Thursday, 19 December 2013
Some random thoughts on Time
Sometimes I get ideas in my head that just won’t leave me alone. I’m a naturally thoughtful person even if some of the thoughts and ideas I come up with are weird and occasionally a subject will just make its way into my conscious mind and stay there until I have considered it. The most recent subject is Time so, in order to get rid of the subject for a while, I am writing down my thoughts, completely unedited, as they come into my mind.
Time is a strange concept because, through the lens of our perceptions, Time actually seems to move at different speeds for different people. For example, a person who is occupied with a physical or mental task will find that time goes quickly if they are enjoying it but a person who is carrying out a similar task that they do not enjoy finds that time drags. This example is self evident but we could look at time in a different way.
Imagine that Time is not a constant, universal speed – one second is one second for everyone – but is, in fact, an ever-changing, fluid variable. There would still be a single universally accepted Time but this is not a universal constant value in terms of speed; it would be a value derived from the various ‘Personal Time’ values and evened out to an acceptable ‘Consensus Time’.
Accepting this hypothesis, it is perfectly possible for an individual’s ‘Personal Time’ to be faster or slower than another’s and could provide a reasoning for the idea of a young person who seems to possess an ‘old soul’. It is not that they are advanced for their age; it could be that their mind is operating at a faster rate of ‘Personal Time’ than others of their physical age. The idea of a variable ‘Personal Time’ could also explain so-called child geniuses as their mind, existing at a faster ‘Personal Time’, seems to be processing the information they acquire at a higher than usual rate but is, in fact, actually processing at the same speed as anyone else if all other considerations are taken into account. For example, a seven-year-old child will have processed ‘x’ amount of information in those seven years but a child with a physical body of four years of age may have processed the same amount of information as the seven-year-old because their mind is actually operating at a faster rate of ‘Personal Time’ and is seven years old whilst their body is only four years old.
The idea that our bodies age at similar rates would seem to negate the possibility of ‘Personal Time’ at first glance but if we look in nature we can find evidence of different time rates. For instance, it is well known that insects have very short life spans and this has been explained as the smaller the animal, the faster the heart rate and the shorter the life span. Larger animals seem to have slower heart rates and, therefore, longer life spans. The idea of ‘dog years’ or ‘cat years’ has been around for a long time but no one, as far as I know, has proposed the idea that this is because animals live within different ‘Species Times’ which differ from each other and humankind’s ‘Consensus Time’.
Within each ‘Species Time’, which is essentially a ‘Consensus Time’ for that particular species, there are also individual rates of ‘Personal Time’ for each specific animal within that species and this could account for some individual animals exceeding their species’ maximum life expectancy. Essentially these longer lived specimens are actually aging at a slower rate than is normal for their species.
It is possible, if this hypothesis is correct, that when a person enters into a relationship with another person the two individual ‘Personal Time’ rates will synchronise during the course of the relationship to a greater or lesser degree. The fact that some couples die within days of each other can seem to imply that this is indeed the case.
If Time really is as fluid as this hypothesis suggests, it may be that certain dementias and Alzheimer’s could be partly caused by a degradation of a person’s ‘Personal Time’ in relation to ‘Consensus Time’ and the ‘Personal Time’ rates of those around them. It is a well-known fact that Alzheimer’s can cause a person’s mind to reset to an earlier time in their life and, taking the ‘Personal Time’ hypothesis as correct, it could be that the time to which the individual’s mind is reset each day is the last period of undamaged ‘Personal Time’ the person has.
I know that most of what I have written may seem weird or just plain crazy but I would also like to think that it may make the reader think about the concept of Time in a different way for at least for a short while.
This blog entry may not be of much scientific or philosophical value but it has given me a chance to exorcise the ideas that have been running round in my head and I can get on with other things now.