Friday, February 8, 2008

The Temporal Foot

Thoughts after watching Baraka, from my journal last November:

After watching Baraka I continued my thoughts on the perception of time. I have long considered that humans perceive time at a relitivly consistant 'rate'. The idea here is that we evolved to perceive time in relationship to our body. The foot was used as a system of measurment based on the human body, and so the idea of a temporal foot can be used as a system of measurement for time.

Lets do a thought experiment: Lets say your perception of time was 10 times faster. The world would apear in slow motion. You would be constantly waiting for things to happen. Waiting for your arm to move. Or lets say it was 10 times slower. The world would be in time lapse. Everyone would blur around you. You would be constantly trying to keep up. The point here is that we perceive time based on our anatomy, the wiring of our brains, the time it takes for the signal to travel from your brain to the tip of your finger.

Look at a fly. They are irritating because they are so quick. Whenever you try to snatch one up they are gone. This is because their perception of time is so much faster. Of course, they view their own rate as normal, but to them we seem like huge slow monsters who are all too easy to avoid. There are is one reason for their perception of time, their anatomy. Their neural connections in their brain are a thousands of times closer. They can look at our slow approaching hand, predict it's trajectory and avoid it faster than we can even 'see' that they have moved. Their temporal foot is far smaller than ours. In addition to this their brains are a lot simpler, they bypass the troublesome consiousness and rely directly on instinct.

You can change your perception of time. You just need to play a FPS where you can cheat to speed up or slow down the gameplay. Your brain aclimatizes to the change, and when you revert back things are frustratingly fast, or irritatingly slow.

Consider the dream state, one in which we are not tied to the neural network of our body. We can dream hours in the space of minutes ( It would be possible to exist for life-times in a virtual world with a direct brain interface.

My main point here is to outline the differences of perception between systems. A fly, a cat, a human, a house, a city, a world. Each percieve time in relationship to their size, and the movement of their component parts.

next week: Thoughts on Scale

1 comment:

Davey D said...

heh. cool. so what does that indicate about productivity? If I modify my perception of time to pass slower, can I get more done/read faster/cram more into a day?

is this what they meant in Living Out when they said that yoga gives you MORE TIME?

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