Thanks to Mark Lloyd who brought this very apt quote, considering the nearing date of our graduations, to my attention. It is an extract from an article by Jeanette Winterson which can be found at http://deoxy.org/ct/product.htm
Modern society is centered around the production, distribution and consumption of material goods rather than the happiness and satisfaction of its participants. Today’s average worker is used to thinking about the ends rather than the means. We spend most of our time and energy working at a job that in all likelihood does not fulfill our dreams. We look forward to payday every two weeks, for we count on our paycheck to make sense out of our lives: without it, we would feel like we were wasting our time. If we didn’t look at the “consequences” of our actions as a justification for them, life would be unbearable. Insofar as our everyday experience of life is tedious and meaningless, we need to concentrate on the coming weekend, the next vacation, our next purchase, to fend off insanity. And eventually we are bound to generalize that mode of thinking to other parts of our lives: we come to evaluate possible actions, friendships, relationships according to the rewards they offer, just as we would evaluate a job according to the wage it offers. Thus, modern man thinks of his life in terms of what he has “to show for it,” rather than considering the life itself. Why should life be the constant pursuit of goals? Before we were shackled with the chains of modern society – when we lived to feel the joys of the next day and not the next ‘break’ we might have been happy. Never in history has there been such a glaring contrast between what could be and what actually exists.