It is a myth to say that people are inactive. At every moment people are active. At every moment they are doing something. This could be watching television, making a cup of coffee, chatting to a colleague at work, getting drunk or raising money for charity.

As an example, people usually mistake homelessness for a lack of action. They blame the government and society for not doing enough to tackle the problem. Or they blame homeless people for failing to take the necessary steps to ‘sort themselves out.’

But, however the government and society deals with homelessness, involves a series of actions. We can spend billions housing people or criminalizing them.

And whatever way homeless people address their situation is a series of actions. Whether they seek out a hostel for the night; Jesus; or merely their next bottle of wine.

And how we react to all of this consists of a series of actions. Every time we come across someone who is homeless, do we act with condemnation, compassion or disinterest?

Every time we think about the way in which homelessness is being tackled, do we react with condemnation, compassion or disinterest?

When it comes to action, therefore, the key is not to act, but to act rightly. That is, to take actions that, ultimately, serve and benefit you and others. Where possible, ask yourself the question, “Is what I am doing right now really in my best interests?”

If it is, carry on. If it isn’t, do something else.

To focus so intently on what is the best way to act, in any given moment, might seem kinda nuts, not to say impractical. But to do things that are not in your best interests, over and over again, is that not totally insane?

If you’ve never really thought about this, take the time to do so. It will be instructive for you, at the very least. However, if you’ve spent your whole life thinking about it, and doing nothing else, stop looking for the perfect way to deal with life and make a commitment to do what you know is best.

That would be acting rightly.


The word action is an interesting one. Within it is the word act.

And here lies a huge issue within our society, within our world. Most of the time people act, they are … acting.

Hence, rather than being something real or authentic, most of the time people act, they are, in actual fact, putting on a show. They are putting on their own personal drama.

Perhaps, to get some attention. Or to get people to like them. Stuff like that.

And the nature of this is that we live in a world where people are crying out for something real, for something that is authentic. But when this is offered to them, their instinct is to run as far as they can.

Because they would rather go with what is familiar and safe and comfortable. Even if it completely sucks. And even if what is real and authentic will give them freedom.

Heck, that freedom business is real scary. Because with freedom – real freedom – comes responsibility. If you are not responsible you cannot be free. Simple as.

Here’s the thing: there is nothing wrong with putting on a show, or a performance. But at least have some fun with it. Enjoy your drama! Well, you’ve clearly gone to a lot of trouble to make it happen, you might as well get some pleasure from it.

Most people suffer terribly with their drama. Which begs the question: if you went to the theatre, would you rather see actors who were having fun playing their roles, or actors who were really suffering so terribly as they played their ‘poor me, poor me, I’m so weak and feeble’ drama?

Either way, it is all a play. And so, enjoy the opportunity to play.

© Phillip A. Klein March 2008

Published in: on March 13, 2008 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment