“This thing all things devours; birds, beasts, trees, flowers; gnaws iron, bites steel; grinds hard stones to meal; Slays king, ruins town, And beats mountain down.”
Time, the answer submitted by Bilbo Baggins to Gollum in ‘The Hobbit’, is itself a riddle: why do some of us perceive it as lasting longer than others?
But Mum, you said we’d be there hours ago!!!!
Take kids, for example. Two to three hours to them can feel like – well, the entire duration of ‘The Long of the Rings’. Is it because they’re that much smaller, or because their brains aren’t developed enough?
According to Anna Sircova, the organiser of the five-day ‘Celebrating Time: 3rd International Time Perspective Conference’, which starts at Nørebrohallen in Copenhagen on Monday August 15, we’ll be able to put questions like this to the guest speakers.
Forward-looking and optimistic … but does that cost us?
The way we perceive time, explains Sircova, tends to depend on whether we’re positive or negative, and whether we predominantly focus on the past, present or future.
However, other factors come into play, such as our circumstances – our perception of a few minutes waiting for a train to work will differ from how we’ll feel when our holiday flight is delayed by a number of hours.
Free as a bird vs stuck in a rut
Talking of holidays, don’t people who travel around a lot feel like their life is quite slow compared to someone stuck in a routine in the same place?
“Moving somewhere different and settling down is a bit like learning a new skill,” explained Sircova. “Once you’ve mastered it, it will feel like it takes no time at all.”
Time travelling with Mr Blonde
One way of actually accomplishing this would be to time travel, and on Wednesday August 17, ‘Actual Time-Travel – A Live Experiment’, a seminar presented by Michael Madsen (no, not the actor), will strive to give us some answers.
Starting at 7pm (more information at tpcph2016.com), the entry price is 50 kroner, the same as most of the other seminars, while the majority of the cultural events are free. Discounts are available for one-day and five-day tickets.
Who knows, you might meet Dr Emmett Brown. What have you got to lose … except for some of your time.