But as men grow more industrialised and regimented, the kind of delight that is common in children becomes impossible to adults because they are always thinking of the next thing and cannot let themselves be absorbed in the moment. This habit of thinking of the ‘next thing’ is more fatal to any kind of aesthetic excellence than any other habit of mind that can be imagined, and if art, in any important sense, is to survive it will not be by the foundation of solemn academies, but by recapturing the capacity for wholehearted joys and sorrows which prudence and foresight have all but destroyed. (emphasis added)
Naturally I latched onto it as an argument about the importance of maintaining a capacity for attention-- that ability to be "absorbed in the moment"-- but there's also resonance with both Csikszentmihalyi's work on flow and creativity, and with arguments about the downside of over-programming or over-managing innovation.
Anyway, the Reith Lectures are my new favorite thing. The old ones have those marvelously plummy (what a perfect word) announcers. You could write a whole book about the English language-- or a short, phenomenally successful one-- by tracking the accents and tenor of BBC announcers.
The lectures were also later published as a book.