Time Doesn't Go By Fast, Our Memory Does

in memory •  last year

As we grow older times seems to fly by faster and faster. Truth is, as far as physics are concerned, time is a pretty stable. What seems to mess up our perception about the world is the peculiar way our memory works.

Our brains are not that amazing as we like them to be. The information that we use on a daily basis is nothing more than a random aggregate of different stimuli — and most of that essential information is either discarded or manipulated from our imagination.

The simple reason why times seems to run faster and faster we grow older is because our lives start operating on repetitive patterns. For efficiency, our brains repeat much of our actions and functions through elaborate shortcuts in order to retain a shallow set of information. What ends up being retained is determined from emotional stimuli that etch data into long-term memory. This is why traumatic experiences are so hard to forget. Whether they are positive or negative, they carry a certain mnemonic weight due to their emotional impact.

A recent paper published in Neuron revealed that our memory compressed information much like a computer. For those not familiar with the term compression works by mapping specific patterns. For example, if we have the numbers "1,4,2,1,3,4,4" in a data set, then numbers 1 and 4 could be compressed and represented differently (e.g by the letters x and y) because they are repeated data in our set.

Our brains works much the same. As we experience our daily lives, more and more information are the same so the brain does the best it can to group the same data under the same compression. Thing is, our brain, when unable to perform meaningful compression, it starts creating data of its own by mixing it up with the actual information. Dreams are one source where actual information gets mingled with real information, forever corrupting them into different sets of data. Memories can also be implanted and manipulated at will from different sources other than ourselves. The longer we delve into the past the more likely the events did not take place due to sheer entropy of data corruption.

In a sense we do comprehend that "something is off" as we grow older. In an effort to compress the same data as we grow older, our mammalian brain resorted to summing up corrupted data repetitions. Our brain does not care about the meaning we attribute into our lives because all it cares about it survival. All mornings do end up pretty much the same. Sex experiences are summed up into on generic thing after a while. Encounters with friends, walks at the part, traveling. The way our brains summarize information also helped us to communicate with each other more efficiently. We can talk about mornings or math and we all have a general idea about the concept even if our data sets are compressed differently.

One would ask what happens with decompression. It seems that our brains are not as good as the decompression software that we use. Everything gets compressed but our brain is unable to decompress all of the information due to its sheer volume. The process is too slow and humans need to have past information on the go.

Our inventions reflect our own physiological shortcomings

Once again the brain resorted to basic evolutionary mechanisms that evolved along with it. The basic blueprints that we get from this compression are extremely generic but also essential to our survival. This is why most people find "love","family", "friends","patriotism" the most rewarding of all experiences. They are data sets that are over-generalized but also wildly shared. They are also emotionally charged information which means they stick around the strongest in our long-term memory. This is how we can create a meaningful narrative about our past in 1 minute by by-passing 99.9% of the actual information. At the end of the day, we end up longing for meaning by chasing information that has been long corrupted from time. Our compressed memories degrade by over copying onto themselves and as a result time travels faster and faster.

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Thanks. For your good writing and for sharing.
All are perceptions of For your good writing and for sharing. All are perceptions of gratitude.
Thanks @kyriacos.
Please Vote me and follow me

Great post, thank you very much. I guess that's why we feel so much younger while travelling, it's just so much "new" and "different as usual" information all the time! We are more mindful while travelling. What's going to happen when we come home again 🤔...?! Hopefully Decompressing of a lot of gooooood things 👍🏼!


Meditation is even better than travelling. It brings your mind to a whole new level. After practicing meditation for about 15 years I can at times look psychic. After years of meditation looking at the world is like a specialist doctor looking at a scan report. You just pickup so many information and process them to a point where you can almost know a person by looking at him/her for 15 seconds. This isn't limited to people. It's the same with projects, events etc.

My constant improvements have led me to think of the so called psychic abilities as an evolution/enhancement of "Normal" human capabilities. Dogs can hear and smell beyond the human capacity and Eagles have much better vision. ESP should be along the same lines; they are mentally enhanced humans.


Wow, that Sounds amazing! Thanks for your comment! We are still practicing and practicing, hope we will ever get that experienced 😊, but we are very fascinated and keen to learn more! Anything you can recommend for practising on your own? Greetings


I'm a Buddhist from a Theravada background who also found great resonance and connection with Zen Buddhism. Meditation is a deep topic and I still consider myself a noob. I only recognize how ahead the curve I am when I look back into my past and into other people's lives.

If I have to give one killer tip, that would be Anapanasati. Here is a book which I haven't read (I learnt meditation over 15 years gradually): http://www.buddhanet.net/pdf_file/anapanasati.pdf

Anapanasati is known as the meditation that all Buddhas practice to achieve their Buddhahood. The meditation in the simplest sense is the awareness of inhaling and exhaling taken to the ultimate extreme. Remember me telling you that I'm a noob? That's because if you think; you are not doing this meditation right. It's pure awareness settled on a single act that keeps your body alive. And most importantly that's all there is to Anapanasati. Getting to that point is all that books of teachings is about.

As you can imagine, the ultimate pure focus and awareness should result in the perception at its highest level; Thus resulting in enlightenment. The sharper your mind becomes, the better you comprehend which leads to better decisions and better actions resulting in better consequences.

Short. Simple. Effective. And I'm still a noob. But at least it's only a matter of execution and seeing it to the end :-)


Wow, thank you very much! Your input is a great honour! I feel that there is so much to learn...we really just got started but it already feels great. That's actually a nice thing of meditation, you have no idea what to expect because there are things happening in meditation you couldn't even imagine. Every meditation session is just so rewarding!

Yes, the whole thing is perception


Perception is an amazing gift. Some people it takes longer or they need help to be able to see things a different way.

Resteemed. Nice and clear. I got tired trying to explain the same stuff to my parents and grandparents during my conscious lifetime

So ~~ impressed!!


yes this was definitely and awesome read!

Our brain is a high tech machine that is amazing. However some are more efficient than others however all have the same amazing function and is awesome in its ingenuity. Your article is great , just like any of your older articles hence why you always have an upvote from me. I memtioned you in my latest post-feel free to see it. More success

this is a good post, I really like it. hopefully the next post is better than this. thank you already share. and thank you too, If you get time, to see my post today. And I hope you like it with what I post and I hope it can be useful for all.

science is always unbelieveable

Time indeed is stable, it's constant. I don't believe that time speeds up as we grow old. Actually I read an article before stating that time doesn't really exist.


Man invented "time" and the clock and the hours and the minutes. In my opinion its not time we should call it but instead we should call it change.


this is the reason I don't wear a watch! I think we have to stop worrying about time that doesn't exist.
We just have to be!


That's an awesome way to look at it !


I don't think we know anything about time. It is a man-made phenomenon for measuring something we cannot see nor feel. Does time speed up in a worm-hole? In a black hole? Is there a duplicate time on the other side of a black hole?


actually thx to Einstein and measurements, if you are on the train and I am standing still you are getting older relatively to me. Ie. time and space are bendable.
If u want to call it time. Time is just putting a name on something we can't really explain.

It's a cliche of a quote but I think it's true and it also resonates with what you say : " Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away" I truly believe you can live More during one day then a month if you make it very memorable ! - Great Post !

Our brain is still the most complicatedly magnificent machine.

Our memory is really complicated !
Nice article my friend .
Upvoted !

True, with so many things that grab our attention and takes up the memory space of our brain. There are always tendency that I spent more time than I expected to and I felt time ran faster 😂

I hope your post will be hot list

Very interesting, I always just assumed it seemed like time went by faster because each year we get older, each year becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of our life.


In a way, if you think about it, this rhymes with the theory above.

Your post seemed like my impossible
This sort of posting is easy to get to see.
It looks good to see your posts.
Thank you. For your great writing and for sharing

Alchemical bioelectric elctromagnetic brainputer indeed! Waves and particles baby waves and particles.... Great post.

An hour seems like a longer period of time to a new born baby compared with a 90 year old because it is a shorter percentage of their entire life


unless the adult is studying some really boring books...........................


V true!

Time is God's grand illusion. Tick...Tock. 😉

Thank you. For your great writing and for sharing

The passage of time depends on our perception

Very informative. Thank you.

The brain is poorly studied.Thank you !

this is honoustly the best post I have read since I've been active on Steemit, thx for sharing!


Thank you for sharing :)

So I guess in this time with social media and exposing yourself to an overload of information it would also make that time will only travel faster and faster. And I also feel that since having children time travels at a crazy speed. We are making crazy good memories every day though. I'm still craving the simple life away from the ratrace and massive input of information. I guess its an effort to try and make time slow down. For myself and my children. Great thoughts for the monday morning. Thanks @kyriacos

Nice post about the human brain. All the functionality about the human body is about surviving. It's funny that we are always seeking and watching the tricks of nature to invent something.

Very true. Upvoted :) & Resteemed
And philosophically speaking, time runs faster as we grow old because we begin to feel that our end is coming nearer and we do not have enough time ! :) ....

Thanks for this amazing article. It happened a few times to me and a group of my friends. We all had different memories about how things happened at some point.

I think that "time" as we know it is a convention set by man to map-out the experiences produced by observing what is happening. The word itself has gained an emotional core-meaning to a lot of people (what I mean-and I might be wrong-is that we shape a lot of our lifestyle and actions based on how we perceive and understand time - overplanning, anxieties-we're running out of time, self imposed rules - "I have to get married by x-age", etc.

I think people would benefit a lot emotionally if they realized that time doesn't exist in fact.


Very much agreed on the social part of the subject, though, time can be made to measure a hell lot of things. originally, it was a simple variant to calculate the phases of a day, then it evolved and evolved and nowadays, it can be literally what everyone perceives it to be, for me, it's a mathematical term for a hypothetical multiplying vector that starts it's movement - and branches - only forwards, then ends as inevitably as it began, we could simply call it life, but that would be under-measuring it.

I've discussed the subject with a friend of mine recently and concluded that there should be two more hypothetical vectors, if we're talking about life, one would have to be "Will" as in the all-encompassing mindset to a certain individual's actions, the combination of his experiences, perspective, thoughts, evolution, emotion and then the arbitrary variant, ya know, sometimes you just decide on something fairly random and go with the flow. As for the second vector, which I call "Act" is pretty self-explanatory, it's the manifestation of one's mindset and randomness in the form of actions or decisions.

The end-product of the collision of decisions and actions or simply of mindsets is what we call a dimension, and there can be no more dimensions of this singular universe unless at least a single individual had two or more minds and bodies, and then, only he can see the differences and that would, hypothetically speaking, make dimensions purely a matter of perspective.

Then comes time, the third vector - vector, because we theorized that time was non-existent and started at some point and since the universe hasn't ended then it's a vector - in life, the one remarking the passage of life from birth till death, t'is also a line, because, for one, the "start" of time is only hypothetical, it could simply have been, is and always will be, and while almost everything ends, one of the main things we haven't seen ending, rather, expands, is the universe. it can be a sphere as well - a sphere of possibilities!

Time is both objective and subjective, depending on how you look at things and what our ever-incomplete knowledge allows, and I could go on for days trying to write my ideas of it, so i'll just wrap it up with a quote of a man with the mind of a god, yet he still worshiped one.

"...for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one." - Albert Einstein

I always wondered why time seemed to pass by so slowly during my childhood and bachelor's years.. I guess I have to do something new each and every day if I don't want time to fly by...Sadly, it will catch up regardless..

Very Nice Post; Voted and followed you and kindly see my posts and vote me and follow me, As we can see our future posts and give vote to each other. Thank you @kyriacos

It is great to read about all of the new findings and discoveries from studies being done. Always enlightening to learn more about yourself and life. Thank you for sharing this post @kyriacos I look forward to reading more content.

I love love topics about the brain. Its very fascinating


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Please post everything you know

Great post..

Nice post

Thank you.
Do you feel that emotion is a great trigger for memory? There is a kind of deeper pulsion probably more neurons implicated when cathecolamins are engaged.

A very good read, though I caught a few grammar errors here and there. Our mind is such a complex thing, though it may not be as complex as we think, once we have discovered how it work; and we will.

Great post @kyriacos how have you been? Time is an interesting subject :)


Thank you. Been extremely busy hence why I don't post that much recently. How about you?


Hi, same here very busy and hectic but managing. I just keep moving forward. In a way each day almost feels like the previous one! My life has turned into groundhogs day! lol
Have a great evening, nice talking to you.

That's why we have to constantly make new experiences, it makes it feel like we have more time. I've noticed that when I go on vacation, I always feel the days are longer. It's probably because its not repetition and don't fit the daily patterns of life!

Thanks for the share.

This is a great post! Always love science and the study of the body.

Interesting theory.

The simple reason why times seems to run faster and faster we grow older is because our lives start operating on repetitive patterns. For efficiency, our brains repeat much of our actions and functions through elaborate shortcuts in order to retain a shallow set of information. What ends up being retained is determined from emotional stimuli that etch data into long-term memory. This is why traumatic experiences are so hard to forget. Whether they are positive or negative, they carry a certain mnemonic weight due to their emotional impact.

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Be inspiration! Thank you!:)

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Time lapse and memory with ageing is fascinating. Even if we compress the original we forget half way through what the topic was (said smiling).

Interesting article @kyriacos they say the short term memory usually goes first, childhood memories stick like glue, must be an amazing filing system we use.

AGE IS BUT A NUMBER. This is a common colloquialism of people over 39. In truth, and in many ways, it is. As the years march onward, one realizes there's much left to do; thus, making time seem of the essence.
ONCE A PERSON LOSES STEP with the perception of age being a state of mind, things may decline rapidly. There are many variables attributing to things deteriorating; however, for many seniors, life gets progressively better; from the minimalist to those who live extravagantly.
MOST CAN RECALL AN OCTOGENARIAN with more spunk than some people half their age. They have a zest for life. They eat healthy. They keep fit. They have a reliable network of friends, activities, and family members. They have a strong spiritual connection with their Creator on a myriad of levels.
IT IS SAID, "TIME FLIES when you're having fun." Perhaps, this is a clue to staying young. Life is not easy. There are trials along the way; but, attitude with the descriptors mentioned, may prove a viable difference in how the 60 minutes on the hour seem to revolve, day after day, year after year.

Incredible, in depth write up!

A pretty good read, there's also the type of person who refuses to get stuck trying to remember a past that is naught but a mere fading memory and chooses to live their current moments to their fullest, this also reminded me of Einstein's theory of general relativity, regarding how we perceive time.