions about my actions. My rule has been try to learn, try to understand what happened. Develop the lessons and pass them on.
The Fog of War
Virtue is relative to the actions and ages of each of us in all that we do.
A remorseful change of mind renders even a noble action base, whereas the determination which is grounded on knowledge and reason cannot change even if its actions fail.
Although men flatter themselves with their great actions, they are not so often the result of a great design as of chance.
In order to punish man for his original sin, God has made him so fond of his self-love that he is tormented by it in all the actions of his life.
Nothing is so contagious as example; never was there any considerable good or ill done that does not produce its like. We imitate good actions through emulation, and bad ones through a malignity in our nature, which shame conceals, and example sets at liberty.
Those great actions whose luster dazzles us are represented by politicians as the effects of deep design; whereas they are commonly the effects of caprice and passion.
We should often be ashamed of our very best actions, if the world only saw the motives which caused them.
We should often have reason to be ashamed of our most brilliant actions if the world could see the motives from which they spring.
What we take for virtues is often nothing but an assemblage of different actions, and of different interests, that fortune or our industry know how to arrange; and it is not always from valor and from chastity that men are valiant, and that women are chaste.
There are good men and bad men of all nationalities, creeds and colors; and if this world of ours is ever to become what we hope some day it may become, it must be by the general recognition that the man's heart and soul, the man's worth and actions, determine his standing.
Letter, Oyster Bay, NY, September 1, 1903
All human actions are equivalent and all are on principle doomed to failure.
I have striven not to laugh at human actions, not to weep at them, nor to hate them, but to understand them.
The key to your happiness is to own your slippers, own who you are, own how you look, own your family, own the talents you have, and own the ones you don’t. If you keep saying your slippers aren’t yours, then you’ll die searching, you’ll die bitter, always feeling you were promised more. Not only our actions, but also our omissions, become our destiny.
Cutting for Stone
There is a Destiny which has the control of our actions, not to be resisted by the strongest efforts of Human Nature.
Letter to Mrs. George William Fairfax (12 September 1758).