Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The action and the idea

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I have long since come to see that no one deserves either praise or blame for the ideas that come to him, but only for the actions resulting therefrom. Ideas and beliefs are certainly not voluntary acts. They come to us—we hardly know how or whence, and once they have got possession of us we cannot reject or change them at will. It is for the common good that the promulgation of ideas should be free—uninfluenced either by praise or blame, reward or punishment. But the actions which result from our ideas may properly be so treated, because it is only by patient though and work that new ideas, if good and true, become adapted and utilized; while, if untrue or not adequately presented to the world, they are rejected or forgotten.

Alfred Russel Wallace, Letters and Reminiscences

Written by nevalalee

December 24, 2017 at 7:30 am

Posted in Quote of the Day

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