I've believed for a long time now that action is a great deal more important than hope. Though people tell me endlessly that we must have hope. (I am not in fact obliged to have hope. I would be lying if I said I have hope.)
The way I see it, hope has no legs. It doesn't really take you anywhere. It's very very passive.
Action will take you places. Not necessarily to some magical place where all is resolved. Things on Planet Earth are a little beyond that. (Okay, okay; a lot beyond that.)
Anyway, below the small list of postings on this blog about hope & action, is a lovely long list of quotations with the word 'action' in them. Enjoy!
Quotes with Action in Them
Talk – Action = Zero ……… ad in Jan/Feb. 2009 ‘Watershed Sentinel’ magazine
“The message, so firmly, is – don’t give up. Don’t hang with the cynics, the angry-hearted, the whiners, the blamers, the negative minded. Hang with those who believe in love, hope, and beauty – and then work with them to make this a reality. This is our planet. This is our time. This is our call to action.” ~ Guy Dauncey http://www.earthfuture.com/, author of the Climate Challenge: 101 Solutions to Global Warming
“No matter how exotic human civilization becomes, no matter the developments of life and society, there always come interludes when the course of humankind – the very future of humankind – depends upon the relatively simple actions of single individuals.” – The Tleilaxu Godbak
“Thoughts become words. Words become actions. Actions become character. Character is everything.” – Source unknown (seen on the wall at a hospital)
“There is a powerful distinction that becomes crystal clear when we think about fate and destiny. While fate may be thought of as passively dealing with the challenges that face us by doing nothing, destiny, on the other hand, is the child of action. Our destiny must be put into motion to be realized. In the case of the crises facing us, that action comes in the form of our choices. Destiny is what awaits us, as individuals and together, as we make the choices that lead to the fulfillment of our greatest potential.” – Gregg Braden in Deep Truth – Igniting the Memory of Our Origin, History, Destiny, and Fate
“…you also know that each action undertaken with pure intent has repercussions throughout the web of life, beyond what you can measure or discern.” – Joanna Macy in World as Lover, World as Self – Courage for Global Justice & Ecological Renewal
“If we’re headed for the exit gate in the near term, the question then arises: What shall I do? How shall I live my life? In other words, now that we have knowledge of the near-term demise of our species, then what? There are more than seven billion responses to the latter questions. Recognizing that birth is lethal and that we have an opportunity to demonstrate our humanity on the way out the door, I’ve chosen an eyes-wide-open, decidedly counter-cultural approach. I’ve opted out of empire to the maximum possible extent, and I practice and promote a gift economy. Beyond my own actions, I suggest individuals take actions they never previously imagined. I promote resistance against the dominant paradigm, even though – especially though – it appears too late to save our species from near-term extinction. I propose assaulting ourselves and others with compassion. I recommend heavy doses of creativity and courage. I advise doing something well beyond the cultural current of the main stream. At this point, what have you got to lose? Indeed, what have we got to lose?” – Guy McPherson, Nature Bats Last http://guymcpherson.com/ dude in his book Going Dark, on pg. 26-7.
Radical historian Howard Zinn: “We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world. Even when we don't "win," there is fun and fulfillment in the fact that we have been involved, with other good people, in something worthwhile. We need hope. An optimist isn't necessarily a blithe, slightly sappy whistler in the dark of our time. To be hopeful in bad times is not just foolishly romantic. It is based on the fact that human history is a history not only of cruelty, but also of compassion, sacrifice, courage, kindness. What we choose to emphasize in this complex history will determine our lives. If we see only the worst, it destroys our capacity to do something. If we remember those times and places -- and there are so many -- where people have behaved magnificently, this gives us the energy to act, and at least the possibility of sending this spinning top of a world in a different direction. And if we do act, in however small a way, we don't have to wait for some grand utopian future. The future is an infinite succession of presents, and to live now as we think human beings should live, in defiance of all that is bad around us, is itself a marvelous victory.” (from Common Dreams & quoted by Rob Brezsny in Oct. 31/12 message)
“I have come to believe that we must take bold and unequivocal action: we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.” – Al Gore
“The optimism of the action is better than the pessimism of the thought.” – Harold Zindler
“A lot of people say, ‘What’s the point?’ That’s an excuse for inaction. I’d rather put a drop in the bucket than nothing at all, and every drop adds up.” ~ Jonathan Brock, on his work for Doctors Without Borders
“We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer
“Do you have the patience to wait ‘til your mud settles and the water is clear? Can you remain unmoving ‘til the right action arises by itself?” – Lao-tzu
“Words are a form of action, capable of influencing change.” – Ingrid Bengis
“You decide to do something, perform one small action, and suddenly it’s a tide, the momentum is going, and there’s no possibility of turning back. Somehow, even though you thought you foresaw all that would happen, you didn’t know the pace would pick up so.” – Amanda Cross, American writer
“Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to our lives.” – Albert Einstein [more Einstein quotes]
“What we need now is heroes – millions of them. Sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul.” – Paul Watson
“A real radical does not stand in the margins, admiring her own purity. Rather, she is a warrior to bring outsiders’ views into the center, asking, ‘How can my actions spark change for the good in the real lives of as many people as possible?’” – Naomi Wolf in Fire with Fire
“May the world’s feast be made safe for women and children. May mothers’ milk run clean again. May denial give way to courageous action. May I always have faith.” – Sandra Steingraber in Having Faith [more Steingraber quotes]
“Even if I am the only person left on Earth who has hope, and my hope is committed in action, then hope is alive in the world.” – Julia Butterfly Hill, famous for tree-sitting & her book The Legacy of Luna – The Story of a Tree, A Woman, & the Struggle to Save the Redwoods
“But I have faith. Faith in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and even in His creation. Without it no action would be possible. And action is the only remedy to indifference, the most insidious danger of all. Isn’t that the meaning of Alfred Nobel’s legacy? Wasn’t his fear of war a shield against war?” – Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, in his Nobel Peace prize acceptance speech, Dec. 1986
“Evolution is not about design or will; it is the outcome of constant endeavors made by organisms that want to survive and better themselves. The collective result is intoxicatingly beautiful, rife with oddities, and surpassingly brilliant, yet no agent is in control. Evolution arises from the bottom up – so, too, does hope. When fire destroys a forest, the species and plants that were lost will reassert themselves over time. Seeds that have lain dormant for decades and that germinate only when subjected to intense heat will come to life, and bloom in the spring. These plants may have deep taproots that bring up minerals, or broad leaves that create a canopy to help preserve topsoil from sun and rain. The older the forest, the more resilient its capacity to regenerate. Humanity is older than the oldest forest. Its capacity to adapt and restore is vastly underestimated. Evolution is optimism in action. Being compelled to make more of ourselves is the human lot.” -- Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming [more Blessed Unrest quotes here]
“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille, from Dance to the Piper - quoted in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming, by Paul Hawken
“The great end of life is not knowledge but action.” – Thomas Henry Huxley
“Prayer is not an old woman’s idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.” – Gandhi
“The best meditation is critical thinking – followed by action.” – the Dalai Lama quoted in Elisabet Sahtouris film “Crisis As Opportunity: Living Better on a Hotter Planet”
** this collection now included in the 'Quotation Central' section.