The other day I was on my home from work with my dad. We were sitting in the car, and I was very tired. I wanted to sleep forever and I thought of a line from a Gomez
song "There's not enough hours in our day". Then I started discussing with my father about what it would be like if our little planet rotated somewhat more slowly, and the day was longer. I suggested that perhaps we would have evolved completely differently. Then I thought about it some more. I realised that this wasn't the case at all. We would have evolved in exactly the same way except we would have defined the 'hour' as a relatively different quantity. This is because I was assuming that time, as a linear concept, passes at a fixed rate. We would have evolved in the same manner, I think, because it is our brains that perceive the passing of time, and not any universal constant.
Our brains process the frames (so to speak) at a steady pace. At a given pace. Perhaps through lack of processing power or otherwise, but it is not an external process. Of course the world changes as time passes, but this isn't as a result of time. The past, present and future of the physical world are a continuous chain of changes, which could be followed, like the curve of a line in 2Dimensions. Time does not alter the world, it simply allows us to perceive the changes.
Up to this the idea of Space-Time hadn't made sense to me, I accepted the idea that time is another dimension, but I hadn't understood it (I think I knew I couldn't understand it). Now it was making (some) sense. Ignoring the three physical dimensions, I imagined time as a washing-line with an infinite number of pictures draped on it, a film reel with a never-ending series of frames of reality. Obviously this dimension co-inhabits the same space as the three we know and love so well, and like the others it is possible to deal with it on it's own (linearly). So here I was experiencing reality as a series of changes. Obviously I don't know all the changes, just some of the ones inside my sphere of perception. And 'Time' as we know it is marked on regular intervals on this washing-line, but in-between each pair of markings, there are an infinite number of pictures.
To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a Heaven in a wild flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour.
William Blake - Auguries of Innocence
This could explain how sometimes, the passing of time does not feel constant. How sometimes when we are in certain moods things take longer to happen. Or how, when enraptured for an age in the steam rising from your soup, only a second passes. Time is relative, not just for each person, but also in comparison between people. This is how, someone young can have experienced a lot more than an unwise ancient. This is why when you are young time is slower. Then, when you looked, you took in everything around you, as fresh and new, instead of taking a multitude for granted. If you can stop and remember that Time will wait for you. If you think fast, time can almost stand still. If you can milk each moment for all it's worth, then you are living, and you perhaps you might see Heaven in a wild flower.
I am not suggesting that no-one has said this before, hence the Blake quote. And I don't presume that what I've just ineloquently mumbled is necessarily true. But this is something that I have thought through quite recently, on my own, and it makes sense to me. This write-up was more an attempt to express an abstract thought I had.