Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The reality of relativity
This post is dedicated to time. I've always been very fascinated by the "concept" of time... Even more intrigued by Einstein's theory on relativity. If you've been living in your stone cave, Einstein's theory of relativity briefly means that your perception of time could differ according to the situation you are in.
Two quick interesting concepts I wanna get out of the way are two observations, behavioral actions I find psychological and amusingly effective.
1. Fake run: I do this all the time, intentionally, though I used to do it subconsciously before. Whenever the traffic light green man blinks, I would sometimes still cross the road, executing what I would call a "fake run". It's where my body movements look to be running, but the speed of my movement is that of 1.5x walking. Taking into account how impatient most Singaporean drivers are, whenever the traffic light blinks, most of them would horn at pedestrians just about to start crossing the road - I know, we were told not to do so since young. But truth is, have you actually timed how long you would need to cross that particular road? For short roads (perhaps 20-30m long?) at neighboring estates, perhaps 5-7 seconds of brisk walking, and for longer ones, about 10-15 seconds. After factoring the buffer time of +2-4seconds for the traffic lights facing the side of vehicles to change, there's always "bonus" allowance for you to make the cross. Of course, in Singapore please be warned to look both sides at all times before crossing, especially at night when vehicles would just beat traffic lights. I don't want anyone to get hurt after reading my post...
But it's just psychological, when a driver or rider sees you fake running, they would think to themselves, "ok, at least he/she is making the effort". After all in Singapore, as the Chinese sayings goes "ren bi Che da" (literally meaning humans are bigger than humans). Since we're on the topic of vehicles, only in Singapore do we also see an over-dramatization of reactions after a vehicle accident.
It's comical how both drivers would alight their vehicles, snap photos, change contacts, claim from insurance - standard procedure, as if there's an inbuilt SOP on how humans should react to vehicle accidents. Well I guess I can understand, there's no "human touch", the mutual understanding because of the cost of cars in Singapore, especially. They have become more of an deppreciating asset than merely being a materialistic "goods", like a bag, or a piece of clothing. It's through overseas inter-reactions that I've come to realize the missing human touch in how we handle matters here in Singapore.
2. Hunchback creep: Only recently I've seen what looked like the most exaggerated "hunchback creep" I've ever seen, you know how your body and neck arches forwards and downwards a little whenever you're entering a seminar or class that you're late for? It was a sight that was creepily hilarious.
I believe its psychologically, that the latecomer does so hoping to make himself or herself look smaller so that he or she will be less detectable. In times of extreme scrutiny, we tend to physically "ball" ourselves up so that we look less visible. I'm guilty of doing so myself, I don't know why I do it, I mean consciously, only until that recent "weird" sighting.
However, one can't deny that the hunchback creep works, psychologically both for the executor and for the observer. If you were to see a latecomer walk into a classroom or theatrette with a hunchback creep, you would think to yourself that at least that person knows that he/she is late. If however the person simply walks in nonchalantly looking all "normal", that person is simply oblivious and has a heck-care attitude.
So does the gesture compensates for the perception of the loss of time, in this case, it seems so.
But perhaps the most amazing enlightenment on relativity does not come from me running short of one second (2.4km) during my ippt which could have resulted in me obtaining gold, an additional $200 monetary incentive (yup, I've to force it here somewhere in my post because I'm still terribly sore about it, the most expensive second of my life) but because of the birth of my newborn child Dylan.
I've mentally prep-Ed myself for that big day, I've heard and internalized the mental "trauma" cos of the supposed sleepless nights, but when it did finally come, it wasn't just the shagness, but the perception of me living my day more " fully" or to put it in a layman term, my days seemed so much longer. It's not because of the "suffering" as some would have thought it to be (well, sacrifices have to be made, if the husband feels like he's "suffering" then the wife must be undergoing a "tragedy"), it's more because of the lack of sleep, the intermittent waking ups that makes each day longer, that makes time pass slower (not necessarily a bad thing). The biggest irony, even though it passed slowly, it still passed too fast for me. During the first week of the birth of Dylan, I was lucky in a way, in that that week had a public holiday in it. So I didn't have to take an extra day annual leave to spend more time with my son. And yet, time in each day seemed to pass slowly, yet the days passed quickly.
Perhaps there's a weird sense of time balance, a relativity equilibrium that somehow exists in the concept of relativity, the c, the constant which puts all your relativities and my relativity in the same space time quantum realm where science and math coexist to complement as well as to contradict.
I've never actually known relativity that well, not until now, where 2-3hours of intermittent sleep deprivation reaches the crossroads of emotional happiness.