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date: 12 July 2020


  1. Better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.
    Anonymous: motto of the American Christopher Society, founded 1945; see Benenson
  2. Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.
    Hannah Arendt 1906–75 American political philosopher: W. H. Auden A Certain World (1970)
  3. But men must know, that in this theatre of man's life it is reserved only for God and angels to be lookers on.
    Francis Bacon 1561–1626 English lawyer, courtier, philosopher, and essayist: The Advancement of Learning (1605) bk. 2, ch. 20, sect. 8
  4. Vision without action is merely a dream. Action without vision just passes the time. Vision with action can change the world.
    Joel Arthur Barker American futurist: The Power of Vision (1991 video)
  5. Let's roll.
    heard by telephone operator as Beamer and other passengers were planning to storm the cockpit of the hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on 11 September 2001; the plane crashed in Pennsylvania minutes later
    Todd Beamer 1968–2001 American businessman: in Washington Post 17 September 2001
  6. Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
    Peter Benenson 1921–2005 British founder of Amnesty International: at a Human Rights Day ceremony, 10 December 1961 (see also Anonymous, Stevenson)
  7. The world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation…The hand is the cutting edge of the mind.
    Jacob Bronowski 1908–74 Polish-born mathematician and humanist: The Ascent of Man (1973) ch. 3
  8. It is vain to say that human beings ought to be satisfied with tranquillity: they must have action; and they will make it if they cannot find it.
    Charlotte Brontë 1816–55 English novelist: Jane Eyre (1847) ch. 12
  9. Action this day.
    Winston Churchill 1874–1965 British Conservative statesman, Prime Minister 1940–5, 1951–5: annotation as used at the Admiralty in 1940
  10. Action is consolatory. It is the enemy of thought and the friend of flattering illusions.
    Joseph Conrad 1857–1924 Polish-born English novelist: Nostromo (1904) pt. 1, ch. 6
  11. You have sat too long here for any good you have been doing. Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!
    Oliver Cromwell 1599–1658 English soldier and statesman; Lord Protector from 1653: addressing the Rump Parliament, 20 April 1653; oral tradition; see Amery
  12. One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
    Will Durant 1855–1981 American historian: in Reader's Digest November 1972; Paul Dickson The Official Rules (1980)
  13. These works brought all these people here. Something should be done to get them at work again.
    speaking at the derelict Dowlais Iron and Steel Works, 18 November 1936; often misquoted as, ‘Something must be done’
    Edward VIII, afterwards Duke of Windsor 1894–1972 British monarch, King of the United Kingdom, 1936: in Western Mail 19 November 1936
  14. Nothing so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.
    William James 1842–1910 American philosopher: letter to Carl Stumpf, 1 January 1886
  15. Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.
    Leonardo da Vinci 1452–1519 Italian painter and designer: Edward McCurdy (ed. and trans.) Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks (1906) bk. 1
  16. Let's go to work.
    Reservoir Dogs 1992 film: spoken by Lawrence Tierney; written by Quentin Tarantino (1963–)
  17. If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
    It were done quickly.
    William Shakespeare 1564–1616 English dramatist: Macbeth (1606) act 1, sc. 7, l. 1 (Oxford Standard Authors ed.)
  18. The greatest happiness is to transform one's feelings into action.
    Mme de Staël 1766–1817 French writer: Considerations on the French Revolution (1818) pt. 4, ch. 10