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Published: August 7th 2007
I was going to have just pictures on here this month but decided to paste what I thought was a interesting article alongside my pictures of the recent events of July.
The Following was pulled from the BBC website it makes a interesting read.
Enjoy your summer holiday - while it lasts.
One of the unwritten rules of being a fully fledged member of the taxpaying workforce is that the two weeks you've looked forward to all year will fly past as if it had only been a few days.
Yet when childhood holidays are recalled, they seemed to stretch out into eternity. Sure, they were longer. But it's no secret that with advancing years comes the sense that time is accelerating.
Yet it doesn't have to be like that, says Steve Taylor, who teaches courses on personal development at the University of Manchester. Clock time may be about minutes and hours, but Real Time is down to how we experience it, which differs from person to person depending on what we're doing.
Children are incredibly awake to the world around us, so time passes slowly for them
A child's day from
0900 to 1530 is like a 20-hour day for an adult, he says, and in his book Making Time he explains why.
In developing what he calls the perceptual theory, first put forward by American psychologist William James in the 19th Century, Taylor says time is related to how much "information" someone is taking in from the world around them.
"Children are experiencing everything for the first time, all their experiences are new. They also have an amazingly intense vision of the world, an amazing fresh perception. Children are incredibly awake to the world around us, so time passes slowly for them."
Information - not from books or the internet, but through perceptions of the world - stretches time and as people get older they have fewer new experiences, he says.
"There is less novelty in our life and you become used to the world and more familiar. You take in less information from the world around us and time is less stretched with information."
'In the zone'
A possible explanation is that the brain and its capacity to perceive time are affected by the units of information it is asked to process.
So the eight months Taylor once spent in Germany seemed like eight years, he says, because of the number of new experiences crammed in.
He also gives credence to the proportional theory, which is that as we get older, a year is a smaller part of our life as a whole, so seems to pass quicker.
DOES TIME FLY HAVING FUN?
It does if in a state of absorption, chatting to friends or watching an enjoyable film
But not always. Two weeks exploring the Andes, having new experiences, may seem longer
Source: Steve Taylor
Another factor which makes time relative, he says, is the way we can occasionally shift out of our normal consciousness, such as in an accident, when people often say time slowed down.
This shift to "slow motion" can also be achieved by top sportsmen. George Best and former basketball player Michael Jordan are among those to have remarked on how time seemed to slow down when they were "in the zone".
"I don't think it's a delusion," says Taylor. "Time isn't something real or something absolute, it's something created by our minds.
"Einstein showed in his theory of relativity that
time is related to other factors. So it's not just an illusion, they are actually slowing down time. It's the same in accident situations, we shift out of our normal consciousness."
Tiger Woods reportedly learnt a variation of tai-chi as a child
Mike Hall, a sports consultant and author of In Praise of Slow, has spent nearly 15 years learning how to use the discipline of tai-chi to "slow down" time while playing squash and golf.
"If the brain waves are in synch with the heart rhythms, this is the way the body moves into a state called 'the zone'. It's like playing in slow motion and you have gone beyond linear time."
Perception is brilliantly enhanced to the point where even the yellow dot on the squash ball can be seen during play, he says. Top footballers like Best and Paul Gascoigne had a sporting intelligence that was spontaneous and gave them an ability to see space in a different way, says Mr Hall, but it can also be trained.
If you can control time, it is no longer our enemy
Mr Taylor believes time is elastic, not solid, so
a man on a three-hour plane journey can have a longer "psychological time" than the passenger next to him. And a man who dies at 40 can live a longer life than a man who dies at 80 if he has travelled around the world and had new experiences.
Western culture, unlike some indigenous peoples, presents a linear view of time, with human lives like a river running through the past, present and future, he says.
It may be true that society has become more time-poor, as life has become more hectic, but humans have probably always experienced a speeding up of time as they get older, although this can be controlled.
"Make sure your life is as full of new experiences as possible. If you live a life that's full of routine, then time will always speed up but if you make an effort to travel to new environments and expose yourself to new situations, new challenges, even something simple like a new route to work, new interests, new hobbies, then this degree of newness slows down time."
Similarly, spending an evening in a "state of absorption" reading a book or watching a DVD
will make the time pass quickly, as will a holiday spent on a beach or by a pool. But varying the activities will help stretch out the minutes and hours.
"We try to extend our lives by keeping fit and having a healthy diet, which is fine but it's also possible to lengthen our life by changing our experience of time and having new experiences and spending more time living in the present.
"We often feel threatened or negative towards things we can't control, helpless ... so if you can control time, it is no longer the enemy."
So summer holidays needn't pass so quickly. But you'll need to leave the pool and put the book down in order to stop it.
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