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How to Slow Time

Posted on Thursday, April 20, 2023
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by AMAC, Robert B. Charles
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9 Comments
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We have things to learn from nature, and often the simplest. How to find peace in a world impoverished by lack of it, is one. The blue heron, finished fishing, unfolds his wide wings with unchanging pace and cadence. He gathers air under them, pulls himself to height, lifts his gangly body to graceful flight. He knows peace, because he does not hurry, dart or flutter, moves slowly, no worry, waste, or clutter. He is unhurried; we can be too.

On a serious note, Einstein was also an observer of nature. His “thought experiments,” or ways of explaining things he imagined, were based in real life. He thought a lot about time, and how it shifts “relative” to what does not shift, namely the speed of light.

Simply speaking, Einstein made a shocking deduction about time, to resolve a major contradiction. Newton described speed as relative, changing based on how fast we move compared to things around us. Maxwell proved the speed of light – 186,000 miles per second – never changes, no matter how fast we move relative to it. So, how can that be?

If you think about the problem, you may be able to come to the same conclusion Einstein did. If Newton was right about how we look at things, that anything travelling the same direction and speed seems not moving, but Maxwell was also right – that the speed of light never changes relative to us, what gives? How can that be? The only answer is – time must give.

What Einstein deducted is that time slows. It is a variable that changes as we approach the speed of light. In his 1905 paper, he wrote: “No matter how fast you are moving, the speed of light will always be the same. This means that if you are moving close to the speed of light, time will appear to slow down for you.”

Einstein called this “time dilation.” The faster you move through space, the slower you move through time. The key is this: We will not moving at the speed of light, not in this life, but time is not absolute, nor are our perceptions of time.

So, jump rails with me, and ask yourself – in your own life – if you have not experienced something similar, a bit of time’s relativity, changes in peace and the pace of time’s passage based on your choices – aiming to use it well, or just letting go the reins.

When you are most at peace, doing what you choose, in a place you choose, deliberately slowing yourself to be in the “flow” – like that heroin – do you not feel more control over time?

When you are stressed, moving faster, multitasking, not consciously consuming the time you have, do you not feel less control? Do you not feel the accelerating pace of life – and want to stop it? Maybe you can.

Everyone’s life is different, but – as life’s pace accelerates – an argument exists for taking back the reins, “whoa!” to the horses, slowing time with our choices, being “in the moment,” taking cues from nature.

The point is, this can be done, despite the all-consuming pressure not to, 24-hour news, social media, political recriminations, cross-allegations, inducements to stress, hype, panic, and media-driven hysteria.

The laws of physics still apply, and always will. Streams still flow at the rate they have, wind blows hot and cold, a billion flakes remake a mountain, and clouds gather in mighty towers, little puffs, mare’s tails, and mini-nebulas. No sunset is ever the same, no sunrise ever wasted on your eyes.

We have the power to assert some control over time, whether it really slows or we just reassert control over what we do with it. Key is that we resolve not to waste what we are given, and time is a big one.

We have things to learn from nature, and often the simplest – how to ignore what deserves ignoring, appreciate what is worth our time, and when work is done, unfolding our wings with measured cadence, turning to the sky with peace, doing like that heron, rising at our own pace, turning gangly to grace. The heron is unhurried, by disposition and choice; we can be too. That is how we slow time.

Robert Charles is a former Assistant Secretary of State under Colin Powell, former Reagan and Bush 41 White House staffer, attorney, and naval intelligence officer (USNR). He wrote “Narcotics and Terrorism” (2003), “Eagles and Evergreens” (2018), and is National Spokesman2 for AMAC.

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Marc Ziegler
Marc Ziegler
10 months ago

Whether you can slow down time or speed it up is mainly up to you. It is an individual thing and mostly mental. However, for me, I consider time the most powerful force in nature, more powerful than an atomic bomb, more powerful than an earthquake and especially more powerful than the big bang theory. Einstein once said, in jest, that the most power force in nature was “Compound Interest”, I still consider time the ultimate force to be contended with. To make my point, who can stop time, does anyone have the ability to go back or go forward in time??? As far as I know, that is impossible. So, until someone can alter time, we are stuck with growing old and be happy with the time we have.

e brown
e brown
10 months ago

Interesting article–more introspective than the science I was expecting. I liked the heron word picture. There were quite a few typos in this one–including heroin for heron once.

Ron_L
Ron_L
10 months ago

You need to deduct the “t” from the third word in the fifth paragraph. 😉

Wendel Yale
Wendel Yale
10 months ago

The most childish, and fundamentally incorrect article on a physical science topic I have ever seen. This organization doesn’t even understand that 100s of successful nations have universal health care. Goodbye and good luck.

Roger Wiley
Roger Wiley
10 months ago

The “visuals” described in this article are amazing! Quite unexpected, from your pen. But, greatly appreciated.i loved the read.

PaulE
PaulE
10 months ago

From physics to philosophy all in a single article. Nice.

SusanW
SusanW
10 months ago

Your message today is incredibly important. Our daily task should be to slow down the element of time, by taking a profound breath and looking deeply into the eyes of the natural world around us. Many will say they just don’t have the time today, but maybe tomorrow. Are they guaranteed tomorrow? No. One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is to learn how to be “unhurried” each and every day. I’m am truly blessed because I have learn what is critical in life – “ I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.” AE There is nothing better in life than being able to take the time every day simply to wonder. Have a great and curious day, Robert.

”Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” AE

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