General Question

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

When is inaction the best action?

Asked by The_Compassionate_Heretic (14621points) September 16th, 2009 from iPhone

Is it always better to do something than it is to do nothing?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

37 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Even nothing is something.

limeaide's avatar

When she’s on top.

cyndyh's avatar

When it’s something that’s better for your kid to deal with on their own.

limeaide's avatar

@cyndyh Very good, you reminded me of something someone told me. Never do something for someone when they can do it for themselves. This will help them become more independent people.

marinelife's avatar

When some actions could do more harm than good, and you don’t know which is which.

cyndyh's avatar

@limeaide : Exactly. Cheers!

MagsRags's avatar

If the situation is not an emergency, and the best course of action is not clear and easy, I might wait for more information to come in to help me decide. In the meantime, frequently, things sort themselves out.

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I’ve been sick all day, and right now inaction is pretty amazing.

galileogirl's avatar

When it’s time to MYOB

mrentropy's avatar

Standing on a land mine.

Also, let’s quote Rush: “If you choose not to choose, you’ve still have made a choice.”

scallywag's avatar

A lot of cases seem to call for inactivity. Like when a sociopathic psychic vampire type of person runs into you (as a friend of a friend or something) and starts drawing on your sympathies about all the bad stuff that’s happened in their life even though you have never spoken to them up until that moment. That’s when you become cardboard and do not acknowledge anything near that person. Don’t even give them a self-help pamphlet. Just leave. LEAVE.

Either way, action or inaction leads to consequence, and a positive or less negative result is relative to the values of the person making the decision. For instance maybe that person kills themselves because they were counting on some human understanding but were just too socially screwed over to do so, or maybe otherwise they would attempt to eat away at your sanity and reinforce their own crazy soul-sucking vice. Just depends, no one’s a psychic, and so you just hope or believe the cosmos is panning out the way it ought to despite or even because of our choices.

My answers are always too long. ):

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

@scallywag Uh… What? Turn down the crazy a little bit.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

“don’t press that button…”

scallywag's avatar

This seems to be an unresolvable philosophical question, craziness is pivotal.

benjaminlevi's avatar

If a giant dinosaur with motion-based sight is looking for you?

kevbo's avatar

1. When you’ll get what you want anyway.

2. When you won’t have an effect on the outcome anyway.

3. When someone else is better suited to do what you planned to do.

Response moderated
XOIIO's avatar

when there’s a gun to your head…

YARNLADY's avatar

I have to agree with the others, doing nothing is not distinguishable from doing something. If you wait for a situation to resolve itself, in effect, you are letting it resolve itself. To wait is an act, in itself.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Picking scabs
Lecturing a person during a panic attack
Shaving your genitals while intoxicated
Putting your head inside an alligator’s open mouth
Driving drunk
Snorting cocaine to counteract Xanax

hearkat's avatar

@mrentropy: FYI: ”If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

mrentropy @hearkat That album was terrible. “Moving Pictures” was the pinnacle of Rush.

cyndyh's avatar

@hungryhungryhortence : Lurve just for “picking scabs”. Too funny. :^>

dannyc's avatar

When you are not confident of your action making a positive impact. Too many people do or say something that is just a waste of energy. Forcing things often leads to poor results. Things unfold almost everywhere around us with no input from humans who are too self-absorbed with their “impact”. We are not as important as we think.

mrentropy's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I don’t agree with you, but regardless of that the quote doesn’t show up on any other album that I know of.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

@mrentropy Your answer was good, I was just talking quality of Rush albums.
Wow, I feel sort of Canadian now…

mrentropy's avatar

@The_Compassionate_Heretic I like all the Rush albums, although I didn’t like anything past Power Windows for a long time. It wasn’t until I got older that I began to appreciate them. My least favorite would be Rush. I really like the older albums (besides Rush) more than the newer ones. I like the long, story-type songs but I understand why they moved away from them.

hearkat's avatar

@mrentropy and @The_Compassionate_Heretic: Moving Picures tour was the first of many Rush shows I saw… we sat 4th row center… no concert experience has rivalled that. I almost don’t count Rush as a Rush album, since John Rutsy (R.I.P.) was the drummer then. I’d be hard pressed to choose a favorite album of theirs… I honestly don’t think I could. On iRovr we had a discussion on the topic of inaction, and this quote came up… it was some time last year… I’ll try to find it.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

I’m David Bowie’s illegitamate child, think how that feels/.

mattbrowne's avatar

When you meet trolls on the net. Don’t feed them. Inaction is the best way to deal with the creatures.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

What’s a troll?

cbloom8's avatar

When it is more profitable and beneficial than action.

Zuma's avatar

In Taoist philosophy there is a key concept called Wei Wu Wei, or “doing without doing.” It is based on the notion that there is a natural way to all things, and when you are doing things correctly, you expend a minimum of effort.

There is a parable that illustrates: An apprentice butcher is given a carcass to carve. The apprentice hacks and flails at the carcass, destroying both the meat and dulling the cleaver. Then the master steps in and shows how it is done: He slides the cleaver into the joints of the carcass, letting the meat fall away of its own weight.

Everything from warfare to ruling an empire has a “way” to it. Lao Tzu says that ruling an empire is like cooking a small fish (the gentler the better). Sun Tzu, for example, advises how to manage a kingdoms affairs so that none dare attack it, and how to win wars by avoiding them.

If one can master Wei Wu Wei one can do without doing and leave nothing undone.

mattbrowne's avatar

@bumwithablackberry – From Wikipedia: In Internet slang, a troll is someone who posts controversial, inflammatory, irrelevant or off-topic messages in an online community, such as an online discussion forum, chat room or blog, with the primary intent of provoking other users into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

bumwithablackberry's avatar

Normal for them. Guess I shoud brush up on my “FRIENDS” or possibly, sit at a coffee shop and stare at people. I got called a troll for talking about my penis and I couldn’t help laughing with this image of a mythological Troll, with a dick dangling. Funny.
Thanks though, I appreciate the definition

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