Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Children Have The Patience Of God

You know how it feels like time goes faster the older we get? Here's why:

The time it takes to do everyday things (brushing your teeth, eating a meal, going to the bathroom) is not measured in minutes but instead as a fraction of the total time you've been alive.

Why? Because minutes and hours represent an arbitrary measurement of the time we all collectively experience. It's an illusion we've all agreed to believe. Standardized units used to facilitate human interaction, completely unrelated to how we experience time.

The only way a human being can truly experience (feel? distinguish?) a length of time is as a fraction of the total amount one has experienced a conciousness of time in the first place. Conciousness of time starts at birth.

Therefore, what we refer to as a half-hour meal is (feels) five times as long for a 4 year old as it does for a 20 year old. And feels twenty times longer for a 4 year old than for her 80 year old grandpa.

Reality is relative: you can only tell how long something feels as a relationship to the age of someone else. It takes two to tango.

Upshot: imagine how long a movie is for an infant. Next time you get pissy at the theatre hearing a baby cry, remember that the movie is 400 hours long for that kid. No excuse, we all have to learn patience, but maybe now we'll put down the hard candy projectiles and angry sidelong glares when mom carries the snoozing kid up the isle once the movie's over.

And old people: it's not that your stories are boring, but for your grandchildren, they last (quite literally) a small lifetime.


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