Eli5: Why does our brain sense time to be faster, or slower, than reality?


Eli5: Why does our brain sense time to be faster, or slower, than reality?

In: 4

You’re making a fundamentally incorrect assumption about “reality”, by assuming there is an objective external “time” that perfectly corresponds to an objective external “reality”. These things are far from being a given. The best we can do is define time as perceived and subjective. This is somewhat proven by Relativity, which states that time is subjective to the perceiver.

It is generally thought today that our perception of time is tied to the length of our lives, such that we conceptualise time based on proportioning up how long we have “experienced”. For my three year old, a year is a third of her entire life, and probably just less than a half of her entire life where she has had any degree of actual thought and true sentient experience. For me, one year is a mere 36th of my life. As a ratio, a year is a much, muncher bigger stretch of time for my daughter than for me, because I have direct memory and experience, give or take, or 35 other periods of the same length.

It is a fundamental misconception in western materialism to assume an objective external reality. It may or may not be so, but we have no reason to assume it as the default position, especially where things like time, experience, and perception are involved.

If you’re interested, you may like to read about the philosophies or phenomenology; solipsism; scientific irrealism (anti-realism), and even something like Buddhism for a comprehensive philosophy of experience not bound to an external reality.