3 Seconds Is All You Have

Sweet Memories

Time offers us the past, the future, and the present.

Naturally, not in that chronological order.

But are you aware of what’s called the “psychological present”?

It’s a window of about 3 seconds that defines the present – everything else is either past or future.

So, in a way “yesterday” was 3 seconds ago…
and “tomorrow” is only 3 seconds away…
or at least that is my spin on it. You can credit me with that statement.

Life happens in 3-second chunks of time. Even hugs.

Somehow it has been determined that “intervals of about 3 seconds are basic temporal units of life that define our perception of the present moment. That rhythm has fundamentally shaped humans’ biological and social evolution.”

“Balderdash” you say…?

Then you might want to check out this Creative Braintrust article regarding memory hacking over on Fast Company:

“How day-to-day experiences are compiled into memories is dependant in large part on when the story you tell yourself starts and stops. Life is experienced contiguously as an ongoing stream, a timeline, if you like. The psychological present is estimated to be about 3 seconds and each 3 seconds are either the beginning of a story, an ‘event’, or the end of one. If nothing important to the story happens in those 3 seconds (one, two, three)…they vanish. As Nobel prize winning psychologist Daniel Kahneman has pointed out, our minds convey to us an illusion of verisimilitude. We believe that our memories are accurate records of our lives, but this simply isn’t the case. They are packaged up as stories: details that don’t fit the narrative are blurred out, key moments are highlighted and amplified. The almost fractal self-similarity of a working day, week, month, year, blurs things together over time.”

The read isn’t centered around the psychological present as much as it is about memories, especially those created by travel and vacations, but the 3 second explanation is clear and concise there.

So really…

3 seconds is all you have right now. After that it is history. Before that it was nothing but something in the future.

Such things are midnight thoughts made of.

source: Fast Company
image source (CC BY 2.0): ‘Sweet Memories‘ by Alison Christine on Flickr

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *