“What can it profit a man to gain the whole world and to come to his property with a gastric ulcer, a blown prostate, and bifocals?” — John Steinbeck
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In this quote, John Steinbeck is questioning whether single-mindedly pursuing wealth and material gain is truly worthwhile if it comes at the cost of one’s health and well-being. He asks rhetorically what good it does a person to “gain the whole world” if in the process they end up in poor physical condition with ailments like a “gastric ulcer, a blown prostate, and bifocals.”
Steinbeck appears to be suggesting that amassing great riches is empty if it leaves one with medical issues and needing corrective devices. Overall, the quote conveys Steinbeck’s view that prioritizing health over wealth accumulation is important and implies a balanced life is better than exclusively chasing profit according to this interpretation.