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  1. #1

    Default Action

    Action.

    What does that word mean to you?

    The contexts that I am interested in are when someone says:

    "man of action" (why not a "woman of action", why is that such a rare phrase?)

    When I was younger, the image of a "man of action" I had was Rambo or the Terminator. I disliked this image. I had no desire to be this sort of person (violent, brutish, imposing his will on others).

    A little while later, I also thought maybe it was used to indicate people with lots of energy and vitality. This is a positive image, but one I will likely not aspire to.

    But more recently, I have come to notice that sometimes when people use that word, they mean someone who is decisive, has great resolve, and willing to follow through on commitments. This, I believe, I am. I believe my track record shows this, based on what I have been able to accomplish despite struggles both external and internal.

    So, given the context of my question, I ask again:

    Action.

    What does that word mean to you?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  2. #2
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    In this context, action means a purposeful manipulation of the external environment or one’s place in that environment. To clarify, when I say purposeful I mean willful (accidentally tripping down a flight of stairs isn’t an action, but intentionally choosing to do so is). A man of action would be a man who has persistent internal pressure to act, and thus he seeks out ways in which he can take action with great frequency or of great magnitude.
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonnyboy View Post
    In this context, action means a purposeful manipulation of the external environment or one’s place in that environment. To clarify, when I say purposeful I mean willful (accidentally tripping down a flight of stairs isn’t an action, but intentionally choosing to do so is). A man of action would be a man who has persistent internal pressure to act, and thus he seeks out ways in which he can take action with great frequency or of great magnitude.
    So it fair to summarize your take this way:
    "A (wo)man of action is one who acts with great intention."

    Then how does one judge if someone acts with great intention or not?

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  4. #4
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    So it fair to summarize your take this way:
    "A (wo)man of action is one who acts with great intention."

    Then how does one judge if someone acts with great intention or not?
    I cannot speak for everyone, since each person’s judgments have their own personal quirks. I will say it seems likely to involve some combination of:

    1. Interpolation from the understanding of the self (e.g. I waddle very fast to the bathroom when I need to take a shit. That guy is waddling to the bathroom quite quickly, ergo he needs to take a shit.).

    2. Induction from observations of others (e.g. Whenever one of my twelve sisters waddles very fast to the bathroom she always stays there for quite some time, and it always stinks when she leaves. I decide to find out what they’re doing in there, so I hide in the bathtub behind the curtain; turns out they’re taking shits. I build an association between brisk waddling to the bathroom and shit taking. That guy is waddling to the bathroom quite quickly, ergo he needs to take a shit.).


    In terms of how I gauge whether a person is someone of action, I think it’s an ongoing process. I tend to form temporary judgments very quickly, and as I gather more data I refine these judgments and they solidify in my mind. I also suspect that there is some transference as well. For instance, suppose after observing a man for several years I classify him as a man of action using a classification system I’ll designate as A1. Once he’s firmly categorized as a man of action, all his behaviors that are distinct from behaviors of people who aren’t classified as “of action” become evidence of the “of action” characterization. These distinct behaviors are added to the original A1 classification system, which then becomes a new classification system A2. So on and so forth.
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  5. #5

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    Although your general procedure for making judgements is ellucidading, I was looking more for specific examples.

    Are there real life (or fantastical, but part of popular culture) examples you can point to?

    To be honest, people falling down stairs or taking shits are not things that I often associate with the phrase "man of action". If they associate this way for you, then can you elaborate on these associations?

  6. #6
    null Jonny's Avatar
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    Oh man, I had a hearty giggle; thanks for this. People always seem puzzled when I come up with such odd analogies, but it’s moments like these that make them worth it. That said, I concur with your assessment: taking shits and falling down stairs are not things I would associate with a man of action.

    I’ll give you an example of the type of thing that I do that makes me seem like a man of action (to myself):

    In general, whenever someone complains about something, I immediately think of ways to solve it. If I can solve it within a few minutes by taking some action, I’ll often do so without permission.

    Example:

    Background: Bars often consist of a bar-counter (where the drinks and bartenders are) and tables (both high tables at bar level and low tables as one would find in a restaurant). I was out with coworkers at a Bar that happened to have 2 bar-counters; the secondary one was smaller and off to the side. We were standing around a high table drinking (this table had no stools/chairs). The secondary bar-counter was in a section that was closed, but it had stools lining the bar. Someone complained about no seats, so I went over and started taking stools from that secondary bar so that we could sit down. In this particular Bar, no high table had seating, since the stools were for the bar-counters.

    I suppose, looking at this instance, “brutish” and “imposing his will on others” are apt. I think part of this stems from that internal drive to take some action; such a drive trumps rules and common courtesy sometimes. My own modus operandi is to spend my free time thinking of contingency plans; when action is required, I execute those plans quickly and effectively, while at the same time being mindful of whether someone more adept is present (to whom I should yield); afterword I reflect upon the outcome of my actions and adjust my plans accordingly. The phrase “don’t ask for permission, ask for forgiveness” comes to mind, but I’ll qualify it with, “while also being mindful of the impact your actions have on others, and being keenly aware of the real-time responses of others to your actions so that said actions can be stopped if need be.”

    Does that help?

    (Sidenote: I think it’s a relative classification, so context is important. What may be indicative of a man of action in one situation will be less so in another.)
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  7. #7

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    LOL. I wasn't sure where you were heading with your prior examples.

    I didn't really see making things convenient for myself or friends all that action oriented. I know of nobody who wouldn't do the same. The only way I would consider what you did "brutish" is if someone were sitting on those stools.

    Then again, I move fences and guard stripes at public events if they seem stupidly setup. Usually i look at the authority figure there to make sure its ok with them.

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