“Act more. React less.” A nice sentiment. Impose yourself upon the environment, upon your life. Make decisions rather than let others make them for you. Happen to things, rather than the reverse. A nonsense sentiment too, for it implies a definite difference between action and reaction. There is no such thing.

Consider the concept of an original thought. Have you ever had one? Have I ever had one? Has anyone ever had one? No. All thoughts are derivative of past impulses and previous information. Even the purest, most seemingly novel thought is made of up of a single-digit percentage of thoughts from elsewhere. A revolutionary entrepreneurial venture borrows from other less revolutionary ventures. A revealing insight in one domains steals partially from insight in other domains. Pure originality is a myth.

One of the immutable laws of the universe is said to be, “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” I can’t argue that. But I think the following statement is equally immutable: “Every action is part reaction.” Or, alternatively, we can take another perspective: life is a complex system. And how do we comprehend what goes on within complex systems? Not by studying isolated actions, but by studying interactions. So, life is not about action or reaction, but the interplay between the two.

action reaction life