Maxim Monday: Act When You Know

This is a tricky Maxim for me. I like to think that I know far more often than I probably do. I’m a bit of a know-it-all, I’ll admit, and I like being a woman of action. Waiting and seeing is not my strong suit. So, while on the surface I’d like to think that I’ve got this acting and knowing Maxim down, this is actually a great reminder for me that I probably ought to act a little less and wait for more knowledge than I think I have.

To me this Maxim ties in with discernment, a careful judging and waiting for wisdom. How often do we really know all the facets of what we’re dealing with? Even with careful deliberation and discussion, we rarely know the full picture, the extent of the consequences of what we choose, or even how we fully feel about something. I think this is true whether we’re talking about making a choice about a relationship, or making a choice about foreign policy.

And yet, we need to act. Every day we’re making choices and decisions. This Maxim is a reminder to act deliberately, not out of mindless habit or base reaction. It’s a reminder to think more completely about our choices. Any reminder encouraging me to take more time, act a little more slowly and not presume to immediately know, is a good thing.

Of course, I’m about to post this entry and if I’m truthful, I’m acting before I really know what this Maxim is about. This is my first guess. What’s yours?

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2 responses to “Maxim Monday: Act When You Know

  1. Ha, I can be the same way — it’s easy for me to go off half-cocked, as the saying goes, especially when I feel passionate about something.

    My first reading of this maxim (in English, anyway) is that it seems incomplete. Act when I know WHAT? When I know it’s necessary? When I know it’s right? When I know injustice is happening? There are times NOT to act, and presumably I should know when that is, too — so should I act when I know I shouldn’t?

    This is a bit of a koan if I open it up that way. I imagine, though, that it’s more of a “act when you know it’s necessary” thing, and I can get behind that. If I know I should step in and I don’t, that’s bad! I should act when I know it’s important/necessary/right!

    I’m looking forward to getting to this one in my translation exercise. 😀 I’m super curious about what version of “know” is being used.

    • Yeah. so many Maxims and this one especially, make me wonder what the original Greek intends. This one feels incomplete! But, as I am unable (or more truthfully, unwilling) to get technical with Greek, I just take them as meditations.

      I think you raise a good point too – that sometimes we must know when NOT to act. But that’s an act in itself! Not acting, if deliberate, is an act. Part of knowing is knowing when not to act, right?

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