OURS IS THE AGE OF WORRY
How insulting! What a ridiculous statement! How ignorant of our achievements! I can well imagine some of my readers saying when they see this chapter heading. This, an age of worry! Why this is the age of progress, of advancement, of uplift, of the onward march of a great and wonderful civilization.
Certainly it is! See what we have done in electricity, look at the telephone, telegraph, wireless and now the wireless telephone. See our advancement in mechanics,—the automobile, the new locomotives, vessels, etc. See our conquest of the air—dirigibles, aeroplanes, hydroplanes and the like.
Yes! I see, and what of it? We have done, our advancement, our conquest, etc., etc. Yes! I see we have not lessened our arrogance, our empty-headed pride, our boasting. We—Why “we”?
What have you and I had to do with the new inventions in electricity or mechanics or the conquest of the air?
Not one single, solitary thing! The progress of the world has been made through the efforts of a few solitary, exceptional, rare individuals, not by the combined efforts of us all. You and I are as common, unprogressive, uninventive, indifferent mediocrities as we—the common people—always were. We have not contributed one iota to all this progress, and I often question whether mud; of it comes to us more fraught with good than evil. We claim the results without engaging in the work. We use the ’phone and worry because Central doesn’t get us our connections immediately, when we haven’t the faintest conception of how the connection is gained, or why we are delayed. We ride on the fast train, but chafe and worry ourselves and everybody about us to a frazzle because we are stopped on a siding by a semaphore of a block station which we never have observed, and would not understand if we did. We reap but have not sowed, gather but have not strewed, and that is ever injurious and never beneficial. Our conceit is flattered and enlarged, our importance magnified, our “dignity”—God save the mark!—made more impressive, and as a result, we are more the target for the inconsequential worries of life. We worry if we are not flattered, if our importance is not recognized even by strangers, and our dignity not honored—in other words we worry that we are not kow-towed to, deferred to, respectfully greeted on every hand and made to feel that civilization, progress and advancement are materially furthered and enhanced by our mere existence.
Every individual with such an outlook on life is a prolific distributer of worry germs; he, she, is a pest and a nuisance, more disturbing to the real peace of the community than a victim of smallpox, and one who should be isolated in a pest-house. But, unfortunately, our myopic vision sees only the wealth, the luxury, the spending capacity of such an individual, and that ends it—we bow down and worship before the golden calf.