We have all been in spots where Time felt like it is rushing. And on other occasions, it has totally refused to budge. Now how is that possible? Interestingly, what phase is fast for one may be super-slow for another, and we don’t complain?
Well, it’s all in the mind, but it’s not for nothing. Time is nothing but a perception, and its pace keeps changing depending upon a few factors.
Duke University Professor Adrian Bejan had been active in the field of decoding this sorcery, and has come up with a physics theory called “Constructional Theory”. This theory encompasses all things in nature as spontaneous creations made possible because the Time moves on.
The root thought behind the entire thesis and theory was his curiosity about the physical basis for the impression that some days rush by faster than others. He was curious why we tend to focus on the unusual rather than what’s ever-present.
He reasons that Time is represented by change in stimuli (like some visuals) that our brains are programmed to process one after the other. As these visuals change, our minds indicate that Time has changed too.
As per his theory, since our perception of “clock time” (minutes, hours, days, years etc.) is not aligned with the “mental-image time” (the visuals we process), the pace perception changes too.
Further, his theory claims, as we age and face a slow-down in the speed of processing those visual stimuli, the misalignment of both Times is strengthened. So there is definitely a physical reason that older people process lesser images in the same time where a younger one is capable of handling many more. Thus, Time passes faster.
The age-induced physical changes include saccades frequency, body size and pathways degradation — together which slow down the brain’s speed to process the images.
Saccades are the moments of focus in the same direction — or the rapid eye movements that happen in the moments of ‘fixation’. Our eyes tend to do this to absorb more and more information of the surroundings in between successive saccades.
However, age and fatigue interfere with saccades, rendering us slightly less capable of absorbing and processing too much information.
In other words, youthful days seem longer because a young brain receives (and processes) more images during the day in comparison to an older brain. Bejan further claims that as adults, the ‘slower’ youthful days as the ones that are loaded with productivity and events. The reason, because those are the times when we make more memories that stick by.
He states, “Productive days happen when the body and mind are rested, after periods of regular sleep; when in the morning you look in the mirror and you see a younger you, not a tired you,” Bejan says.
It’s possible that as the world moves on, the young ones will begin to experience this rapid passage of time earlier than their ancestors. Studies claim that social media has done havoc for distorting one’s perception of time. For example, the understanding of the time spent on Facebook is considerably longer than the time actually spent.
If we remain mindful of how humans perceive the passing of time, we can explore the zone further.
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