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The Golden Verses Of The Stoic

Seneca and Epictetus refer to the Golden Verses of Pythagoras , which happens to provide a good framework for developing a daily routine, bookended by morning and evening contemplative practices. Zeno of Citium , who founded Stoicism in 301 BC, expressed his doctrines in notoriously terse arguments and concise maxims.  However, Chrysippus, the third head of the Stoic school, wrote over 700 books fleshing these ideas out and adding complex arguments to support them. 

The Malleable Variance of What We Call Time

In his Rhetoric, Aristotle acknowledges that it would be better if we could make our case without either browbeating or flattering the audience; nothing should matter except "the bare facts." He laments, "other things affect the result considerably, owing to the defects of our hearers."

Your perception of time does not adhere to "world time." You might have the opinion that I should have said, 'does not always adhere to world time', but that's a lie. Your sense of time is as easily disturbed as a puddle of mud, and just as transparent.

If a man with a bass voice reads a script at exactly the same speed as a man with a tenor voice, the bass voice feels slower, by a notable degree.

When your body temperature is high, your sense of time is also slowed. In one experiment, subjects with fevers were asked to count to 60 at one number per second. Without exception, they counted much faster.

Having a low body temperature  you would count slower, as the sense of time moves much faster.

Under the influence of blue light, time is underestimated -- which is why nightclubs use it, to give you the sense that you really haven't been there that long.

Under the long wavelengths of red light, time is overestimated and every thing feels like it is in slow motion.

When you're young, time appears to move slower than when you grow older. When I was young, a year was a "whole year" long. Now, if you tell me I have to be done with my project by next year, I feel pressured.

Time is a subjective experience. It stands still during moments of longing, just ask any teen ager as she watches the clock near the end of the school day. (did the minute hand just jump backwards?!)

People in pain often experience distorted time as longing for relief creeps the second hand. This is an elevated experience when the patient has the morphine plunger in his hand, which is set on a timer, so that he can only self administer a dose ever three hours. Holding it, and enduring the floods of pain cascading up and down your spine... with the tool of relief in your hand... is a tormenting period of a very long minute.

Any veteran understands that combat is living on the edge and, in some ways, living to the utmost. Pumped full of adrenaline, soldiers experience time distortion and live in an almost surreal condition of alertness, with senses heightened to the point nearly of exaggeration.
Hold in your mind that kind of mood and feel yourself intensely longing for something throughout the trip. You'll be surprised at the results. A 40-minute cross-town trip can be reduced to 20 minutes, and the reason for it defies current scientific explanation!

As Einstein pointed out, time flows at different rates for each person's perception. As Jung pointed out, reality is what we perceive. We do not see the world as it is, we see the world as we are. In fact, we do not perceive, we project.

Practicing meditators have a distinct advantage for they accustom themselves to these relaxed states of slower brain waves -- frequently, moments of timelessness are reported.

In one experiment, hypnotized subjects were given imaginary tasks to perform in their minds -- like designing a dress or preparing a  complicated meal. They were told they had an hour to accomplish their task, but were given 10 seconds. After 10 seconds had elapsed in world time, the hypnotized subjects  experienced intricate and accurate detail in their inner perception that seemed to them to be a complete hour. A posthypnotic interview revealed that the subjects experienced no difference in their "thinking" and that at no time did they feel hurried or speeded up.

Time is also subjective to what we are reading or the vocabulary we are engaged with. For example, 60 seconds, sounds much faster than one minute, or sixty seconds. Active aggressive voices with few adjectives or adverbs send us into action and time flies by. Using an abundance of "-ly" words such as: especially, brightly, coldly, tremendously, factually, and softly, slows the world down as each adjective drags on the mind, and weighed us down to the floor.

The manipulation of our Time is a well worn sales and marketing technique. Some research and sources suggest that it is a technique of propaganda, but I don't feel this is true, because the main difference between true propaganda and marketing is really the "Call to Action" .

Apply time pressure, distorting the time that is available pushes people to act, even if they don't want the product and weren't planning on ever having one, the driving need from diminishing opportunity -- the idea that in only a few more minutes, this article is gone and you'll never know how it ends!

Advertisements and commercials use this trick all of the time:
  • "This offer is only good for 5 days."
  • "Don't miss this unique opportunity."
  • "This sale ends on Sunday."
  • "This invitation will expire if we don't get a response before the end of the weekend."
  • "We really need a response back before the end of Friday."
  • "Only three days left."
  • "Can you give before midnight?"
  • "Supplies are limited."

Propaganda, in the true sense of the term and methods, doesn't employ calls to action. A call to action, in and of itself , is an overt urgency and time distortion. A true craftsman of propaganda doesn't want  you thinking later that you were rushed to any decision, or pressured into agreement. Propagandist give you the facts, just the facts. That's all they do. Well, all of the facts you need to know to make the right decision are given to you.

Why burden you with details that do not pertain to right-minded people? It would be like explaining that, on your way to the meeting, an airplane did not crash into the road ahead of you. Why would you bring that up?

However, altering the sense of time is employed in several of the militarized methods, and understanding that the tactic exists may help you recognize an instance of Aggressive Persuasion.


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