Time as We Know It

There has always been some wonder on my part about alternative realities – and this is apolitical. How different is reality between person A and person B, let alone person C? The physical universe may be what it is – or not. The mind, which is a function of the brain, could perceive physical reality to be different from how another mind sees it, so maybe the bounds of perception create the possibility of alternative physical realities. To avoid the issue of how there can be several billion different worlds occupying this space that each of us perceives as our world, let’s stick with the perceived existence within our individual minds.

Let’s take one aspect that can be befuddling. Time.

Based on the way an individual’s mind perceives time, there seems to be a possibility that one person’s minute is another person’s hour – at least perceptually. The “minute you’ll never get back” may be another’s hour they do not get back. That may be an exaggeration for most mixed perceptions – maybe the awareness is a factor of two in that a minute seems like two, for example, versus a factor of sixty.

This might be easier to consider if one looks at some activity. Take attending a NASCAR race. One person might find the, say, three hour event as feeling a lot longer than three hours to them. To a diehard NASCAR fan, the time flies. Take listening to any speech on a topic for which you have little interest – how long is that 20-30 minutes? To the person with extreme interest, they may yearn for more.

There are likely those in the middle in each example that see the time as relative to what they expected, perhaps, or they have some differential views that define the time appropriately for them along a continuum from a flash in time (a “New York minute”) to time they cannot get back that seems like forever.

Age, experience or any number of qualities or facts can influence the concept of time. An easy example if that of a child in an adult setting, such as a speech or sermon or other presentation. To the child, it may be time to go very early; to the avowed student of the topic, they hate to see it end.

Experience or expectation may set different acceptable time limits for responses to events. To one, an expression of sympathy or inquiry of another’s health or something else might be expected earlier than that of another. And the one providing the expression might well have a different opinion of what is the relevant time frame for that. Those differences are based on different impressions of what is acceptable as to time, which could lead to disappointments.

The perception, then, is that time to one person is different than time for another and the truth is that perception is reality to the individual with the perception, especially of something that isn’t physical, but, perhaps, metaphysical.

Time for a breath.

We’re all different in how we see things, which means that time can be a factor in defining a response. To discriminate between people based on your understanding through experience of what is acceptable from one to another sounds reasonable; however, we will encounter those about whom we have no such knowledge. When we do, we may learn more about this time thing from another source. We may then take time to understand and move on. The reality, perhaps, is as Jim Croce sang, “…there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do…”