Points of view

Free time: luxury or curse?

21.01.2019 | By PAOLO BOCCHI

“A work of art by Almond Darren, entitled Tide, leads us to reflect on the value, meaning and symbol of time, in this year 2019. His digital clocks, forming imposing grids on the wall, an invitation to meditate on the flow of time. And, above all, to think about the contemporary relativity of our free time”.


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We live in a time where time is the symbol of our time.
For better or for worse.
The new year has just begun. It was countdown time,
and of trivial (and traditional) calculations on past and future time.
How long to midnight, how old will I be,
how many days have yet to pass for the next holiday?
After the echo of the firecrackers, the time of normal life is back,
spent on the tracks of work and free time.
Right here, on these tracks, free time becomes a symbol.
In a historical period characterized by a very strong economic crisis,
an economic crisis that has brought the entire capitalist system to its knees,
free time appears more and more often as the undisputed symbol of a dichotomous crossroads:
wealth VS poverty.
Free time is a luxury: this is the most popular phrase pronounced by the rich managers everywhere.
Free time is a curse: this is the sentence pronounced by those who have lost their jobs.
Is leisure time a luxury or a curse?
Self-important businessmen who spend their days accumulating and make others accumulate money, enjoy saying, to their fellow men, phrases like “I don’t even have time to go to the toilet”, or “the day should be 48 hours long”, or, again, the classic “it’s so true that free time is the real luxury of today”.


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The other side of the coin increasingly shows the urban centers of the metropolis populated by cardboard beds where, now, every kind of human being seeks comfort and rest.
Here stands, under the eyes of everyone, the demonstration of the symbolic power of free time.
Huge SUVs leaving for the mountains take the ruling classes to their destination, who spend and spread what they have earned in the few hours of their “luxury”.
Au contraire, historical galleries of important urban centers host and welcome, in their interstices and warmer spaces, human categories among the most varied, which have found themselves, suddenly, unknowingly and blamelessly, to have so much, too much, free time available: the new poor.
The time of proverbs and aphorisms over time has passed.
Time after time. Tempus fugit. Time flies. In the nick of time. A stitch in time (saves nine).
Today time, free time, is the clear dividing line between the two social classes that
will contend for the leadership of the world to come: rich VS poor.
When you have little, it’s the classic godsend.
When you have too much, it can be brutal.
What to do in your spare time?
How to fill the 24 hours of the day?
What to do, but above all: what to think about?
Here, the secret could be hidden in thought.


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Crowds of human beings, united by the same situation, and finally free to think,
they could become a disruptive, uncontrollable force;
something never seen or existed before.
Never before, in fact, so many people, so different from each other, had never had time to reflect on their existences, on the reason for existence, and on how to live their lives.
It seems impossible to go back in time.
It will therefore be necessary to pay attention to how all this free time will be spent that has been created, in these times of crisis.
Albert Einstein said:
“When you sit with a pretty girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours.
That’s relativity”.