Time and Age – a primer

December 18th, 2012 by Ken

Andy Rooney, the former star of CBS’s 60 minutes, says that “life is like a roll of toilet paper.  The closer to the end you get the faster it goes.”  There’s much validity in what Rooney says.  All of us who have aged talk about time and how fast it appears to be going.

Whether or not time goes faster the older you get is irrelevant.  The perception that time goes faster the older you get is true.   Ask anyone older than 50 and they’ll tell you it’s a fact.

So why does time appear to move faster to people the older they get?  I think it’s because they don’t recognize the passage of time.

Have you ever started reading a book and become so engrossed in it that before you realize it several hours have passed?   Have you ever gotten on the internet and realized that you had been on the net for more than an hour when it seemed like just a few minutes?

Have you ever driven a car and become so caught up thinking about a problem at work or a situation at home and before you know it, you’re at your destination?

Have you ever driven to work and back every day to the point that it became a habit and you didn’t think much of the drive, until suddenly, something new popped up along side the road and you noticed it for the first time?

Those are all signs of how we deal with time.

As children, everything is new.  Every time we see a bird, watch a leaf fall from the trees, hear a new word out of the mouth of our parents, ride a bicycle or wait anxiously for the first day of summer vacation, we treat time differently.

As children and teenagers, our mind is busy processing new information on a constant basis. Our mind reacts to time differently.  As the processing is going on we are aware of time.

But, as adults, we have already processed most of the new information we’ll ever learn.  Our brain is no longer processing vast amounts of new information and instead has been put on “auto pilot”.   We go through life not noticing the same old things because our brain has already  processed that information and doesn’t call it to our attention.

It’s not until something jars us back, forces us to think a new thought, that we again realize the concept of time.

So it’s not the fact that time is moving faster or slower, it’s just that our perception of time has changed.  As long as our brain doesn’t experience new information it moves us through time.  It’s only when new information arrives that stopping points are created.  These stopping points then bring us back to a realization and with it a concept of time.

Can you slow down time?  Perhaps, but never to the point of our childhood.

As adults, we can try new things, read new books, learn a new language, do some traveling, experience new thoughts and new ideas.  Those things will force our brain to re-open the processing factory and consequently slow down the passage of time.

But, because those new concepts are such a small portion of the knowledge already retained in our brain, we’ll never slow time down to the point that we remember as children.

We will always be forced to watch as the roll of toilet paper continues to move faster, the nearer to the end we get.

Posted in Informational, The Real News

(comments are closed).