Under certain situations, time seems to slow. (Since I’m not a physicist, I will refrain from calling this phenomenom “time dilation” as others would. It’s a totally different concept.) David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at Baylor College of Medicine, believes this “time inflation” (as I choose to refer to it) to be the result of increased activity in the amygdala, and that the stretching of time is caused by a more detailed and vivid recollection, during, say, a life-threatening event.
This is a satisfying conclusion: nothing mystical, nothing unexplainable. And yet, something’s lacking. Not that I’ve ever fallen off a cliff or anything, but from stories I’ve heard, and from my own observations of time, I find it hard to believe that its all in the memory.
Last night before going to sleep, I was listening to music–the Grateful Dead, it happened to be. As a song ended, hypnagogia took over, and my mind began to wander. I soon forgot even about the speaker next to my bed, and floated through the patterns and faces before my eyes. Suddenly, after an infinitely long silence a noise startled me. Could it really be just the next song on my iPod?
There were no details to remember here; in fact, I could not even recall what I had been thinking, as often happens in this pre-sleep stage. But the pause between songs had still seemed an eternity. What am I missing? What are we, as the explorers of the human mind, still missing?