It’s About Time

No, this post is not about me thinking that something should be done or that something has finally occurred.  This post is about “time” – and it will likely be my weirdest post ever.

It occurred to me while watching a Hockey game on TV that time passes differently to different people at the same time, and that it is possible that what people perceive is reality – that people are thus aging in terms of the passage of time at different rates simultaneously.

I realize that to instruments that measure time each individual unit of time (second, minute, hour etc.) is identical.  But I am positing that to man they are not.

Let’s consider a hypothetical Hockey game.  Assume three men sitting in three consecutive seats in the arena.  The first man – an avid fan of the home team.  The next man – a scout for another team.  And the third man – an avid fan of the visiting team.

With one minute and 58 seconds left in the game and the home team ahead by one goal, a two minute minor penalty is called on a player of the home team.  That means that for the remainder of the game the visiting team will have at least a man advantage – and when it gains possession in their offensive zone will pull the goalie and create a two man advantage.  The visiting team thus has a great opportunity to tie the game and send it into overtime.

For the purpose of this discussion I’m going to assume that despite major time spent in their offensive zone and several outstanding scoring chances, the visitors are unsuccessful and the home team prevails.

For the first man, the home team fan, the final minute, 58 seconds seemed like it would never end.  The seconds on the scoreboard time clock counted down in a maddeningly snail-like pace.

For the scout this final phase of the game was indistinguishable from any other period in the game.  He was dispassionate and indifferent to the outcome.  His job was to observe and report on how the two teams set up their offenses and defenses in various situations, the skill levels of the players and the substitution patterns utilized by the coaches.

For the visiting team’s fan, however, the final minute 58 seconds went by on the scoreboard at a pace that hardly seemed possible.

Three men, sitting side by side, experience the same passage of time differently.  I’m suggesting that the time perceived by each man is real – and that for all of us, really, our minds expand and contract time in response to our personal interest and concern in the passage of time  based upon the perceived import of an expected event.

Hey, I told you up front that this was going to be a weird post!

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1 Comment

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One response to “It’s About Time

  1. Dave

    Maybe this is related, and maybe not. When the human body is about to go thru extreme stress ( or say and accident) Everybody describes the event as “going into slow motion” I too can relate with examples. I think the mind manipulated the passage of time as needed to give you ” Time ” to react. Seems like a powerful miracle of life to me- but very possible.

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