Time can move at an alarming pace sometimes. Minutes slipping by like seconds. Occasionally I won’t get enough sleep and the reverse will happen. Tiny stretches of time seem to go on for an eternity. It takes me back to my childhood and I find it really fascinating. Time is relative in the literal sense but I wonder if that even boils down to the philosophical one? Just how much of our life do we skip? How much do we extend?
Imagine, if you will, you are driving down the road. Your brain is filling in everything with previously gained information. The roads, the rolling mountains on the horizon, the city to your left. Those weird scuffs all over the divider that raise more questions than they answer. Each frame your brain does a quick check to see if it needs to “correct” any of these assumptions. If it happens to notice that it completely fucked up it could do two things.
First it could replace the previous pull with a live feed. That space in your vision becomes accurate to the current moment. Secondly it could erase all erroneous memories from your mind of not seeing that vehicle (or whatever it is). The very thing you use to confirm consistency in the world is the thing that determines what is, and what isn’t, consistent. The best you could do is record your entire life and try to see how much of it matches up with what you remember.
But even then we come back to the major flaw. Your brain could just change your memories to match what you are seeing now. Doing this erases dissonance. Certainly we could add in a second party. I think once you do this that is when you get those conflicting stories of past events. Many a time in my life I’ve told a story, or heard a story, and had someone else in the conversation (that was there) correct it. “No, no, it wasn’t a car, it was a tractor.”
Then the question arises. Is it my brain that is incorrectly parsing the memory to fit what I’d like to be true. Or is it theirs? We could potentially look at video but there are a myriad of outcomes to this situation where everyone walks away just as confused as before.
Have you ever been driving down a long road and then noticed you were far further than you had any right to be? The last thing you saw was a traffic sign for exit 55A and now you are on 45B. What happened to that long stretch of road? You didn’t get in an accident. Nobody honked. The police haven’t pulled you over.
How accurate was your driving during that?
Ever walked somewhere really far? I tend to abuse the problems listed above by merely not paying attention to the path ahead of me and thinking about anything. Numbers, Science, Astronomy, Pokemon. In my old town I walked miles from a car repair shop to the community college. It didn’t feel like miles, though. It began and ended seemingly in an instant. I remember becoming coherent from time to time and thinking “Wow, really cleared a lot of time during that last train of thought.”
I never once considered those traffic lights I walked through. Or the strangers I walked past.
Final thought. You might think you don’t do this. But that’s the fun part. You’d never know if you did.