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The purpose of time

Dear Reader,

Lucius Annaeus Seneca the Younger was a great statesman and philosopher in ancient Rome, and he usually went by a shortened version of his name: Seneca.

Around 49 AD he wrote a book called “On The Shortness Of Life.”

In it he writes “The part of life we really live is small. For all the rest of existence is not life, but merely time.”

What he seems to be saying is that in general, we have a decent amount of time to spend living but we sometimes don’t invest it wisely.

We’re too busy trying to impress others by accumulating money and power.

The trade-off is that there is little left in the day for ourselves.

The struggle for survival tends to focus one’s attention on the basics: Food and water, shelter, medical care, etc.

But for many of us, these needs are amply met, giving us precious time to “really live,” as Seneca puts it.

Ironically, while we guard our wallets and purses closely, we liberally dollop out large chunks of time on false ambitions and nothingness.

When all is said and done, one must let go of the titles and trophies, let go of everything and surrender to the great darkness.

The question then is, If these trinkets are not worthwhile, what is? That is a question each of us needs to decide for ourselves – but if we consider those we love, and the time we spend with them, it shouldn’t be hard to find the answer.

Patrick J. Wood
Author of “Dear Reader” and “Tapestry of Love and Loss”

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