Is Time Really Speeding Up?
When I finally figured out (aka remembered) that my tiny old iPod had a clock on it, I frantically looked at the ticking digits to see how much time I had for a shower. Or a few yoga poses. Maybe even a nap.
The time was always ahead of where I thought it was.
This fact didn’t pass me by easily; I was in Belize, with no computer, no iPhone, not even a watch. Three days it took me to recall there was a clock on the only technological instrument I brought with me.
I had brought none of those radiation producers mostly as a way to disconnect. I’m on the computer all the time. Sometimes 10 hours a day. I know it’s not good for my health, but it’s my work.
I needed a break.
So, while everyone else on this press trip whipped out their phones the second we got in wifi range (which was incredibly often in this country that I assumed we’d have little access to), I sat and looked around at my surroundings at the Machacha Hill Lodge: the large green leaves on the trees that seemed to wave hello in my direction. The massive spotted beetle with his own version of tweezers attached the front of his body, wearily trudging by. The mosquitoes that tried to bite through the back of Bob’s shirt as he unknowingly looked off into space.
(The rainforest was different than I thought it would be. I always imagined the jungle to be deep foliage and rain with little horizon and no way out. Then again, maybe we didn’t go deep enough.)
But I expected these moments would lounge, maybe like they did when I was in Zambia, or even when I would walk around London for hours, exploring its inner crossways and streets that decided to change names three times over. Instead, though the balminess of Belize had me breathing a little easier and my brain slowed down to thoughts of Maya ruins and the shift of consciousness in 2012, time still seemed on overdrive. Wherever. I. Went.
Why is this happening? Is time really speeding up?
Well, if you take a little tour around the internet under the search, “time speeding up”, you will inevitably find many sites dedicated to 2012 and few linked to any sort of science – even quantum physics.
The easiest thing I could find to understand that might get some backing from the science-minded set is Suzanne Taylor’s take at TheConversation.org (even then, it includes references to the end of the Maya calendar and is a site about crop circles, so scientific people can go ahead and cringe uncontrollably now):
Imagine a ball rolling across a level surface, the distance it travels each second would be constant, apart from the effect of friction – this is a linear approach that is similar to how we perceive life. However, if the ball were dropped from the top of a tall building, in the first second it would travel thirty-two feet. But the time it would take to travel the next thirty-two feet would be less than half a second as its speed would increase exponentially because of the accelerating force of gravity.
If you were a microbe on this ball, you might therefore conclude that time is speeding up. In this case it is not time that is speeding up, it is the distance traveled that is increasing each second. In a similar way, evolution is also exponential and time is not speeding up, but the number of events occurring in each year is increasing.
Easy enough – the more we do, the more we are connected, the faster time seems to go by. There are very few people I know that haven’t uttered the phrase, “this year is going by so fast!” for well, the last three years or so. Every day, there is more to get done, with technology that keeps adding new networking tools (ahem, Google+) to news that tells us about the latest flood that occurred in the mid-West or earthquake in New Zealand to the latest bombing in Delhi.
But is it just the technological impact, or is there something deeper going on? Again, it’s hard to find “concrete” resources on this subject, one because of its new-age connotations and websites full of flashing aliens and fairies, and second because really, you can’t stick plastic in a compost mound and expect it to decompose. But here’s something at least kinda scientific: Mathematician Tony Smith explains Schumann Resonances, geomagnetic reversals, and human brain states:
Just as a tuning fork has natural frequencies for sound, the planet Earth has natural frequencies, called Schumann resonances, for electromagnetic radiation. The Human Brain also has natural frequencies for electromagnetic radiation. It turns out that the Earth’s Schumann resonances are “in tune” with the Human Brains’s Alpha States and Theta States…the fundamental frequency could be varied due to a number of things: the strength and configuration of Earth’s magnetic field, which has been weakening for the past 2,000 years; the composition and properties of the atmosphere…the solar sunspot cycle; electromagnetic storms from the sun; electromagnetic properties of the Earth, such as “earthquake lights”…thunderstorms…
What does this mean? Well, it could mean several things: another magnetic field reversal (and yes, pole shifts have occurred before), that the Earth’s frequency is changing and our bodies are struggling to keep up, which makes us feel like time is moving faster, that the increase in Schumann resonance while the Earth slows its rotation means eventually meeting at a zero point magnetic field, which means everything will stop for a moment (guess when?) and then start turning in the other direction.
What the Point?
There is plenty to worry about, what with the possibility of asteroids hitting the earth and aliens making us their love-slaves. Oh wait, that was just in several dozen A and B-list Hollywood movies.
I think that what counts right now, for each of us, is that most everything feels out of our control, including time. Our lives seem to be slipping away from us with the bigger to-do lists and the aspirations yet to be fulfilled. Decisions are being made more quickly; loss doesn’t have a chance to settle.
Too much of this impacts our body – our health – more than most of us can comprehend. Until it’s diabetes. Or a heart attack. Or cancer. That internal feeling of must-get-it-all-done-there’s-not-enough-time-in-the-day is an actual internal motion that speeds up our heart beat, increases our insulin, beats the crap out of our adrenals. It robs us of our sleep – the time to cleanse and repair – which takes away our focus while we are awake. So we use extra caffeine to get through the day, and an extra wine to come down for the night. That’s the cycle.
Yes, it felt to me, even in Belize, that time is speeding up, however much some people scream pseudoscience and hell and damnation. If it feels that way to so many people, isn’t it true – even if it’s something we can’t ‘prove’?
So I remember looking at those large green Belizean leaves and the broken body of a beetle just trying to survive. I remember doing this instead of looking at the clicking in of emails on my iPhone. And I think, ‘this time is all the time we have.’