Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The alternative to clean living

The other day I was listening to somebody on the radio explaining why time seems to slow down when we are scared.

Apparently, in a frightening situation, our brains start recording memories at a higher speed, so that we can recall all the details. When we play the memory back at normal speed, things seem to be happening much more slowly. It sounded a bit like a film played in slow motion.

What's more, the same principle explains why, in our childhood memories, summer seems to last for ever. As children, so many experiences are novel that we record them in great detail. As we get older, much is familiar, and our memories record less detail. So time seems to pass more quickly.

The logic seems to be that as we get older, we should seek out new and exciting experiences, so that our memory will record them in detail, and time will not rush by as fast.

In a nutshell: novelty and excitement won't help us to live longer, but it will seem longer.

I've heard that said about clean living: it doesn't make you live longer - it just seems longer. Somehow, novelty and excitement sounds like it could be more fun than clean living.

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