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Actions Are So Clear

Nick Sullivan's picture
9 July 2014 by Nick Sullivan
Actions Are So Clear sheet music (detail)

Nothing enlivens one’s writing better than a well-chosen verb, it is often said. Nouns have substance but lack excitement; they are the bankers of grammar. Adjectives are nice, and adverbs all very well; however, it takes a verb to get things done.

And it is in life as in language. Most of the real interest lies in the actions we undertake, not in the nouns with which we may surround ourselves, or in our qualifications. Yet there is also another layer to be taken into account, the one that includes the thought and feelings that are, or at least seem to be, our decision-making apparatus.

The computations that weigh potential future actions, compare them against each other, and finally select one to be enacted, are without a doubt murky, unobservable, unverifiable, and incommunicable. Somehow, from the host of desires and drives that jostle for power within our skulls, a summation is reached and then we behave. We get up, or run away, or kill somebody.

The cerebration seems to be often in vain, however, for we continually make what are later seen to be incorrect decisions. The behavior, it turns out, was wrong-headed and irrational, not clever at all. It is as though in the imperfect democracies of our minds we were re-electing Stephen Harper, if you’ll pardon a despairing Canadian allusion, over and over again. The question is whether, when evaluating the behavior, one needs to peer into the murk as well.

And that’s what Actions Are So Clear is about. At least, that’s what it’s about today. Did I mention we just released the video and sheet music for a new song?

Walt has a parody version called Fractions Are So Clear that he uses to clear rooms at parties, although he hardly needed an extra tool for that.

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