Time and perception = Time Travel

The subjectivity of time fascinates me. It’s kind of like time travel and you know how I feel about time travel (I love it).

A good example of how mind boggling this concept is, think about the bus. Let’s say, 2 people take the bus at the same time and get off at the same time. The trip lasts 35 minutes. Person 1 is a bus-reader, like me, and sits down to read a good book. Person 2 suffers from motion sickness and doesn’t own a music player.

Person 1 fought dragons or whatever they’re into reading, while Person 2 fought with nausea. They both experienced things but Person 1 would say that they’ve experience more while Person 2 would say they didn’t experience anything.

As for time, Person 1 barely noticed the trip. Maybe they even got frustrated that it didn’t last a few pages extra. Person 2 noticed every excruciating moment.

If we were going to do this in pseudo-scientific math stuff:

Person 1: Time Noticed < Real Time < Experience

Person 2: Experience < Real Time < Time Noticed

Isn’t that cool?

How a character experiences time is extremely important and is rarely exploited by authors. The reason is simple, playing with character subjectivity, is difficult. Not to mention the fact that the human mind will try to compensate while reading.

Does anyone have examples of an author doing this well?

One Response to Time and perception = Time Travel

  1. Jen says:

    I agree with your analysis. I am person 2, although I don’t often experience nausea, thank goodness!

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