Increasingly, we are becoming a world without questions. A world that cannot ask questions, both in the sense that the most humanly necessary questions are subject to restrictions and public mockery precisely to the extent that they are humanly necessary, and in the sense — far more decisive in the long run — that we no longer have the desire to ask these questions. That is to say, we no longer experience desire as such, since the most urgent (and now neglected) questions are themselves the thinking individual’s most sublime and definitive expressions of desire. Today we have transient inclinations and twitching addictions, natural impulses distorted and diminished by an indoctrinated distaste for nature itself, but no desire in the properly human sense of that word. We are no longer subject to any painful and overwhelming need, aside from the all-consuming need to evade the feeling of need. A world without any aim higher than physical comfort, any craving more powerful than an immediate itch, any curiosity more enlivening than a search for information (“the facts”), is a world that shrinks. The soul’s natural tendency to stretch itself outward into the unknown, straining the limits of its reach and thereby expanding the cosmos — what we used to mean by longing — has been undermined, our painful and ennobling tension fatally slackened. We have lost the will or imperative to ask the greatest questions, or even to notice them, let alone to feel that their answers might unveil the entire mystery of our existence, or that without these answers our existence will have been in vain. Yet without such will and such feelings, we are no longer fit to learn, or (which amounts to the same thing) to live.