Wednesday, August 24, 2005

time and again

I was up here until after 2am last night, and then couldn't sleep when I got back to the place where I'm staying. So then I got caught in a total random timesuck reading Wikipedia entries about paradoxes of time travel (e.g., here and links therein). As if you can find anything like that in the Encyclopedia Britannica. Say whatever you will about Wikipedia--namely, that can be really weird and wildly oversamples those nonrandom things that happen to obsess select nonrandom populations of folks with lot of time on their hands--but any honest criticisms of it have to first acknowledge that it is truly a miraculous and wondrous product of collective activity.

Anyway, on the topic of paradoxes of time, I had dinner a few weeks ago with a friend from graduate school who I hadn't seen or talked to since then. Like most people, I think, I have this week-by-week sensation of time going by really fast: I can't believe it's Wednesday already! I can't believe it's already the end of summer!

Yet, much of my reminiscing with this friend focused on people and events from a period that was chronologically six or seven years ago. And, honestly: it feels more like ten. Or somewhere between ten and forever. Certainly, way longer ago than just being a bit farther back than my first semester in Madison.

Seriously: how is it that each week feels like it goes by really fast, but yet you put enough of those weeks together and then it feels like more weeks have passed than actually have?


eszter said...

I have absolutely no idea, I'm afraid, but I was thinking about this exact same issue just the other day. I just didn't articulate it to myself in quite this clear a manner.;)

Anonymous said...

yeah, I know what you mean. I can't believe I am sitting here once again stuck in the fiasco that is scheduling 17 lab monitors for enough hours to keep them afloat without overwhelming them. Did I hire enough? I'll never know until I get close to the end. Wasn't I just celebrating the end of the spring semester?

lago said...

I'm not sure, but the answers may lie within the growing field of astrosociology.

jlp said...

"Time is crazy, baby."

Anonymous said...

David Lewis has pretty much the classic article on this:

"The Paradoxes of Time Travel" (American Philosophical Quarterly 13 (1976), pp 145-52) . Reprinted in his Philosophical Papers, vol II (Oxford).

- Kieran