the illusion of time

Perceptual illusions are very simple: I show you and another person the same image, yet you two see entirely different things. Perceptual illusions play on our ability to perceive space. Have you ever thought about how time is an illusion? Surely, you think, we all experience the same time in the same way (given that none of us are moving at supersonic speeds).

The three building blocks of the material world

Strictly speaking, we all live in the material plane (the physical world), separate from the astral plane and other higher-energy planes. The 3 defining characteristics that make this plane special, as identified by Einstein, are space (length), mass, and time. Everything we know in this world exist only as manifestations of those 3 characteristics. As you sit in your chair, notice that all your organs in your body work together harmoniously, only because they satisfy the 3 characteristics: your skin takes up space or else your body would collapse; your head has a mass or else you’d be a bobble-head; and your heart beats on time, not beating 500 milliseconds late.

You might think of mass and space as the same phenomenon, and you probably treat it that way. You may think that everything that occupies space also must have mass. Unfortunately, there are many things in this world, such as balloons, that occupy more space than they do mass. But you have ignored for a long time the phenomenon of time. Everything in this world exists only because they exist at this moment, not some other moment.

Take out a pen and put it on the table. Mentally note down the exact space it is occupying at this time. The pen exists simultaneously as your consciousness. Now move the pen 10 centimetres to the right. What you now see isn’t what the pen where it was 5 seconds ago; you see the pen where it is right now. The pen exists because it exists at a specific time.

Time is just as important as weight and mass; it is one of the 3 building blocks of this world.

Feeling different weights

Pick up something heavy, like a couple thick textbooks. Make an estimate of the weight. Now, ask a child to pick up the textbooks, and ask them to estimate the weight. The mass hasn’t changed, yet you and the child come up with completely different perceptions of the weight. The child is small and feeble, and a textbook would feel heavier to the child because they would have trouble lifting it. Right?

This logic is absurd. If you have 5 people estimate the weight of something, they would come up with 5 wildly different answers. This is super strange, how can everyone feel mass differently? After all, the mass isn’t changing. It must be your perception. Weight is nothing more than your perception. Any measures of weight, such as kilograms or pounds are arbitrary. The only thing that matters is your perception of the mass, and this is different for each person.

Why time is an illusion

We use seconds as the measure of time. What exactly is a second? You might as well ask “what is a kilogram?” Time, like mass, is arbitrary. Ask 5 people to count to 10 seconds, and all finish at different times. Some people count faster, some people count slower.

If you think that you know how long a second is, before proceeding, do this quick test:
Which one of the following clocks shows a second tick?

0.8 seconds

0.8 seconds per tick

1.2 seconds

1.0 seconds per tick










Did you answer the right side? Most people’s perception of a second is longer than what an actual second lasts. With this in mind, look back at the clocks above, and determine which one really is 1 second.


It’s a trick. The right clock is not 1 second, it’s 1.2 seconds. Importantly, see how you were so easily tricked.

How long is a second, really? It’s as long as you perceive it as. Everyone perceives time differently. That’s right, everybody’s second is a different length. We all think we perceive time equally because we’re all used to our own perception of time. You are used to seconds being <—–this—–long——>, and because you are used to it, you take it for granted. But even though your second is <—–this—–long——>, my second is actually only <–this—long–>. Yes, my seconds are shorter than yours, because I perceive time faster than you.

Have you ever wondered how some people can speak and think at super-speeds? I’m a slow thinker, and now I have my explanation. People who are quick thinkers simply perceive time more slowly than all the rest of us. Imagine if I had the ability to access their consciousness. The first thing I would notice? I would be shocked that their second lasts longer than mine. They live life in slow motion. They can think 300 thoughts in a second, and I can only fit 100 thoughts in a second. They perceive time slower than I do. This is bad news for me, because it means my life is shorter than theirs.


And so we come to the conclusion that the 2 clocks above are actually moving at the same speed. They’re both moving at 1 tick per second, because as everybody knows, one tick is one second. The clocks are moving at the same speed.

The only thing that is different is how we perceive time.
I perceive time like the clock on the left, and you perceive time like the clock on the right. It’s all an illusion.