What activities cause people to exhaust their "powers," according to "The World Is Too Much with Us"?

According to "The World Is Too Much with Us," people exhaust their powers through "getting and spending." In other words, they are too preoccupied with money and the things that money can buy.

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The general gist of Wordsworth's “The World is Too Much with Us” is that contemporary society, in becoming more materialistic, has cut itself off from nature. As a result, we've lost something of our basic humanity, which is closely bound up with our being part of the natural world.

Wordsworth beautifully encapsulates this soul-destroying process in the expression “Getting and spending.” As society has become more prosperous, there are now more things to buy. As a consequence, society is now more materialistic than ever before, obsessed with making money—getting—and spending it on all kinds of goods that, until the dawn of the industrial revolution, simply weren't available.

This “getting and spending” lays waste our powers; “Little that we see in Nature is ours.” That is to say, we have lost that vital connection we once had to the natural world; we no longer see ourselves in nature as we once did.

Nature goes on as before, with the sea baring “her bosom to the moon,” and the winds “howling at all hours.” But because of our growing materialism, because of our unhealthy obsession with “getting and spending,” the joys of nature no longer have the same meaning for us as they once did. We are out of step with its rhythms.

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