1 AUG 2022

What is time?

The reality and the preception

Time is one of the biggest mysteries of science but also one of the fundamental aspects of our reality. It’s nature has been discussed for centuries, from Aristotle to Newton to Einstein, we’ve sought answers but only found more questions as we’ve peeled back it’s layers. There is no fixed ‘now’, every point in space has it’s own flow of time. Does time even exist? How much of what we feel is simply our brain attempting to make sense of the world? Join us as we uncover it’s secrets.

The flow of time

Time. Is it something that flows or is it a side effect of some other process?

If you were able to experience the universe at the Planck scale time would have no direction - forward, backwards - it makes no difference. In fact, calculations at this scale don’t even include time. If there is no time at the smallest scale why do we feel it passing?

The artwork for this episode was created using Midjourney.

Music: ‘When is the future’
The intro and outro music in courtesy of VNV Nation. Written and produced by Ronan Harris Published by Schubert Music Publishing Taken from the VNV Nation album ‘Noire’


Entropy is the measure of change from order to chaos. The second law of thermodynamics says it must always increase. This increase is what we see as time.

But there is no one fixed time. Instead every point, every place has it’s own local time effected by gravity and motion.

Further reading

The perception of time

The way we view and feel time is shaped by our culture. Most westerners will feel the future is in front of them but that’s not the case for everyone. Our perception of time varies greatly.

When you sit with a nice girl for two hours you think it’s only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity

Albert Einstein (he probably never said this as it’s not a direct quote!)

The future is behind you

The Aymara speakers of the Andes see the future as entering the back of their heads. The future is unknown, unseen, the past has been seen so is in front.

All languages using spatial metaphors for time and variations show there isn’t an intrinsic ‘direction’ or perception of time formed by the brain. Society and culture shapes our understanding.

Further reading


This transcript is automatically generated so may contain errors.

Welcome to. 

The curiosity of. 

A child. 

It's 840 the Big 40. As well, since we've had an episode as we were at intelligent speech. 

That was awesome. It was quite weird talking live and also to an audience who couldn't really. Uh, see, react or anything so. You did it online. 

We've also had a really cool comment on our war and delivery opposite on YouTube. Haven't we from the Royal Institution. 

Yeah, they said it was the best Astronomy podcast ever. We were thrilled that our guy Michael Faraday even got a mention. Keep up the good work. 

Yes, that's really cool. So really happy about that and inspired by that and we thought, as we've been really history heavy lately, we would do an episode on something more scientific. Yeah, this time it's one of my favourite herbs. I've always loved it. 

No, Daddy not that time. 

But we despise this. It must do the time Hab. 

No, maybe a future episode is it's not that type of time. 

Oh OK, sorry. Well that's all my research out the. 

Window then ah, don't worry, I got you. 

Covered, OK thank you. Uhm, don't forget if you enjoy the episode to leave a review and also listen to the end where we might have a little special announcement for you about a super secret project. So what is time? Is it something that actually exists, or is it some emerging property of some other workings of the universe? How much of what we see as time is governed by our perceptions, but as long as we're being able to think about our place in the universe, we've tried to understand time and the more we've learned, the odder it's become. Time is something that's really difficult to properly understand as we can't go outside time and see what if it's quirks and nuances. It's not something we can look at from the outside, is it? 

Not really. 

O Anton, shall we begin our journey into time? 

Let's do some space travel. 

So what do you think time is? 

Uhm, it it's not a physical object. Probably it's it's like a perception or something and you want to learn more about perception. Go to our perception episode. 

So have you ever had any odd experiences of time? 

My entire life. 

OK. Now I actually had a bit of a funny one when I was researching the other side, so I was reading a book and there was one Tuesday evening where you were with Mummy. So as soon as I got home from work, I started reading and so I was lying on the safer ice and relaxed. And I read for a few hours and. The passage of time, then it seemed really slow and calm and peaceful compared to an evening with you. 

Ah, thanks. 

It was like my evening was pleasantly stretching out into eternity, and the book is good as well. It's called the order of time by Carlo Rovelli and he's a Italian theoretical physicist, and it's really useful for this episode. Now. One of the strangest things about time is there is no universal time. It's actually different everywhere. Now I didn't just mean how we perceive time, I mean the actual passage of time itself in No2 places is that the? And the faster we travel, this slower time goes, doesn't it? 

So there was an experiment carried out. I can't remember when, but basically two atomic clocks were put on two separate planes and one plane flew eastwards around the world, and then the other one westwards, around the world. And the plane that flew eastwards around the world lost 959 NS, and the one that went westwards around the world gained 273 NS. So the people on the plains aged at different rates. 

Yeah, that's amazing. I mean only a tiny amount, but that's odd, isn't it? And how accurate are atomic clocks? 

Well, there's some material in the atoms or something I I don't entirely understand that, but basically they like bounce 9 billion times per second. So you can get an accuracy of A9 billionth of a second. 

That's incredible, I mean. You don't even think that time. Gets that small. 

Yeah, that's nearly as incredible as me. 

Nearly, but not quite. If it's 10 million, maybe. But it actually gets even weirder than that. Now there's a subatomic particle called a neuron, and they are created when cosmic rays, probably in close to the speed of light, hit particles in our atmosphere. And as they're travelling, safe, fast, they can actually penetrate through nearly any material, including several kilometres into the Earth's crust. 

That's pretty far. 

Yeah, but that isn't actually what's amazing about them. Despite travelling so fast, most of them should actually decay and disappear before they hit the earth, but they don't and now they have an average half life of 2.2 microseconds, which means they can travel about 1K. Data, but the atmosphere is much deeper. Than that, so they shouldn't be able to. Reach the Earth's surface. However, as they're going at about 99.5% the speed of light, and as we said, time slows down. The faster you travel 2.2 microseconds to us is about 22 microseconds for them. 

Well, that's so weird. 

Yeah, so if they weren't moving. They would be going quicker than if they are moving from their relative relative position. 

Yeah, that's that's really weird. But yeah, so the faster you travel, slower time is. He said that. Earlier just making sure they bad memory people. This would cost, yeah. 

I did. That's me. It's not just speed that changes time, they gravity does as. Well, so if you're on the top of a mountain, gravities can be a little bit weaker than if you're at sea level. So in the mountains time is going a tiny bit faster. 

So basically it's like a. If we were running, there's a little bit less drag on you, so you could go faster, except it's with time instead. 

Yeah, in a way, yeah, uhm. So if you go on a skiing holiday and your friend goes on the beach holiday, you what age is only a bit more than lady so you can think of gravity. A bit like. Thick treacle or wading into water so the deeper you go, the more it. Slows you down but. 

Words you age a little bit more because you know if you're going skiing holiday, you're going down steep slopes very fast, meaning that you actually age slower. 

Oh, I hadn't thought of that. Yeah, maybe it offsets it. Yeah, I don't know which has the greater effect actually. Good thinking. 

And I am pretty clever talking about clever. Someone is clever in a minute. 

Yeah, yeah. Now these two effects on time are part of what Einstein discovered and described with his theories of special and general relativity. Now day-to-day they're too small for us to really notice, but we do have machines that can actually measure the difference in time over just a few metres in height. Knowing this tiny discrepancy is. It's really important for how GPS works. Big satellites, they lose about 7 microseconds every day, and that doesn't sound like much, but when they're such a vital part of modern navigation, these small errors grow and accumulate and would create problems which have to be. Four, if we ever built spaceships that could take us to distant worlds, relativity would become something that we could experience. 

Yeah, so give them the right circumstances. I could age faster than you and become. 

Older, yeah, I think that really changed the dynamic of. 

The podcast all we need are spaceships that approach near lightspeed or hotels on the shores of a black hole. 

That would be an interesting view. Not sure about the suntan though. 

I might write a story or something about that. 

So we know that time is odd and it's not the same everywhere and we also know that we can experience and feel it differently depending on what we're doing. So why do we divide time neatly into seconds, minutes, and hours when this is neither reality or our perception of time? The uniform segmentation of time is a relatively new phenomenon, only made possible in the last couple of 100 years by accurate clocks, and before this people lived more by the passage of the days and how they changed during the seasons. So in winter, the 12 hours going from dawn to dusk would be shorter than the 12 hours in summer time. As the sun was in the sky for longer. 

In fact, there's actually a a cool structure in Peru where an ancient civilization we don't know much about built a hill and some notches when the sun rose and it would rise in different places throughout the year. So you could tell which debt was to couple of days. Just by where the sun rose, like if it was in between the 5th and 6th, not sure or in the middle of the 7th 1 doesn't thing. 

Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it? And you you have a lot of. Different ancient calendars, which were these monumental structures that shows how trying to measure time has been so important that cultures or civilizations put so much effort into it. Now in the 14th century in Europe people life started to be more regulated by mechanical clocks, ones that evenly split time. So what you would have used to have had is each locality would have had. And there midday Gina, the Sun was going across the sky. You could imagine a ripple of church bells tolling 12:00 o'clock as it struck at each location. But then, the invention of the railway changed this, so faster travel also required the synchronisation and standardisation of time over more distant places because you could get from one side of the country to the other quick enough that you had problems with the synchronisation of time. If you were just using that local midday does that. Make sense, yeah? So with these changes, we slowly began to see time being broken into discrete, fixed and common units. The idea that time was fixed was also popularised by's. Isaac Newton and it's an important part of his equations of motion or his Newtonian physics like his Newtonian mechanics even. 

Get your facts right. Daddy, come on. 

Sorry hey, I'm rusty, right? And his equations using fixed time are perfectly usable for many circumstances, and we can ignore much the weird stuff that goes on. O how do we tell that time's passing? 

If you. Movement I guess like someone could have moved there could have walked forwards, so that's what happens like direction. 


O, if you took a photo though, can you see anything moving? Yeah, in the photo. 

Like, well, you could see something has moved if there were two photos. 

OK, yeah that's giving my next question. So if if you've got two photos taking a few seconds apart though, can you tell which photo was taken first? 

Uh, direction of people moving, yeah. 

Yes, you might be able to infer that from people, but if it was, I may. Trees meeting or something in the wind. You won't be able to tell, would you? Probably not, yeah, but you're right saying movement, so movement and changes how we understand some things happened and times happened. Now Aristotle, he said that time is the measurement of change. It is the counting of change. So for him, that means that if nothing moves, there is no time as there has been no change to measure have for Newton time or something that flowed. And even if there was no change. Time still pass. O, which is correct as time flow was time only change? 

I think time flows a little bit or it's a mixture of the two. 

Shall we see what Zeno of Elea thought in the 400 BCE? I've got two of his paradoxes here. If you were to walk across this room. First you need to walk half its length, then to walk half its length you need. To walk, quarter to quarter and 8th and 8th, you have to do a. 16 thing so you. Would have to get halfway there first, don't you? So if that's the case, can you walk across this room? But if you have to keep dividing the distance, you have to go in half into infinitely smaller lengths. You can't keep dividing it, can you? 

Ah, you wouldn't be out. I can't for I forward to you. 

Yeah, because you always have to get half the distance of what you're trying to get to. 

I I can't even escape the Curiosity lab now. 

My sorry, you're trapped. 

Oh dear, oh wow. 

So for Zeno, all movement was an illusion. 

That's weird. 

Huh, so let's do another one where instead of sliding distance, we're going to split time. So this is the arrow paradox and you know said for motion to occur. An object has to change position, so if. You take this by, please. 

Yeah, OK. 

OK, thank you and I want you to flight an arrow at the target on the wall with that picture of our archnemesis arm, please. 

OK. Di Peppa Pig. 

Poor Peppa Pig OK. Now imagine a single instance where that arrow is caught in a moment of time and join its journey towards Peppa Pig. OK, in that single instant, is it moving? 

Like if it's being paused in midair. 

Yeah, like a fight is being taken of it. 

It is amazing, isn't that? 

But it's a single movement. 

A single moment that's been. 

So it's not moving, is it? 

Maybe it's moving like a very very very tiny amount, and if you keep. That doesn't work. 

Yeah, so if it's not moving, how can it reach its target? 

Perfect eggs, not dead. 

My Peppa Pig lives on. 

We're not having bacon. 

Ah, I love bacon. So can we really divide time and space into infinitely small sizes? 

But it wouldn't work if we did suffered life wouldn't work, so. I don't know. 

So do you think we can't divide it? Then it's a fly. 

Probably not, we can divide it to a certain point unless there is just Internet. 

Yes, it's not a thing that could be broken down is. What you're saying seems. 

Just to a certain point. 

These episodes make you think. 

Yeah, I don't like thinking. 

OK, well we can't divide it infinitely. There is a smallest size. 

OK, good. 

So well, that means that we have these problems with things getting stuck in 1899. German physicist Max Planck. He proposed the Planck units and they are the smallest possible units of time and space. 

Oh, I think we should call him Min Plank get it. 

That's a good Jake. That one, I mean, he never writes these shakes. It's brilliant. So how small do you think they are? I mean, have a guess at how long the Planck length is. 

Uhm, very smooth. 

Correct, it is a millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a billionth of a millimetre. 


And knowing that. How long do you think the smallest unit of plank timers? 

A millionth of a billionth of a billionth of a. 

It is a millionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second. 

You've actually got that wrong. It's 100th millionth of a trillionth of the trillionth of the trillionth of a. 

Second, oh thank you. Yes, it's such a big number. I can't read it. Obviously, we've got no way of observing such tiny dimensions, and at this scale the laws of physics based standard and quantum start to break down. But if we've got this smallest unit of space and time, aren't we stuck in zenaide paradoxes? I mean, how do we move from one instant to the next? 

I don't know. I don't like thinking. 

And this is actually where things start to get odd, and you thought they're odd already, didn't you? So what's the world made-up of? Atoms, so the world it's made-up of laser tiny little things isn't it's granular. And if you look at the. Microphone in front of you. Is that just solid atoms or what's there? 

It is. 

Yeah, but there's more space between the atoms than there's atoms. Isn't there the gaps, the bigger. Yet for you it looks submit. 

I can't really see at an atomic level unfortunately. 

You got exactly, that's that's the whole point is how you see that matter? Is there something solid and that's similar to how we are seeing time? If you think of time as granular, we are still seeing it as something different to that. Now the Planck units. They are important for the theory of quantum gravity. Which is one of the leading theories for explaining time. We can represent Planck time with a pack of cards. Now I took this from Carlo Rovelli's book The Order of time. Now, if you were to. Grab the shuffled pack, please. 

OK, I've got a pack of cards 'cause I really like magic. 

You do now. You can look at their faces. Yeah, turn them over. Shuffle them again. Just a quick shuffle is fine. 


And don't look at them after you've. Done that. Though that's enough. Thank you, OK. Now, can you read this number, please? Say 68 digit long number and that is the number of different possible combinations that you can shuffle cards into. 


Just from 52 cards, so you look at the face again now please. 

That's a magic trick in itself. 

It is. 


Yeah, so this is close to the number of atoms in the visible universe, which is safe if you look at them. Can you tell the difference now? Can you work out what's changed in the shuffling? Not really, because there's so many. Different combinations aren't there, so if you take any two packets of cards, you can't really. See the. Difference and if you take a photo before and after shuffling, you'd have no way of knowing which photo was taken first with you. 

Not really. 

As there is so many different possible orders and down at the Planck scale, this is exactly how the word is. If you perform any calculations or experiments, it doesn't actually matter which direction time it's going. It could be forwards or backwards. It's no different, it's all the same. In fact, there is no flow of time at that scale. It does not exist. There is change, but the direction of that change is. Irrelevant, so why do we feel time moving? 

I'm not sure that's so weird, so if I were to shrink down to that scale somehow. What, what, how a time wouldn't move or something. 

That's beyond me. I don't know exactly, but let's do another experiment. OK, so you need a second packet of. Cards please, and you can look at the faces of these and just tell me what's different please. 

These ones are on order. OK. 

O shuffle them a few times, but then don't look at the faces. After OK OK. So the cards they began ordered, but as you shuffled them, you increase the entropy and actually disorder and chaos in the system. OK, so if you look at the faces now, can you kind of see what's different and what's changed? Is it easier? 

Yeah, much easier 'cause I know they're not in. 

Order now exactly so you you knew the original state and now you know the news. And it's believed that at the beginning of the universe, everything was more ordered than it is now is in a special state. So about the smallest sizes, this doesn't really make much difference, but the scale that we can see the world and that we interact with it will perceive it. This change, this entropy. It all adds up and that allows us to see a direction in the change. 

So there is a direction to time then. 

Yes, and that's governed by the 2nd of thermodynamics, which states that entropy always increases. And this. It's believed as one. The leading theories is how we feel time. It also means that time doesn't exist as an actual thing. It's just a side effect of another process, but that doesn't stop it. Feeling real does it. 

I've got one question. It's not entirely related, but are they like light atoms? So the acids that create up? Yeah OK, yeah. So we were watching a good programme on this with Brian Cox and. 

Play Thomas. 

And he was explaining entropy with sand and grains of sand, and he described how. If at the beginning there was like more structure, so he made a sandcastle at the sign Greens and there was more structure. But if he changed anything in that, the uhm, it would look very different and the structure of it would be ruined. But if you just made a pile of sand, it's much more likely that the, uh, more grains of sand will replace other ones as well, and. But you don't see as much change in it compared to. 

Yeah, you don't see the different. Yeah yeah, it's going from structure to disorder or order to disorder. 

Be structured. So the castle has low entropy and the. A pile of sand has very high entropy. 

That's right, yeah. 

We will fill the time passing our emotions, what we are doing. And our culture. Change how we feel and think about time. If you are doing a boring task, time feels slower. If you're doing something you enjoy, it goes faster. And as Einstein said. When you're sitting with a nice girl for two hours, you think it's only a minute, but when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it's two hours? That's relativity. 

And here's what. I don't know if he actually really said that it's not a direct quote. Some cultures might stay with that nice girl longer than others depending on how they use time. So in American Northern Europe we see time as governed more by the clock, so we might arrange a meeting from 10:50 and we give that hour of time and being prompt is really important for us. The transaction of time. Is important, but in some other societies, maybe in Italy or Spain or Latin America. It's not the fixed times that important, it's spending the right time that is. So people they might turn up late, but they may also stay longer, which they gotta make sure that they give the right amount of time. And it's quite a broad generalisation, but it represents have different people, different views of time. 

The Navajo see time even more differently. For them time is circular. If you miss an event it is OK and you'll have another opportunity later. For them, life isn't organised by clocks and hours is by completing tasks. If you're late, you don't need to apologise, but looking at your watch and leaving early now that's offensive. 

I think that's probably how most people used to see the time before we have mechanical clocks or mechanised time. 

I'd like to go back in time and experience that 'cause it's very different. 

Do you know why times sometimes feels faster or slower is that? Is it all to do with pretty girls? 

If we do something we enjoy, time can feel faster, but when we remember these events, the boring days feel fast and the interesting days feel longer. The opposite of what we felt at the time. 

OK, that's interesting. So why is that? 

One idea is the amount of energy your brain used to process what we are doing. If we do something fun or new, we concentrate more and use more energy and this leaves a bigger impression. That might be why time seems to go fast. Still when we age, there are less new experiences we need to process. 

That's very true. Times definitely quicker for me than when I was your age, some holidays, WZW, now, they stay gone forever. It also shows that memory is a really vital cog in how we perceive time. Because to see change we have to know. The previous state. So, have you ever felt time slow down? Maybe drawing a near death experience playing apex legends? 

Not sponsored by the way. Yeah, it's it's like more time. It feels like there's more time to process what's happening as well. Is that obviously you're processing more like I just said? 

Now there's a brilliant experiment by neuroscientist David Eagleman, and now as a boy, he fell off his roof. 

With a name like Egelman. Already thought he could fly, yeah? 

And now as he fell, he felt time slowing down for him and he became really interested in time from that moment. And years later, he devised an experiment to test it, and all you need to do is throw someone off the reef and we are going to recreate it. 

Before that I remember we went to a talk with Anthony Horowitz. A good author. And he was talking about how he got. He used to get his kids to do the stunts like jumping off roofs and stuff. Which is funny anyway. Lastly, the stunt. 

Oh yeah, yes, yeah. Yeah, so OK, let's go up to the reef, OK, and I'm gonna. 

Throw you off, is that right? OK, it's quite a high roof 'cause we have a. A big lab. 

Actually, there's one problem. Is we need some giant flashing numbers which you can look at as you're falling, and unfortunately I couldn't source any. So are you OK not doing the expert? 

Oh yeah, that's fine by. 

Me, OK, right? I'll just explain it then zero to perform it as someone is throwing off a large height and he actually did this with his students. David Eagleman. They're asked to look at the flashing numbers then, and they're changing their counting up really quickly, so if time slows down, the person should be able to see more numbers as they flash. And to quote egelman. He said. I can measure the speed of time at which you're seeing the world. So I could figure out if people were actually seeing in slow motion like NEO in the matrix, or whether it's just a trick or their memory retrospectively. But what you discovered is that we don't see in slow motion like flies do. Instead we just create more memories, and this is probably because we're desperately searching for some escape from death. 

So it's like. Imagine we're constantly taking photos when we're going. About to die. We'll take lots more photos trenice and then scan the photos quickly to see if there's anything late to help us, for example. 

Uhm yeah, we we don't actually see any slower though. It's just something that happens later in our memory. 

Oh, OK. So if you think about the past, where actually is it? Does it have a direction? 

For me the past would be behind me and so I'm going forwards into time. 

And the future. 

I'm going forwards into time. 

The future. 

I'm going forwards into times. 

Sorry, we just had a weird time warp then. 

Yeah, yeah well. 

Not sure what that was. But not everyone sees time this way. In the Emara language of the Andes, for the past people say. NYRA patch are perfectly pronounced combining their words for the front or I and with time. For the future, they say keeper Mawana. Combining their words for behind and a year. 

For them, their future is behind them then. 

They have seen the past with their own eyes so they can confidently talk about it, but they have not seen the future. For them, it flows into the back of their head. 

So I found that really interesting. Their Mara speakers show that there's actually. This visualisation is a cultural thing. It's not something intrinsic about our. 

A 2016 study in Italy asked people to step forward when they heard tomorrow and step backwards for yesterday when it matched how they saw time, they found it easy. But when the researchers asked them to step backwards for the future and forward for the past, they were significantly slower and more error prone. That's weird, it's just bending our perception. 

Interesting, yeah. 

That shows that direction and space is really important for our idea. Of time. And our written language has a big. Effect as well. So when asked to place three images of a banana. So unpeeled, half peeled and half eaten into chronological order, writings or Latin scripts place them left to right. In Hebrew they went right to left, and then Chinese top to bottom, so they all echoed how the language is written. 

And if you look at a play button, it points to the right as well. 

It does. Are there any other ways that people? 

See time, yes, in the Yup no valley of Papa New Guinea, a man called Donda was asked to explain the difference between yesterday and tomorrow. He gestured that the future is uphill and the past is downhill. 

See, I reckon it might be because if you imagine when the sun is rising or setting the first thing, it's going to hits the peaks of the mountains and you're going to see the sunlight travel down them. So I think that could be how they see the passage of time. 

So that could be similar to the pompier or community and Australia. They view that the past in the east and the future in the West. Maybe they follow the sun moving through the sky. 

So spatial metaphors they are used in every language they matter our culture, level of development or environmental factors. We all use them. We see time as a direction as something around us as a distance as a journey and all of this makes perfect sense because we have 3 dimensions of space and we also have a fourth dimension of time. They are linked. Doctor Tiva Kylie, an anthropologist from the Brigham Young University in Hawaii, said. Sometimes people are always wondering why the Polynesians all say late to. Things why they just. Relax, take time doing stuff why they never meet schedules and things like that. It's because schedules and all of these issues are very Western way of thinking about time and space, where deadlines are important and the relationships between people come secondary. So if you're having a conversation with a friend that's going on for like 3 or 4 hours, that's more important than trying to end it because you've got to meet some sort of schedule. 

That's a nice way to think. About it, isn't it? 

So if you want to travel somewhere using a map, how do you pitch yourself moving? Do you see yourself like moving on a static landscape? 

Yeah, I would move to that place. 

Yeah, OK. With the Polynesians when they cross the great distances of the Asian, they see themselves as remaining still and the landscape moves around them. It's kind of odd, isn't it? And that might be because they're covering these vast distances of water. The seas always moving, so you could imagine that. That's the reason why they see the sea moving and themselves staying in the same place. And they're also amazing navigators, and they've got an amazing sense of time and space and they can read all the patterns and movements of the oceans. And do you know this special technique that some of them use? 

They win the water. And something about that I don't know. 

And they use their testicles. 

Oh yeah, sensitive, sensitive. 

Exactly so they can actually feel the really subtle but powerful ocean currents are there shaped and pushed between the islands, and so generate patterns of vibrations. And like some, the higher trained navigators they can actually feel. Not exactly to do with time, but I had to get this factor. 

No, castrating would be the end of the world for them. 

Yeah, that was a cultural thing. They wouldn't be able to populate all those small islands throughout the Pacific. 

You can even trick your brain into seeing their future. 

Yeah, so here's another amazing experiment by David Eagleman and this is an extract from an article he wrote for. Edge before you were born, and. Long time ago it has been shown that the brain constantly re calibrates its expectations about arrival times and does say by starting with a single simple assumption. If it sends out a motor act such as a clap of the hands, all the feedback should be assumed to be simultaneous and any delays should be adjusted until simultaneously perceived. In other words, the best way to predict the expected relative timing of incoming signals is to interact with the world each time you kick or touch or knock something your brain makes. The assumption that the sight, sound and touch are simultaneous. While this is a normally adaptive mechanism, we have discovered a strange consequence of it. Imagine that every time you press a key, you cause a brief flash of light. Now imagine we sneakily inject a tiny delay, say 200 milliseconds, between the keypress and the subsequent flash. You may not even be aware of. The small extra. Delay, however, if we suddenly remove the delay, you'll now believe that the flash occurred before your keypress. An illusionary reversal of action and sensation. Your brain tells you this of course, because it has adjusted to the timing of the delay. 

That's weird. 

Yeah, so our brains are inventing the world for us. So like you mentioned our perception that we said earlier or the experiments we did, we are creating this all the time from our sensors. But sometimes our brains aren't just tricked memory, as we said, is such an important part of how we experience time. So what happens when something goes wrong? And this is a terrifying account from the man who mistook his wife for the hat by Oliver Sacks. Now, one of his patients, Jimmy. He was a man in his 50s and he was a bright guy, intelligent, full of life and when asked to recount his life, he started with his childhood and he was talking in the past tense. Then he moved on to his Navy days when he's in his 20s and at that moment his tents changed from past to present. 0 sacks asked him what year it was. And Jimmy replied. 1945 we've won the war. And when asked his age, why? I guess I'm 19 duck. I'll be 20 next birthday. Jimmy was stuck in time. He couldn't form new memories. He can actually feel time passing, so he was handed a mirror and he guessed Jesus Christ. He whispered that ripping his chair Christ, what's going on, what's happening to me? Is this a nightmare? Am I crazy? Is this a joke? It's even his. Own light self-image himself had had broken down. He said he didn't have time anymore because he couldn't make memories and sax felt awful and he really regretted handing over the mirror and the only saving grace was that Jimmy would see him forget about the event as his memory lasted only a few minutes. Scary, isn't it? 

Yeah, it's weird. 

And then Zacks, he wrote in the book, Uhm. He is isolated in a single moment of being with a mote of forgetting all around him. He is a man without a past or future. Stuck in a constantly changing, meaningless moment. 

That's weird, it's like. Maybe something from? Could a memory be so strong that you're just stuck in it? I guess not, but. 

All sorts of strange things can happen with. Your brain flay. 

And maybe something during World War Two. Happened and affected his brain. 

I think you'd relive those a memory in your dreams and things, but I don't think you could be stocking it because, but you'll be having all the constant stimuli and input through your senses. But for him, he couldn't make new memories. 

That's weird. 

Time is something we're inside of something created by our culture, our society by what is expected of us. It's created by our memories and by our brains. We've divided it, measured it, attempted to control it for our own convenience and understanding. But time is also something outside our bodies. It's multi layered and multifaceted impossible for us to fully perceive and appreciate. There's no universal agreed upon idea of what time is, and that's amazing. Time is one of the most fundamental and important aspects of our reality, and it's also one of our biggest mysteries. Today we may struggle to comprehend that one second for you is different to one second for me, or that your feet age slower than your head. But fix time. Is a modern idea. Just like the passage of time varies due to speed and gravity seiders our perception of it. If he took a caveman to the moon, he'd be more surprised by the low gravity than that time was running faster for him. He knows that time isn't fixed. He feels that every single day. Maybe if we live too much by the clock we lose something. What's most important spending a fixed time or spending the right time? 

That's a good outro. I'm very good at those still. 

I feel so much pressure writing these. Uhm, yeah, so that's time. I mean a tough one for you there with the thinking on your feet. 

Yeah, like I said, I didn't like thinking, but I actually understood that all right in the end, which is good, and that's that's changed. Lots of different ideas and sorts of things really, maybe well. Maybe we should stop fighting. So much. Dates and things and loot. Just make time a little bit looser. 

Yeah, live a bit freer. I mean it's really important for some things, but to make you should let it control your life. Anyway, that's time for you and we said we had a little announcement and I've been asked many times with the podcast being called the Curiosity of a child. What are we going to do when you grow up Anton? Then you're no longer that child. And as we've been learning about time here. I've got a great idea what I want to do is send you to the edge of a black hole where gravity is really high and time goes slower. And that way you will be able to stay as a child longer and we'll be able to keep recording. 

That's a good idea. 

Yeah, and we're here to keep the show going, so I'm wondering if we should actually do a Kickstarter where we try and font building a spaceship. Through the medium of T-shirts and mugs, maybe to send you there. 

Huh, that's a really good idea. Actually, I I'm I'm up for that only I. Hopefully our listeners will be too I'd. I'd really like that, so don't for me guys live with me. 

Yeah, and for science. 

I've also had a genius idea, but I cannot tell it on their podcast. So top secret you have to back the Kickstarter to find out. 

Oh, OK. OK, hold that thought. If you enjoyed the show, please review us where people could. But how can people do? 

That you need to learn to talk Daddy or pro podcaster and he can't do anything anyway. 

I'm still going. And I. 

Uh, they can do it. On Twitter. 

Right there reviewing Apple podcasts. Yeah pachislo yeah. 

They're referring, I need that I need to learn how to do a podcast. I anyway. Apple podcasts, uh? Uh, podracer. 

I'm chasa Anywhere you get your podcasts ready, please raise and even review and tell something about the sheriff. You enjoy it because we want more people to enjoy how much we enjoy learning and discovery and where can you find us. We're on social media. Aren't we, Yep? 

Twitter at. 

Curage R pod. 

Instagram at. 

QHR pod. Facebook your childhood as well. Just set trust there and visit our website which is. 

The tourist overcharge.com 

That's right, yeah, and we've got a shop on there as well, which you can visit. 

Yep, shop dot the curious child. 

Dot com that's right and you can find show notes on there and links to everything we have spoken about today. And we also need to say a massive thank you to Ronan Harris. 

Hang on a minute. We haven't finished my bit. I've got a gaming channel as well, which is the curiosity of gaming. 

That's right, yes. So search that new tree. Well, say I must say thank you to Ronan Harris from VNV Nation, who allowed us to play his music on here. And it's a song called when is the future? 

One is the feature. 

I had written and produced by Raymond Harris and it's published by Schubert Music Publishing as taken from the VNV Nation album noir. And we'll have links is on our website to say thank you very much. 

And I will see you in the past. 

Yes, see you yesterday. Goodbye and thank you. 

And when is the future? 80658175170943878571660636856403766975 28950544088327782400000 0000000