Something Which Gives No Hope

“Dissatisfaction is, of course, a noble and invaluable attribute of man; one should never, strictly speaking, be satisfied with anything, least of all with the social institutions and mechanisms which we create. The lively and peremptory exercise of dissatisfaction is the first condition of progress; one wishes that Americans at large had a better understanding of its uses. But dissatisfaction with something which may and should be made to work better, differs in quality from dissatisfaction with something which gives no hope of ever being made to work at all. Dissatisfaction in the realm of the airplane is a very different thing in quality from dissatisfaction in the realm of the perpetual-motion device. In the one case, the application of ingenuity may, and often does, improve the machine and makes it work better. In the other case, when all the resources of ingenuity are exhausted, the machine gives only a semblance of working, without the reality.” (Albert Jay Nock, 1932, The Theory of Education in the United States)