"The great hoax which we are perpetuating every day of our lives is that we are making life easier, more comfortable, more enjoyable, more profitable. We are doing just the contrary. We are making life stale, flat and unprofitable every day in every way.
One ugly word covers it all: waste. Our thoughts, our energies, our very lives are being used up to create what is unwise, unnecessary, unhealthy.
The stupendous activity which goes on in forest, field, mine and factory never adds up to happiness, contentment, peace of mind, or long life for those engaged in it. Very, very few Americans enjoy the work they are obliged to perform day in and day out. Most of them look upon their work as stultifying and degrading. Few ever find a way out.
The vast majority are condemned, just as much as any slave, any convict, any half-wit. The work of the world, as it is so nobly called, is performed by drudges. That so many of them are well-educated only makes the picture that much worse. How little it matters whether one be a lawyer, doctor, preacher, judge, chemist, engineer, teacher or architect. One might just as well have been hod-carrier, stevedore, bank clerk, ditch digger, gambler or garbage collector.
Who really loves what he is doing day in and day out? What holds one to job, trade, profession of pursuit? Inertia. We are all locked together, as in a vise, feeding on one another, preying on one another.
Talk of the insect world, by comparison we resemble their degenerate offspring! …
Surely every one realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen. What stays him, usually, is the fear of the sacrifices involved (even to relinquish his chains seems like a sacrifice), yet everyone knows that nothing is accomplished without sacrifice."