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Unformatted text preview: a goal, an
ambition. Money and goods become the symbol and actuality of power, triumph, superiority, pleasure, safety,
benevolence and a dozen and one other things. Men who seek money and goods may therefore be seeking
very different things; one is merely acquisitive, has the miser trend; another loves the game for the game's
sake, picks up houses, bonds, money, ships, as a fighter picks up trophies, and they stand to him as symbols of
his superiority. Some see in property the fulcrum by which they can apply the power that will shift the lives of
other men and make of themselves a sort of God or Fate in the destinies of others. For others, and for all in
part, there is in money the safety against emergencies and further a something that purchases pleasure,
whether that pleasure be of body, or taste or spirit. Wine and women, pictures and beautiful things, leisure for
research and contemplation,--money buys any and all of these, and as the symbol of all kinds of value, as the
symbol of all kinds of power, it is sought assiduously by all kinds of men.
There are many who start on their careers with the feeling and belief that money is a minor value, that to be
useful and of service is greater than to be rich. But this idealistic ambition in only a few cases stands up
against the strain of life. Unless money comes, a man cannot marry, or if he marries, then his wife must do
without ease and leisure and pretty things, and he must live in a second-rate way. Sooner or later the idealist
feels himself uneasily inferior, and though he may compensate by achievement or by developing a strong
trend towards seclusiveness, more often he regrets bitterly his idealism and in his heart envies the rich. For
they, ignorant and arrogant, may purchase his services, his brains and self-sacrifice and buy these ingredients
of himself with the air of one purchasing a machine. So the idealist finds himself condemned to a meager life,
unless his idealism brings him wealth, and he drifts in spirit away from the character of his youth. It is the
strain of life, the fear of old a...
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- Spring '11