Sunday, August 26, 2012

An academic question: How did the coming of the Automobile change Americans' Thinking? -- a quote from Edison

Hi folks -- I picked up an interesting book at the Goodwill this evening -- Arthur Pound, The Turning Wheel: The Story of General Motors Through Twenty-Five Years 1908-1933 (New York, Doubleday, 1934).  Thin about this Edison quote, p. 287:

"...the automobile has done more to make America a nation of thinkers than any other invention or agency.  The great value of the  automobile is not the fact that it has made easier and quicker and cheaper to go places, but the fact that it has inspired several million people to go. It has revealed to them how petty and meaningless their lives were becoming...Most of us view the automobile principally as a great business and manufacturing achievement. It is -- but it is a greater educational achievement.  In the beginning we were a pioneer people -- a restless people.  But when things came easier for us we began to lose our restlessness. The automobile is helping to restore it.  And that is one of the most healthful signs of the present generation.  Restlessness is discontent -- and discontent is the first necessity of progress, Show me a thoroughly satisfied man -- and I will show you a failure.  The wheels of progress -- especially those of the automobile -- have worked results which may be called miracles. But their service has been to raise the thinking capacity of society.

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