William James...on man's quest

Man's chief difference from the brutes lies in the exhuberant excess of his subjective propensities, - his preeminence over them simply and solely in the number and in the fantastic and unnecessary character of his wants, physical, moral, aesthetic, and inellectual. Had his life not been a quest for the superfluous, he would never have established hilself as inexpugnably as has done in the necessary....Prune down his extravagances, sober him, and you undo him.

- The Will to Believe, 1881