Sunday, March 25, 2012

"Monotony Collapses Time. Novelty Unfolds It"

Psychologists have done experiments which show that packing more events into your life stretches out your experience of time (see this podcast).

In one experiment a psychologist locked himself up for two months in complete isolation. When he was pulled out he had only one month of entries in his journal.

In effect he had lost a month. Time as he experienced it halved.

Collecting as many memories as possible is not too bad a goal. One day does not become indistinguishable from the next; years don't have rhetorical postscripts about where they went.

I wonder how much time is expanded by taking vacations; living in new places and doing new things? Is there a limit to expansion?

Learning how to retell memories well and remembering to jot them down may be good habits also. Then again I am not a fan of sentimentality. Maximising 'future memory' is the way to go.

Sunday, March 18, 2012


While doing my best to fight Irish stereotypes - i.e. not drinking on St. Patrick's day - I listened to this incredible documentary (I still have the MP3 if anyone wants to listen) about the suffregette movement in the UK (and Ireland) one hundred years ago.

Women fighting for the vote and their civil rights; bombs planted in cabinet ministers houses; torture of suffragettes in prisons by the authorities - all relayed by nice old women on recordings made in the 70s.

I had no idea how gritty and tough the fight for women's suffrage was!

Interestingly, after the vote was won by women the point was made in the documentary that there was still a lot inequality left to tackle.

The same point was made at the end of Ken Burns' documentary on the civil war - changing the law is easier (a four year war which killed hundreds of thousands) than changing people's mindsets.