Do Nothing? Do? Did You Say Do?

Confucious is confused

Image by Joshgmit from Pixabay

Once upon a time, there was nothing. Nada. A big void. What was the void doing? Nothing. We should have just let it be. Or not. I don’t know.

Some people belong to the ‘do something’ camp. Some people propagate ‘don’t do it if it isn’t perfect.’ Others beg people to ‘do nothing.’

I might have belonged to the last group — the do nothing-ers. But I am confused and confounded.

In school, when I started learning English grammar, I was introduced to this beautiful entity called verbs. Heard of them?

Merriam-Webster has this to say:

Screen shot is verb-atim from

Ok. Now I am muddled beyond measure. First — I need a dictionary to understand the definition. What on earth? I thought verbs were simple things that denoted action. Merriam-Webster is messing with me. To add to the mess, look right at the top — verb noun. What the?

Verb is a noun? Verbs all over the universe are probably fighting multiple personality disorder as we speak. Or maybe they have existential angst. Imagine if you woke up one day and found yourself not to be you, but your best friend. How would that feel, huh? I always thought of verbs and nouns as best friends — walking hand in hand at all times. But now?

So, let’s get this right — somewhat. Verb is a noun and a verb denotes action. Correct?

Coming back to the original thread of this post which, I must admit, was floating around aimlessly as I grappled with the existential crisis faced by verbs.

The doing nothing-ers. I could have been one of them. I could have been their chief evangelist. I believe we must do nothing whenever possible. The world would be a much better place if everyone followed the same philosophy. See, if those jobless and restless do something folks had not invented the wheel or found fire and what not, we would not be at the brink of self-imposed self-destruction, would we? Ponder over that for a moment.

But here’s the catch. Why am I not feeling truly a part of the do nothing-ers?

I’ll tell you. In school, when I started learning grammar, I was introduced to verbs. Verbs are action words. When you do nothing, there is a do in the sentence. Do is a verb, is it not? Ok, don’t believe me. Check this definition from our trusted Merriam-Webster.

Screengrab from

Do is a verb. Verbs denote action. So do denotes action. Therefore do nothing is actually forcing action of some sort. I am gobsmacked and flummoxed.

How can I achieve a state of nothingness without an activity-denoting verb which happens to be a noun messing up my goal? In short, when I do nothing, I am still doing something, because, see above, do denotes some activity.

The do nothing-ers are no longer a camp. They have been outsmarted by the likes of Merriam-Webster. In stealth mode, they have been moved to the do something camp.

Meanwhile, the world watches silently — which is also an activity — as our verb which is actually a noun tries to masquerade as something that denotes action. Now you tell me, can anyone ever truly do nothing in this world?

This post downloaded itself into my head as soon as I read Gary Chapin’s protest against Carol Lennox’s post about doing something even if it is wrong. My post is a protest against the points of view of both Gary Chapin and Carol Lennox. In fact, there is nothing pro about my point of view. It is anti. So this post is an antitest!

Be sure to read all three posts. Who knows what you might be prompted to write!

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