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Lost in the moment

März 16 2020


Lost in the moment

Nature-lovers often have intense experiences when observing wildlife. Time seems to expand like a balloon in these precious moments, and a few seconds can feel like hours. However, the opposite can also be the case. You can spend hours walking through the woods – and afterwards it seems like just a few minutes.

Why is it that our perception of time becomes distorted when we are totally focused on something? What is time? Can it be measured? And if so, can it be measured objectively, or are there many different, subjective times?



Scientists have studied time over the centuries. The English mathematician, physicist, and founder of mechanics Sir Isaac Newton said loud and clear that time exists. It ticks along from moment to moment. He was clearly convinced of the existence of an objective time. The attractive idea of a universally valid time prevailed until the theory of relativity came along in the early 20th century. Einstein’s theory means we have to come to terms with the fact that time does not exist independently of space but that they merge into a space-time continuum. The theoretical physicist also postulated that massive objects such as the Earth cause time to slow down. This theory was proven by a 1962 experiment in which two extremely accurate clocks were attached to the top and bottom of a tower. The lower clock, which was closer to the earth, ran more slowly.

Extrapolating from this, we could say that binoculars and spotting scopes that subjectively bring us closer to an object and make it appear larger could have the ability to slow down time. We could argue that the shorter the distance between observer and observed and the larger the object appears to the observer, the slower time passes. In short, using long-range optical devices causes the moment to expand.

British physicist Stephen Hawking believed that the theory of relativity means that time has changed from something general to something very personal. All of a sudden, time is inextricably linked to the individual observer and no longer independent of the observer.





As adult human beings, we have developed a sense of time that allows us to estimate the duration of processes. This provides us with a subjective impression of how long or short certain events are. In general, it is assumed that our subjective perception of time spent increases in line with the amount of concentration we put into an activity. So time seems longer when we are bombarded with lots of new impressions. According to this theory, the same period of time will seem shorter if our mental activity is lower.

Consequently, binoculars and spotting scopes seem to slow things down because they reveal more details to the observer. The gaze is focused on one object, concentration increases, and the person receives more impressions. This makes the experience more intense and time seems to pass more slowly.





As manufacturers of premium long-range optical devices, SWAROVSKI OPTIK brings people closer to the preciousness of the moment. Our lives are enriched by memorable experiences in nature. Perhaps our lives are even extended by seeing the unseen and being lost in the moment.

Read the full article in our CLOSER 2020 magazine to dig deeper and ponder on philosophical and psychological aspects of time and its perception as well.


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