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Sunday, 30 August 2015

Ill at ease


The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.
 Nathaniel Hawthorne - The House of the Seven Gables (1851)

I don’t see myself as ill at ease and I’m not big on onward impulses, but from a sample of one I hesitate to say Hawthorne was right. There is an itch to know more, explain more, read more and analyse more deeply in that futile pursuit of the ever elusive Answer.

Great swathes of popular culture seem designed to keep us not so much happy as reasonably contented. Presumably the political classes beyond the green baize door genuinely want us to be happy below stairs, almost as if they have quietly given up on merit now lots of useful stuff has been invented for them.

It’s enough to make a chap ill at ease.

2 comments:

Michael said...

Hawthorne hits it right on the head!

The happy man just doesn't waste time considering the downside of his affairs, it's when people like the BBC who try and stir up reasons not to be cheerful! Likewise the press in general, that life becomes more complicated!

I don't shout at people I meet in the street - I laugh and joke with them, and we have a great chat! When some politician or journalist starts pontificating, I bawl at the TV like nobody, and it just makes me angry, so usually, I don't even listen to the news these days!

A K Haart said...

Michael - I don't pay much attention to the news these days either. A quick check on the main headlines and that tends to be it.