What’s it like to be a thousand years old?

Ever notice how as we get older, time passes more quickly? Lately, I feel like a week passes in what used to be a day.

I found an interesting page from the late 90s (its formatting ironically stuck in time) that tries to explain our perception of time as a function of age, mainly our memory of the past and expectation for the future.

Well before that, I’d based a whole science fiction story on a similar idea, extrapolating what it might be like to be perfectly healthy at a thousand years-old. At that scale, we might be able to see and communicate with things that are just too slow for us today, like genetically enhanced grape vines for example…

What kinds of relationships could we have between old and young, once the gap in ages gets into hundreds or thousands of years? AI Singularity or not, might we find it just too hard to communicate and relate among mere humans across such a wide gap in perceptual speed?

Logtime: the hypothesis that our age is our basis for estimating time intervals, resulting in a perceived logarithmic shrinking of our years as we age

Source: Logtime: Logarithmic Time Perception With Aging


Bonus: see the movie “The Man From Earth” for an even more interesting slant.

2 thoughts on “What’s it like to be a thousand years old?

    • Yes, if you add in the idea that “immortality requires sacrificing the lives of mere mortals,” which makes it inherently anti-social without getting to the mismatch in time perception. Jupiter Ascending is a vampire movie in that sense, but also hinted at a different time-scale.

      Highlander has the “can’t form human attachments because everyone dies” trope too. But McCloud’s perception of time doesn’t seem much slower than mortals, despite his age. I can’t think of too many vampire stories where the vampire moves (or drives) very slowly because his/her time perception is altered. 🙂

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