googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Why does time live when you die? asks BBC's Claudia Hammond


Saturday, November 10, 2012

Why does time live when you die? asks BBC's Claudia Hammond

Claudia Hammond: Take yourself out of Time

Writer and BBC broadcaster Claudia Hammond has written a new book about time, entitled Time Warped: Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception.

It it she speculates about our understanding of – and frustration with – the passage of time:

It is a fear of death, Ms. Hammond suggests, that underpins our time fixation. “We’re obsessed with time, and how fast time passes, because we know it’s finite,” she says. “We know that none of these minutes can be repeated, so we try not to waste them. But you can’t live every day as if it were your last. If you did, you’d go slightly mad.”...

“We also know that time will carry on without us, when we’re gone,” Ms. Hammond adds, “and that’s a hard concept to comprehend. It should end when we end.” And while we effectively own all of Time Past, “all of the centuries and civilizations before us, we can never know or own the future.”

But if the passage of time gnaws at me, shouldn’t I – in theory – feel good when time “slows down,” such as when I stand in line waiting, impatiently, for a bank teller?

“That’s what’s fascinating,” she says. “We only want certain bits of time to be long.” It depends on the situation: “When you’re stuck at a railway station waiting for an overdue train, that’s really annoying.”

Her answer to those annoying moments when time seems to slow down is both sensible and wise - take yourself out of time:

One strategy to combat those teeth-clenching moments of blood-pressure elevation at the bank or train station is to bring a good book or to meditate, Ms. Hammond suggests – if you can. “It’s hard, because you have to ignore everyone else around you and they continue to be annoyed. But you can effectively take yourself ‘out’ of time by taking a good book or being mindful.”

Take yourself out of time.

I like that.

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