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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.






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"Human action" Quotes from Famous Books



... 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 ...
— Golden Steps to Respectability, Usefulness and Happiness • John Mather Austin

... kindly influence to the smallest and remotest fibres of the frame. But the notion of Religion entertained by many among us seems altogether different. They begin indeed, in submission to her clear prohibitions, by fencing off from the field of human action, a certain district, which, though it in many parts bear fruits on which they cast a longing eye, they cannot but confess to be forbidden ground. They next assign to Religion a portion, larger or smaller according to whatever may be their circumstances ...
— A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. • William Wilberforce

... cymbal, nevertheless it faileth. There is knowledge, and it remains, 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—Whither Bound? - Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921 • Stephen Graham

... existence than has the thread of lineal 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 ...
— Chivalry • James Branch Cabell

... of the present volume is: to indicate the character and, approximately, the extent of the changes produced by human action in the physical conditions of the globe we inhabit; to point out the dangers of imprudence and the necessity of caution in all operations which, on a large scale, interfere with the spontaneous arrangements of the organic or the inorganic world; to suggest the possibility ...
— The Earth as Modified by Human Action • George P. Marsh

... 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 ...
— An Essay on the History of Civil Society, Eighth Edition • Adam Ferguson, L.L.D.

... 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: the more complex laws of human action, for example, may ...
— A System Of Logic, Ratiocinative And Inductive • John Stuart Mill

... conception of the Kingdom brought it closer to human action. It was already at work; it was in one sense already present (Luke 17:20-21). It was possible ...
— The Social Principles of Jesus • Walter Rauschenbusch

... essentials of the book as a contribution to biological philosophy. The closing chapters contain a lucid statement of objections to his theory as they might be put by a rigid necessitarian, and a refutation of that interpretation as applied to human action. ...
— Unconscious Memory • Samuel Butler

... 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

... of statement, error of manner, error of weakness, error of partisanship. 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 ...
— Liberalism and the Social Problem • Winston Spencer Churchill

... was Dr. 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 you dared entrust them with any of your affairs. Nowadays, on the contrary, ...
— Looking Backward - 2000-1887 • Edward Bellamy

... In all things, while he deeply reverenced principles, he chose to deal with the concrete rather than with abstractions. He studied men rather than man." The words in italics imply an insight into the deepest springs of human action, the conjunct causes of what we call character such as few men of ...
— Spare Hours • John Brown

... family's long 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 of the tyranny they had seen displayed ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Vol. XI., February, 1863, No. LXIV. • Various

... 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 ...
— The International Monthly, Volume 2, No. 4, March, 1851 • Various

... 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

... morning at home, or that in which a poor neighbour found himself, is that which to him is important. It is a pernicious consequence of the sole study of extraordinary people that the customary standards of human action are deposed, and other standards peculiar to peculiar creatures under peculiar circumstances are set up. I have known Cardew do very curious things at times. I do not believe for one moment he thought he was doing wrong, but nevertheless, ...
— Catharine Furze • Mark Rutherford

... regarded more efficacious than destiny. If any human action that is commenced does not succeed through destiny, the actor becomes like one who falling off from the path of righteousness, is lost in the wilderness of sin. The sages speak of defeat as foolishness when one having commenced an act swerves from it through fear. In consequence of the ...
— The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 3 - Books 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 • Unknown

... 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 farmer could be seen a little elated. His ...
— The Quarterly Review, Volume 162, No. 324, April, 1886 • Various

... 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 ...
— Lincoln's Inaugurals, Addresses and Letters (Selections) • Abraham Lincoln

... 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 of the joy it yearns for by circumstances ...
— Pausanias, the Spartan - The Haunted and the Haunters, An Unfinished Historical Romance • Lord Lytton

... children says:—'Mrs. Barbauld had his best praise; no man was more 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.' Works, ...
— Life Of Johnson, Vol. 2 • Boswell, Edited by Birkbeck Hill

... 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

... 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

... foedera naturae above the gods and attributes some freedom of will and action to men, for as we have seen in both of these matters Vergil agrees with Lucretius. But there is one apparent difficulty in that Vergil, contrary to his teacher's usual practice, permits the interference of the gods in human action. The difficulty is, however, only apparent, if, as Vergil does, we conceive of these gods simply as heroic and super-human characters in the drama, accepted from an heroic age in order to keep the ancient atmosphere ...
— Vergil - A Biography • Tenney Frank

... 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 ...
— Back to Methuselah • George Bernard Shaw

... 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

... 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, ...
— Atlantic Monthly, Volume 8, No. 48, October, 1861 • Various

... 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 ...
— Psychology - A Study Of Mental Life • Robert S. Woodworth

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

... 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 heirs of the family may differ in their dispositions, ...
— Literary Character of Men of Genius - Drawn from Their Own Feelings and Confessions • Isaac D'Israeli

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

... 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

... do not err in assuming that, however diverse their views on philosophical and religious matters, most men are agreed that the proportion of good and evil in life may be very sensibly affected by human action. I never heard anybody doubt that the evil may be thus increased, or diminished; and it would seem to follow that good must be similarly susceptible of addition or subtraction. Finally, to my knowledge, nobody ...
— Evolution and Ethics and Other Essays • Thomas H. Huxley

... at the skill with which she sent the shuttle through 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. ...
— Be Courteous • Mrs. M. H. Maxwell

... 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), ...
— An Essay on the Scriptural Doctrine of Immortality • James Challis

... unscrupulous, satisfaction. How could it be 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 ...
— The History of Sir Richard Calmady - A Romance • Lucas Malet

... 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 manner ...
— The Blazed Trail • Stewart Edward White

... written at the beginning of the respective Presents will ascertain the division of the Property. If not, none of the Donees, I dare say, will grudge a community of property in this case. We were constrained to pack 'em how we could, for room. Also there comes W. Hazlitt's book about Human Action, for Coleridge; a little song book for Sarah Coleridge; a Box for Hartley which your Brother was to have sent, but now devolved on us—I don't know from whom it came, but the things altogether were too much ...
— The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb, Vol. 5 • Edited by E. V. Lucas

... world. St. Augustine[691] described the nature of God as a circle 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 ...
— Essays • Ralph Waldo Emerson

... and 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 consciousness is man, whose nature ...
— The World's Greatest Books—Volume 14—Philosophy and Economics • Various

... presented a very different aspect. Every corporeal motion was due to some preceding motion; every thought to some preceding thought; every historical event was the offspring of some preceding event; every human action was the result of some foregone and accomplished action. In the long annals of our race, nothing has ever been abruptly introduced. There has been an orderly, an inevitable sequence from event to event. There is an iron chain of destiny, of which the links are facts; each stands in its preordained ...
— History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science • John William Draper

... 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 ...
— Principles Of Political Economy • William Roscher

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

... 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

... slighting of one of the most potent springs of human action, sex, with all that the idea involves, is not due to a pronounced misogynism on the part of these people, but to a much more effective neglect, a great underlying impersonality. Indifference to woman is but included in a much more general ...
— The Soul of the Far East • Percival Lowell

... been almost exclusively regarded as the chief exponent of egotism among the great writers of Europe. He has become—he became during his own lifetime— the bye-word for bitterness. He is represented as believing that egotism is the primum mobile of all human action, and that man is wholly the victim of his passions, which lead him whither they will. He denies all spirituality and sees a physical cause for everything we do. His own words are quoted against him. It is true that he says, "All the passions are nothing but divers ...
— Three French Moralists and The Gallantry of France • Edmund Gosse

... of the materials and forms of its expression, it becomes clear how the subject-matter of poetry is the inner life of mood and striving and passionate human action. Emotions may be poured forth in words, and, by means of words, actions may be described. But neither passion nor action appear in poetry as they are lived and enacted; for the poet, working in a medium ...
— The Principles Of Aesthetics • Dewitt H. Parker

... is better than total abstinence, and that asceticism is but a one-sided training. He makes the sagacious remark, that 'those who are able to resist pleasure may often be among the worst of mankind.' He is as much aware as any modern utilitarian that the love of pleasure is the great motive of human action. This cannot be eradicated, and must therefore be regulated,—the pleasure must be of the right sort. Such reflections seem to be the real, though imperfectly expressed, groundwork of the discussion. As in the juxtaposition of the Bacchic madness and the great gift of Dionysus, ...
— Laws • Plato

... 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 ...
— Hume - (English Men of Letters Series) • T.H. Huxley

... a point 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

... 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 wisdom ...
— Myth and Science - An Essay • Tito Vignoli

... elegance a variety of airs." James Fenimore Cooper stated it as his opinion, "that such was the obliquity of intellect shown by Mackenzie in the whole affair, that no analysis of his motives can be made on any consistent principle of human action;" and the distinguished statesman, Thomas H. Benton, whose critical and lengthy review of the whole case would seem to carry conviction to unprejudiced minds, declared that the three men "died innocent, as ...
— As I Remember - Recollections of American Society during the Nineteenth Century • Marian Gouverneur

... 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 of good ornament.[72] And this expression is heightened, rather ...
— The Stones of Venice, Volume I (of 3) • John Ruskin

... that Theism reposes upon solid grounds of reason as the rational view of the universe. To such it may be observed that, thus conceived, the Divine action has that slight amount of resemblance to, and that wide amount of divergence from what human action would be, which might be expected a priori—might be expected, that is, from a Being whose nature and aims are utterly beyond our power to imagine, however faintly, but whose truth and goodness are the fountain and source of our own ...
— On the Genesis of Species • St. George Mivart

... mobility 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 ...
— The Grain Of Dust - A Novel • David Graham Phillips

... its worth, 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, either as ...
— The Marble Faun, Volume II. - The Romance of Monte Beni • Nathaniel Hawthorne

... conflict with the matter known from the Veda—which, on account of its non-human character, is raised above all suspicion of error and other imperfections—they cannot be accepted as authoritative with regard to anything not depending on human action and choice. Now the matter to be known from the Veda is Narayana, who is none other than the highest Brahman. It hence follows that the entities set forth in those different systems—the pradhana, the soul (purusha), Pasupati, and ...
— The Vedanta-Sutras with the Commentary by Ramanuja - Sacred Books of the East, Volume 48 • Trans. George Thibaut

... favor certain kinds of human action. He was at first appeased under the influences of analogies from the lower side of human nature,—Give him a present, something to eat, or to smell, or to see. Then came the idea that he was the friend and favorer of the righteous,—of ...
— The Chief End of Man • George S. Merriam

... seems to me that the true principle is that machinery and the factory are admissible only when so employed they actually do produce, in bulk operations, a better product, and with less labour, than is possible through hand work. Weaving, forging and all work where human action must be more or less mechanical, offer a fair field for the machine and the factory, but wherever the human element can enter, where personality and the skilled craft of the hand are given play, the machine and the factory are inadmissible. ...
— Towards the Great Peace • Ralph Adams Cram

... his dogged and unremitting pursuit of the merely conventional 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 to see—essentials of human achievement ...
— Views and Reviews - Essays in appreciation • William Ernest Henley

... have conceded that all action ought to be voluntary. The silent assumption is that by education and effort it can be made so. One may doubt whether in the sense required by Godwin's argument any human action ever is or can be absolutely "voluntary," rational or self-conscious. To attain it, we should have to reason naked in a desert with algebraic symbols. To use words is to think in step, and to beg our question. But Godwin is well aware that most ...
— Shelley, Godwin and Their Circle • H. N. Brailsford

... is the centre of the map. It is the centre of all things in the Bible. And it has proven to be at the centre of human action through history, attested by the very name given to the chief body of ...
— Quiet Talks on the Crowned Christ of Revelation • S. D. Gordon

... enlightened theory of individual and national morality, a general philosophy of 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 of mankind; the progress ...
— The Life of Friedrich Schiller - Comprehending an Examination of His Works • Thomas Carlyle

... still rushed and warred, and beat and clamored, shrieking, wailing, like voices from hell. The snow dashed like surf against the walls. It seemed to cut off the little cabin from the rest of the world and to dwarf all human action like the sea. It made social conventions of no value, and narrowed the question of morality to the relationship of ...
— The Moccasin Ranch - A Story of Dakota • Hamlin Garland

... comparison and which 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

... Theology is inevitable if we permit the inquiry into causes;[252] and he is more anxious that theology should perish than that truth should prevail. The human will must, therefore, be robbed of all semblance of freedom, lest it should suggest the idea of a Supreme Will governing nature; and human action, like all other phenomena, must be reduced to uniform and necessary law. All feelings, ideas, and principles guaranteed to us by consciousness are to be cast out of the account. Psychology, resting on self-observation, is pronounced a delusion. The immediate consciousness of ...
— Christianity and Greek Philosophy • Benjamin Franklin Cocker

... 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, ...
— A Forest Hearth: A Romance of Indiana in the Thirties • Charles Major

... Evening Club on "What is Happiness?" 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 ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... impossible for one man, within the limited sphere of human action, to follow all Hester's advice, but in the end William usually acted upon some of her suggestions. When she incessantly denounced the "shiftlessness" of letting a new threshing machine stand unprotected in the open, he eventually built a shed for it. When she sniffed ...
— A Collection of Stories, Reviews and Essays • Willa Cather

... interstate commerce, it may make deprivation of the right to engage in interstate commerce in any of its phases, even the right to move from one State to another, a sanction of ever-increasing efficacy for whatever standards of conduct it may choose to lay down in any field of human action; and since laws passed by Congress in pursuance of its powers are generally supreme over conflicting State laws, these standards would supersede the conflicting standards imposed under the police powers of the States. Henceforth, in effect, ...
— The Constitution of the United States of America: Analysis and Interpretation • Edward Corwin

... but if the analysis of human 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 ...
— The Essays of "George Eliot" - Complete • George Eliot

... 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

... 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, ...
— Selections from the Prose Works of Matthew Arnold • Matthew Arnold

... opinion, there was one feature peculiar to this state and of great importance in retaining the affections of the citizens, and checking all thoughts of desertion, or abandonment of the country: namely, self-interest, the strength and life of all human action. (144) This was peculiarly engaged in the Hebrew state, for nowhere else did citizens possess their goods so securely, as did the subjects of this community, for the latter possessed as large a share in the land and the fields as did their chiefs, and were owners of their plots of ground ...
— A Theologico-Political Treatise [Part IV] • Benedict de Spinoza

... 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

... physical and final causes; in ultimate resort the mind is compelled to think the universe as the work of reason, to refer facts to God and Providence. The idea of final cause is also fruitful in sciences which have to do with human action. (Cf. De Aug. iii. cc. 4, 5; Nov. Org. ...
— Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 - "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon" • Various

... 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, and the substance, modes ...
— Brief History of English and American Literature • Henry A. Beers

... 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 for ...
— War and Peace • Leo Tolstoy

... or had he bought it, gloried in 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

... seem that every human action is good, and that none is evil. For Dionysius says (Div. Nom. iv) that evil acts not, save in virtue of the good. But no evil is done in virtue of the good. ...
— Summa Theologica, Part I-II (Pars Prima Secundae) - From the Complete American Edition • Saint Thomas Aquinas

... consequences for those directly concerned, for hosts of absolutely innocent women, and for the unborn. Further, those who suppose that the granting of the vote is going to effect radical and fundamental changes in the facts of biology, the development of instinct, and its significance in human action, are fools of the very blindest kind. Some of us find that it needs constant self-chastening and bracing up of the judgment to retain our belief in the cause of woman's suffrage, of the justice and desirability of which we are convinced, assaulted as we almost daily are by the unnatural, ...
— Woman and Womanhood - A Search for Principles • C. W. Saleeby

... marvels of poetry; to imitate nothing in nature, but to give free scope to the gay illusions of fancy, to the chimeras of fairy magic, and to transport the mind by every means beyond the boundaries of human action. He was crowned with prodigious success in his time, and perhaps there never existed an author more congenial to an Italian imagination; but to know with certainty what degree of perfection Tragedy and Comedy can reach in Italy, it should possess a theatrical ...
— Corinne, Volume 1 (of 2) - Or Italy • Mme de Stael

... of 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 charge of ambition ...
— The Rise of the Dutch Republic, 1555-1566 • John Lothrop Motley

... individual determination. If our 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 ...
— The Hidden Places • Bertrand W. Sinclair

... and for whom I would have died; and if we are to be eternally divided —not because we differed in our views of justice, not because we differed about friendship or love or candor, or the nobility of human action, but because we differed in belief about the atonement or baptism or the inspiration of the Scriptures—and if some of us are to be in heaven, and some in hell, then, for my part, I prefer eternal sleep. To me the doctrine of annihilation is infinitely more consoling, than the probable separation ...
— The Works of Robert G. Ingersoll, Volume VIII. - Interviews • Robert Green Ingersoll

... 322) at 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, vol. vii. p. 322. Malcolm, vol. ...
— The History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire - Volume 4 • Edward Gibbon



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