Time, Again

On a couple of occasions before (here and here), I have discussed ideas for why time seems to go so fast when one gets older.

Now, we have another suggestion.  This is a review of Joseph Mazur’s The Clock Mirage: Our Myth of Measured Time. The crux of Mazur’s argument seems to be:

life in general does seem to speed up as you age. But particular moments can slow or even still the flow. The passing of a partner or a parent or, God forbid, a child will put the brakes on time no matter how old you are.

That’s because, Mazur argues, these are — with luck — one-off events and the longer you’ve been around, the fewer one-offs come your way. Your first fall, your first car, your first kiss — these are, as Mazur says, “landmarks” on your life. But the older you get, the rarer such landmarks are. Life becomes more mundane, more samey. The days seem to roll into one another, simply because there’s very little to demarcate them from one another.”

But there also seem to be physical — as opposed to mental — processes at work:

psychologists have shown that the accuracy of second-counting — one little second, two little seconds, etc — decreases with age. Over a three-minute period, younger people can count down the seconds almost perfectly. Older people, on the other hand, can be out by as much as forty seconds — meaning that if they counted seconds for an hour they’d think the task done with around the 47-minute mark. It sounds paradoxical, but it’s that slowing of the older person’s body clock that leads to their faster counting — and their feeling that the rest of the world is speeding up.”

I still prefer my own missing memories analysis, but the whole subject is fascinating. If only I had more time to study it ….


One Response to Time, Again

  1. Ferry seagull says:

    “time seems to speed up” as a phrase in a Google Scholar search pulls up 201 articles.
    The top ranked one is
    Has it really Been that Long? Why Time Seems to Speed up with Age
    In: Timing & Time Perception
    Authors: Isabell Winkler, Katja Fischer, et alia
    Online Publication Date: 06 May 2017
    In: Volume 5: Issue 2


    [ Sci-hub and Library Genesis Articles get around publisher’s paywalls for science articles. See Wikipedia for reference ]

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