In a recent news article, it is highlighted how people have been feeling a sense of betrayal from time. Time is described as a reliable metronome that sets the rhythm of our lives, but lately, it has become unpredictable and erratic. Many individuals have expressed their perception that time no longer makes sense and is passing by at an accelerated pace. The ongoing pandemic is commonly blamed for this distorted perception of time. However, the article points out that time has always been a tricky concept to grasp, eluding scientists and psychologists for centuries.
Psychologists initially speculated that the loss of temporal landmarks, such as going to the office or the gym, might be contributing to the disoriented sense of time. New words like “Blursday,” “polycrisis,” and “permacrisis” have emerged to describe the multitude of disruptions in society that have thrown time out of sync. Despite advancements in research related to linguistics, neuroscience, and psychology, our understanding of time remains limited. It has been observed that certain experiences, like watching scary movies or engaging in intense activities like skydiving, can make time seem never-ending. Conversely, being immersed in tasks, facing deadlines, or simply aging can make time seem to fly by.
Efforts to identify a single biological mechanism in the brain responsible for keeping time have not been successful. The brain is equipped with numerous internal timekeepers, each operating at different rates and measuring various aspects, such as breath, heartbeat, body movements, information from the senses, predictions, and memories. This intricate complexity makes it challenging for scientists to unlock the secrets of time perception.
The article concludes by acknowledging that philosophers have long considered time as an illusion, and modern physicists tend to agree. However, this perspective does not provide deep insights into the nature of time. Illusions are created by the brain to make sense of the chaotic and confusing information it receives. Without the concept of time, there would be no way to construct narratives or even a universe itself. Therefore, while time may remain a perplexing phenomenon, it remains an essential part of human existence and our understanding of the world around us.