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Daily Inspiration — How to Lengthen your (subjective) Life

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Josh Mitteldorf       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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From the Book of Life:

Five minutes can feel like an hour; ten hours can feel like five minutes. Our subjective experience of time bears precious little relation to the way we like to measure it on a clock. When we think about a long life, shouldn't we be imagining a life that feels full and rich, not 120 years of repetitive stupor, one day just like the next?

The difference in pace is not mysterious: it has to do with novelty. The more our days are filled with new, unpredictable and challenging experiences, the longer they will feel.

One solution: We must go to Machu Picchu or Angkor Wat, Astana or Montevideo, we need to find a way to swim with dolphins or order a thirteen course meal at a world-famous restaurant in downtown Lima. That will finally slow down the cruel gallop of time.

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But this is to labour under an unfair, expensive and ultimately impractical notion of novelty. We have barely scratched the surface of the lives we live already. We have grown bored of a world we haven't begun to study properly. And that, among other things, is why time is racing by.

The pioneers at making life feel longer in the way that counts are not dieticians, but artists. At its best, art is a tool that reminds us of how little we have fathomed and noticed. It re-introduces us to ordinary things and reopens our eyes to a latent beauty and interest in precisely those areas we had ceased to bother with.

Here is Albrecht Durer, looking -- as only children usually do -- very closely at a clod of earth:

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Albrecht Durer (1494-1528)
(Image by Albrecht Durer)
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We don't need to add years; we need to densify the time we have left by ensuring that every day is lived consciously -- and we can do this via a manoeuvre as simple as it is momentous: by starting to notice all that we have as yet only seen.

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Josh Mitteldorf, a senior editor at OpEdNews, blogs on aging at http://JoshMitteldorf.ScienceBlog.com. Read how to stay young at http://AgingAdvice.org.
Educated to be an astrophysicist, he has branched out from there to mathematical (more...)
 

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