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Human action   /hjˈumən ˈækʃən/   Listen
Human action

noun
1.
Something that people do or cause to happen.  Synonyms: act, deed, human activity.






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Human action" Quotes from Famous Books



... prophecies and they are fulfilled, but this thing which we call "charity" faileth, it vanisheth away. "The fund will soon be exhausted," we hear on all sides. Why not, then, try love? Why not try human action? Let men and women think a little more and forget mere money. Inspired political action is required, the refugees should be given some means of helping themselves and should be distributed over Europe in countries where for adults ...
— Europe—Whither Bound? - Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 • Stephen Graham

... give no reason for assuming that the first cause, and that which gives the law to development, is a blind force rather than an archetypal idea. The only origination within our experience is that of human action, where the cause is an idea. Science herself, in fact, constantly assumes an analogous cause for the movements of the universe in her use of the word "law," which necessarily conveys the notion, not merely of ...
— Lectures and Essays • Goldwin Smith

... integral to Burke's philosophy, and it deserves more examination than it has received. In part it is a rejection of the Benthamite position that man is a reasoning animal. It puts its trust in habit as the chief source of human action; and it thus is distrustful of thought as leading into channels to which the nature of man is not adapted. Novelty, which is assumed to be the outcome of thought, it regards as subversive of the routine upon which ...
— Political Thought in England from Locke to Bentham • Harold J. Laski

... that makes heroes. Truth enlightens and illumines. Sentiment warms and inclines to action. Interest also bears its part; and the hope of happiness is the work of God, and one of the motive powers of human action. ...
— Morals and Dogma of the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry • Albert Pike

... immediately upon sense, that explanation of human action is deemed to be the truest which is nearest to sense. As knowledge is reduced to sensation, so virtue is reduced to feeling, happiness or good to pleasure. The different virtues—the various characters which ...
— Theaetetus • Plato

... tacked on to the letter dated June, 1806. In the earlier part of this missive Lamb enumerates the books which he has just despatched to Wordsworth by carrier from London. Among these is an edition of Spenser, leading to the "apropos." Also: "there comes W. Hazlitt's book about Human Action for Coleridge; a little song book for Sarah Coleridge; a Box for Hartley ...; a Paraphrase on The King and Queen of Hearts, of which I, being the author, beg Mr. Johnny Wordsworth's acceptance and opinion. Liberal Criticism, as G. Dyer declares, I am always ...
— Books for Children - The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 3 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... of expansion reveals to us the fact that expansion and contraction furnish the many elements of all human action, but that expansion is first, that expansion expresses joy, exhilaration, animation in life, and that contraction, aside from its co-ordination with expansion in causing control in intensity, expresses antagonism, hate, anger, pain. Accordingly this book ...
— How to Add Ten Years to your Life and to Double Its Satisfactions • S. S. Curry

... the downfall of Pyrrhonism lay in the fact that it had nothing to offer to humanity in the place of what it had destroyed. It made no appeal to human sympathies, and ignored all the highest motives to human action. The especial materialistic standpoint from which Pyrrhonism judged all that pertains to knowledge and life shut out the ideal, and all possibility of absolute truth. It was an expression of the philosophic decadence of the age when it flourished, and although it possessed some philosophic worth, ...
— Sextus Empiricus and Greek Scepticism • Mary Mills Patrick

... the most marvelous inventions took years to bring out and develop into such a state as to make them acceptable to the world. Delays, patiently borne, make strong men. The impetuous think they represent wasted opportunities. Davy Crockett enunciated one of the greatest principles of human action when he said, 'Be sure you are right, then go ahead.' It was only another way of advising against recklessness or impatience ...
— The Wonder Island Boys: The Mysteries of the Caverns • Roger Thompson Finlay

... years even one man in a million could act freely, that is, as he chose, it is evident that one single free act of that man's in violation of the laws governing human action would destroy the possibility of the existence of any laws ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... this. Least of all, do they thus dispose of the murdered. In the manner of thrusting the corpse up the chimney, you will admit that there was something excessively outr—something altogether irreconcilable with our common notions of human action, even when we suppose the actors the most depraved of men. Think, too, how great must have been that strength which could have thrust the body up such an aperture so forcibly that the united vigor of several persons was found barely ...
— The Works of Edgar Allan Poe - Volume 1 (of 5) of the Raven Edition • Edgar Allan Poe

... were no breadstuffs in their country, and they and their women and children were starving and half-naked. You chose an admirable opportunity to rob, to disappoint, to outrage and exasperate them, and make your own Government fraudulent and contemptible in their eyes. If any human action can deserve it, the hounds of hell ought to hunt your soul and Hindman's for it ...
— The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War • Annie Heloise Abel

... Wischapour in Chorasan: his father's name was Bamdadam. He announces himself as a reformer of Zoroastrianism, and carried the doctrine of the two principles to a much grater height. He preached the absolute indifference of human action, perfect equality of rank, community of property and of women, marriages between the nearest kindred; he interdicted the use of animal food, proscribed the killing of animals for food, enforced a vegetable diet. See St. Martin, ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 4 • Edward Gibbon

... accomplished this entire work in glowing allegorical fashion in which mythological and historical personages are sadly confused at times. If there was occasionally this confusion, there were also present the artist's strongest characteristics as a painter—rich color and vigorous human action. ...
— Great Artists, Vol 1. - Raphael, Rubens, Murillo, and Durer • Jennie Ellis Keysor

... towards a new future. The suffering which has been gone through irritates and troubles the mind. The work of pulling down is so easy, it is supposed that the work of building up is equally so. Hence systems rise, as if the world were to begin anew. The pride of liberty and of human action becomes the principle of science; and, like all new principles, it pretends to exclusive and absolute dominion. Rationalism governs; abstract philosophy ignores the traditions and the requirements of the life of nations; and finds now in it, as in geometry, nothing but principles and deductions. ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • William Roscher

... eclipsed even Shakespeare's, as it accounts also for their shortcomings. They skimmed over the surface of passion, they saw the pathos and the pity of it but not the terror; they lacked Shakespeare's profound insight into the well-springs of human action, and sacrificed truth of life to stage effect. They shared with him one grave fault which is indeed the besetting sin of dramatists, resulting in part from the necessarily curt and outline action of the drama, in part from the love of audiences for strong emotional ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 4 • Charles Dudley Warner

... to thwart himself, prompted mainly by a hatred of that vital religion of which he had striven to be an effectual lay representative—a hatred which certainly found pretexts apart from religion such as were only too easy to find in the entanglements of human action. These might be called the ministerial views. But oppositions have the illimitable range of objections at command, which need never stop short at the boundary of knowledge, but can draw forever on the vasts of ignorance. What the opposition in Middlemarch said ...
— Middlemarch • George Eliot

... the Rishis, and if they all have to go through their Karma, still it can never be averted that there is no such thing as Destiny, for it is the latter that initiates all Karma. How does Karma originate, if Destiny form the prime spring of human action? (The answer is) that by this means, an accretion of many virtues is made even in the celestial regions. One's own self is one's friend and one's enemy too, as also the witness of one's good and evil deeds. Good and evil manifest themselves through Karma. Good and evil ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 • Kisari Mohan Ganguli

... to mention.' The state of property, and its general diffusion throughout the social body, had also, he had no doubt, a beneficial effect on the moral condition of the people. 'The desire for wealth being considerably blunted, it was not the same actuating, engrossing principle of human action, the spring of much that was evil and immoral being thus removed.' Only one case of downright drunkenness—that of a Laplander—had come under his personal observation, and it was only on special occasions that the yeoman ...
— The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886 • Various

... concerned in others of like character. The disappearance of these men was, of course, in no way connected with this rumor. Since the "Southern people" have become the great jesters of the world, their conduct is not at all to be judged by the ordinary rules of cause and effect as applied to human action. It might have been mere buffoonery, quite as well as modesty, that possessed some of the "best citizens of Horsford" with an irrepressible desire to view the Falls of Niagara from the Canadian side in mid-winter. There is no ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... existence. Does not the very necessity we feel of having a reason for the existence, the operation of anything, a large plan in which to gather up all ravelled threads of various objects, proclaim thought as the final end, the real thing, of which action, more especially human action, is but the inadequate visible expression? What kinds of action does Carlyle mean, that are to be the wheels for our obedient thoughts to set in motion? Hand, arm, leg, foot action? These are all our operative machinery. Does he mean that our 'noblest thought' is to be chained as a galley-slave to ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. 5, No. 30, April, 1860 • Various

... which had rendered hostility to the nobility second nature to it. Had the Stuarts been the supporters of liberal ideas in England, their conduct would have given the lie to every known principle of human action. As their distrust of aristocracy rendered them despotically disposed, because the Scotch aristocracy had been the most lawless of mankind, so did they become attached to the Church of England because of the tyranny they had seen displayed by the Church of Scotland, the most illiberal ecclesiastical ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., February, 1863, No. LXIV. • Various

... without confusion; the divisions, down to files and even units, can be disposed along the line of battle wherever needed, or can be marshaled in reserve for use at the proper moment. Such a mind may be used for good purpose or bad—or for mixed purposes, after the usual fashion in human action. But whatever the service to which it is put, it acts with equal energy and precision. Character—that is a thing apart. The character determines the morality of action; but only the intellect determines the skill ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... There is a curious parallelism in the essentials of that conflict with the present attempt to elevate King Cotton to the throne of this Republic. It is close enough to show that the same great rules have hitherto governed human action with unerring fidelity. The Government displayed at the outset the same vacillation; the people were apparently as thoroughly indifferent to the Hanoverian cause as the Northern merchants, before the fall of Sumter, to the prosperity of Lincoln's administration. The Russell of 1745, writing to ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 • Various

... is none in Nature.... May we not say of marriage as St. Augustine said of God: 'Rather would I, not finding, find Thee, than finding, not find Thee'?... 'Because we like' is the sole legitimate and perfect motive of human action.... If this is what Nature affirms then it will be what I believe." This dynamic conception of the sexual impulse, as a force that, under natural conditions, may be trusted to build up a new morality, ...
— Little Essays of Love and Virtue • Havelock Ellis

... exercise of such a government was necessary for the order and prosperity of the realm, besides being his inherent and indefeasible right. Good and bad motives were doubtless mingled here, as in all human action; but then the king was, in the main, doing what he supposed it was his duty to do. In proposing, therefore, to build up the Church in Scotland, and to make it conform to the English Church in its rites and ceremonies, ...
— Charles I - Makers of History • Jacob Abbott

... under any circumstances; its failure in an ancient and densely-peopled kingdom was inevitable. How limited is human reason, the profoundest inquirers are most conscious. We are not indebted to the Reason of man for any of the great achievements which are the landmarks of human action and human progress. It was not Reason that besieged Troy; it was not Reason that sent forth the Saracen from the Desert to conquer the world; that inspired the Crusades; that instituted the Monastic orders; it was not Reason that produced the Jesuits; above all, it was not Reason ...
— Coningsby • Benjamin Disraeli

... man and the merely conventional woman; they cannot always bring themselves to be interested in the cupboard drama, the tea- cup tragedies and cheque-book and bandbox comedies, which he regards as the stuff of human action and the web of human life; and from their theory of existence they positively refuse to eliminate the heroic qualities of romance and mystery and passion, which are—as they have only to open their newspapers ...
— Views and Reviews - Essays in appreciation • William Ernest Henley

... abolition which could establish them. This suggestion had its foundation in human nature. Wherever the incentive of honour, credit, and fair profit appeared, energy would spring up; and when these labourers should have the natural springs of human action afforded them, they would then rise to the natural level ...
— The History of the Rise, Progress and Accomplishment of the Abolition of the African Slave Trade by the British Parliament (1808) • Thomas Clarkson

... more closely related to Ethics, and indeed Ethics may be said to comprehend Politics. Both deal with human action and institution, and cover largely the same field. For man is not merely an individual, but is a part of a social organism. We cannot consider the virtues of the individual life without also considering the society to which he is related, and the interaction of ...
— Christianity and Ethics - A Handbook of Christian Ethics • Archibald B. C. Alexander

... its wiry arch, and noticing how the little matter of adding thread to thread filled the "cloth beam" little by little, until the long "web" was done. "Such is life," thought Graffam; "the little by little of human action goes to fill up the warp of time, and decides the worth of what we manufacture for eternity." Then he looked sadly over his own work, and could but say to himself, "It is all loose ends, loose ends. What ...
— Be Courteous • Mrs. M. H. Maxwell

... without a divine agency, it is absurd to suppose that men can be left to the freedom of their own will, to act, or not to act, independently of a divine influence. There must be, therefore, the exercise of a divine agency in every human action, without which it is impossible to conceive that God should govern moral agents, and make mankind act in perfect conformity to his designs."(83) "He is now exercising his powerful and irresistible agency upon ...
— A Theodicy, or, Vindication of the Divine Glory • Albert Taylor Bledsoe

... serious part of our consideration relates to human action and is of universal importance. Human nature tends to relate everything else to action. The world as idea is the perfect mirror of the will, in which it recognizes itself in graduating scales of distinctness and completeness. The highest degree of this consciousness is man, whose nature only ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

... perverted natures. In cases where judgment can discern, where there is power to choose between good and evil, the guilty person has only himself to blame, and the most heinous crime is only the action of its perpetrator. It is a human action, the result of passions which might have been controlled, and one's mind is not uncertain, nor one's conscience doubtful, as to the guilt. But how can one conceive this taste for murder in a young child, how imagine it, without being ...
— CELEBRATED CRIMES, COMPLETE - DERUES • ALEXANDRE DUMAS, PERE

... of this intellectual violence. Education is violent; because it is creative. It is creative because it is human. It is as reckless as playing on the fiddle; as dogmatic as drawing a picture; as brutal as building a house. In short, it is what all human action is; it is an interference with life and growth. After that it is a trifling and even a jocular question whether we say of this tremendous tormentor, the artist Man, that he puts things into us like an apothecary, or draws things out of us, ...
— What's Wrong With The World • G.K. Chesterton

... inspire frankness in a possible Tory. That was the moment for Andre to have produced his passports, which would have opened the road for him. Instead he committed a fatal error, the like of which it would be hard to find in all the records of human action. ...
— In the Days of Poor Richard • Irving Bacheller

... feeling, and of will, which we rightly name the higher faculties, are not excluded from this classification, inasmuch as to every one but the subject of them, they are known only as transitory changes in the relative positions of parts of the body. Speech, gesture, and every other form of human action are, in the long run, resolvable into muscular contraction, and muscular contraction is but a transitory change in the relative positions of the parts of a muscle. But the scheme which is large enough to embrace the activities of the highest form of life, ...
— Lectures and Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... it is the more excusable, because he lay out of the way of active politics in his youth. With the great French Revolution, something living, practical, and feasible appeared to him for the first time in this realm of human action. The young ploughman who had desired so earnestly to rise, now reached out his sympathies to a whole nation animated with the same desire. Already in 1788 we find the old Jacobitism hand in hand with the ...
— Familiar Studies of Men & Books • Robert Louis Stevenson

... No department of human action or thought remained unaffected by this struggle between the old fashion and the new. Even political relations were largely influenced by it The whimsical project of emancipating the Hellenes, the well deserved failure of which has already been described, the kindred, ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... reprint, with a few verbal corrections, of the first edition (1908). I tried in 1908 to make two main points clear. My first point was the danger, for all human activities, but especially for the working of democracy, of the 'intellectualist' assumption, 'that every human action is the result of an intellectual process, by which a man first thinks of some end which he desires, and then calculates the means by which that end can be attained' (p. 21). My second point was the need of substituting ...
— Human Nature In Politics - Third Edition • Graham Wallas

... wondered, as he always did when he met Miss Arabella, what the queer little body was thinking about. He never dreamed that his conduct could have had the smallest effect upon her odd behavior, so blind was he to the far-reaching influence of all human action, good or evil. ...
— Treasure Valley • Marian Keith

... interesting, as showing how he was anxious to modify some of his opinions expressed in Political Justice, especially those bearing on the affections, which he now admits must naturally play an important part in human action, though he avers his opinion that none of his previous conclusions are affected by these admissions. Much other work was planned out during this time, and many fresh intellectual acquaintances made, Wordsworth and ...
— Mrs. Shelley • Lucy M. Rossetti

... interpretation. Psychology is very apt to degenerate into a game of blowing bubbles, unless we pin ourselves down to hard-headed ways of thinking. The notion of a reaction is of great value here, just because it is so hard-headed and concrete. Whenever we have any human action before us for explanation, we have to ask what the stimulus is that arouses the individual to activity, and how he responds. Stimulus-response psychology is solid, and practical as well; for if it can establish the laws of reaction, so as to predict what ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

... for the effective bond of human action is feeling, and the worthy child of a people owning the triple name of Hebrew, Israelite and Jew, feels his kinship with the glories and the sorrows, the degradation and the possible renovation of his ...
— George Eliot; A Critical Study of Her Life, Writings & Philosophy • George Willis Cooke

... his belonging to the same stock, a different nature; he is more of a lyricist, and his lyrical poems, though less well known, take perhaps a higher rank than his novels. Even in these the lyrical mood outweighs the human action; he ponders the riddles of nature more earnestly than the riddles of humanity. Among human beings, however, his favorite is the gentle St. Francis of Assisi, to whom he has devoted ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Masterpieces of German Literature Vol. 19 • Various

... first displayed the resources of his versatile and daring intellect. Mr. Jefferson, also, as the avowed candidate for the succession, may be supposed to have contributed his unrivalled knowledge of the springs of human action. Earnest as the opposition were, they did not abuse the license which is permitted in political contests. But the Federalists pursued Mr. Jefferson with a vindictiveness which has no parallel, in this country. They boasted of being gentlemen, ...
— The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858 • Various

... savage or barbarian meets with activity that is at all obtrusive, he construes it in the only terms that are ready to hand—the terms immediately given in his consciousness of his own actions. Activity is, therefore, assimilated to human action, and active objects are in so far assimilated to the human agent. Phenomena of this character—especially those whose behaviour is notably formidable or baffling—have to be met in a different spirit and with proficiency of a ...
— The Theory of the Leisure Class • Thorstein Veblen

... methodical observation. It consisted of physical law and moral law. Physical law is the regulated course of every physical circumstance in the order evidently most advantageous to the human race. Moral law is the rule of every human action in the moral order, conformed to the physical order evidently most advantageous to the human race. This order is the base of the most perfect government, and the fundamental rule of all positive laws; for positive laws are only such laws as are required to keep ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 3: Condorcet • John Morley

... presenting a theory which in later years he developed as a part of his "gospel," and promulgated in a privately printed volume, 'What is Man'? It is the postulate already mentioned in connection with his reading of Lecky, that every human action, bad or good, is the result of a selfish impulse; that is to say, the result of a desire for the greater content of spirit. It is not a new idea; philosophers in all ages have considered it, and accepted or rejected it, according to their temperament ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... We do not deny that, but strip both the great political Parties which to-day present themselves before the people of Britain, strip them of their error, strip them of that admixture of error which cloys and clogs all human action, divest them of the trappings of combat in which they are apparelled, let them be nakedly and faithfully revealed. If that were done, cannot we feel soberly and assuredly convinced that, on the main contested issues of the day, upon the need of social organisation, upon the relations between ...
— Liberalism and the Social Problem • Winston Spencer Churchill

... Their natures require rich pasturage; they must be fed from many sources. They secure the skill of the specialist, but they never accept his limitations of interest and work. The clearer their vision of the unity of all forms of human action and expression, the deeper their need of studying at first hand these different forms of action and expression. Goethe did not choose that comprehensiveness of temper which led him into so many fields; it was the necessity of a mind vast in its range ...
— Essays On Work And Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... privileges; its whole tendency was to degrade the soul, and to cause forgetfulness of immortality. Slavery thrives best when the generous instincts are suppressed, when egotism, sensuality, and pride are the dominant springs of human action. ...
— Beacon Lights of History, Volume III • John Lord

... much the dreamer of dreams—the mystic moralist, the constant questioner and speculator on human destiny and human perversity, and the riddles that arise on the search for the threads of motive and incentives to human action—moreover, a man, who constantly suffered from one of the most trying and weakening forms of ill-health—should have been so full-blooded, as it were, so keen for contact with all forms of human life and character, ...
— Robert Louis Stevenson - a Record, an Estimate, and a Memorial • Alexander H. Japp

... struck than Mr. Johnson with voluntary descent from possible splendour to painful duty.' Mrs. Piozzi alludes to Johnson's praise of Dr. Watts:—'Every man acquainted with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer, who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year. A voluntary descent from the dignity of science is perhaps the hardest lesson that humility can teach.' ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell

... three great poets of the fifth century, Pindar, AEschylus, and Sophocles. In the words of Pindar: "All things depend on God alone; all which befalls mortals, whether it be good or evil fortune, is due to Zeus: he can draw light from darkness, and can veil the sweet light of day in obscurity. No human action escapes him: happiness is found only in the way which leads to him; virtue and ...
— Myth and Science - An Essay • Tito Vignoli

... not lecturing, not reproof, can ever be the original source of moral ideas with the young, but the actions of people they see, and of those about whom they read or hear. Moral judgments and feelings spring up originally only in connection with human action in the concrete. If we propose then to adapt moral teaching to youthful minds, we must make use of concrete materials, observations of people taken from what the children have seen, stories and biographies of historical characters. A story of a man's life is interesting because it brings ...
— The Elements of General Method - Based on the Principles of Herbart • Charles A. McMurry

... beautiful and harmonious form, so in the clear-cut comparisons in Homer, the feeling for Nature is profound; but the Homeric hero had no personal relations with her, no conscious leaning towards her; the descriptions only served to frame human action, in time ...
— The Development of the Feeling for Nature in the Middle Ages and - Modern Times • Alfred Biese

... it was not such a hollow world, after all. He had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. If he had been a great and wise philosopher, like the writer of this book, he would now have comprehended that Work consists ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... everywhere and its circumference nowhere. We are all our lifetime reading the copious sense of this first of forms. One moral we have already deduced, in considering the circular or compensatory character of every human action. Another analogy we shall now trace, that every action admits of being outdone. Our life is an apprenticeship to the truth that around every circle another can be drawn; that there is no end in nature, but every end is a beginning; ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... "it is better there should be an infinite variety of experiments in human action, because, as the explorers multiply, the true track is more likely to be discovered. The common reason of society can check the aberrations of individual eccentricity only by acting on the individual reason; and it will do so in the main sufficiently, if left to this natural ...
— Culture and Anarchy • Matthew Arnold

... otherwise, since the presence of the grotesque is, after all, the main justification of the theory on which her philosophy of life was based—namely, the belief that above all eloquence of human speech, behind all enthusiasm of human action or emotion, the ear which hears aright can always detect the echo of eternal laughter? And this grim echo did not affect the charming young lady to sadness as yet. Still less did it make her mad, as the mere suspicion of it has made so many, and those by no means unworthy or illiterate ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... in arranging a topical treatment of any period of history, which shall show a sense of historical continuity and keep in mind the fundamental stimuli and causes of human action, to note that virtually all human interests can be classified under one of the following six heads: physical, economic, social, religious, political, and intellectual (or cultural). Though these are never wholly ...
— College Teaching - Studies in Methods of Teaching in the College • Paul Klapper

... professed their belief that so it will be, we must conclude, on the above principle, that even this thought is contributory towards the eventual bringing in of immortality. But it will be asked, in what way? To this question we may give the general answer, that as such thought is operative on human action, and implies the existence of time, it must be reckoned as part of the total of human thought and experience conditioned by time, which was ordained from the beginning to be the means, whether in this age or in the age to come ...
— An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality • James Challis

... without end. Arguments have been advanced to show that unlike reward which is properly infinite as is becoming to God's goodness, punishment should have a limit, for God is merciful. On the other hand, it is claimed on the basis of the finiteness of human action that both reward and punishment should be finite. But in reality it can be shown in many ways that reward and punishment should be infinite. Without naming all the arguments—as many as ten have ...
— A History of Mediaeval Jewish Philosophy • Isaac Husik

... produces confusion and ruin), made their dress a matter of conscience, ...; and our ancestors, observant lovers of religion, upon which all their acts were founded, and desiring that their young men should direct themselves to virtue, the true soul of all human action, and above all to peace, invented a dress conformable to their gravity, such, that in clothing themselves with it, they might clothe themselves also with modesty and honor. And because their mind was bent upon ...
— The Stones of Venice, Volume II (of 3) • John Ruskin

... costly; in the metal, the gold and silver of a duke or prince; and in the tale told by the figures he reads a romance of chivalry or history, which has the glamour given by the haze of distant time to human action. ...
— The Tapestry Book • Helen Churchill Candee

... Leete's reply, "but the conditions of human life have changed, and with them the motives of human action. The organization of society with you was such that officials were under a constant temptation to misuse their power for the private profit of themselves or others. Under such circumstances it seems almost strange ...
— Looking Backward - 2000-1887 • Edward Bellamy

... form was already familiar to them in the Miracle Plays and Mysteries, which had been adopted by the Church as the best means of acquainting the populace with Sacred History. The audiences of the Miracle Plays were prepared for the representation of human action on the stage. Meanwhile, from translation and imitation, young scholars at the universities had become familiar with some of the masterpieces of Ancient Drama, and with the laws of dramatic form. But where were they to seek for matter to fill out these ...
— The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1 • William Painter

... to me but lately by the friend to whose originality of thought I have before expressed my obligations, Mr. Newton, that the Greek pediment, with its enclosed sculptures, represented to the Greek mind the law of Fate, confining human action within limits not to be overpassed. I do not believe the Greeks ever distinctly thought of this; but the instinct of all the human race, since the world began, agrees in some expression of such limitation as one of the first necessities ...
— The Stones of Venice, Volume I (of 3) • John Ruskin

... human which can be supposed by the most liberal stretch of the imagination to have happened to a man or a woman. A story is only human in so far as it is governed by the laws which are recognized as determining human action. Now according as we regard human action, its two great determinants will be free will or necessity. But hypnotism entirely does away with free will: and for necessity, fatal or circumstantial, it substitutes the lawless and irresponsible imperative of a casual individual man, who (in fiction) ...
— Adventures in Criticism • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... my propositions are essentially true or false. If he should find that I have started from false premises, that the system of freedom and justice which I have propounded is inconsistent in any way with the natural and universally recognised springs of human action—nay, if, after reading my book, he should not have attained to the firm conviction that the realisation of this new order—apart, of course, from unimportant details—is absolutely inevitable, then I must be content to be placed in the same category as ...
— Freeland - A Social Anticipation • Theodor Hertzka

... mind. In one of its lightly-sketched scenes, the poet has evidently availed himself of the one from the Miracle-Book heretofore mentioned, and, indeed, with a great deal of force. Faustus, impatient and annoyed at the slow process of human action, desires the quickest servant from hell, and successively cites seven spirits. One after another he rejects. The arrows of the plague, the wings of the winds, the beams of light, are all not quick enough for him. ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 2, Issue 12, October, 1858 • Various

... this complete severance from the theatre belongs his own remark that "he left off writing for the stage when he ought to have begun." Arrived at a late maturity, and with accumulated stores of observation and insight,—"he saw the latent sources of human action," says Murphy—his genius happily turned into a channel carved, with splendid originality, for itself alone. After nine years of servitude to the limitations of dramatic construction, limitations he was wont to relieve, as his friend James ...
— Henry Fielding: A Memoir • G. M. Godden

... definable, nor can we deny that the individual who possesses culture conducts himself, as a rule, differently from the individual who does not possess it. In other words, culture is a practical thing, for the only things that are practical are the things that modify or control human action. ...
— Craftsmanship in Teaching • William Chandler Bagley

... which puzzled Mr. Shandy. How does the animating principle, or soul, regarded as immaterial, clothe itself in flesh? Material acts cannot effect the incarnation of a spirit. Therefore, the spirit enters women from without, and is not the direct result of human action. ...
— The Euahlayi Tribe - A Study of Aboriginal Life in Australia • K. Langloh Parker

... existence was ordered in advance by destiny, dictated by some all-conscious, omnipotent intelligence, we might as well sit down and fold our hands. But we still have a chance. Free will is an exploded theory, in so far as it purposes to explain human action in a general sense. Men are biologically different. In some weakness is inherent, in others determination. The weak man succumbs when he is beset. The strong man struggles desperately. The man who consciously grasps and understands his own weaknesses ...
— The Hidden Places • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... we are but the imperfect instruments. He develops and then drops the idea of a "hinterland," not only to the individual mind but to the general consciousness. The "permanent reality," he calls it, "which is never really immediate, which draws continually upon human experience and influences human action more and more, but which is itself never the actual player upon the stage. It is the unseen dramatist who never takes a call." And in another place he writes in the same connection: " ... the ideas go on—as though we are ...
— H. G. Wells • J. D. Beresford

... this purpose, Dr. Whewell assumes that humanity, justice, truth, purity, order, earnestness, and moral purpose are fundamental principles of human action; and he thinks that all who admit as much as this will be able to go on with him in his development of a system of moral rules to govern the ...
— An Introduction to Philosophy • George Stuart Fullerton

... no shadow on its brightness; her voice seemed that of the vulgar chorus of the uninitiated, which stands always ready with its gross prose rendering of the inspired passages of human action. Was it possible a man could take THAT from a woman—take all that lent lightness to that other woman's footstep and grace to her surrender and not give her the absolute certainty of a devotion as unalterable as the process of the sun? Was it possible that so clear a harmony ...
— Madame de Mauves • Henry James

... the case most carefully. I found that the correct view is that all this Trade Unionism and Socialism and so forth is founded on the ignorant delusion that wages and the production and distribution of wealth can be controlled by legislation or by any human action whatever. They obey fixed scientific laws, which have been ascertained and settled finally by the highest economic authorities. Naturally I do not at this distance of time remember the exact process of reasoning; but I can get up the case again at any ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... number of properties, and susceptible of modification, but not of progress; in which certain productive forces act by the fortuitous agglomeration of circumstances not to be predicated or foreseen; or through the necessary succession of causes and effects,—of events inevitable and independent of all human action. ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 20, No. 117, July, 1867. • Various

... said at length. "I am going to ask you to undertake for the Government, the Nation, and yourselves a dangerous and important mission. I say yourselves, because, in spite of all our beautiful lies, self is the centre of all human action. Mr. Lincoln has fortunately gone to his reward—fortunately for him and for his country. His death was necessary to save his life. He was a useful man living, more useful dead. Our party has lost its first President, ...
— The Clansman - An Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan • Thomas Dixon

... strange power within them, and it seemed to Philip that they were driven forward by a rage for enjoyment. They were seeking desperately to escape from a world of horror. The desire for pleasure which Cronshaw said was the only motive of human action urged them blindly on, and the very vehemence of the desire seemed to rob it of all pleasure. They were hurried on by a great wind, helplessly, they knew not why and they knew not whither. Fate seemed to tower above them, and they danced as though everlasting darkness were beneath their ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... about that a mere physical fact should fill a larger place in our lives than all examples, and that the evanescent vapor which we call steam should change daily, and effectively, the courses and modes of human action, and erect life ...
— Steam Steel and Electricity • James W. Steele

... matter of restoring what disease had destroyed but of supplying what nature had failed to give in its usual course. It was a meeting of nature's lack through some slip in the adjustment of her action in connection with human action. There is not only the appealing dramatic element, as in the walking on the water, but the appealing sympathetic element in that this poor man's lifelong burden ...
— Quiet Talks on John's Gospel • S. D. Gordon

... absolutely denies the freedom of the will.[4] Every human action is inevitable. "Nothing happens by chance." Every thing is because it cannot but be. How then can we consistently praise or blame any conduct? If one cares to make hair-splitting distinctions, it may be replied that we cannot, but none the less we can rejoice at some actions ...
— Socialism: Positive and Negative • Robert Rives La Monte

... knowledge of how to win a loyal and willing response from military forces, there must first be understanding of the springs of human action, what they are, and how they may be directed toward constructive ends. This done, the course which makes for the perfecting of forces during peacetime training need only be extended to harden them for the risk ...
— The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 • U. S. Department of Defense

... vision with him was only evoked one hour to be destroyed the next. Happy had it been for Godolphin, and not unfortunate perhaps for the world, had he learned at that exact moment the true motive for human action which he afterwards, and too late, discovered. Happy had it been for him to have learned that there is an ambition to do good—an ambition to raise the wretched as well ...
— Godolphin, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... leave of Richard Baxter, our last words must not be those of censure. Admiration and reverence become us rather. He was an honest man. So far as we can judge, his motives were the highest and best which can influence human action. He had faults and weaknesses, and committed grave errors, but we are constrained to believe that the prayer with which he closes his Saints' Rest and which we have chosen as the fitting termination of our article, was the earnest aspiration of ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... of this world are wise in their generation; and both the politician and the priest are justified by results. The living voice has an influence over human action altogether independent of the intellectual worth of that which it utters. Many years ago, I was a guest at a great City dinner. A famous orator, endowed with a voice of rare flexibility and power; a born actor, ranging with ease through every part, from refined comedy ...
— Discourses - Biological and Geological Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... fancy with a breath out of his heroic days. What wonder if it were so? Thirteen centuries ago the hero became the guardian of the shore; but the story which ends to-day is, perhaps, as worthy note as any he has watched from his hill-side. Those who rate the dignity of human action by other standards than the breadth and conspicuousness of its stage, will not mock us because we find some stuff of romance in the homely circumstance and not always epic passages of this ...
— Uppingham by the Sea - a Narrative of the Year at Borth • John Henry Skrine

... wealth and station; but they ridiculed the idea that he could have been inspired by any but unworthy motives. God alone knows the heart of man. He alone can unweave the tangled skein of human motives, and detect the hidden springs of human action, but as far as can be judged by a careful observation of undisputed facts, and by a diligent collation of public and private documents, it would seem that no man—not even Washington—has ever been inspired by a purer patriotism. At any rate, the ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... without tearing its web apart, with the idle purpose of discovering how the threads have been knit together; for the sagacity by which he is distinguished will long ago have taught him that any narrative of human action and adventure whether we call it history or romance—is certain to be a fragile handiwork, more easily rent than mended. The actual experience of even the most ordinary life is full of events that never explain themselves, ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume II. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... point to human action: Who shall be greatest? and, Who shall be best? Earthly glory is vain; but not vain enough to attempt pointing [5] the way to heaven, the harmony of being. The imaginary victories of rivalry and hypocrisy are defeats. The Holy One saith, "O that thou hadst hearkened to My com- mandments! ...
— Miscellaneous Writings, 1883-1896 • Mary Baker Eddy

... and each supplied the other with new facts, which shall be duly set forth in this tale, saving and excepting, of course, the real reason why everybody did everything. For—as everybody knows who has watched life—the true springs of all human action are generally those which fools will not see, which wise men will not mention; so that, in order to present a readable tragedy of Hamlet, you must always "omit the part of Hamlet,"—and probably the ghost and the queen into ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume I • Charles Kingsley

... serious consideration, an ebony monster, with a woolly head and flat nose, but walking erect on two legs, and in other respects bearing a striking resemblance to man, had something to do with the mysterious disappearance of our canine hero from the theater of human action. Moved with envy and spite at beholding the Fighting Nigger's renown and at hearing his praises in the popular mouth, and itching to inflict upon the object thereof the greatest possible injury he could, with the least possible risk to himself, ...
— Burl • Morrison Heady

... intelligence developed in the attempt of man to discover the nature of the results of his instinctive, impulsive, or emotional actions. Later he sought causes of these results. Here we have involved increased knowledge as a basis of human action and the use of that knowledge through discriminating intelligence. The intellect thus represents the selective and directive process in the use of knowledge. Hence, intelligent behavior of the individual or of the group comes only after accumulated knowledge based on experience. The process of ...
— History of Human Society • Frank W. Blackmar

... which we are considering assumes, without sufficient reason, that the phenomena of human action are closely analogous to those of motion in the material world. The analogy fails in several particulars. No material object can act on itself and change its own nature, adaptations, or uses, without ...
— A Manual of Moral Philosophy • Andrew Preston Peabody

... of any human action depends upon two things—to wit, will and power; if either be wanting, nothing can be accomplished. For if the will be lacking, no attempt at all is made to do what is not willed; whereas if there be no power, the will is all in vain. And so, if thou seest any man ...
— The Consolation of Philosophy • Boethius

... improvidence and naughtiness of nature was called to book at every turn by the pleasures and pains divinely appended to things enjoined and to things forbidden, and ultimately by hell and by heaven. Yet if rewards and punishments were attached to human action and feeling in this perfectly external and arbitrary fashion, whilst the feelings and actions spontaneous in mankind counted for nothing in the rule of morals and of wisdom, we should be living under the most cruel and artificial of tyrannies; and it would ...
— Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy - Five Essays • George Santayana

... Vernon, he describes to him those fresh duties as hindrances to putting his private affairs in that order so necessary before he embarked in new scenes; it being his desire, before quitting the scene of human action, to leave his concerns in such a condition as to give as little trouble as possible to those who would have the management of them afterwards. Under this view of his situation he had written to the Secretary of War to be informed whether he was at liberty to appoint his secretary, who should ...
— Washington in Domestic Life • Richard Rush

... Minford emphasized the word), "and I will not attempt to set it aside. God alone knows all the motives of human action. Now, to the second, and more serious implication of the letter. I have visited your native village, and inquired into your early history. Though you moved to the city over fifteen years ago, and have returned to your birthplace but once since, so far ...
— Round the Block • John Bell Bouton

... life are chiefly kept in motion. As it was by a word that creation was accomplished, as the worlds came into being and were moulded into shape, not by the hand, but by the omnific voice of God, saying, "Let there be light and there was light," so in this lower sphere of human action, the tongue is mightier than the hand. The moulding, propelling forces of society come from the use of words. By words, more than by all other means, we persuade, convince, alarm, arouse, or soothe, or whatever else leads men to action and achievement; and while written words are full of ...
— In the School-Room - Chapters in the Philosophy of Education • John S. Hart

... nature finds expression in forms made permanently effective through the arresting permeation of humour. The incident of Tom Sawyer and the whitewashing of the fence is the sort of thing over which boy and man alike can chuckle with satisfaction—for Tom Sawyer had discovered a great law of human action without knowing it, namely, that in order to make a man or boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain. Huck's reasoning about chicken stealing—the exquisitely comic ...
— Mark Twain • Archibald Henderson

... capable of limitless development; God respects this will in His creatures, and submits to violence, in order to teach them His will, which is supreme Love. Like a stone that falls into a tranquil lake, a human action creates, all round, concentric ripples which continue to the very shores or limits of the Universe; then the wave is thrown back upon itself, returns to its starting-point, and the man who began the ...
— Reincarnation - A Study in Human Evolution • Th. Pascal

... probation, adopted by their employers as heirs to their estate; our experience of Communism having taught us that immediate and obvious self-interest is the only motive that certainly and seriously affects human action. The distance at which they are kept, and the absolute seclusion of our family life, enables us easily to secure ourselves against any over-anxiety on their part to anticipate their inheritance. The minority who do not thus find a regular place in society are employed in factories, as artisans, ...
— Across the Zodiac • Percy Greg

... This type of composition program under present conditions cannot be a vital one. Elementary science is not taught in the schools of Cleveland; and so the subject matter of these topics is not developed. Further, it is the world of human action, revealed in history, geography, travels, accounts of industry, commerce, manufacture, transportation, etc., that possesses the greater value for the purposes of education, as well as far greater ...
— What the Schools Teach and Might Teach • John Franklin Bobbitt

... the uncommon scenes in which he has been called to act no inglorious part, and the astonishing events of which he has been a witness—events which have seldom, if ever before, taken place on the stage of human action, nor can they probably ever happen again. For who has before seen a disciplined army formed at once from such raw materials? Who that was not a witness could imagine that the most violent local prejudices would cease so soon; and that men who came from different parts of the continent, strongly ...
— Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. • Benson J. Lossing

... knowledge, no extensive library, no costly laboratory. You do not even need textbooks or teachers if you will but think for yourselves. All that you need is care in reducing complex phenomena to their elements, in distinguishing the essential from the accidental, and in applying the simple laws of human action with which you are familiar. Take nobody's opinion for granted; "try all things; hold fast to that which is good." In this way, the opinions of others will help you by their suggestions, elucidations and ...
— Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great, Volume 9 - Subtitle: Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Reformers • Elbert Hubbard



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