The power of concept is so immense that undertaking to discuss it brings on a feeling of personal inadequacy and of battering at an impenetrable barrier. It is not that readers are intellectually deficient, nor that I have no words directly to the point, but that words, even illustrated by graphs and pictures, are such dull tools of communication that we, as individuals, are almost completely isolated one from the other.
What one word means exactly the same to any two of us?
In the unabridged dictionary "one" itself has 17 definitions.
Complete understanding of one another is actually impossible.
If, therefore, some of the following statements appear dogmatic or demagogic sentimentality, they are not so intended. They are merely awkward words beating at the barrier between us, probing for a crack through which to reach your curiosity, or your desire to understand, and cause you to think deeply of, not merely consider, the subject; for understanding is something no one can give another. It is something each one must achieve for himself.
With this in mind let us ask: Which one of us has done a single thing that absolutely no one else could have done? And how long has it been since each of us fairly burned to be turned loose to do, not one, but a dozen such wonders?
How long since we read Ivanhoe, Deerslayer, Tom Sawyer, Tom Swift and Tarzan of the Apes, in our imaginations living through unbelievable feats with the young, resourceful character of the moment? In that moment each of us became what we most wanted to be - an individual, unique and distinct from every other individual, and doing something no other individual ever created could do.
Yet today practically all adult Americans settle down to a bread and butter job - practically the same day after day - a job dozens and probably thousands could do just as well. They settle down to sleeping, waking, bathing, and eating with all the mental vigor of a contented cow. Perhaps they show they're "on the ball" at work when the boss is near - but really they do not feel vigorous at all.