There is a sickness that is not necessarily called “middle-class,” but one must be middle-class to suffer from it, and in fact almost all middle-class people do indeed suffer from it. It is not just laziness, though laziness is an attribute of it. It is a kind of resignation – a desperation so quiet that even the desperate one does not hear it. Maybe this desperation is not at all new, but just the thing about which Thoreau tried to warn us.
We middle-class folk can do nothing for the rest of our lives and not really care. Yes, we are unsatisfied deep down, but it is incredibly easy to push that feeling beneath the façade of satisfaction. One can absolutely refuse to deal with it as long as the television tunes in a few dozen channels, as long as one can afford alcohol, drugs and whatever meaningless hobby he or she fancies.
Maybe the secret to life is to make one’s hobby have meaning. What would happen if everyone decided to devote their lives to the thing each does in his or her spare time? (I am Assuming one’s hobby is something more creative than putting together jigsaw puzzles or collecting figurines.)
Is it fear and only fear? Is this fear the cornerstone of our social structure? I want to answer: “Of course!” It seems correct. This is why people in this country are so mad for celebrity. Actors, musicians, athletes and, to lesser extent, politicians earned their money and fame doing what they want to do. It is not admiration at all, but envy.