Time keeps on slipping slipping slipping into….

The Passage of Time: Time and time again I hear people discussing how fast time seems to be going. They have a whole range of theories as to why this seems to be happening, from the speeding up of the general exploding outwards that is the Universe, to end of the world alien intervention.

Years and years ago I remember my granny saying, “Oh, just look at you. Haven’t you grown! My, it only seems like yesterday that I stood you in the sink and washed you down. I can’t believe you’re out of nappies and such a grown man.” I used to think she was a stupid old biddy, plot to remove her vocal chords, and I’ve no idea why she eventually went missing presumed dead, honestly officer.

Anyway, here I am a number of years later, and what can I say. I met up with someone I’d not seen for over 10 years, and they had a 12 year old son. I immediately found myself thinking, “God, doesn’t time fly. I can’t believe you’re out of nappies and such a grown man.” Luckily I was able to hold my tongue so this evil statement didn’t slip out to prove that I was a nerdy old person in the eyes of this poor fella.

But it got me thinking, didn’t it. Why does time seem to go so fast the older you get? Being your planet’s most intelligent item meant that it wasn’t long before I came up with the answer. So, if anybody ever engages you in this conversation about time flying, tell them this:-

Your mind has a finite depth. Imagine it is a piece of A4 paper. It has a fixed length and width. Imagine that it takes 10 seconds to scan and read everything on that piece of A4 paper. Regardless of what’s on it, it takes 10 seconds to scan from one side to the other.

Now, as soon as you are born, or maybe even before that, all of your experiences fill that piece of A4 paper. There are never any gaps, the paper is always completely full. There are no empty bits waiting to be filled. It doesn’t work like that. One day’s worth of experiences, if that’s all you’ve had, will fill the entire paper. One century’s worth of experiences, if that’s what you’ve had, will fill the entire paper. As more experiences are added, the size of the space being taken up by the previous experiences reduces in size to accommodate the recording of the additional experiences. Existing experiences are always reducing in size to allow the new experiences in.

So, you get the idea that the size of the container stays the same, but the concentrate within the container increases. Looking at the piece of A4 paper concept, right, it still takes 10 seconds to completely scan from one side to the other. That scanning speed can’t alter. However, far more information will have sped past during that 10 seconds if the paper contains a century’s worth of experiences than if it only contains a day’s worth. Thus, the perception will be that the same 10 second scan from one side to the other will be faster the more experience that’s recorded there. The perception will be that time has moved faster the fuller that page is of information, when comparing a 10 second scan taken when you are a day old to a 10 second scan when you are a hundred years old. So, it’s the comparison between how much information you used to pick up during the 10 second scan, compared to the huge amount more you pick up nowadays, that makes you think time seems to be getting faster.

I’ve cracked it. Time isn’t moving faster, I’m just getting a whole lot older!