For a time, then, modern man was diverted by the free play of newly discovered powers in an expanding world. The novelty of freedom for the growing powers of the individual distracted attention from the necessary implications of rationalism. It was enough to seek freedom, and the first joy of being free made it seem unimportant to ask what freedom was for — save to assert that it was for a vague business termed “progress” and “the development of one’s personality.”
The underlying emptiness of such a view of life was veiled by the thrill of new sensations, which, if they were to continue to thrill, must be intensified, multiplied, magnified, to the drowning out of the ever-growing presentiment of futility. Wherefore the all-absorbing concern of urban man became business — busy, busy — buzzing like a wasp trapped in a glass, busy to pass the time, busy just to make more business, to make money to make still more business, just to keep on being busier and busier — for what no one knew, except just that action was a good thing and idleness very dangerous.
For in silence, in idleness, there was the boredom of being alone with oneself, with that inane spark of consciousness in the abyss of nothingness into which it was destined to vanish.
– Alan Watts, Behold The Spirit