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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



... should, as he puts it, 'Look through Nature up to Nature's God.' God, that is, is known through Nature, if it would not be more correct to say that God and Nature are identical. This Nature often means the world as not modified by human action, and therefore sharing the divine workmanship unspoilt by man's interference. Thus in the common phrase, the 'love of Nature' is generally taken to mean the love of natural scenery, of sea and sky and mountains, ...
— English Literature and Society in the Eighteenth Century • Leslie Stephen

... 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, which would excuse any superstition on the origin of language—that the metrical and rhythmic arrangement of syllable and sound is able to catch and express back to us, not the stories of actions, but the actions themselves, with all the feelings which inspire them; to call up human action, and all other outward things in which human hearts take interest—to produce them, or to reproduce them, with a distinctness which shall produce the same emotions which they would themselves produce when really existing. The thing itself is ...
— Short Studies on Great Subjects • James Anthony Froude

... privileges. Its whole tendency was to degrade the soul, and cause forgetfulness of immortality. Slavery thrives best, when the generous instincts are suppressed, and egotism and sensuality and pride are the dominant springs of human action. ...
— The Old Roman World • John Lord

... true, and more often in that which will one day be a truth? Does the unearthing of bygone terrors, or the borrowing of light from a Hell that has ceased to be, make death more sublime? Does dependence on a supreme but imaginary will ennoble our destiny? Does justice—that vast network woven by human action and reaction over the unchanging wisdom of nature's moral and physical forces—does justice become more majestic through being lodged in the hands of a unique judge, whom the very spirit of the drama ...
— The Buried Temple • Maurice Maeterlinck

... thesis; some of 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

... almost those of our own time, had fulfilled their destinies and passed away, before it came 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

... its higher sphere, I should frighten away all but the professors and the learned ladies. If I should proclaim that they were protests against the scholastic tendency to shift the total responsibility of all human action from the Infinite to the finite, I might alarm the jealousy of the cabinet-keepers of our doctrinal museums. By saying nothing about it, the large majority of those whom my book reaches, not being preface-readers, will never suspect ...
— The Autocrat of the Breakfast-Table • Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. (The Physician and Poet not the Jurist)

... virtue 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

... which cleaves like a knife, and holds up your dearest, most private foibles on stilettos of wit for the public to mock at. Not that she is personal in her allusions, but her thorough knowledge of the philosophy of human nature and the deep, secret springs of human action lead her to witty, satirical generalizations, which are so painfully true that each one of her hearers goes home hugging a personal affront, while poor Rachel never dreams of lacerated feelings until she meets averted ...
— The Love Affairs of an Old Maid • Lilian Bell

... not merely The day and nights, summer and spring, not merely Signify to the husbandman the seasons Of sowing and of harvest. Human action, 110 That is the seed too of contingencies, Strewed on the dark land of futurity In hopes to reconcile the powers of fate. Whence it behoves us to seek out the seed-time, To watch the stars, select their proper hours, 115 And trace with searching eye the heavenly houses, Whether ...
— The Complete Poetical Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge - Vol I and II • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

... was slain.... and the chiefs of both armies gathered round and mourned for him.—Now it seems to me that the poets who viewed sympathetically the magnanimity of Bhishma, which meets you on the plane of simple human action and character, would not have viewed sympathetically, or perhaps conceived, the strategem advised by Krishna,—which you have to meet, to find it acceptable, on the ...
— The Crest-Wave of Evolution • Kenneth Morris

... neither of these ideas ever wholly ceases to be animistic, they may nevertheless be applied quite independently of one another. The one reduces the primitive animistic world to the lower end of its scale, the other construes it in terms of a purposive utility commensurable with that of human action. Now it is with mechanism, the former of these diverging ways, that the development of materialism is identified. For this philosophy a thing need have no value to justify its existence, nor any ...
— The Approach to Philosophy • Ralph Barton Perry

... 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 behaviour. These records of wars, intrigues, factions, and revolutions, are so many collections of experiments, by which the politician or moral philosopher fixes the principles of his science, in the same manner as the physician or natural philosopher ...
— An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding • David Hume et al

... The difficulty of many small tables Why burden the missionary with the working out of proportions? The tables should assist the missionary in charge (iv) The objection that we cannot obtain all the information Partial knowledge the guide of all human action (v) The tables ...
— Missionary Survey As An Aid To Intelligent Co-Operation In Foreign Missions • Roland Allen

... would hardly have lived to describe it. He went back with spirit on the details, more armour of youth to be placed in the scabbard of age. One item held a small essay on the influences which determine human action in a crisis of life or death. He was speaking of the feeling that seized him when spear after spear cut into his flesh. Here was a struggle between mind and body, each determined to conquer—a study in the inner sanctuary; but how began ...
— The Romance of a Pro-Consul - Being The Personal Life And Memoirs Of The Right Hon. Sir - George Grey, K.C.B. • James Milne

... near their tombs; and they continue to render services to their prince, parents, wife, and children, as when in the body.' And they do more than this, for they control the lives and the doings of men. 'Every human action,' says Hirata, 'is the work of a god.' [3] And Motowori, scarcely less famous an exponent of pure Shinto doctrine, writes: 'All the moral ideas which a man requires are implanted in his bosom by the gods, and are of ...
— Glimpses of an Unfamiliar Japan • Lafcadio Hearn

... is plausible" (Mr. 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 ...
— Round the Block • John Bell Bouton

... write little poems of devotion, and systems of instruction, adapted to their wants and capacities, from the dawn of reason through its gradations of advance in the morning of life. 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 ...
— Lives of the Poets: Gay, Thomson, Young, and Others • Samuel Johnson

... arguing against a course because it may be ridden down to an absurdity would soon bring life to a standstill," said Deronda. "It is not the logic of human action, but of a roasting-jack, that must go on to the last turn when it has been once wound up. We can do nothing safely without some judgment as to where we ...
— Daniel Deronda • George Eliot

... wits; the wit of Aristophanes was a part of the common property, and Moliere and Foote were Aristophanic. PLUTARCH, LA MOTHE LE VAYER, and BAYLE, alike busied in amassing the materials of human thought and human action, with the same vigorous and vagrant curiosity, must have had the same habits of life. If Plutarch were credulous, La Mothe Le Vayer sceptical, and Bayle philosophical, all that can be said is, that though the ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

... work Of any honest creature, howbeit weak Imperfect, ill-adapted, fails so much, It is not gathered as a grain of sand To enlarge the sum of human action used For carrying out God's end.... ... let us be content in work, To do the thing we can, and not presume To ...
— Susan B. Anthony - Rebel, Crusader, Humanitarian • Alma Lutz

... aloud. Works of science, particularly scientific works in the domain of physics, he delighted in. His imagination was of a most charming character. It was at that time in my life almost a passion with me to analyze human nature—to theorize over the motives and the results of human action; over the probable causes of known or assumed effects, and the reverse—in short, I thought myself a philosopher. I have never met another person whom it so much interested me to study as it did this young American. But after ...
— A Strange Discovery • Charles Romyn Dake

... of the present subject. In the admirable paintings of the latter, bustle and motion are generally the characteristics of the scene represented, and the features of nature seem intended to be subordinate to some human action which is going on. In the pictures of Claude, the combinations of scenery are every thing, and the figures nothing, or rather, merely introduced to illustrate and harmonize with the effect which the landscape itself is to produce: and nothing is allowed to disturb the repose and serenity ...
— Itinerary of Provence and the Rhone - Made During the Year 1819 • John Hughes

... activities. 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 and deep in its insight. Herbert ...
— Essays On Work And Culture • Hamilton Wright Mabie

... three men compared notes as to the events of two years ago; 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 ...
— Two Years Ago, Volume I • Charles Kingsley

... the dead, but an emanation of nature clothed with a personality. They possess varying degrees of intelligence and power. Their interest is not only in the affairs of men, to the knowledge of which they have access, but also in the secret springs of human action. They reside in man as well as amongst men, and witness to his good or evil works before the tribunal of heaven. The classics of Chinese literature, recognising this, urge upon readers the duty of ...
— The Fulfilment of a Dream of Pastor Hsi's - The Story of the Work in Hwochow • A. Mildred Cable

... 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, likewise Hellenic, ...
— The History of Rome (Volumes 1-5) • Theodor Mommsen

... 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

... make not merely The day and nights, summer and spring, not merely Signify to the husbandman the seasons Of sowing and of harvest. Human action, That is the seed, too, of contingencies, Strewed on the dark land of futurity In hopes to reconcile the powers of fate Whence it behoves us to seek out the seed-time, To watch the stars, select their proper hours, And trace with searching ...
— The Works of Frederich Schiller in English • Frederich Schiller

... help the imagination in these judgments, to enlarge and interpret experience, is most certainly one of the functions of literature. A good biography may give facts of infinite suggestion, and the great multitude of novels at present are, in fact, experiments in the science of this central field of human action, experiments in the "way of looking at" various cases and situations. They may be very misleading experiments, it is true, done with adulterated substances, dangerous chemicals, dirty flasks and unsound balances; but that is a question of their quality and not of their nature, ...
— Mankind in the Making • H. G. Wells

... of training rather than the difference of ideas. Both clung to unselfishness as the highest reason for human action; but each expressed the thought in a ...
— The Blazed Trail • Stewart Edward White

... scenes may be found in the chapter where Tom Sawyer succeeds in getting other boys to relieve him of the drudgery of whitewashing a fence. That episode was introduced to enable the author to make more impressive his philosophy of a certain phase of human action:— ...
— History of American Literature • Reuben Post Halleck

... John Randolph, who then 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, and prided themselves upon their standing ...
— The Atlantic Monthly , Volume 2, No. 14, December 1858 • Various

... text-books, and got up 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 time in a couple of days; and ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... fact, that in all the ages, the world over, primitive man's highest ideal conception of deity has been that of a God who could not tolerate a lie; and his loftiest standard of human action has included the readiness to refuse to tell a lie under any inducement, or in any peril, whether it be to a friend or to an enemy. This is the teaching of ethnic conceptions on the subject. The lie would seem to be a product of civilization, or an outgrowth of the spirit of trade and barter, ...
— A Lie Never Justifiable • H. Clay Trumbull

... of every social institution organized for the protection of the sanctity of the altar, the family circle and the legitimacy of our offspring, recognizing no religion but self-worship, no God but human reason, no motive to human action but lust. Many, undoubtedly, will object that we state the case too strongly; but if they will dispassionately examine the facts and compare them with the character of the leaders and the inevitable tendency of their teachings, they must be convinced that the apparently ...
— The Life and Work of Susan B. Anthony (Volume 1 of 2) • Ida Husted Harper

... and the attempts of Dr. Colajanni in the second volume of his work, "La Sociologia Criminale," to explain it away are not by any means successful. It is hardly possible to conceive a more suitable form of test for estimating the effect of temperature on human action than the one afforded by a comparison of the offences committed against prison regulations at the different seasons of the year. Such a comparison amply bears out the contention that the seasons are a factor which must not be overlooked ...
— Crime and Its Causes • William Douglas Morrison

... personality, as delineated in the Gospels, is not only demonstrated by a change of dynasties,—an entire new movement in the world,—a breaking up of the its ancient order; but the moral ideal which now leads human action,—which has wrought this enthusiasm, and propelled man thus strangely forward,—has entered the subjective realities of the soul,—breathed new inspiration upon it,—opened up to it a new conception; and, lo! The statue dilates with a diviner expression;—lo! The picture wears ...
— The Crown of Thorns - A Token for the Sorrowing • E. H. Chapin

... 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, ...
— Adventures in Criticism • Sir Arthur Thomas Quiller-Couch

... interpolated also innumerable incidents and powers which gave a new dimension to experience. Yet the old world remained standing in its strange setting, like the Pantheon in modern Rome; and, what is more important, the natural springs of human action were still acknowledged, and if a supernatural discipline was imposed, it was only because experience and faith had disclosed a situation in which the pursuit of earthly happiness seemed hopeless. Nature was not destroyed by its novel ...
— The Life of Reason • George Santayana

... 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 that ...
— Looking Backward - 2000-1887 • Edward Bellamy

... interest, which commonly implies little more than our property, is sometimes put for utility in general, and this for happiness; insomuch, that, under these ambiguities, it is not surprising we are still unable to determine, whether interest is the only motive of human action, and the standard by which to distinguish our good from ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... would be our presumption. Older and abler pens must render their tributes to the extent and varied richness of his legal lore, which, taking root in principles, branched into the minutiae of detail, under every sun and in every clime where law is recognized as a rule of human action. His judicial fame can never be increased or diminished by individual estimate. The law of patents, of admiralty and prizes, the jurisprudence of equity, and above all, his luminous explorations of what were once constitutional ...
— The International Monthly Magazine - Volume V - No II • Various

... action upon; since the conscience of but very few men amongst us, and of no single Western nation as yet, will brook the restraint of abstract ideas as against the fascination of a material advantage. And eagle-eyed wisdom alone cannot take the lead of human action, which in its nature must for ever remain short-sighted. The trouble of the civilised world is the want of a common conservative principle abstract enough to give the impulse, practical enough to form the rallying point of international ...
— Notes on Life and Letters • Joseph Conrad

... circumstances under the influence of which mankind are placed, and which constitute man's position on the earth. The Deductive Method, applied to social phenomena, must begin, therefore, by investigating, or must suppose to have been already investigated, the laws of human action, and those properties of outward things by which the actions of human beings in society are determined. Some of these general truths will naturally be obtained by observation and experiment, others by deduction: ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... practice and the theory—has become more and more clearly and consciously the object of human thought and endeavour. We need the greater mind to see the links in the overwhelming mass of science, in the mazes of human action and history. We need it still more to grasp and to preserve the unity of our social life. Most of all for the healing of the world is the greater soul needed, with a world-consciousness, some knowledge, some sympathy, some hope for all ...
— Recent Developments in European Thought • Various

... world of created things, he means rather creative force, what produces, not what has been produced. We might almost translate the Greek phrase, "Art, like Nature, creates things," "Art acts like Nature in producing things." These things are, first and foremost, human things, human action. The drama, with which Aristotle is so much concerned, invents human action like real, natural action. Dancing "imitates character, emotion, action." Art is to Aristotle almost wholly bound by the limitations of ...
— Ancient Art and Ritual • Jane Ellen Harrison

... that be altogether possible—make it, I will say, impossible for him to hope in God—and it cannot be that annihilation should seem an evil. If there is no God, annihilation is the one thing to be longed for, with all that might of longing which is the mainspring of human action. In a word, it is not immortality the human heart cries out after, but that immortal eternal thought whose life is its life, whose wisdom is its wisdom, whose ways and whose thoughts shall—must one day—become its ways and its ...
— Wilfrid Cumbermede • George MacDonald

... me say this, and I say it thus plainly that we may know how much our Lord Jesus is depending on us, how really He needs us,—this, that since we are on the earth, in the place of human action, where the fighting is to be done, it is accurate to say with utmost reverence, "men and the Holy Spirit." For mark keenly, the initiative is in human hands. God's action has always waited on human action. The power is only in the Holy Spirit. The most astute and strong ...
— Quiet Talks on Following the Christ • S. D. Gordon

... Save the ship— Lose Katharine. Love or Duty—which should it be? The man was attacked in the two most powerful sources of human action. He saw on one side Katharine tossed about by the merciless waves, white-faced with terror, and stretching out her hands to him in piteous appeal from that angry sea in the horror of darkness and death. And every voice which spoke to the human heart ...
— For Love of Country - A Story of Land and Sea in the Days of the Revolution • Cyrus Townsend Brady

... 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 a ...
— The German Classics of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries - Masterpieces of German Literature Vol. 19 • Various

... most rare and 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

... student of human nature enabled him to do these things. He was as a higher intelligence, looking down on the crowd of struggling, suffering men and women beneath him, forgiving, tolerating all, because he understood all. He who saw life so whole, who knew the hidden motives and far-off causes of human action, could make allowances for everything. There was something divine in his literary charity. What matter, then, if he now and then looked into some girl's expressive face, and found out the secret ...
— Audrey Craven • May Sinclair

... at all in our human action and leadership except as the Spirit leads and controls us, and is allowed to. And, on the other side, we must not forget, though it has sometimes been forgotten, that God's working waits upon human action and leadership. Memory quickly brings up ...
— Quiet Talks with World Winners • S. D. Gordon

... 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 can combat an evil which will destroy ...
— The Hidden Places • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... unpleasant circumstances which may have occurred, by a recollection of 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 ...
— Washington and the American Republic, Vol. 3. • Benson J. Lossing

... all read how, by her own account, Desdemona was won. And her history gives proof, if we had no other, of the great dramatist's wonderful knowledge of the springs of human action and affection. ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol 2, No 6, December 1862 - Devoted to Literature and National Policy • Various

... vices of conventionality thrown around the human heart—fewer I mean to say of those cold restraints, those gilded chains of society, which, like the ornaments that ladies wear upon their necks and arms, seem like fetters; but, I fear me, restrain but little human action, curb not passion, and are to the strong will but as the green rushes round the limbs of the Hebrew giant. Decorum came into England with the house of Hanover; but I am speaking of a period before that, when ladies were less ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... Morris; law in James Wilson of Pennsylvania; the philosophy of government in James Madison, called the "father of the Constitution." They were not theorists but practical men, rich in political experience and endowed with deep insight into the springs of human action. Three of them had served in the Stamp Act Congress: Dickinson of Delaware, William Samuel Johnson of Connecticut, and John Rutledge of South Carolina. Eight had been signers of the Declaration of Independence: Read of Delaware, Sherman of Connecticut, ...
— History of the United States • Charles A. Beard and Mary R. Beard

... Creator. The 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 ...
— Some Turns of Thought in Modern Philosophy - Five Essays • George Santayana

... of the age. This spirit is neither the law of progress nor blind development, but God's all-eternal, all-embracing purpose, the doctrine which recognizes the hand of God in all events, yet leaves all human action free. When God prepared an age for a new thought, the thought is thrust into the age as an instrument into a chemical solution—the crystals cluster round it immediately. If God prepares not, the man has lived before his time. Huss and ...
— The Personal Life Of David Livingstone • William Garden Blaikie

... from the stand-point of their times. 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 ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 • Various

... bitter, just as the balance on the heaviest side declines immediately, obeying the fact of an extra grain of weight. The bird's brain was not mechanical, and therefore he was not wholly mastered by experience. It was a purely human action—just what we do ourselves. Next he came across to the door to see if a stray berry still remained on a creeper. He saw me at the window, and he came to the window—right to it—and stopped and looked full at me some minutes, ...
— Field and Hedgerow • Richard Jefferies

... luxury and with no ability whatever at earning money—for such persons to marry money in order to save themselves from the misery and shame that poverty means to them is the most natural, the most human action conceivable. The man or the woman who says he or she would not do it, either is a hypocrite or is talking without thinking. You may in honesty criticize and condemn a social system that suffers men and women to be so crudely and criminally miseducated by being given luxury they did not ...
— The Price She Paid • David Graham Phillips

... and 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

... delivered, by the direct and immediate interposition of Heaven in human affairs; and the delivering agent must be as high-minded and generous as Moses, who was allowed merely to gaze upon the Promised Land. Men who thus reason about human action, and the motives of actors on the great stage of life, must have read history to very little purpose, and have observed the making of history round about them to no purpose at all. The instruments of Providence are seldom perfect men, and the broad light in which they live ...
— Atlantic Monthly Volume 7, No. 39, January, 1861 • Various

... 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

... possible, but a frequent condition of human action, to do right and be right—yet so as to mislead other people if they rashly imitate the thing done. For there are many rights which are not absolutely, but relatively right—right only for that person to do under ...
— The Two Paths • John Ruskin

... the act, and cheerfully recorded his glorification, in either case we should have made him out. But no; he is full of precautions to conceal the "disgrace" of the purchase, and yet speeds to chronicle the whole affair in pen and ink. It is a sort of anomaly in human action, which we can exactly parallel from ...
— Harvard Classics Volume 28 - Essays English and American • Various

... church or theatre. The latter 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 ...
— The Palace of Pleasure, Volume 1 • William Painter

... its subtle lights and shades, its poetry, its impressive contrasts, Shakespeare, as I said, conveys to us a strong sense of the tyranny of nature and [180] circumstance over human action. The most powerful expressions of this side of experience might be found here. The bloodless, impassible temperament does but wait for its opportunity, for the almost accidental coherence of time with place, and place with wishing, to ...
— Appreciations, with an Essay on Style • Walter Horatio Pater

... been any need of thinking. Someone dies—a certain acquaintance; a comrade in amusement; a famous, or unknown power in the world—what do people say? A pity that he is gone! or, no help for it! Well, what influence can the disappearance of that man exercise on a given sphere of human action; on the course of men's relations and interests? Life, like a rushing river, tears all living men forward, and behind them, ever more distant, remains that misty region, which is filled with the vanished and forgotten. ...
— The Argonauts • Eliza Orzeszko (AKA Orzeszkowa)

... Tertiary Period of geology, since cut and scratched bones have been found in Pliocene deposits, which some geologists of experience believe to have been the work of human hands. Still more remote are some seemingly chipped flints and bones cut in a way that suggests human action, which have been found in deposits of the very far-distant Miocene Age. The immense remoteness of this epoch and the rudeness of the work have cast much doubt on the human origin of these remains, though their authenticity as the work of man has been accepted by several competent observers, ...
— Man And His Ancestor - A Study In Evolution • Charles Morris

... 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 ...
— The American Indian as Participant in the Civil War • Annie Heloise Abel

... is due to the fact that his book appeared at the right moment: for the time was really come to make history something more than a chronicle of detached facts and anecdotes. The scientific spirit was awake, and demanded that human action, like the processes of nature, be made the subject of general law. The mind of Buckle proved fruitful soil for those germs of thought floating in the air, and he gave them visible form in his history. If he was not a leader, he was a brilliant ...
— Library Of The World's Best Literature, Ancient And Modern, Vol 6 • Various

... restriction; as we see there 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, obviously ...
— Little Essays of Love and Virtue • Havelock Ellis

... 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 (aion ho mellon), of forming spirits for immortality. Then, again, ...
— An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality • James Challis

... no public opinion. When a man is absolutely alone in a Station he runs a certain risk of falling into evil ways. The risk is multiplied by every addition to the population up to twelve- -the Jury-number. After that, fear and consequent restraint begin, and human action becomes less grotesquely jerky. ...
— The Works of Rudyard Kipling One Volume Edition • Rudyard Kipling

... religion, ethics, or human action, nothing can last —nothing can end well that is not built squarely ...
— A Day Of Fate • E. P. Roe

... descent. To insist upon its importance is to obscure, as has been obscured, the epic range of Mr. Cabell's creative genius. It is to fail to observe that he has treated in his many books every mainspring of human action and that his themes have been the cardinal dreams and impulses which have in them heroic qualities. Each separate volume has a unity and harmony of a complete and separate life, for the excellent reason that with the consummate skill of an artist he is concerned exclusively in each book ...
— Chivalry • James Branch Cabell

... obscure station, keep him back, if he really has the means of benefiting the city." This wellnigh makes a political Arcadia of Athens. Yet there is no good reason, after making due allowance for the imperfection of human action, when compared with the theory of a given polity, for doubting the correctness of ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 14, No. 84, October, 1864 - A Magazine Of Literature, Art, And Politics • Various

... by its nature is capable of receiving, propagating and communicating all impressions of movement.... This reciprocal action is subject to mechanical laws at present unknown."[19] This fluid in its action governs the earth and stars and human action. ...
— Modern Religious Cults and Movements • Gaius Glenn Atkins

... 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 ...
— Autobiography and Selected Essays • Thomas Henry Huxley

... 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, ...
— Books for Children - The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 3 • Charles and Mary Lamb

... these facts of action the judgment of ethical writers is divided. Libertarians and determinists are here at issue. Into their controversy I do not desire to enter. I mean to attempt a brief summary of those facts relating to human action which are tolerably well agreed upon by writers of both schools. In these there are intricacies enough. To raise the hand, to wave it in the air, to lay it on the table again, would ordinarily be reckoned simple matters. Yet operations ...
— The Nature of Goodness • George Herbert Palmer

... story.... It fulfils every requirement of artistic fiction. It brings out what is most impressive in human action, without owing any of its effectiveness to sensationalism or artifice. It is natural, fluent in evolution, accordant with experience, graphic in description, penetrating in analysis, and absorbing in ...
— The Romance of a Plain Man • Ellen Glasgow

... are; and this state of our taste can and must only be modified by degrees; nor could anything be more ruinous than a sudden revolution which should throw everything topsy turvy. In every field of human action history ...
— The Old Man of the Mountain, The Lovecharm and Pietro of Abano - Tales from the German of Tieck • Ludwig Tieck

... almost a father to me, has burned the ambition into me. But with all my yearning, life has never held a real purpose compared with that I now have in you. The desire for fame, Rita, the throbbing of ambition, the lust for gold and dominion, are considered by the world to be the great motives of human action. But, Rita, they are all simply means to one end. There is but one great purpose in life, and that is furnished to a man by the woman he loves. Billy Little gave me the thought. It is not mine. How he knew it, being an old bachelor, I ...
— A Forest Hearth: A Romance of Indiana in the Thirties • Charles Major

... most 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 ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

... intellectual deficiencies could not be concealed. She was proficient in the elements of no science. The doctrine of lines and surfaces was as disproportionate with her intellects as with those of the mock-bird. She had not reasoned on the principles of human action, nor examined the structure of society.... She could not commune in their native dialect with the sages of Rome and Athens.... The constitution of nature, the attributes of its Author, the arrangement of the parts of the external universe, ...
— Brief History of English and American Literature • Henry A. Beers

... charges, any one who remembers the New York riot of 1863 will be slow to assert that this black mob exhibited any barbarity which has not been more than emulated by white mobs. Shocking enough the details are; but human action always and with every race is ferocious, when once the restraints of self-control and ...
— The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 17, No. 102, April, 1866 • Various

... EMOTION. All human action, whether on the plane of instinct, habit, or reflection, is, to a lesser or greater degree, accompanied by emotion. While there is considerable controversy among psychologists as to the precise nature ...
— Human Traits and their Social Significance • Irwin Edman

... that beauty of virtue which may attract the admiration of mankind, I have attempted to engage a stronger motive to human action in her favour, by convincing men, that their true interest directs them to a pursuit of her. For this purpose I have shown that no acquisitions of guilt can compensate the loss of that solid inward comfort of mind, which is the sure companion of innocence and virtue; nor can in the least balance ...
— The History of Tom Jones, a foundling • Henry Fielding

... earth, no case in human action or suffering has occurred which could less need or less tolerate the aid of artificial rhetoric than that tremendous tragedy which now for three months long has been moving over the plains of Hindostan. What in Grecian days were called aporreta ([Greek: aporrheta]), things not utterable in ...
— The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey—Vol. 1 - With a Preface and Annotations by James Hogg • Thomas de Quincey

... the divine on the human, and on the material world, has been variously conceived in different ages, and various forms of difficulty have been at different times felt and suggested; but always some sort of analogy between human action and divine action has had perforce to be drawn, in order to make the latter in the least intelligible to our conception. The latest form of difficulty is peculiarly deep-seated, and is a natural outcome of an age of physical science. It consists in denying ...
— Life and Matter - A Criticism of Professor Haeckel's 'Riddle of the Universe' • Oliver Lodge

... would it avail you, if you could, by the use of John Brown, Helper's Book, and the like, break up the Republican organization? Human action can be modified to some extent, but human nature cannot be changed. There is a judgment and a feeling against slavery in this nation, which cast at least a million and a half of votes. You cannot destroy that judgment and feeling—that sentiment—by breaking up the political organization ...
— Lincoln's Inaugurals, Addresses and Letters (Selections) • Abraham Lincoln

... training at home, 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 ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., February, 1863, No. LXIV. • Various

... Dramatic Idyls is bound together, like the first, though somewhat less closely, by a leading idea, which, whether consciously or not, is hinted at in a pointed little prologue: the idea of the paradox of human action, and the apparent antagonism between motive and result. The volume differs considerably from its precursor, and it contains nothing quite equal to the best of the earlier poems. There is more variety, perhaps, but the human interest is less intense, ...
— An Introduction to the Study of Browning • Arthur Symons

... 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

... ballads and the adventures of the Young Chevalier; and in Burns 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 new popular ...
— Familiar Studies of Men & Books • Robert Louis Stevenson

... knowledge 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 exist in the world—are the disguises of self-interest. Human nature is dried ...
— Theaetetus • Plato

... to be struggling with self-interest; Chesnel thought that he had gained a hold on his enemy through the great motive of human action. At that supreme moment Mme. ...
— The Jealousies of a Country Town • Honore de Balzac

... and valuable book could be written concerning the earth as modified and benefited by beaver action, and I have long thought that the beaver deserved at least a chapter in Marsh's masterly book, "The Earth as modified by Human Action." To "work like a beaver" is an almost universal expression for energetic persistence, but who realizes that the beaver has accomplished anything? Almost unread of and ...
— Wild Life on the Rockies • Enos A. Mills

... therefore, of a man like Pausanias, risking so much glory, daring so much peril, strong indeed must have been this sanguine motive power of human action. Nor is a large and active development of hope incompatible with a temperament habitually grave and often profoundly melancholy. For hope itself is often engendered by discontent. A vigorous nature keenly susceptible to joy, and deprived of the possession ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... about the whereabouts of the Jew because it will be important to thee, O illustrious! when thou comest to consider what is to be done; for already I know, and by the knowledge I flatter myself I am growing in wisdom, that in every scheme involving human action there are three elements always to be taken into account—time, place, ...
— Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ • Lew Wallace

... abandonment of clear and imperative national advantage in order to avoid an issue for which preparation has not been made. By no premeditated contrivance of our own, by the cooperation of a series of events which, however dependent step by step upon human action, were not intended to prepare the present crisis, the United States finds herself compelled to answer a question—to make a decision—not unlike and not less momentous than that required of the Roman senate, when the Mamertine garrison invited it to occupy Messina, and so to abandon ...
— The Interest of America in Sea Power, Present and Future • A. T. Mahan

... realize their ends in and through conflict. The scientific form which it assumes in the hypothesis of evolution is but the pragmatic expression of this mystery. Here is the metaphysical basis of the Law of Tragedy, the profoundest law in human life, in human art, in human action. And thus that law, which, as I pointed out, throws a vivid light upon the first essential transformation in the life-history of a State dowered with empire, offers us its aid in interpreting the ...
— The Origins and Destiny of Imperial Britain - Nineteenth Century Europe • J. A. Cramb

... "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 operation." This is ...
— Culture and Anarchy • Matthew Arnold

... 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 accounting for the acts ...
— Bricks Without Straw • Albion W. Tourgee

... 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 ...
— The Complete Works of Whittier - The Standard Library Edition with a linked Index • John Greenleaf Whittier

... 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. ...
— Be Courteous • Mrs. M. H. Maxwell

... carry onward the process of sympathetic enlargement, modifying their laws to suit the gains in understanding which come with this growth. It may be noticed that the development takes place most readily where the rules of conduct are embodied in statute law; for this law, being the evident result of human action, is manifestly alterable in a way that cannot be taken when the prescriptions are supposed to rest on divine commands. Under such conditions of statute law men are freer to advance than they can possibly be where the rules of action are in the form of revered precepts, such as guide the peoples ...
— Domesticated Animals - Their Relation to Man and to his Advancement in Civilization • Nathaniel Southgate Shaler

... 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

... value. Again, in practical matters, the burthen of proof is supposed to be with those who are against liberty; who contend for any restriction or prohibition; either any limitation of the general freedom of human action, or any disqualification or disparity of privilege affecting one person or kind of persons, as compared with others. The a priori presumption is in favour of freedom and impartiality. It is held that ...
— The Subjection of Women • John Stuart Mill

... over the stream; Hirst went round and joined him, remarking that he had long ceased to look for the reason of any human action. ...
— The Voyage Out • Virginia Woolf

... others, the greatness of what he had done was quickly apparent, and received due recognition from thoughtful men. "Either the distances between the different quarters of the globe are diminished," wrote Mr. Elliot from Naples, "or you have extended the powers of human action. After an unremitting cruise of two long years in the stormy Gulf of Lyons, to have proceeded without going into port to Alexandria, from Alexandria to the West Indies, from the West Indies back again to Gibraltar; to have kept your ships afloat, your rigging ...
— The Life of Nelson, Vol. II. (of 2) - The Embodiment of the Sea Power of Great Britain • A. T. (Alfred Thayer) Mahan

... awful interest to the narration of events—men were delineated, not as mere self-acting and self-willed mortals, but as the agents of a destiny inevitable and unseen—the gods themselves are no longer the gods of Homer, entering into the sphere of human action for petty motives and for individual purposes—drawing their grandeur, not from the part they perform, but from the descriptions of the poet;—they appear now as the oracles or the agents of fate—they are visiters from another world, terrible and ominous ...
— Athens: Its Rise and Fall, Complete • Edward Bulwer-Lytton

... most distant planet, and as far beyond as the power of gravitation may extend. It is precisely so with all social events, even those of the most insignificant character. Every one of them has its appropriate influence, which is indestructible; and they all combine to make up the great whole of human action, the results of which at any specific period are only the necessary and inevitable consequences of all ...
— The Continental Monthly, Vol. 3, No. 1 January 1863 - Devoted To Literature And National Policy • Various

... motives be her forte and art, she stands first, and it is very doubtful whether any artist in fiction is entitled to stand second. She reaches clear in and touches the most secret and the most delicate spring of human action. She has done this so well, so apart from the doing of everything else, and so, in spite of doing some other things indifferently, that she works on a line quite her own, and quite alone, as a creative artist in fiction. Others have done this incidentally ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... 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, ...
— Socialism: Positive and Negative • Robert Rives La Monte

... is in the nature of a prelude to the group of poems published under the title Jocoseria, 1883. Each poem in this volume shows the lack of some element that would have brought the human action ...
— Selections from the Poems and Plays of Robert Browning • Robert Browning

... man: it is not for us to imagine what man might have done, or ought to have done, but to observe what he did." Of the origin and growth of a myth, for example, Raynal had no rational idea. When he found a myth, what he did was to reduce it to the terms of human action, and then coolly to describe it as historical. The ancient Peruvian legend that laws and arts had been brought to their land by two divine children of the Sun, Manco-Capac and his sister-wife Manca-Oello, is transformed into a grave and prosaic narrative, in which Manco-Capac's achievements ...
— Diderot and the Encyclopaedists - Volume II. • John Morley

... human voice obeying Should with human action pair, Then you have said ill in saying All these flattering words and fair, Since in truth they are gainsaying This parade of victory, 'Gainst which I my standard rear, Since they say, it seems to me, Not the flatteries ...
— Life Is A Dream • Pedro Calderon de la Barca

... with its fitness for poetical representation; this depends upon its inherent qualities. To the elementary part of our nature, to our passions, that which is great and passionate is eternally interesting; and interesting solely in proportion to its greatness and to its passion. A great human action of a thousand years ago is more interesting to it than a smaller human action of to-day, even though upon the representation of this last the most consummate skill may have been expended, and though it has the advantage of appealing by its modern language, familiar manners, and contemporary ...
— Selections from the Prose Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... who in return observed her not at all, being but semi-conscious. Looked upon thoughtfully, it is a coincidence that we breathe; certainly it is a mighty coincidence that we speak to one another and comprehend; for these are true marvels. But what petty interlacings of human action so pique our sense of the theatrical that we call them coincidences and are astonished! That Julia should arrive during Noble's long process of buying a ticket to go to her was stranger than that she stopped to look at him, though still not comparable in strangeness to the fact that ...
— Gentle Julia • Booth Tarkington

... headquarters of information. But there was another "must," stronger than mine; I was seated in the car, the whistle blew its mockery of me; and the slow movement which immediately followed was the snapping of the thread, - the parting of the lines. It was something that no human action could stay or avert now; and the gentle motion soon grew to a whirl of speed which bore me relentlessly away. The slow pang of that first stir of the ...
— Daisy in the Field • Elizabeth Wetherell

... a thousand 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

... that human legislators could free us, or annul the marriage, I was resolved, while life lasted, to consider myself a duped, an unloved, but a lawful wife,—a woman consecrated by solemn oaths that no human action could cancel. Since money was the bait, I was willing to divide my fortune as the price of a quiet separation; and though from that hour I intended to quit his presence forever, and regard the tie that linked us as merely nominal, I would allow him a ...
— Vashti - or, Until Death Us Do Part • Augusta J. Evans Wilson

... so that reality as a whole appears incompletely definable unless ideas also are kept account of. This pragmatist doctrine, exhibiting our ideas as complemental factors of reality, throws open (since our ideas are instigators of our action) a wide window upon human action, as well as a wide license to originality in thought. But few things could be sillier than to ignore the prior epistemological edifice in which the window is built, or to talk as if pragmatism began and ended at the window. This, nevertheless, is ...
— The Meaning of Truth • William James

... the motives of human action have long been known—although psychology, or the science of soul and sentiment, has ceased to present us with any new facts—it is quite certain that our edifice of Morals is not quite built up. We may rest assured that as ...
— The Gaming Table: Its Votaries and Victims - Volume II (of II) • Andrew Steinmetz

... religious views and principles. I would have them become neither fanatics nor bigots; but would urge them to place themselves under the pure and divine light of the gospel of Christ, that they may be exalted to the highest and noblest principles of human action, and to the summit of ...
— Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness • John Mather Austin

... the National Gallery—and Philip IV.; was knighted by both; in all that pertains to chiaroscuro, colouring, and general technical skill Rubens is unsurpassed, and in expressing particularly the "tumult and energy of human action," but he falls below the great Italian artists in the presentation of the deeper and sublimer human emotions; was a scholarly, refined man, an excellent linguist, and a successful diplomatist; was twice married; died at Antwerp, and ...
— The Nuttall Encyclopaedia - Being a Concise and Comprehensive Dictionary of General Knowledge • Edited by Rev. James Wood

... 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 ...
— Human Nature In Politics - Third Edition • Graham Wallas

... whose centre was 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; that there is always ...
— Essays, First Series • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... stumble, because he forgets that Plato is writing in an age when the arts and the virtues, like the moral and intellectual faculties, were still undistinguished. Among early enquirers into the nature of human action the arts helped to fill up the void of speculation; and at first the comparison of the arts and the virtues was not perceived by them to be fallacious. They only saw the points of agreement in them and not the points of difference. Virtue, like art, must take means to ...
— The Republic • Plato

... human life, whereby to judge of them, and measure their effects. The historian now stands on higher ground, takes in a wider range than those that went before him; he can now survey vast tracts of human action, and deduce its laws from an experience extending over many climes and ages. With his ideas, moreover, his feelings ought to be enlarged: he should regard the interests not of any sect or state, but ...
— The Life of Friedrich Schiller - Comprehending an Examination of His Works • Thomas Carlyle

... 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 ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... stone steps, they found themselves in a noble avenue lined with trees and adorned with sparkling fountains. Everywhere the people looked happy. There was neither hurry nor effort, but the grandest monuments to human action were visible upon every hand. Such palaces of dazzling marble; such lace-like carvings in stone; such noble terraces and gardens; and open to ...
— The Ghost of Guir House • Charles Willing Beale

... hand, and by ourselves on the other, as to the working of God in the world. The Jew believed not merely in an omnipotent God, but in a God who constantly used his power quite independently of the action of men. We, on the contrary, believe that the universe is so constituted that human action bears a fixed relation to the course of events. What men do or do not bears a definite relation to the events which will follow, and we no longer look for God to help those who are unwilling to help themselves. One of the means which we possess ...
— Landmarks in the History of Early Christianity • Kirsopp Lake

... interest in its preservation and improvement, they are generally, after a shorter or longer 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 ...
— Across the Zodiac • Percy Greg

... 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 ...
— Critical Miscellanies (Vol. 2 of 3) - Essay 3: Condorcet • John Morley

... woven of reality are not the same detached products as poems written on paper. They are an integral part of life, and, as such, related to its great forward sweep. All the consequences that attach to human action must attach to the particular weaving, however fantastic ...
— Cleo The Magnificent - The Muse of the Real • Louis Zangwill



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