“Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers ~ but like lemmings running headlong to the sea, we are oblivious” — William Wordsworth
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In this quote, William Wordsworth is criticizing a relentless focus on accumulating wealth and material possessions. He suggests that an endless cycle of “getting and spending” ends up squandering our human talents and potential, similar to how lemmings mindlessly rush towards destruction.
Wordsworth argues that by chasing after money and consumption without higher purpose, people become oblivious to how this wastes their abilities and lives, just as lemmings plunge into the ocean unaware of their fate.
The quote conveys Wordsworth’s view that an excessive preoccupation with financial gain and consumerism can blindly lead societies to ruin by diverting energy away from more meaningful pursuits that develop human capabilities and fulfillment.