These days, with more and more of our everyday lives being mediated by the Internet and assorted digital devices, it can be easy to end up feeling as though we are essentially disembodied and detached from our everyday experiences in a number of different ways.
There is a tendency, in other words, to end up getting very invested in the importance of our abstract ideas and thoughts, while neglecting to acknowledge the importance of our actions.
One point that various different religious, philosophical, and poetic traditions have made over time is that it’s your actions that really carry weight in life, more than your abstract ideas.
Here are a few reasons why.
Because it’s when your beliefs and feelings are embodied in action that they are the most powerful
Anyone can “believe” something in the abstract, or can at least claim to. But if you look to see how many people are actually willing to stand up for their beliefs, and to bear hardship and to struggle for those beliefs, you’ll probably find a lot of that “belief” is very “fly by night.”
The idea of “skin in the game” is essential for all sorts of things in life, ranging from good interpersonal relationships, to basic integrity in general. It’s certainly the case that beliefs and feelings which are embodied in action are far more powerful than those which are allowed to exist only as vague abstractions.
Because a lot of implicit truths can be contained in action, that can’t be expressed clearly in words
In life, there are many truths which have to be left implicit, and which can only be expressed through action and through symbolism, but not through words.
If you propose to your partner in a traditional manner, maybe with a ring from Tacori, you’re saying a lot without words.
In fact, many of the deepest experiences and values which make us all human rely entirely on action and symbolic gestures, and are completely undermined if not outright destroyed if we attempt to render the meanings verbally explicit.
The love a parent has for their child, for example, is something that they show through their actions. It’s something that poets can hint towards with metaphor. But if you try to express it clearly and rationalistically in a verbal sense, you will miss all the essence of the thing. You can’t “explain why.”
Actions are often required to show some of the deepest truths that can’t be clearly spoken.
Because your actions involve you harmonising yourself with external reality
Taking action in the world naturally involves opening yourself up to feedback from the world.
Someone might like the idea of being a musician, and imagine themselves playing great music, but it’s only when they actually start practising – especially with a teacher – that they will begin harmonising their dreams of being a musician with the role they play in the physical, external world at large.
Getting entirely caught up in your own head is a path to solipsism, and to completely losing touch with the wisdom, information, and context provided by the external world that helps to keep us all grounded and balanced.
Taking action, on the other hand, helps to harmonize you with external reality.