Sunday, October 30, 2005

Relativity and Gatorade

This year marks the 100th year anniversary of Einstein’s "miracle year" of 1905. This was the year in which he published five papers including those that formed the basis of quantum theory and the theory of special relativity.

Today also marks the two-month anniversary of G’s move to Ottawa for the year, my move to my new place, and our starting our respective new jobs.

"How is it," G asked me, "that looking back on the last two months, it seems like I’ve been here forever. Yet the time feels like it has gone by so quickly?"

This is exactly the way I always feel when I have been traveling: I look back and measure the number of new experiences I have had and the new things I have learned, and judging from these memories, I can’t believe that my time could have held all these events.

But then, my time has been so enjoyable that I am also astounded by how quickly time seems to have slipped away.

This leads G and I to form our own theory of relativity, which indeed, echoes some of Einstein’s thoughts:

The measurement of the speed of time is in part dependent on the position and perspective of the observer where:

The perception of the speed of time from the perspective of an observer reminiscing is inversely proportional to the amount of new and interesting experiences had;

Whereas the perception of the speed of time from the perspective of an observer judging the current speed from her point in time is proportional to the amount of fun currently experienced.

Thus, there are two ways to lengthen your life:

One way is to plan on having an excruciatingly boring life. Indeed, this is the approach that the character Dunbar takes in Joseph Heller’s "Catch 22." He spends his time shooting skeet because it is something he hates to do. Therefore, it slows time and makes his life seem longer.

The other way, is to make sure that one’s life is jam packed with new experiences so that when reflecting back, there will be many distinguishing markers of time.

This is the approach that I have resolved to take.

I am beginning to find that my weeks are flying by with one day melting into the next. On Friday, I can’t quite figure out what happened to Wednesday or Tuesday.

Routine is the enemy of time.

Therefore my plan is to break the routine in as many ways as possible. I’m trying to brainstorm some ideas:

-Taking a new walking route to work every morning.
-Buying my coffee from a different café.
-Trying a new hairstyle.
-Speaking with a different accent every day

I’m open to suggestions.

I understand that offices and routine are a logical function of our need for productivity. I just want to make sure that when I look back, I don’t feel that I have efficientized those important life things that are best enjoyed through good, distinguishing, and inefficient time use.

The Little Prince
[ Chapter 23 ]

- the little prince encounters a merchant

"Good morning," said the little prince.

"Good morning," said the merchant.

This was a merchant who sold pills that had been invented to quench thirst. You need only swallow one pill a week, and you would feel no need of anything to drink.

"Why are you selling those?" asked the little prince.

"Because they save a tremendous amount of time," said the merchant. "Computations have been made by experts. With these pills, you save fifty-three minutes in every week."

"And what do I do with those fifty-three minutes?"

"Anything you like..."

"As for me," said the little prince to himself, "if I had fifty-three minutes to spend as I liked, I should walk at my leisure toward a spring of fresh water."


Blogger scott. said...

as for buying coffee at a different cafe each day, i assume you mean a different starbucks.

10:35 PM  
Anonymous G. said...

W.H. Auden says that "you cannot conquer time," but we can die trying! I miss you!

11:22 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I would like to try a new accent everyday.
Alas, they all end up sounding British.
I love the Little Prince.
Good work, mate (That was my Aussie accent...).

10:06 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

A French acquiantance once opined that France had no tradition of children's literature. "What about the Little Prince?" I asked. "Good point," they replied.

Another way to make time pass slowly is to work on an assembly line and look at your watch frequently. This is also a way to quickly want to put a bullet in your brains.

12:38 AM  
Blogger kjh1972 said...

I couldn;t agree more about time flying by - I posted a similar thought on my own blog a few weeks ago. For me what it comes down to is not only trying new things, but also savouring all the great things you have in life, and enjoying every single day. I think The Little Prince had it right. :)

6:43 AM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Indeed, and right now I'm capturing time by savouring my great halloween left-overs each and every day. Kit Kat, Smarties, Aero. It will become more of a challenge once I've depleted my good stuff and I have to eat those pancreatic nightmares - rockets! Those candies are cheap and pretty, but do they really have anything else going for them?

11:31 AM  
Blogger kjh1972 said...

I don't remember what they were called, but I remember when I was a kid that the last of the Halloween candy was always those orange and black ones. And I don't think they ever did get eaten... as for Rockets, I'm not sure I'm familiar, but it sounds like they're not chocolate, so I don't think I would want them.

7:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:39 PM  
Blogger Nadine said...

In Gujarat, India was a dude,
Whose anonymous comments were rude,
Get back to head hunting you slacker,
(Got the tip from my stats tracker)
And stop sending me emails about food.
[Though K's pancakes did sound yummy.. but not as good as Barbie's grilled cheese]

2:08 PM  
Blogger kjh1972 said...

I'd love some information on the Stats Tracker, Nadine. :)

2:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

how about, sleep with a different girl or guy each day??!

10:21 AM  

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