Need and Its Supply

Asserted human needs are in large part not needs but wants, and to gratify a want may mean not good but ill. It may bring a passing pleasure that has an abiding aftermath of pain, so that the supply of demand shall work havoc for character and the best human interests. Witness the influence of the cheap novel, and the newspaper or magazine which is conducted simply to make money by supplying whatever mortals may want, quite regardless whether it is likely to prove a blessing or a curse in its effects.

The disease and decay brought about by the rule of ignoble wants is illustrated in the comments of Sallust upon the circumstances attending the decline of the Roman empire. Writing of "The Conspiracy of Catiline," he says: "When by perseverance and integrity the republic had increased its power . . . and sea and land lay everywhere open to her sway, fortune then began to exercise her tyranny, . . . the objects of desire became a burden and a trouble, the love of money and then the love of power began to prevail, and these became as it were the source of every evil. Avarice subverted honesty, integrity, and other honorable principles, and in their stead inculcated pride, inhumanity, contempt of religion, and general venality."

Principle and Consecration
November 15, 1913

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