When it comes to understanding the world around us, we often categorize things into different groups or categories. However, when we focus solely on things and fail to consider the actions that underlie them, we risk missing out on a deeper understanding of the world. In this essay, I will explore the difference between things and actions and why understanding both is essential to understanding the world.
First, let’s define what I mean by “things” and “actions.” Things refer to physical objects that exist in the world, such as trees, buildings, and chairs. Actions, on the other hand, refer to the activities or processes that take place in the world, such as communication, movement, and growth.
One of the most significant differences between things and actions is that things are static, while actions are dynamic. When we focus solely on things, we tend to view the world as fixed and unchanging. However, when we consider actions, we recognize that the world is constantly evolving and changing. For example, we might view a tree as a static object, but when we consider the actions of photosynthesis and growth, we see that the tree is constantly changing and evolving.
Another difference between things and actions is that things are often seen as isolated objects, while actions are more interconnected. When we focus solely on things, we tend to view them as independent and disconnected from the world around them. However, when we consider actions, we see that everything in the world is interconnected and interdependent. For example, the growth of a tree is dependent on the actions of the sun, the soil, and other elements in its environment.
Understanding both things and actions is essential to understanding the world because they are deeply interconnected. For example, we cannot understand the actions of communication without understanding the things that enable it, such as language and technology. Similarly, we cannot understand the actions of movement without understanding the physical things that enable it, such as muscles and bones.
Understanding actions versus things profoundly effects our worldviews. Let me provide an example from the Roman Catholic Church. The RC Church teaches that there are seven sacraments. Here’s the problem. Most Catholics, including clergy, do not understand that sacraments are not “things.” They are actions! Let’s take the Eucharist as an example. If you were to ask most Catholics to define the Eucharist, they would likely say that it is the Body and Blood of Christ. They view it as a some”thing” they get when they go to Mass. This is a complete misunderstanding of the Eucharist. It is also a complete misunderstanding of the meaning of sacrament. Furthermore, it is a complete misunderstanding of “the Mass.” I will focus on a more in-depth article on this topic in the future; however, for now, it is important to understand that the Mass and the Eucharist are not “things;” they are actions! Most Catholics fail to realize that the very word “Mass” is derived from the final rite in the Eucharistic liturgy, call the “Missa.” In fact, people in my generation used to use “Missals” when we attended Mass so that we knew what was going on when the Mass was in Latin. Missa, which serves as the KEY message of all the “actions” that take place during the Mass are summed up in these words: “Go forth in peace to love and serve the Lord.” That is the Missa! That is the MISSION, or action, that each person in attendance agrees to do when they respond, “Thanks be to God.” In other words, the entire action of the Mass is to celebrate, not a thing, but the action of BEING Christ in the world. The bread and wine are NOT the sacraments!!! The sacraments are the “breaking of the bread” and the “pouring of the cup.” These actions represent the commitment Catholics make at Baptism and at each liturgical celebration. They will ACT as Christ in the world. They will BECOME the action they celebrate in the liturgy. Liturgy itself means “Work.” The liturgy is the WORK of the Christ (the anointed) through the anointed (Baptized) proclaimers (action word!!) of the Word (again, not a thing) and the Eucharist (not a thing). I’ll provide a more detailed paper on this in the future, but for now, it is important to know that “Being” human, celebrating our humanity, and so forth, are more about “actions” than things!
In conclusion, understanding the difference between things and actions is essential to understanding the world. While things and actions are often viewed as separate entities, they are deeply interconnected and interdependent. By focusing on both things and actions, we can gain a deeper understanding of the world and our place in it.