The Mark Blog

Time Flies

Time is relative, as Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity demonstrates. It gets weird too, as both movement and time fluctuate with gravity, and objects, when moving in space, follow the easiest route in accordance with the “Law of Cosmic Laziness,” (love that!) which has its own effect on time. Fun stuff to read up on if you want to explode your brain.

I’m concerned with a much simpler exploration of time. I’d like to call it Peel’s Theory of Relative Time, but I’m sure 1) I’m only the 6 billionth person to think of this, and 2) it’s probably not a subject worthy of scientific research (i.e., it’s probably just in our heads). Although, you never know, perhaps someone is studying this unlikely research subject, kind of like that Czech guy looking into cat-spread parasites that get into our brains and cause schizophrenia and other really fascinating behavioral changes that ensure the parasites' survival.

The aspect of time I’m interested in is how it speeds up as we age.

When I was a kid, I couldn’t wait to be the next year older. Perhaps that’s because the next age usually conferred benefits. One could go to school when he reached a certain age, or get a game only intended for ages X and up, or watch slightly dirtier movies, PG movies instead of G. One could finally be a teenager and be allowed to stay up past a certain time, get a driver’s license, vote, drink, etc.

Time took forever then. I remember thinking I would never be 10, 16, 18. There were so many long afternoons of utter boredom. You just wanted the school year, or the day or the hour to be over.

I haven’t felt that way in ages. Now it all moves so quickly. And I must say, time kicked into another gear in January when this cycle of the Mark Program started. I swear I just wrote my last Mark Blog entry yesterday. But that was a week ago. It’ll be June before we know it.

I think the basis behind Peel’s Theory of Relative Time (presumptuous eh?) is that time goes faster the more activity we cram into it. When we’re kids, we spend afternoons not doing much. Looking at the clouds maybe. Riding our bikes. But as adults, and as we age and take on more responsibility, we pile on activities and time flies faster and faster.

The same thing happens with absorption in one task. Obviously my favorite absorptive task is writing (playing music does this for me as well). This works just like (theoretically) traveling through outer space at the speed of light. When the traveler returns to Earth, he could look at his watch and find that just a couple minutes have gone by. But on Earth, years went by. Time is different for space travelers, just as time is different for me when I write. I sit down in the morning, and when I look up somehow it’s dark again. Did I eat? Well no, only a couple minutes have passed. Wait, what do you mean nine hours have gone by?

No wonder I’m late to work almost every day.

My flight home from London last Sunday was one of those great absorptive experiences. Best flight ever. I boarded, we took off, I started writing (revising really), and we landed. That must be why Alan Watt told me he loves writing on a plane. It makes it a two-second flight.

Now, if I can just figure out how to slow time down. Oh wait, I know that one. That’s the Theory of Relative Traffic. Depending on the time of day and some other factors of physics, going the same distance can take twenty-three minutes or an hour and twenty-three minutes. God, I love science.