Confusing Time

Most people would think that every second is the same length, and that the length of time can never change, but just your thoughts can change everything.


Brandon Dosen

Though it is a basic reality of existence, the concept of time is much more confusing than at first glance.

Brandon Dosen, Columnist

No matter where you go, time follows. Time seems like a very simple concept, that things will change. The present is moving forward, pushing the past behind. But then again, the complexity is one thought away.

Think about when you were younger when you were eagerly waiting for something to happen. Didn’t time seem to slow down, taking forever to move towards that event? Think about it now. The memory would seem so far in the past now, and that part of your life seems to have rushed by. Why is there this thought process? In the moment, things can seem to pass by slowly, while in hindsight, they went by so fast. Not only that, but why do some tasks seem to go by faster than others?

The answer is your head. One way is how the length of time can change prospectively. Turns out that whether or not you enjoy what you are doing matters. You might know the common phrase “time flies when you’re having fun”, but did you know it’s true? Australian Broadcasting Corporation News wrote that if the task you are doing is something that is unenjoyable, the concept of how long time is taking can dilate. Thus the activities that you do enjoy can seem to move by faster.

Even with this, there’s something else nowadays at play when talking retrospectively. BBC states that the reason is quarantine. With quarantine, there are less defining moments and fewer clear memories. This makes the memories of the quarantine blend more together than before. So when you think about the time, retrospectively, there is less to remember, and thus seems to go by quicker. This enhances the retrospective thought of time going by fast by tenfold.

While that can deeply affect thoughts on retrospective time, it turns out that there is more. According to Harvard University, time could go by faster as you get older due to the complexity of the older mind’s networks and strain on nerves. They argue that the older you get and the larger those networks become, the longer that it takes to process what you are seeing. Not only that, but the nerves that you have can be damaged, which in turn makes it take longer as well. This makes you receive less mental images of the world. More time passes by while receiving the images which can make the world seem to go by faster.

Overall, the simple concept of the time is actually very complex and different for everyone. The mind’s definition of time still isn’t understood completely, but it really is a wonder.