"Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers"

I recently watched the televised version of J. B. Priestley's Summer Day's Dream, starring John Gielgud, which was thoroughly enjoyable both as a piece and for its performance. It is an example of art that remains timely long after the time of its production. For example, it speaks to the temptations of materialism and the problems of vested interests that attempt to bury the good life:
"It all ends in other people's confusion and  misery in a hopeless muddle of values. If you want to throw your life away for the sake of plastic ash-trays, that's your affair" (1). "You cant go shopping for a good life. You have to live it." (2) This is difficult because, "There is an old tried pattern, a faded map offering some chance of happiness, and still they pay men to rule thick hues across it." (3)

The play reminded me a lot of Wordsworth's "The World Is Too Much With Us" - and even addresses the problem of poetry.
Stephen: There was a time when I  didn't care for [poetry].
Rosalie: What was wrong with you?
Stephen: I think I was ill. Most of us were. But l didn't know it.
Rosalie: But now you're all right.
Stephen: Yes — except that I'm very old.
If we feel that we, too, are too old, we ought to abide by Rosalie's diagnosis, that it is possible for "something lost and innocent" to be about us, "like a sort of old baby puzzled but still hopeful". (4)

But ultimately the point of the film is in the 'poetry'; whether one sees this "late and soon", whether one can see release to the "getting and spending" Wordsworth warned of, whether one has the vision to see through the hopeless vision of the hopeless muddle of values in order to attain the timeless poetry of the good life ("For what can there be above the man who rises above fortune?" asks Seneca, who then cites "the cry of the greatest poets" for us to "live right now ... 'If you don't seize the day, it slips away'" [5]). Lest you think I am reading classical studies into the play, compare what are perhaps the most famous lines of the play with lines by Seneca:
Stephen: Take it easy. I spent more than half my life,  when I ought to have been enjoying myself, arguing and planning and  running round like a maniac, all to sell a lot of things to people I  didn’t know so that I could buy a lot of things I never had time to use.  Sheer lunacy. And it took nothing less than an atom bomb to blow me out of it. (6)
Seneca: "Calculate how much of your time has been taken up by a moneylender,  how much by a mistress, how much by a patron, how much by a client, how much in arguing with your wife, in punishing your slaves, in  running about the city on social duties. Add to your calculations the  illnesses that we've inflicted on ourselves, and also the time that has  lain idle: you'll see that you've fewer years than you count. Look back and recall when you were ever sure of your purpose; how few days turned out as you'd intended; when you were ever at your own disposal; when your face showed its own expression; when your mind was free from disturbance; what accomplishment you can claim in such a long life; how many have plundered your existence without your being aware of what you were losing; how much time has been  lost to groundless anguish, foolish pleasure, greedy desire, the charms  of society; how little is left to you from your own store of time. You'll  come to realize that you're dying before your time." (7)

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