A Mayfly experiences a lifetime within a single day. Surely, its own perception of time differs substantially from our own. In their eyes, are we giants that move about cumbersome and slowly? And, does a Mayfly consider the time to pass slower on a Monday morning?
The passing of time is the one constant in our lives which is not constant. From those endless summers when we were children to the shared perception that time passes quicker, the older we get. With hindsight, it appears that time is elastic and can be stretched or even slow down to a standstill. But, is this dilation and contraction of time purely an imaginary construct of our perception?
A few years back, some Brazilian scientists conducted an experiment to measure how the passage of time is perceived by people of different age groups.
233 men and women aged 15-89 had to close eyes and count 120 seconds.
All ages perceived the two minutes as passing more quickly than it did,
but the oldest group perceived time as passing 25% quicker than youngest.
So what exactly does this prove?
It is definitely telling us that that the perception of time radically changes in relation to the age of the subject. And we know the reason for this is to do with the part of brain and consciousness most active for each respective group.
Younger people are not only more active but also experience more seminal experiences and variety in their lives. This introduces more chaos and novelty in their lives invoking a conscious response to make sense and evaluate everything that is new.
Older people have seen it all before, are risk-averse, or have just lost the desire for novelty. Daily routines tend to repeat themselves more often allowing the brain to delegate most repeated procedures to be handled by the subconscious.
Subconscious thinking usually occurs in the right hemisphere of our brains and represents at least 85 to 95 percent of our cerebral action. Our ability to drive safely listening to talk radio, perhaps while thinking about something completely abstract demonstrates the power and extent to which we rely on subconscious thinking.
Conscious thinking takes place in the left hemisphere of the brain and kicks in only when we are presented with chaotic or new conditions or stimulus requiring an immediate response which is out of ordinary. It is labour intensive thinking which is not only exhausting when sustained over long periods, but it also requires intense concentration that shuts down most other background thoughts.
What the Brazillian scientists discovered was that the left and right hemispheres of our brains perceived time differently. The right side, which processed subconscious thinking, perceived time passing much quicker than the left brain which processed conscious thought. Therefore, it was the older people in the subject group, who employed less conscious thought than their younger peers, who experienced time passing quicker.
Yet outside the realm of conscious perception, we know from the theory of relativity that time is not a constant and can be altered drastically by other forces. It makes you wonder whether humans will ever become able to actually willfully manipulate time for real and not just perceptually. The ability to alter time would give you superhero powers of speed and strength, the ability to reverse it would help make you infallible and perfect. But what if we had all these powers all along, yet we just didn’t know. What if its control over our conscious awareness prevented us from realizing just what we were capable of.
Einstein implied that it was only our consciousness which controlled the flow of time. He likened our mortal experience to that of passengers on a train who felt themselves to be stationary whilst everything outside of the window sped by in one direction. It was an analogy for the linear flow of time which made a continual flow of events to be sequenced one after another.
Yet in reality, everything outside that train window was stationary and it was the passenger, or in this case, our conscious awareness which was moving forward. Frame by frame, it processed our life’s events, recording them as memories and giving importance and detail to some, whilst others blurred into vague recollections. Just like the process of animation, it was the falsely apparent movement of time (outside of the train’s window) that made everything seem real.
Yet he knew it to be a false reality. Einstein was one of the first physicists to recognize that time, was in fact, a separate dimension from the three-dimensional world which we lived in. He realized that time did not flow sequentially but instead was occurring concurrently. He used another analogy of a record disc in which the spiraling grooves cut in the vinyl represented the passage of time. The needle represented our conscious awareness and the groove that it was passing through was the present.
Einstein believed time to be anchored to our world by physical forces and in particular – gravity. The study of gravity became his Holy Grail, which was a pity because I believe that if he were still alive today, the new scientific discoveries made in Quantum Physics and particularly in our perception of quantum entanglement would have made him reconcentrate his great mind upon our consciousness as being the anchor.
Using the same analogy of the needle passing over the vinyl record, or even a laser passing over a compact disc, we are aware that faults can cause both record and compact disc to jump backward and forwards. This can happen too when a temporal fault arises in our conscious awareness. We see this in cases of dementia, near death experiences and even in precognition. Following through with the compact disc version of the analogy, we know that the laser continuously passes over the whole disc, reading everything at once. Every note of every track is playing concurrently but is being processed in sequential order. A faulty disk confuses the order of play and the track skips forwards or backward. The analogy implies that all time is occurring concurrently, but our conscious awareness anchors it to the present; to us, what is always NOW.
But surely what we perceive also applies to everything else? Except, it doesn’t. In theoretical mathematics, it is accepted that time as a dimension occurs concurrently without the sequence of past, present, or future. Quantum entanglement as applied to quantum computers demonstrates that an electron can be registered in two places simultaneously. The fact that it still remains a single electron and yet exists in two places concurrently shows us that it is truly timeless. Einstein also proved that it is not a constant but can be stretched or contracted by such forces as gravity and probably many other principles that as yet have not been discovered.
Let us look at that electron again and consider why it is actually breaking the sequential rules of time. We only observe it in two places at the same time when we go looking to find it in those two places. Seemingly, a magical trick applied; that being, that it was the act of observation that made it appear there. Now there is a growing consensus that the single electron which is not operating by the same sequential rules of time can be concurrently found everywhere. Thus when a viewer seeks to observe it, or a quantum processor to read it, it becomes observable.
If an electron can be observed as timeless, this implies that the consecutive flow of time which we experience is unnatural. Outside of our limited reality time is occurring simultaneously and concurrently.
[part two explores a radical theory which might explain why time may actually be stitched into our conscious reality]
A STITCH IN TIME was published in December 2017. It contains six short stories, three of which are novellas. They all share a common theme which is time: distorted time. time travel, through to timelessness.
Click on picture to view book at Amazon