I’ve become intrigued by our perception of time. Currently, it seems to me that sequential order is an artifact of observation contingent on the observer, which is to a large extent similar amongst humans due to the similar brain architecture. Beyond the observer everything is already ‘there’ all at once, but for us to observe it, we streamline these things into the narrow tube of our perception, thus creating the impression that there is a sequence, that one ‘marble’ passes the tube before the other. When we sleep, we shut down many of our perceptive devices, and indeed our experience of time while sleeping is radically different than while awake. I’m starting to think that our state during sleep is closer to the state of things apart from the imposed perceptual constraints of the observer. Furthermore, time perception depends on memory; holding on briefly to the memory of an event that is ‘followed’ by another. Although we sleep for hours, its always hard to remember most of what we experienced during sleep. Perhaps this lack of memory is related to the lack of time perception similar to what we experience while awake.
This new interest overlaps biology, psychology, physics and philosophy. I think I’d like to consider this for my postdoctoral research.
It’s interesting that I’m typing this while attending a course on stem cells. Its not boredom with the lectures that make me think about this, but rather the recurrent frustrations biologists have understanding Nature and trying to utilize it for their purposes.
Keywords: time perception, capgras delusion, time disorder