Quote 4: Anatole France

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16/10/2015 by Siddiqui Fayesal

This one stumped me for a long time. I was actually considering skipping it and going on to the next one. But I stopped myself. I confess that I didn’t really understand what Mr. France here was trying to say; at least in essence. This sounded a little different from the advice we usually hear from great thinkers and writers and even grandfathers. Anatole France was a poet after all, and I am sure that dispensing advice, such as this one here, wouldn’t be without a legitimate thought.

An act, any act, is basically an execution of a thought, a belief and a conviction towards not only an acceptance but also an expectation of the consequence that would be borne of such execution. An act cannot be empty of thought; cannot be merely a shell without hiding anything inside.

I suddenly remember what Hermione Granger tells Ron and Harry about a Horcrux in the Deathly Hallows. The safety of the piece of soul residing within the object, its home, depends upon the safe keeping of the object. Just like how a Horcrux cannot survive the destruction of its habitation, an act cannot be of any meaning without any intent towards a result or a finish. An act without intent or belief is nothing but an empty deed. A deed that isn’t bent towards any conclusion, or which is done with nothing in mind is like a drunken man spewing gibberish. To be very frank even a drunkard’s gibberish has a source in his innermost secrets or desires. He says, or does, things that he cannot, or rather will not, do while sober.

Some emotion is attached to it nonetheless.

The difference of this quote is quite dramatic if sees it as a comparative to the usual. We’ve always been told that dreaming doesn’t solve problems. We’ve always been told that if there is no ‘work’ associated with ‘thought’ there would be no change in our lives. Mr. France tells me of something that is an anti-thesis to that worldly truism. He’s telling us the importance of mere ‘thought’ in the world that is affected greatly by effect only. He is telling us about the greatness of sheer intent and belief while the world goes delirious with the tangible result.

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

I’ve heard this phrase a lot in the past few years. It’s a matter of phase, I think. Like everything else, even this dramatic sounding truism has caught the fancy of the youth of today and entrenched itself deep within the psyche of the so-called Young Adult population.

Now, it might be a matter of perspective, but I am inclined to not take this one very seriously. It, in my opinion, brings too much emphasis upon ‘free-thinking’ and unbounded approach to analysis of almost everything. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the quote per se, but the emphatic manner of its analysis by the gung-ho population. There is a caveat to everything; it’s like Newton’s 3rd law of motion that brings to fore the capacity of any action to have a reaction. Similarly, the analysis of any quote depends upon the capacity of the population to bring forth the subjective aspect of the interpreted meaning. In technicality, this quote is almost the same as Mr. France’s quote. Almost.

The reason why I take France’s quote a tad more seriously compared to this truism that is spewed by Listicles and social media adverts is the accentuation of its execution. While, France tells us the comparative greatness of ‘thought’ and ‘intent’ the anonymous quote, under current analysis, merely boosts the ego of already ego stuffed individuals who think no end to themselves.

Mind you, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being a confident and a positive fellow who has the determination of plodding through no matter what obstacles are thrown at him; it’s admirable, it’s great and I identify and am awed with it for the obvious reason of NOT being one of these great fellows. I’m not those kinds who are sure of their actions. Yes, I work hard in what I faithfully believe in but if I have obstacles thrown at me I will probably end up being a little less sure.

But, but, that is NOT because I don’t want to work hard at it or because I am afraid of the obstacles. My fear wouldn’t even be because I started having doubts about how faithfully I believed in the deed. It would be because I would doubt myself. I would doubt about the possibility of my achieving what I set out to achieve.

And that is where France’s quote would emerge victorious. It teaches the importance of belief and dreaming, not very unlike the other quote. But, it teaches it with humility

…and it doesn’t sound obnoxious in my head.

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe

 Siddiqui F.

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