While working on a text about Indigenous Peoples, I stumbled upon this great insight into the characteristics of our modern life, which we tend to regard as superior to the ‘less civilized’ societies:

Again, mentally, is not our condition most unsatisfactory? I am … alluding …to the strange sense of mental unrest which marks our populations, and which amply justifies Ruskin’s cutting epigram: that our two objects in life are, ‘Whatever we have—to get more; and wherever we are—to go somewhere else.’

This sense of unrest, of disease, penetrates down even into the deepest regions of man’s being—into his moral nature—disclosing itself there, as it has done in all nations notably at the time of their full civilisation… we find this strange sense of inward strife and discord developed, in marked contrast to the naive insouciance of the pagan and primitive world; and, what is strangest, we even find people glorying in this consciousness—which, while it may be the harbinger of better things to come, is and can be in itself only the evidence of loss of unity, and therefore of ill-health, in the very centre of human life.

Civilisation: Its Cause and Cure


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