For those of us habituated to the system of time measurement based on precise atomic clocks, we simply assume that time is a fixed mechanical procession that always moves at the same speed. Sri Aurobindo points out that if we draw back from the physical reality, “we discover that Time observation and Time movement are relative, but Time itself is real and eternal. Time observation depends not only on the measures used, but on the consciousness and the position of the observer: moreover, each state of consciousness has a different Time relation; Time in Mind consciousness and Mind Space has not the same sense and measure of its movements as in physical Space; it moves there quickly or slowly according to the state of the consciousness.”
We recognize a subjective alteration in the flow of time, based on our awareness and experience. I am sure all of us have had situations where time seemed to “fly” while there are others where it is “dragging”. For instance, young people in love frequently find their brief opportunities to meet “too short” because the time disappears on them. When we are concentrating on some task, we do not pay attention to the flow of time and suddenly we find that hours have gone by. On the same token anyone who has taken a long flight across the globe, sitting in an uncomfortable airline seat can testify how slowly time is moving. Sri Aurobindo points out the experience of Time in the dream state where long sequences of events take place in what turns out to be just seconds in physical time.
Recently the physicist Stephen Hawking provided some theoretical models showing that the speed of time can be speeded up or slowed down in various circumstances relating to physical mass or speed of movement. He was able to show that Mass changes the flow of Time; as well as speed approaching the speed of Light. Clearly Sri Aurobindo’s observation of Time being affected by Consciousness is the ultimate result of following the line taken by Stephen Hawking, since Consciousness moves faster than Energy, and is not limited by physical Space or its properties; and thus can move commensurate with the speed of light in principle.
reference: Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine, Book 2, Part I, Chapter 2, Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara–Maya, Prakriti, Shakti, pp. 361-362
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