Does new information slow down your life?

by on August 20, 2012 at 6:38 am in Philosophy | Permalink

From William Reville, here is a speculation:

Finally, here is a “guaranteed” way to lengthen your life. Childhood holidays seem to last forever, but as you grow older time seems to accelerate. “Time” is related to how much information you are taking in – information stretches time. A child’s day from 9am to 3.30pm is like a 20-hour day for an adult. Children experience many new things every day and time passes slowly, but as people get older they have fewer new experiences and time is less stretched by information. So, you can “lengthen” your life by minimising routine and making sure your life is full of new active experiences – travel to new places, take on new interests, and spend more time living in the preset.

Most of the short article considers why “the return journey” often seems to run by much faster.

dearieme August 20, 2012 at 7:38 am

“spend more time living in the preset”: some typos are just brilliant.

TJIC August 20, 2012 at 9:15 am

The time spent reading this article full of conventional wisdom sped by.

> “spend more time living in the preset”: some typos are just brilliant.

Indeed!

Edward Burke August 20, 2012 at 9:31 am

Or simply enjoy a staycation (I hate neologisms, too, unless I happen to coin them) with your favorite flavor of lysergic acid diethylamide, which powerfully confers a distinct sense that time has slowed to the pace of refrigerated molasses being poured. Plenteous hours could no doubt be spent and enjoyed watching some refrigerated molasses drip . . . (the molasses even boasts colors you never even suspected!) . . . and drip . . . (oooh, look at those little bubbles in there!) . . . and drip . . . (I know! Let’s make some electric pancakes!) . . . and drip . . . (THIS would be the American approach [with eternal gratitude to Dr. Hoffman]) . . . and drip . . . .

zbicyclist August 20, 2012 at 4:43 pm

Forget the LSD, but go on a local staycation: become a tourist in your own town and visit all those things you haven’t visited because you live there and they are always available.

doctorpat August 20, 2012 at 10:44 pm

Even easier, get sentenced to prison.

The days will seem to just creep by. Effectively giving you ten to fifty times the subjective lifespan.

jmo August 20, 2012 at 10:00 am

Interesting, I always thought it had to do with % of life.

When you’re 8, it seems like eons pass between the time school starts in September till it ends in June. But, that was because when you’re 8 a year is 12.5% of your life. When you’re 40 a year is only 2.5% of your life. That’s why time seems to pass 5x faster at 40 than at 8.

chuck martel August 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

information stretches time

Really? Prove it.

Bernardo August 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

If you had read the article cited, you would have been able to read the experiment they ran. Of course its just easier to write “Prove it”…

RR August 20, 2012 at 10:52 am

Guess a present-day Einstein would have come up instead with a 5 dimensional Space-Time-Information continuum.

Willitts August 20, 2012 at 11:24 am

I just lost three minutes of my life, or an hour of my kids’ lives.

FE August 20, 2012 at 11:31 am

Or you could spend more time doing things you hate, as in Catch-22. “Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it.” I do think there may be something to the information idea, because babies get exhausted after just a few hours of processing inputs from their senses.

Ed August 20, 2012 at 11:49 am

” A child’s day from 9am to 3.30pm is like a 20-hour day for an adult.”

Particularly if the child is an infant going through the colic stage.

Anon August 20, 2012 at 12:07 pm

+1

Stuart Buck August 20, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I was about to leave a comment, but jmo already made exactly the same point.

Chuck Ross August 20, 2012 at 1:19 pm

IIRC, Alvin Toffler wrote about this concept in “Future Shock”.

john personna August 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Ride a mountain bike up a 10% grade and each moment will feel pretty long. Ride the same grade 10 times and your memory of it blurs. I kind of disagree that the information view dictates whether you should ride, and enjoy/suffer it, again. (From my skim the article doesn’t deal with “fun, happy, satisfied” interrelations)

Millian August 20, 2012 at 2:11 pm

That is why you should not skim short articles.

john personna August 20, 2012 at 3:09 pm

Re-reading I see nothing that ties to life satisfaction.

dirk August 20, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Haven’t the Pick Up Artists been making this claim for a while? When you meet a girl you should try to bounce to her to a number of different bars the same night, creating the illusion by the end of the night you’ve spent more time together than you have.

dirk August 20, 2012 at 2:19 pm

And now Roissy gets to claim “Another Game concept confirmed by science!”

Ak Mike August 20, 2012 at 8:54 pm

“Dunbar loved shooting skeet because he hated every minute of it and the time passed so slowly. He had figured out that a single hour on the skeet-shooting range with people like Havermeyer and Appleby could be worth as much as eleven-times-seventeen years.”

AQ August 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

As if Tyler Cowen’s habit of incessant information processing needed any more encouragement.

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