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Jul 03, 2019 22:02:03

The basic unit of time is a memory, not a minute

by @jasonleow | 490 words | 340🔥 | 378💌

Jason Leow

Current day streak: 340🔥
Total posts: 378💌
Total words: 181342 (725 pages 📄)

@abrahamKim made a comment about writing inspiration that gave me lots of food for thought:


People are too comfortable with the idea of how much time they possess. A 40 year old might be comfortable with the idea of having 40 more years. But time, just like money, doesn't possess a 1:1 ratio of amount to value.

A day of inspiration -- real inspiration that leads to long-term change not just acts as short term motivation -- is worth years of ad infinitum/nauseam. Basically humans don't have the means of perceiving time. We've been tricked into thinking we do. We are more suited to perceiving memories and stories. And when oen is not inspired.. when one is stuck in ad nauseam... the physical biological processes that bring us closer to death continue... whereas the human story does not.


The perception of time as memories and stories, not as second, minutes and days. What an interesting thought, and how true!  


That explains a lot about how when my days are identical, mundane and routine, time seems to pass by without me realising it, or it feels like months had gone by but it didn't feel any different from when I started. Either too fast or it stopped entirely. Either way, no sense of time passing. But if our time perception is anchored in memories and stories, then we start to feel time's passage more intensely. That's why peak or novel experiences, like the ones I have while traveling, serve as milestones in my year. Or painful events. Isn't that one of the functions of the seasons too? Doing different things, wearing different clothes, eating different foods at different seasons...they all make the passage of time more obvious. Because we remember different things about the year.


A basic unit of time is a memory, not a minute.


I'm sure there's a whole debate to be had regarding the epistemological aspect of time versus the metaphysical/ontological, but I'm less interested in that than the potential pragmatic applications of this intriguing insight. If we perceive time via memories, then what are the implications so that we can live a full, perceived life (instead of losing months and years to mindless busyness and routine)?


Makes me think that I should:

  • Have at least one big, memorable event per year, to mark it in time. Ideally, have a handful, maybe one per quarter.
  • Create seasons where there's no seasons. I live in the tropics, so there's no seasons here to help me with perceiving the passage of time. But I can create my own seasons, in terms of the work I do, the routines I have, the places I go to.
  • Live with applied mindfulness and presence, so that even in the routine and the mundane, we can still appreciate the passage of time.
  • Log events and thoughts down throughout the year, so that it's easier to recall - already doing it here on 200wad!


Time as memories, not minutes.


From Jason Leow's collection:

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    @jasonleow "A basic unit of time is a memory, not a minute."
    I love this line it's so accurate. I've noticed it myself. I remember each year by the big moments that took me out of my usual routine. January to September of last year is one big hazy memory to me. But the following months when I went on a couple of trips are as sharp as ever.

    I've also never thought about the effects seasons can have as I live in the tropics too. The changes throughout the year are more subtle. The idea of creating your own personal seasons seems intriguing. I'd like to explore different mediums for creativity other than code-based projects, maybe that's a way I can delineate seasons.

    This just gives me a lot to think about!

    Keenen Charles avatar Keenen Charles | Jul 03, 2019 20:54:07
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      @keenencharles different mediums for creativity! Nice idea. Gonna steal that too heh heh

      Jason Leow avatar Jason Leow | Jul 04, 2019 21:01:05
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