Tuesday, March 08, 2005

How Time Flies

So, the other day I was at Walmart buying new batteries for my ear-hair clipper when I had the thought, “Is it possible that I’m not as cool as I think I am?”

One thing I'm sure of is that the pace at which I'm aging seems to be accelerating at an alarming rate. A year feels like 3 months felt when I was a kid, which brings me to the subject of this post: Psychologists believe that our subjective experience of the passage of time is a function of its proportional relationship to the amount of time that we’ve been alive. That’s why time seems to speed up as we get older.

For example, one year constitutes one-fifth of the life of a five year old, but only one-twentieth of the life of a twenty-year old. So the twenty-year old will feel four years the same way that the five year old feels one year. The proportions are the same, so the experience of time is the same.

Get it?

Now, according to Ray Kurzweil's Spiritual Machines Time Line, humans will be immortal by 2099. This means, if I understand the proportional theory of time correctly, that our experience of time's passage will speed up infinitely from that moment on.

To an infinitely old being, a billion years will feel exactly like no time passing at all.

I’m actually very concerned about this because I really don’t like to be late for stuff. You could even say that tardiness is one of my hang-ups. I'm afraid the infinite acceleration of my subjective exeperience of time is going to cause all sorts of problems for me at work and elsewhere. For example, I can imagine deciding to lay in bed for a while after my alarm goes off in the morning, then finally getting up to find that I'm a trillion years late for our morning meeting and that the land where my office once stood is now under a billion year old ocean.

That's going to really stink and, frankly, I don't think the boss is going to like it.

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