Shakespeare on the Waste of Time

the clock upbraids me with the waste of time“The clock upbraids me with the waste of time.” (Twelfth Night, act 3, sc. 1)

Tips for Use and Comments. Change ‘me’ to ‘us’ when you wish to convince your companions to stop wasting time. Time is a commodity, it is the inexplicable raw material of everything and it is extraordinary that it has not been privatized (as yet). Yes, we do not know how long for, but every time we wake up in the morning our commodity portfolio is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of everyone’s life. And time, so far, is the representative of an ideal democracy. In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth and no aristocracy of intellect. It is curious that the media, eager as they are to suggest to their audience become richer, are not full of “How to live on a given income of time,” instead of “How to live on a given income of money”! Perhaps it is because, as noted, time has not yet been privatized, or perhaps because, been free, time does not have much luster and therefore respect. Arnold Bennett in his booklet, “How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day” makes the simple observation that the fruitful management of time begins with the management of our thoughts, the management of the thinking machine. “…And since nothing whatever happens to us outside our own brain; since nothing hurts us or gives us pleasure except within the brain, the supreme importance of being able to control what goes on in that mysterious brain is patent.” Some will say that this is obvious and it is. But the value of Bennett’s observation and the value of pointed quotes is not so much of telling what we already know, but to remind us of what we may have forgotten.
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In the play. Olivia has just heard the clock strike while talking with Viola and decides to halt the interview.

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