Does Time Really Fly When You’re Having Fun? A Bit of Relativity in Your Daily LifeMarch 30th, 2007
by Richard Cox
Let’s talk about relativity.
For every observer, things seem slightly different. From a physics point of view, you do not occupy the same location in space as anyone else, and you might be moving at different velocities, and so on.
This is why using astrology for anything other than entertainment seems silly to me. Constellations don’t physically exist. A group of stars that from the Earth seem to form the shape of a bull could in reality be millions of light years apart and share no relationship with each other whatsoever. They only form the shape of a bull from where we’re looking.
If I were the citizen of a third world nation, it probably wouldn’t piss me off when someone insisted on driving slow in the left lane of the freeway. There might not be a freeway. And in any case I wouldn’t be in a hurry to get to the golf course.
I’ve written blogs in the past about people who refuse to leave a one-stall buffer when they join you in the bathroom. If I were homeless, I probably wouldn’t worry about something so insignificant.
But something that seems insignificant to me could be important to you. Something that hurts you might not faze me.
Experience is relative.
My grandparents endured the Great Depression and for most of their lives didn’t have a lot of money. I remember my grandmother would rush me off the phone when we were talking long distance…even after rates had dropped to seven cents a minute. She couldn’t get her mind around the idea that a long distance phone call could be cheap.
I don’t even think in terms of distance when I make a phone call. If it’s overseas I have to buy a calling card, sure, but the cost to me seems negligible. Six cents a minute to the UK? Whatevs.
Recently I’ve had some bigger things in my life to think about, and the minutiae that I sometimes obsess over sort of disappeared from my radar.
Comfort affords you the luxury to worry about things which in reality are pretty insignificant. And yet who can judge the significance of anything when it concerns someone else?
You look at a famous actress, an NFL star quarterback, a person born into money. You might wonder, What do these people have to worry about? They seem to have everything they could ever want.
But whatever they perceive their problems to be, to them they are difficult. The most intense emotional pain you’ve ever felt in your life is all you know. How can you compare it to someone else’s?
You can’t. Not really.
But we often think we can. We make judgments about each other, we assume we know how someone else feels, what they are thinking.
Right now I’m 37,000 feet above the earth, cruising along at a ground speed of 550 mph or so.
Did you know that time for me is passing at a different rate than it is for you? Really, it is. This is an outcome of the relationship between space and time.
Imagine you’re on a road trip. There are two primary directional types you can travel: north-south or east-west. If you’re traveling northeast, it means you are going a little bit north and a little bit east. The more north you go, the less east you can go.
Time and space are like that. When you move through space, you take away from your movement through time. So the faster you travel, the slower time passes for you.
It’s useful to remember that observations are relative.
We all see things just a little bit differently.
And would we have it any other way?