So I think something almost everybody can relate to is the mismatch that we all experience
between objective time and subjective time.
So everybody’s familiar with this notion that “time flies when you’re having fun”
or “a watched pot never boils”.
When you’re tightly engaged in a task, or where you’re doing something that you find
enjoyable, time—we say time seems to fly by.
Which means that your internal clock is probably going a bit slower than an external clock
because you’re surprised that maybe an hour has elapsed in external time, but your internal
clock is telling you “No, maybe only 15 minutes have gone by.”
Now in order to understand that, it’s very important for us to distinguish between two
types of timing.
One we call “Prospective Timing” and one we call “Retrospective Timing”.
So this relates to something called the Vacation Paradox.
So maybe you’re on vacation, you’re in Athens for the first time.
在这天 你体验了一回新的早午餐 享受到新风景和新声音
During the day you’re experiencing a bunch of new events and new sights and sounds, and
as it’s going by—that is prospectively it seems to be flying by.
In retrospect however, maybe the next day or you’re back from vacation looking back
upon that, it seems to be a long day.
So retrospectively it seems that it was an extended period of time.
And this is something that was pointed out as far back as William James in his Principles
of Neuroscience over a hundred years ago.
“回溯时间”的原因是 在回顾时 我们并没有那么多的谈论时间
And the point is that retrospectively we’re not so much telling time but we’re rebuilding
or estimating how much time has elapsed based on the number of experiences we have in memory.
So retrospectively you’re more estimating how much time has elapsed, if there was a
如果有一段时间 充满了新记忆 那么你
period full of new memories then you’re left with the impression that it was a long
period of time retrospectively.
But prospectively as it was taking place you were paying attention to some sort of internal
clock in our brain, which you were looking at or querying, that was telling you that
not much time has elapsed, because you weren’t paying much attention to time.
So on the other hand when you’re very bored or in an anxious state people experience time
as dragging or going slow (again, prospectively).
If you’re very anxious, you’re waiting to hear from somebody who you know is at the
hospital or you just got an important telephone call and you’re waiting for somebody to
call you back, time seems to drag.
It seems to be going slowly.
这时候 在预期时间中 你当然还是专注于时间的
Of course prospectively you’re attending to time.
你非常——你在一个机场 航班晚点 你现在很无聊
You’re very—you’re at the airport, the airplane is delayed, you’re very bored,
you’re waiting for news about whether you’re going to make your trip or not and then you
find out it’s going to be in six hours, now you’re just in sort of this on hold
时间看似延长了 变得很慢 这还是预期时间
mode in which time seems to be dragging, going very slowly, prospectively.
You look back on that, and that’s merely a blip in time.
Because retrospectively there’s not many items in your memory.
There’s nothing particularly exciting about visiting the airport bathroom for the first
time so that doesn’t stick in your memory.
所以 当你在回溯时间中保持这种感觉的话 并不会感觉时间过了很久
So you’re left with this feeling retrospectively that time actually was not very long lasting.
So you have this paradox in which retrospectively time seemed to have not occupied much of your
conscious experience but prospectively you were aware of it dragging.