Saturday, March 20, 2010

Time: An Essay on the Human Perception of Time

There I was busking on the sidewalk in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan when a nattily dressed elderly gentleman provided some applause and conversation. He initiated our chit chat by commenting on my twelve-string and my banjitar (both of which I typically pack along) and then offered these magniloquent words:

Nature is cruel. The older you get the faster times flies. At my age the years behind me are a blur. In fact, everything I do, once it's done, is a blur. And I don't do much.

Time. Each of us possesses powerful capabilities when it comes to time. Travelling through time, we have the curious capacity to conjure up childhood bullies, adolescent idols and sweethearts; and contrarily, we can conjure up post-occupational stressors, imaginary companions, and infirm destinations.

Expanding and condensing time, too, is easily within our realm of competence. We can slow time down attempting to make things last, or speed it up attempting to make things disappear.

Have you ever slept in on a work day? And on that same day you have had car problems? And you decided to take the transit? And while waiting at the stop you constantly looked at your wristwatch? And you had to be somewhere and you were running late and the minutes ticked ever so slowly? This is time expansion.

Or have you ever wondered where the time went? You've met this person with whom you're infatuated. The two of you go for an evening dinner and chat and chat and chat and chat and voila! -- the evening is fini! This is time condensation.

Time for some concrete facts. Time expansion and time condensation are key to hypnotherapy. And since the skinny of all hypnotherapy is really self-suggestion, then it is we, actually, who have the powers to control our notions of time. For example (and surprisingly) if you want to slow down the clock, rather than laze away all day and be boring, do lots of stuff. Doing lots can make every weekend seem like a long weekend. Go somewhere different from your usual Friday night haunts. Rise early Saturday and adventure somewhere new for a morning java. Do some window shopping in the afternoon. Invite company for Saturday night. Sunday morning take a walk in a park. Make your way to the library Sunday afternoon. Sunday evening read a book or partake a movie.

Whenever I reminisce the course of a typical busking day, the more hectic it is (e.g., the more times I'm forced to change locations) the richer my day -- no pun intended. On the other hand, staying in just one location, time becomes a drag, unless of course, lots of coins are being tossed my way. In other words, to enrich your existence and make the most of your days, just keep doing lots of stuff.

Doing so should enhance your life ...


  1. Congratulations on a great blog and a great opening rant! Time must expand and condense as Neil says. We must live in the present but because we are human beings, we can expand the present, when it is appropriate to do so, to include the past and the future, but I hope from the perspective of not losing the best of the past and of working on ways to make the future better. Congrats, again!

  2. Time and popular culture: Rolling Stones- Time is on my side; Macbeth- down to the last syllable of recorded time; 'you've got the money, I've got the time;' 'Had we but world enough and time,' and so on.

  3. Very true. All people watchers can also be very predictable. The only thing we cannot predict is when people change and why??

  4. I once new a man, my dad who in my perspective was well learned and wise. On his 84th birthday I asked him a question about being that old; just incase I make it that far. I said;" dad, what does it feel like to be 84 years old?"

    His reply was very quick, " you know son, I still feel like I am 16 in my mind but my body just cannot keep up anymore; your mind never gets old"

    I feel he was very accurate, inthat of my own life I still feel I am 16, even sometimes act like it, but time takes its toll on the rest.

    Time, ??? your right, where does it go, really?


  5. I just discovered your blog.I am a busker in Nanaimo and a gigging musician. I love to busk and I am learning to blog. i wil come back to your site again as i think your comments are refreshing!