Time in Quotes

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Ultimately, books are a document of people's life experiences. Different books concentrate on different aspects of life and different experiences, and over time the commentary on different aspects of life changes.

Ironically, the most common phenomena in life are not commented on that often but are rather taken for granted. Here is what Einstein says on the subject: "I sometimes ask myself how it came about that I was the one to develop the theory of relativity. The reason, I think, is that a normal adult never stops to think about problems of space and time. These are things which he has thought about as a child. But my intellectual development was retarded, as a result of which I began to wonder about space and time only when I had already grown up". However, some people have thought about time, and here is a selection of comments on time, starting with Einstein himself:

The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once.

Einstein gives a very functional explanation of the phenomenon of time, almost seeming to say that time exists because it somehow necessarily needs to in order to stop all events happening simultaneously. Einstein made some starting discoveries about the nature of space and time in his theories of special and general relativity - however discussion of these are beyond the scope of this article.

The whole life of man is but a point of time; let us enjoy it.

Plutarch, around 2000 years ago, comments on the brevity of life - a theme that is referred to often throughout literature of all eras. It is often said that, in geological timescales, the whole of humanity has only existed for the blink of an eye. The idea Plutarch expresses recurs throughout recorded thought, perhaps encapsulated in 'seize the day'.

Time goes, you say? Ah no! Alas, Time stays, we go. (The Paradox of Time)
Austin Dobson

Here Dobson describes time as a constant, rather than the usual flowing dimension that it is for most people.

So little time and so little to do.
Oscar Levant

Here Levant makes a comical change to the usual 'so much to do and so little time to do it', the idea being that we must cherish every moment and not waste time, as you can only experience each moment once.

Time the devourer of all things.

Ovid comments that time is one thing that no man can escape - nor in fact can anything else. Time changes all things.

Come what come may, Time and the hour runs through the roughest day - Macbeth
William Shakespeare

Here Shakespeare observes that somethings are - perhaps re-assuringly - constant in our lives. No matter what may or may not happen, whether truly mundane or very bizarre, time continues to flow at the same rate.

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage, and then is heard no more.
William Shakespeare

As common of his era, one of the recurring themes of literature at the time discusses how brief life is, how fleeting and ephemeral is its nature. Shakespeare visualises our life as a quick stage show, where the hapless individual comes out on to the stage (is born), then busies himself during a brief time on the stage (life), before quickly being heard of no more (death).

Time is the coin of your life. It is the only coin you have, and only you can determine how it will be spent. Be careful lest you let other people spend it for you.
Carl Sandburg

Like many quotes on the subject of time, Sandburg here re-inforces to us just how precious the time we have is, and so that we should be careful with it, enjoy it, and make sure we use it in the best possible way for us as individuals.

Nothing is as far away as one minute ago.
Jim Bishop

Here Bishop makes a shrewd observation on the nature of time. The Past is forever lost to us (whether one second, minute, year or millenium past). The future is as yet unknown. Only the present is real and accessible.

This idea is expressed clearly by Agathon: This only is denied to God: the power to undo the past. Agathon is thought to have lived around 448 - 400BC, which nicely illustrates how age-old these ideas about time are.

Time cools, time clarifies; no mood can be maintained quite unaltered through the course of hours.
Mark Twain

Twain advises on one of the effects of time - it changes everything, whether it is healing wounds, altering attitudes or something more ordinary. A final thought. Let's never make the Australian mistake of calling time ordinary. https://www.twusuper.com.au/employer-super/how-to-calculate-super/ordinary-time-earnings/

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