Yet something evades us…

“In America I saw the freest and most enlightened men (and women) placed in the happiest circumstances that the world affords, [but] it seemed to me as if a cloud habitually hung upon their brow, and I thought them serious and almost sad, even in their pleasures. [. . . ]Among democratic nations, men (and women) easily attain a certain equality of condition, but they can never attain as much as they desire. It perpetually retires from before them, yet without hiding itself from their sight, and in retiring draws them on. At every moment they think they are about to grasp it; it escapes at every moment from their hold. They are near enough to see its charms, but too far off to enjoy them; and before they have fully tasted its delights, they die.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America (1838)
Ch 13: “Causes Of The Restless Spirit Of Americans In The Midst Of Their Prosperity”

*gender inclusion added by Moxie

My favorite Gatsby quote

I spent the week with high school sophomores, one of whom was reading The Great Gatsby, and I was reminded of my favorite quote from the book. I can’t quite explain why this is so penetrating to me.

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made.

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald