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Our deeds determine us, as much as we determine our deeds.

By June 30, 2022No Comments
“We both determine our actions and our actions determine our actions,” Mary Ann Evans, who is more well-known by her pen name, George Eliot, wrote this perplexing idea. She was a prominent writer during the Victorian era and an English author, poetess, journalist, and translator. This quotation was incorporated in her debut book, Adam Bede.

“Our deeds still go with us from afar, and what we have been makes us what we are,” is another memorable and pertinent phrase of hers.
It’s just a flowerier and more theatrical version of the adage “actions speak louder than words.” But there’s a catch: it’s only as loud as, not louder. Author Mary Ann Evans was. She wouldn’t make an effort to lessen the power of words!

Words have symbolic meanings in addition to being defined. Mary Ann Evans is attempting to convey to us the influence of both our words and deeds on our personalities, as well as the converse: the impact of our personalities on both those things.

Ethical Determinism
When this adage is brought up in the twenty-ninth chapter, Evans, not Eliot, goes on to further clarify and exemplify the statement, which makes it easier to comprehend what she means. One of the key protagonists, Arthur Donnithorne, had a restless night thinking about what he did.

He is introduced as having “freshness of feeling” and “gentle honour” at the start of the novel. But after committing some wicked deeds and having a covert affair with the woman who had been the love of his friend’s life, both his character and personality started to deteriorate.

Here is a passage from chapter twenty-nine that helps to clarify this statement. Because the second wrong appears to a person as the sole practical right, there is a dreadful coercion in our actions that can initially turn an honest person into a liar and then help him accept the change.
The cycle keeps going. This moral doctrine advocated by Adam Bede is referred to as “Ethical Determinism.” This pattern largely describes all human behaviour.

The Cycle of Morality
Who we are is shown by what we do. Nevertheless, who we are affects what we do. A man’s actions make him famous. However, given that the man makes decisions and is accountable for his actions, the opposite is also true. I infer from the statement that she is referring to all words, actions, and thoughts as “deeds.”

No matter how aware an idea is, it always manifests in our actions. Our past and present both have an impact on us as individuals. And by doing so, we influence the future.

We make decisions depending on our current ideals, and these decisions shape who we will be in the future. In other words, what we have done influences what we will do. In other words, our actions shape who we are, and our identity gives us the power to choose what to do.

Simply put, it means that while terrible deeds make us bad people, good deeds make us good people. When we improve as individuals, we are inspired to behave honourably and carry out better deeds. By improving ourselves, we make sure that our actions will improve in the future as well, and the circle makes a big turn in preparation for its next rotation.

This is a feedback loop, as the name suggests. In actuality, there is some psychology at play here. According to controversial behaviourism proponent B. F. Skinner, reinforcements are outside circumstances that help to establish and maintain behaviour.

For instance, one might get a smile or a prize like this after performing a good deed. This makes it more likely that the action will be repeated, reinforcing the behaviour that came before it.

Theory of Karma
Consider the actions that people take. A friend who consistently betrays a friend isn’t regarded as being particularly pleasant. Regardless of how we see ourselves, the things we do define us in the perspective of others. If our acts and activities are excellent, we are respected and encouraged to react in a constructive way.

However, if your actions are comparable to the backstabbing friend we just discussed, you aren’t portrayed in the best light, and in a similar vein, your attitude toward those who think poorly of you will be sharp.

It all comes down to morals. A person who has good manners is automatically considered to be a good person. On the other hand, you can choose for yourself if you fit into the evil category if you have a propensity for stealing, lying, or bullying. We choose what we do consciously, thus our actions are what we choose to do. We make decisions just as much as those decisions shape who we are.

Essays on human deeds are inherently incomplete if they don’t mention Karma as a subject. Some contend that it serves as the foundation for all verbal, mental, and emotional behaviour. It is a stream of consciousness that is produced by our internal attitudes, ideas, and actions.

The third law of motion by Newton and the notion of karma are both based on the same logic. In fact, it has established itself as the metaphysical equivalent of it. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, according to the law.

This is comparable to the idiom “As you sow, so shall you reap,” which is quite well known. The idea suggests that we are both the product of our actions and that they are the product of ourselves. In other words, what we do will in fact come back to us. In essence, this means that we are equally determined by our actions as we are by them.

Turning over a New Leaf
This proverb describes why it is so difficult, but not impossible, to change one’s behaviour and attitude. We are classified and identified as persons because of our actions, which we allow to define us.

Not only do people place us in certain groups, but we also recognise certain traits in ourselves. Additionally, it becomes very challenging to change once you begin to consider yourself as a nasty person. Although challenging, it is not impossible.

Here are some reasons why that is quite likely. You and the people watching you could be surprised if you perform even one good deed. However, it significantly affects your spirit, mind, and personality. The first step in fundamentally altering your attitude is to perform one modest act of goodness.

Once that’s done, you’re inspired to do it again or something better, which helps you become a little bit of a better person. And so, our feedback cycle begins!

Rene Descartes, a famous French philosopher, is credited with coining the phrase “Cogito ergo sum,” which means “I think, therefore, I am.” Thoughts are not tangible enough to be noticed since they exist on an abstract level. We are therefore evaluated based on how our thoughts are expressed in our words and behaviour.

A kind person is characterised by their consideration, helpfulness, and courtesy toward other people. On the other hand, being kind also implies being considerate, helpful, and polite.

The opposite is also true. A person who is cruel, rude, and selfish is automatically categorised as a terrible person, and a bad person is expected to act selfishly. Good or poor, our behaviour unquestionably reflects our persona and personality.

To sum up, our actions and who we are as people are inextricably interwoven; they influence and rule one another. The two sides of the same coin are our actions and ourselves. In actuality, there is a crucial connection between who we are and what we do. Our actions shape who we are, and we make our decisions.