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.