The One Thing Needful
The literary critic George Steiner describes our civilizational ennui as entailing “manifold processes of frustration, of cumulative désoeuvrement,” the lack of anything worthwhile to do. It’s an odd description for our busy era, full of technical advances, an anxious drive to improve our lot, and a sense of unceasing and ever more rapid change. Still, what’s the point? Where is it all going?
He continues by noting “energies eroded to routine as entropy increases . . . the drowsy nausea . . . exasperated, vague waiting – but for what?” With an air of sadness, he claims that “the old vocabulary