Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Juneathon 2011 Day 14:The perception of time

2011 Streak Day 165/365: Cycle - 15.05 miles, Time - 1hr 3min, Weather - Blue sky, white clouds, warm
The focus of this view is not obvious as it is only a tiny detail in the distance - the tower of St Albans Cathedral. The reason I like it is that all you can see is field and trees: no habitation, no buildings, or signs of modern life. It is a view that could have been the same centuries ago. It is very easy to transport yourself back to when the Abbey was the dominant building and institution of the area with a number of footpaths radiating, linking the various parishes, with monks walking to and fro.
Yesterday I posted a Victorian view - the railway track (without trains) would have looked the same as it ever did. Today I go further back.
Time was on my mind today, not only historical time but the way its perception changes within us as we get older. It is a truism to say that it passes quicker as we get older, if for no other reason than any particular unit is a smaller percentage of the time we have lived. For example one year would represent 20% of the life of a five year old - a huge slice, whereas for me …
I was sitting having a coffee, outside, today when a mother and child passed. "We haven't done it for absolutely ages" said the young girl "It was only last week" replied the mother. Later they returned, with the girl eating something from the bakery. I guess that is what they had been talking about.  However in terms of their perception of time they were probably both right.
But now comes the bit that is going to depress everybody:
I read about some research carried out in the University of Cincinnati in the 1970s that found if you are 20 you are already half way through your life in terms of subjective experience, even if you live to 80. If you are 40 your life is 71 percent over.
Wow! I will leave that thought hanging whilst I go off to gather up the few remain percentage points of subjective experience I have available to me.

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