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Time Perception

While staring at the stars one night I marvelled at the vastness of space, as you do...

The stars seemed unmoving and peaceful, just happily twinkling away in the night’s sky. It then occurred to me that they were, in actual fact, all hurtling through space at great force, and if sped up in a time-lapse over millions or billions of years it might look like living, moving organisms whose functions will only be clear when observed in their own time.

It made me wonder about our experience of life and time’s effect on our perception.

Take a fly for example, we experience it living a very fast life because it buzzes around at speed, where as it’s experience might in reality be in very slow motion to ours. Flies see at 250 frames a second, where we see about 24. So for the fly, perhaps our 24 hour day feels more like 250 hours (that’s just over 10 days). And to them we may seem to move as slowly as the clouds in the sky. Could our perception of the cosmos may be, in a way, like a fly's perception of us - times a million? And to the cosmos we are the fly, only infinitesimally smaller and existing in just a blip of all time. It begs the question, are there things around us right now that move so fast that we can't perceive them? That to them we are the unmoving star?

For our bodies, time is a constant, but our mind can perceive time that has past and can also imagine time that is still to come.

We can essentially live outside our time. In this day and age where phrases like ‘move fast and break things’ is boasted about by the leading companies of our era. Companies that greatly influence how we think, and in turn feel. It’s no surprise that we are moving so fast that we end up missing what’s important. We can’t physically change our frame rate (yet) so we are moving faster but still only have 24 frames a second to perceive. What does this mean for the human mind and for our experience of life?

I find myself scrolling through my feeds faster and faster these days.