Language, Action, Impact

Actions are what create impact, and impact, ultimately, is what changes our world and our lives.

Language, Action, Impact
Photo by Romain Vignes / Unsplash

One common pattern I have noticed among many of my peers (especially those who have received a certain amount of mathematical training) is that they spend a lot of time creating definitions for things and debating what the better definitions of those things are. I used to be this kind of person in the past, but at some point, I realized that creating and debating these definitions does not create value for me most of the time. Instead, when we have a definition for everything, we will notice that there are many self-contradictions in our actions in everyday life, and we might get frustrated about the fact that we can never completely remove such self-contradictions. I believe this kind of self-contradiction originates from the tendency to achieve formal language-level self-consistency in thinking with natural language.

In my experience, most debates on natural language definitions center around human concepts such as success, love, justice, meaning, god, etc. However, I believe that most human concepts are merely surface-level appearances of the complex human brain and human society, and that most of what natural language can describe are these appearances. Most attempts to establish logical consistency between these appearances, as described by natural language, often result in a large number of contradictions and exceptions, leading to self-contradictory cognition in a person. On the other hand, if we describe every human concept using formal language, it can also make it difficult for us to live effectively.

Therefore, I believe that the best way to live effectively without self-contradiction is to focus on action itself, using language as a tool to assist action but not as a guideline for action. For all the problems that trouble us, we ultimately return to: "What is the action I'm going to take?" In the end, debating things that can never be proven or accurately defined does not create much impact. Actions are what create impact, and impact, ultimately, is what changes our world and our lives.

This post, written in natural language, is a perfect example. You can definitely provide examples to try to prove it right or wrong. However, that doesn't matter because the act of attempting to prove it right or wrong might not have much impact on your life or the people around you. The only thing that creates a real impact is all the actions you might take differently after reading this post, and this post is just a means to an end.



要在能避免自我矛盾的前提下有效地實踐生活,我認為最好的作法就是讓一切回歸行動本身,把語言當作輔助行動的工具,但不把語言當作指導行動的準則。對於一切困擾著我們的問題,我們最終永遠回歸到:「我要採取什麼行動?」辯論那些永遠無法被證明或準確定義的事情並不會產生 Impact。只有行動才能產生 Impact,也只有 Impact 才能改變我們的世界和生活。

這篇用自然語言寫的文章就是一個很好的例子。你肯定可以嘗試用一些例子來辯證這篇文章的內容正確性。然而,這樣的辯證很可能對你的人生或你周圍的人不會有太大的 Impact。唯一能產生真正 Impact 的是你在閱讀此文章後可能採取的所有不同的行動,而這篇文章只是幫助你達成行動目的的手段。