A Subjective Theory Of Time

3 min readSep 26, 2022
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Throughout history, human beings have attempted to measure time with a wide array of mechanical instruments and devices such as the sundial, hourglass, swing of a pendulum and the unwinding of a spring. Yet, there is an element of subjectivity in any measuring tool: “time is an apparent ‘duration,’ quantitatively measured by mechanical and other artificial means in arbitrary units relative to and chosen by the observer and dependent on his place in the Cosmos, as well as on his nature, his capacities, and the available tools and other means of study and the construction materials of the measuring apparatus”. Until the last century it was thought that these devices, whether mechanical or other, once properly calibrated, work independently of their observers and makers and indicate “absolute time”. It was assumed that any such device would indicate the same (arbitrarily chosen) unit of time to have elapsed in all circumstances and irrespective of the state or situation of the place in which the device is used. It is now known, as demonstrated by Albert Einstein, that this is not true and that the time, as recorded by every type of artificial device imaginable, varies relative to the observer and the differences in speed of relative motion between two time measuring artefacts. The faster an observer moves with respect to another observer, the slower this observer’s own “time” appears to flow, as compared with the “time” of the observer situated on the selected “stationary” object, such as Earth for instance. According to Gurdjieff, time flows in proportion to our psychological state and the quality of our past associations. The inner subjective experience of time may bear little or no relationship to so-called external or objective time. Our experience of the flow of time is subjective, depending on the situation, our mood, our expectations, and so forth. In certain types of experiences, such as accidents and critical life or death events, time seems to elongate and slow down. This so-called time elongation can also occur in certain “timeless” experiences of rapture, wonder, and other higher states of consciousness. But in other situations, such as boredom, time seems to drag on endlessly. Gurdjieff also noted that the sense of time is different for different human functions. In the moving/instinctive center we sense time sequentially as one thing after another. In the emotional center we experience time…


A physics student passionate about everything. Photographer and cryptoartist at https://opensea.io/Vertrose22. Author of "The Red Ant" https://amzn.eu/d/aJ5VitR