Light travels at roughly 3*10^8 metres per second. Whatever we see, is what already happened. While in the normal scenario it seems like we see events instantly as they happen, this is not true and it’s much clearer on a larger scale. Light from the sun for example takes 8 minutes to arrive on earth since it has to travel 150 million kilometers. The sun might have gone off 5 minutes ago but we wouldn’t know until 3 minutes later. Light from stars take even longer to reach us, for some stars even billions of years. We might be seeing certain stars every night of every year yet they dried up into black holes billions of years ago. But we can still look up in the sky and smile at the beauty and appreciate it as if it were actually there. It’s almost as if the night sky is a video of its past.
Our earthly surrounding is a similar video of the past yet we rely on it to make decisions. Sound travels at about a millionth the speed of light, which means things we hear are even further back in history than most of the things we see. Smell takes longer to reach us since it depends on the velocity of the gas and gets a heavy influence from wind direction. And despite the human brain having about 100 billion brain cells and being superfast it doesn’t process information instantaneously. It takes time even for simple observations to turn signals from the senses into concepts.
Our observations are made up things from the past. The future is everything that hasn’t happened yet. What we think of as the present is made up of time past and time future. Everything we see and do are events that happen through time. Without a passage of time, they wouldn’t count as events rather static moments of the space time continuum. And yet the events are made of bits that have happened and those that haven’t, in the past and future respectively. So, the present is harder to picture since no time passes, it is a moment where change in time is zero. A bit of time where nothing happens: no breathing, no seeing, no particles of light moving from the stars, no radiation from the sun reaching us, nothing. And thus events become infinite layers of infinitely small present moments in a perfect ordering that creates time.
On a good day I work 8 hours. I report to the office at 9am and leave at 5. As a software developer my work involves just the computer, the rest is digital. I meet my clients online, do their work and send them software online or maybe a url. After that I expect a check to my account or via a mobile money transaction. I Skype or Gtalk with my boss, get new assignments on my email and complete all other interactions in cyberspace.
After work I watch a little TV or a lot depending on how the day went. A little motivation may allow me to get my computer and type an interesting blog post. Later on, I have my daily bread and try to learn something new on the e-books on my laptop. It’s possible that I may decide to have a more social night. In which case I grab the laptop and go to Facebook.
Since I don’t easily fall asleep, I’ll start a movie on my laptop and will fall asleep through it. Alternatively I may want to catch up with the latest news. In which case I’ll just bring the phone in bed and fire up the BBC app.
My name is Nick, am just like you. I am a screen zombie.