Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Decisive Action

 "The first criterion in war remains decisive action.  Everyone, from the highest commander down to the youngest soldier, must constantly be aware that inaction and neglect incriminate  him more severely than any error in the choice of means." - Truppenfuhrung (On the German Art Of War), "Introduction"

Every day, we are making choices and taking actions that lead us closer to our farther away from our goals.

We often fool ourselves into thinking that we are actually taken action - or decisive action ("entschlossenes Handeln") - in our lives.  The modern world may have made this more convenient, but I do not wonder that this was always the case:  the InterWeb has replaced getting together, On-line conversations have replaced "hanging out" - but the results are still the same:  as one wag put it, it is similar to a rocking chair in that we can go faster and faster, but we actually end up going nowhere.

Our society does not help with this at all either.  We have become victims of the idea that we belong not to ourselves and God, but rather to each other and as such, cannot take any action with complete consideration and - dare I say - approval - of the greater whole.  In this brave new interconnected world, there is no "I", there is only "we" - and be "we", it usually means "not you".  

Nor do our governments, who on the one hand freely dole out benefits which, like heroin, too often leave one addicted to both the drug and the one providing it; while on the other hand remove the fruits of individual labor (for what are taxes but this) and reduce the number of choices and options available to the individual, guiding them into the pre-approved channels.

Our actions become not decisive for ourselves, but merely enabling for those in power:  You cannot not choose the material of your shirt nor where you can purchase it from, but it is allowable to choose its color (from one of these four options).

I write this mostly to myself, because I am the most guilty of it.  I have too often allowed myself the luxury of thinking I was taking action by making half hearted gestures or only slightly making an effort when in point of fact, commitment and "entschlossenes Handeln" was called for.  As a result, I often hold a meager form of accomplishment or action, not the actual action or victory that was needed.

Unfortunately for me - for all of us - the ability to have a margin of error in such matters is shrinking daily.  In my youth, I could dally about what career I would choose or what I would do financially; were I in the same position today, I would have to hit the ground running and not stop.

Let is then be decisive in our actions, lest we find ourselves incriminated by our lack of them.

6 comments:

  1. I was thinking of exactly this the other day. Hit the ground running… I wonder if there is a place to run to now, in these days of inverted values… all the roads except one lead to the same place.

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    1. Glen, all we can do is our best. But that involves - at least for me - taking action instead of thinking of taking action.

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  2. One thing I've noticed (or at least this seems to be true to me), is that many folks think that having an opinion is action. "Doing something" about a problem then pretty much becomes complaining, criticizing, and pointing out faults in everybody else's opinion. Discussion of solutions is optional and taking action is not required.

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    1. Leigh, that is a great point - and yes, opinions, thoughts, plans, discussion - all of these take the place of actual action. Perhaps we have allowed ourselves to believe that actions have to be perfectly mapped out and therefore, perfect. But almost everyone significant one reads suggests a half thought plan executed always beats a theoretical plan.

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  3. Great post and great comments. Much food for slapping me-own-self around...

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    1. Thank you STxAR. It is mostly the slapping of myself that is intended.

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