Marginalia, no.89

If peradventure, Reader, it has been thy lot to waste the golden years of thy life – thy shining youth – in an office…

~ Charles Lamb, ‘The Superannuated Man’

Business is the death of the soul.  I recognize that I’m one of those persons inclined to be discontent with my lot so long as necessity has any claims on me whatsoever.  But the pursuit of market share and media hits and the perpetually ascending conversion yield puts me in constant thought of my own mortality.  Perhaps the value of business is precisely that it forces me to grapple with vanity and finitude. But I wonder if it doesn’t sharpen the death-wish too.  Later in the same essay Lamb writes that ‘a man can never have too much time to himself, nor too little to do,’ which seems an apt description of death.  I light up a phone switch in place of a candle and whisper supplications to St Bartleby Scrivener.

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