“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” – Kurt Vonnegut
I AM sitting in a drab grey waiting area. Outdated brown leather chairs adorn the small room with a faded green carpet and in the middle sits a simple wooden coffee table with no personality carrying some random magazines from 1990 something. The central AC rattles and wheezes quietly reflecting my melancholic mood. As I look around I notice peeling paint on the wall and spots on the rug that suspiciously look like blood. The clock on the wall seems to have stopped. I conclude that it must have died of boredom. Oh wait, it’s still alive and It’s 10.05. I daydream for a bit, then lean in to take a sip of my water and hear a muffled conversation coming from inside the doctor’s office and wonder what could be so interesting. I cross my legs and look back at the clock and it’s just 10.06.
I’m sitting on my recliner at home with some popcorn in a bowl next to me, a fully charged joystick, a large screen TV and a warm Xbox ready for action. It’s 4pm and the afternoon sun is still hot but on its way to bed. As I find my friends online we step foot into an alien battleship and begin shooting up any creature that dares to oppose us. We jump from the spaceship to a desert and end up underground facing three impossibly tough beasts that want to drink our blood. As we banter over our wireless mikes and make fun of the monsters I take a second to look around my room. The popcorn is finished, empty bags of chips and soda cans are strewn all around, the curtains are still open but it’s dark outside and the clock angrily glares 1.57am. It felt like just seconds have passed.
Time is a simple concept, but frustratingly difficult to understand or explain. Science shows that time is perceived by certain parts of our brain, and certain drugs can fool us into feeling that it has slowed down or sped up. “Time flies when you’re having fun” they say. Yes, it does! But why, and how? Why does it crawl to an infuriatingly slow pace when you want it to pass so desperately?
History has debated the actual existence of time for a long while, until it was conclusively linked to space by Albert Einstein in his famous theory of relativity. Time is space and space is time; and that model is called the “space-time continuum”. It’s a strange idea but proven correct by science time and again with simple experiments. Our three dimensions of space can’t work without the fourth dimension of time.
Quantum physics (the study of subatomic matter) also demonstrates that particles change behaviour when being observed, which fundamentally means that our perception affects the physical reality around us. Strange spooky stuff, but also proven time and again with simple experiments.
Based on science, we have the power to control time and some would even say that our thoughts affect reality based on positive or negative expectations (vibes) we emanate to matter. I won’t go that far and will stick to science for now. We can all be Gods of our own universe because no matter what our physical surroundings are, we have the freedom and flexibility to govern our minds and that’s something nobody can ever hijack. If we alter our perspective of boredom and fun, and appreciate the moment just for itself, irrespective of our setting then we’ve accomplished something truly great. Just being satisfied and happy to be alive in this strange quirky world we live in. That one, single, solitary, magical moment. Time can stop if you wish it to. Appreciate it, cherish it, and try to hold onto every second. It can last a lifetime, or slip away like sand between your fingers. Others have lost the ability to appreciate life, and us warm blooded specks have a tiny sliver of time to appreciate it before we ourselves fade away like a puff of smoke.