No true action, my friends— just listen to the word, listen well, wash your ears with it!— no true action has ever been performed by one who first asked: “What ought I to do?” An action is a light that shines from a good sun. If the sun is not good, if it is not sound and many times tested, or, worse, if it is the kind of sun that asks itself anxiously what it ought to do, it will never shed light. A true action is not the same as “doing something,” a true action cannot be cogitated and contrived. Very well, I shall tell you what a true action is. But first, my friends, let me tell you how this action, this “doing,” you speak of strikes me. Then we shall understand each other better. This “action” you wish to perform, which is expected to spring from searching and doubting and meandering— this action, dear friends, is the contrary and mortal enemy of true action. For your action, if you will forgive me an unpleasant word, is cowardice! I see you growing angry, I see in your eyes time again, and yourselves as well. “Doing”— action— is so important to you, indeed all-important. That is good, my friends, or rather— it would be good, if you fully understood what action is!
Action and suffering, which together make up our lives, are a whole; they are one. A child suffers its begetting, it suffers its birth, its weaning; it suffers here and suffers there until in the end it suffers death. But all the good in a man, for which he is praised or loved, is merely good suffering, the right kind, the living kind of suffering, a suffering to the full. The ability to suffer well is more than half of life— indeed, it is all life. Birth is suffering, growth is suffering, the seed suffers the earth, the root suffers the rain, the bud suffers its flowering. In the same way, my friends, man suffers destiny. Destiny is earth, it is rain and growth. Destiny hurts. What you call action is a running-away from pain, a not-wanting-to-be-born, a flight from suffering! You, or your fathers, called it “action” when you bustled about night and day in shops and factories, when you heard many many hammers hammering, when you blew quantities of soot into the air. Fortsätt läsa ”Hesse – If the War Goes”