A post about the passage of time? July 16, 2019 11:42 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to find a post that I am 99% certain was made on the blue within the last 5 years. It linked to an interactive site that was trying to communicate how as we get older we perceive time passing faster because we have more context / memories compared with when we were younger.

Specifically, the interactive part of the demo this post linked to was such that you would click your mouse (many times, for year 0 of your life), but progressively the clicks to make a year pass became less and less until years were passing in just 1 click. My search-fu is week, I've read through hundreds of posts in my search results to no avail. Hope me?
posted by allkindsoftime to MetaFilter-Related at 11:42 AM (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

Is this the post?
posted by noneuclidean at 12:10 PM on July 16, 2019 [1 favorite]

Yes. Thank you! Now please publicly shame me with how simple your search terms were.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:22 PM on July 16, 2019 [5 favorites]

Or, alternately, behold the eponystericnessitiness...
posted by mochapickle at 4:32 PM on July 16, 2019 [10 favorites]

I'd totally forgotten about that thread and the comment I wrote in it. I'm impressed with myself for what I feel is the insightfulness and correctness of my analysis, but I'm very disappointed in myself by how poorly and confusingly I explained it. My comment is a mess. Those two things cancel each other out, I suppose, though it did get a few favorites.

I might also note that I didn't respond to the request for citations. Um, I have in fact done some reading over the years on research into memory, but none of it that I recall specifically addressed this particular issue. My hypothesis is consistent with what I have read, but is a sort of original elaboration of a pre-existing idea, that the linked piece includes. I do still think the proportionality theory only happens to be correct as a second-order effect and asserting it's the core relationship is false. The underlying factor is memory density -- new memories / time -- which is driven by novelty as an intrinsic component of memory formation.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:21 PM on July 18, 2019 [1 favorite]

My pet theory is that the perception that times moves faster as people get older has nothing to do with aging, per se, but with being alienated from the act of production.

As children, everyone has a simple relationship to what they make. If they paint a picture, at the end they have the picture and can ask their parents to put it on the fridge. If they make a grilled cheese sandwich, they then sit down and eat that grilled cheese sandwich. This goes for almost everything a child does. They do something, and something results from it. The passage of time is marked by producing something. But, in modern society, as people age they start doing more and more abstract things.

Eventually, they graduate into the workforce, where most jobs entail being part of a big organization or just one node in a supply chain. If you make something, it’s generally just a small part of a bigger whole, which you don’t understand completely. If you’re selling something, it’s usually something that you didn’t make and wouldn’t know how to make anyway.

Furthermore, the work tends to be very repetitive. You go to the same place, or a very similar place, five days a week for eight hours a day, traveling always the same commute to get there. On top of that, most of your energy goes into the job, so when you’re home or elsewhere after work, you’re tired.

Spending most of your life doing work you don’t fully grasp, in the same kind of environment, without ever seeing anything come of it that you could call your own production, nothing to mark the passage of time.

You aren’t merely alienated from the act of production, you’re alienated from time itself.
posted by Kattullus at 5:38 AM on July 19, 2019 [4 favorites]

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