Sunday, 13 September 2009

growing old....

As a child we experience new things every day.

We go to school and usually everyday the teacher has something new for us to learn, new facts and new concepts or new ways of looking at things to perhaps bring a new perspective on what we have already learnt.

Think of the progressing difficulty levels of mathematics or the increasing complexity of the words we are taught as we progress through the grades in primary school as an example.

Learning new things and new concepts keeps the brain intrigued and open to learning more and more, so each day as we get older, especially as we grow from a child into an adult, the brain is gradually, over the months and years, exposed to smaller and smaller quantities of 'new' information. Meaning that as a child the school day is filled with more new concepts and more variety. Eg Math English Science Sport all in the one day but as an adult we can spend hours, days, months, years and even decades dedicated to one specific line of research and learning or we might persist with the same routine day in and day out.

According to research on the brain when a new concept is learned new neural 'pathways' are established in the brain. When more concepts are learnt in a day, there would appear to be 'more' variety in that day. When you learn a lot of new concepts, lots of new pathways are established.

It makes sense that the brain would associate the time when it created these pathways with a specific period of your life so as time passes it seems to the brain that there was 'more' in your youth as compared to recent years because more of these pathways were created when you were younger so it seems that your youth took longer than your adult life has.

As we get older into our twenties and thirties and sometimes even while we are still becoming adults we notice that the years seem to be getting shorter and shorter.

As we age, we become increasingly committed to family, friends and work, we become exposed by definition to less and less variety, this is sometimes referred to as "settling down" (LOL!).

Think of your career path. If you were doing the same job for years, the days would tend to blend into each other but on the other hand, imagine if that somehow on each day, or week or month it meant you had a completely different job to do, might that year not seem longer? Even a year when you went on a big holiday is likely to be a longer year in your memory because of that vast departure from your normal routine by taking that holiday.

so it would make sense that if the brain thinks that the years are going by faster because each year you are doing less and less new things... well that's my theory .... when you get really old, does that mean that the years just fly by?

so if you knew everything, would the years fly by in nanoseconds? does that explain god? did god become so smart he thought himself out of existence?

mostly written 11th March, 2007, mostly...

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