Archive for July 21, 2008

Old Books: How to live on 24 hours a day

July 21, 2008

Excerpts from “How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day,” 1910, by Arnold Bennet:

“I have seen an essay, How to Live on Eight Shillings a Week. But I have never seen an essay, How to Live on Twenty-four Hours a Day. Yet it has been said that time is money. That proverb understates the case. Time is a great deal more than money. If you have time you can obtain money – usually. But though you have the wealth of a cloak-room attendant at the Carlton Hotel, you cannot buy yourself a minute more time than the cat by the fire has.

“Philosophers have explained space. They have not explained time. It is the inexplicable raw material of everything. With it, all is possible; without it, nothing. The supply of time is truly a daily miracle. You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the unmanufactured tissue of the universe of your life! It is yours. It is the most precious of possessions. A highly singular commodity, showered upon you!

“For remark! No one can take it from you. It is unstealable. And no one receives either more or less than you receive.

“Talk about an ideal democracy! In the realm of time there is no aristocracy of wealth, and no aristocracy of intellect. Genius is never rewarded by even an extra hour a day. And there is no punishment. Waste your infinitely precious commodity and the supply will never be withheld from you. No mysterious power will say, ‘This man is a fool, if not a knave. he does not deserve time; he shall be cut off at the meter.’ Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to go into debt! You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste to-morrow; it is kept for you. You cannot waste the next hour; it is kept for you.

“I said the affair was a mircale. Is it not?”