The Vagabond v Semperfortis:
“Is The Pen Mightier Than The Sword?”
Semper’s Reply #1
“Let’s bring the debate back into focus” Shall we?
If we are to predispose that the term “Pen” references any idea, then this debate can only be fairly argued by defining the “Sword” as an
action, any action. So we shall proceed as defined by my opponent.
Ideas vs. Actions:
Of what use are ideas without actions? My opponent’s own argument has established the debate for me. I was perfectly happy to remain defining the
“Sword” as violence, but now that we have new, broader definitions to follow, if the “Pen” is an idea, then the “Sword” must be an
Of what use is any idea, any thought or human design without the “action” necessary to carry out, to bring to fruition that very idea?
My opponent mentions woman’s suffrage. Where would women be today if that had remained simply an idea? Someone’s random thought without action?
Where would the Races be today if Equal Rights had stayed only in the mind of the great Doctor? Never acted upon?
So let’s examine the foundations of both Ideas and Actions.
We all have ideas; all day long our minds are racing, formulating expressions, examining information and either accepting or discarding those very
same ideas. Yet in order for any of those ideas to come to pass, one must resort to action. That is a fact.
What about action? Can there be action without thought? Without any idea?
How about “Involuntary Manslaughter”?
A death that is brought about by the “Unintentional Killing” of another due to negligence or reckless behavior.
Action without thought.
Shoot an arrow straight up into the air with no thought as to where it may land. Possible consequence? Devastating to you.
If there was no action without thought, we would never survive a confrontation as we would never “React.”
Muscle memory process learned in Martial Arts would be useless as we would have to take the time to “Think” about an action before acting. How
long do you suppose we would have survived prehistorically like that?
Someone throws something at your head and you duck. Do you have to think about it? Of course not.
All perfect examples of action without thought, without an idea, and yet I can find no instance of thought without action making an impact on life, or
anything else for that matter.
Even beautiful poetry must be written down for us to enjoy it.
Again, the sword proves far mightier than the pen.
There can be no knowledge of an idea without an action. No one knows if I have invented or discovered that “Inexhaustible Energy Source” unless I
take action and write it down, tell someone else, or build the thing.
Ideas without actions are useless, meandering thoughts that we all have everyday and have no impact whatsoever on our lives.
The sword is the power behind the idea, the action to see that idea become form and substance. Key words, the “Sword is the Power.”
The sword can also effectively be used without thought, with no idea to wield it, as I have shown. The pen has no such ability.
My opponent spends some time on the good Dr. King.
Dr. King had a dream, but that dream would have been meaningless without his courage to act; to stand before an angry nation and actively express
himself and actively tell us his dream, his ideas. Dr. King knew the sword was the way to effect change, that the pen was powerless by itself. Of what
use was Dr. King’s dream without the courage to act on that dream?
Dr. King was the Sword!
Ever hear this?
“Actions Speak Louder than Words”
(Yes I concede that it was Tulips and not Lilies)
In my opponents paragraph on the Human Body and Civilization he again emphasizes my point exactly.
He states, “Our ability to civilize, entice and bait
” all action words, all parts of the sword. All ideas that had no meaning, no form yet
brought to life through action, through the use of the sword.
He continues on using such words as construct, create and build
all defining instances of the use of the sword. Not ideas, but actions. The
My opponent spends some time explaining how it is that we have the mechanisms to suppress violence. What person will not fight to the death, without
thought, to defend themselves or their child? We kill for food, we kill for passion, we kill for politics and we kill for convenience. All violent
actions, all supposedly suppressible and yet here we are living in a violent world, in our violent society around our violent neighbors. If our
violent natures are so completely suppressible, why the need for everything I carry in my car and on my person each and everyday?
The very fact that we have used the sword, our actions, to dominate this world as effectively as we have, negates my opponent’s argument quite
completely as to us being any sort of “perfect food”. Want a perfect food? Look to the Plankton my friend. A drifting, floating organism incapable
of action and considered the most important food source in the planet.
“All Things Tend To Chaos”
Science Writer Steven Pinker’s book, “The Blank Slate”, clearly illustrates man’s inclination for violence kept in check only barely by
He further states that “direct signs of design for aggression” include the fact that “disruptions of inhibitory systems (can lead to aggressive
attacks)”. This establishes our proclivity for violent action as only being suppressed not absent.
The violence comes first to us naturally, and is then suppressed, so you tell me which is the more natural.
Now I am not saying that Humans resort to violence simply for the sake of that violence. Hardly. In fact the only mammal known to exhibit such
inclinations is the common house cat.
I am saying that Humans will at times use violence without hesitation or restraint or even thought; that the violent nature of the Human species
trumps the ideological every time. The sword is indeed mightier than the pen.
When “OG” the Prehistoric Human, hit “UG” over the head and took his food, did “OG” stop to consider that he should repress his violent
nature, or did he act violently to survive?
If we are going to approach this historically, we were “Prehistoric” far longer than we have been what could be considered “Modern”. The Pen,
or an idea won’t feed “OG”, for that he must act.
“Science Daily” found that our violence is controlled by a series of “Checks and Balances” that regulate negative behavior.
Remaining politically correct, as a whole we may conclude differently, but we all know the truth.
If that violence must be controlled, it would follow that it is the more natural action. More basic to our functions as humans.
Be that as it may be, the fact that we suppress our violent natures in no way proves or disproves the simple conclusion that actions are more powerful
than ideas and therefore, the sword is far mightier than the pen.
As my opponent “wraps up” he again completely supplies you with proof of my argument. He states in his summation “The ‘use
’ of the
pen” and “the ‘work
’ of the pen” all actions not ideas as my opponent would have you believe.
He further states the pen has the capacity to accomplish great things without the use of the sword. For this I would again make use of the Socratic
“What idea has ever brought the slightest change, without the use of some action?”
Please feel free to elaborate for I know of no thought, no idea that has ever caused anything by itself without action. (Short of telekinesis of
course, which is still an action)
My original two definitions that restricted this debate to violence and communications have been broadened by my opponent. I will not allow him to
expand on his definition of the “Pen” and yet restrict my definition of the “Sword” and as such have encompassed his debate parameters into my
This in essence brings to the table the question. What ever happens without an action? The answer is easy and succinct, nothing
An idea can not bring about change if that idea is not acted upon. Hence the sword proves mightier than the pen.
A thought has no substance without action to bring that thought to life. Again, the sword proves mightier than the pen.
Yet I have shown you where action without thought can bring great and sometimes terrible consequences.
Again, the conclusion is impossible to escape.
The Sword is far mightier than the Pen.