The Waste of Life

“That twelve thousand written years should have elapsed, and the human race—able to reason and to think, and easily capable of combination in immense armies for its own destruction—should still live from hand to mouth, like cattle and sheep, like the animals of the field and the birds of the woods ; that there should not even be roofs to cover the children born, unless those children labour and expend their time to pay for them; that there should not be clothes, unless, again, time and labour are expended to procure them ; that there should not be even food for the human race, except they labour as their fathers did twelve thousand years ago ; that even water should scarce be accessible to them, unless paid for by labour ! In twelve thousand written years the world has not yet built itself a House, nor filled a granary, nor organised itself for its own comfort. It is so marvellous I cannot express the wonder with which it fills me. And more wonderful still if that could be, there are people so infatuated, or, rather, so limited of view, that they glory in this state of things, declaring that work is the main object of man’s existence-—-work for subsistence—and glorying in their wasted time.”—RICHARD JEFFERIES.

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