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Newsletter #26 - About Time

Sébastien Dubois / October 05, 2021

6 min read

Welcome to the 26th edition of my newsletter.

Hello everyone! Welcome to the 26th edition of my newsletter. Another week, another newsletter! I hope that you all had a great week. Reply to tell me your story; what have you discovered/learned/enjoyed this week ❓

About time

This week, my main reflections were about time and memories. It all started with me watching an episode of the Netflix documentary series called Explained.

This episode, aptly named “Analyzing time” tried to explain what time is. I was mesmerized by it — maybe because it is narrated by Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Time passes us by and, most of the time, we don’t even realize it. This reminded me of a timelapse video I made a few years ago when I was exploring electronics (I should probably resurrect that blog article):

The documentary starts with the experiment of Michel Siffre, a French geologist and underground explorer who wanted to contribute to the space race in some way. Mr. Siffre had the idea of isolating himself underground for two whole months in the abyss of Scarasson. It was a scientific survival experiment aiming to explore the physiological impact of living underground, without being exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. He only had a small electric light, no clocks, and was all alone the whole time. Michel was already very experienced by then; as a child (10-17), he did 150+ underground explorations. But that experiment was a first.

Our bodies have internal clocks that regulate our biological rhythm. I find it quite fascinating that this is part of our DNA. The sun and its light have shaped us over millions of years.

One point from the documentary I want to focus on is the fact that time feels different depending on our emotions. Sometimes we drive on autopilot and don’t remember doing so. Sometimes hours go by in a jiffy because we’re super engaged in what we’re doing. Sometimes weeks and months disappear in an instant without leaving traces behind. And sometimes it’s the polar opposite; each minute we’re waiting for important news feels like forever. Emotions heavily influence our sense of time.

After his experiment, Michel Siffre realized that his estimates of how much time had passed were far off. It took him five minutes to count to 120. His sense of time was completely messed up. His explanation for this is the fact that memory does not capture the time when there are no important moments. During his time underground, days & nights were all the same. Nothing much happened: wake up in the dark, spend the day in the dark, go to sleep, repeat.

In the documentary, they went on to compare that experiment with the Covid lockdowns around the world, which have also distorted the sense of time for most of us.

This reminded me of the boring work routine. Days and weeks go unnoticed if we don’t pay attention. And here’s the thing. Routine is great for productivity, but it’s important for us to create memories for ourselves and to really live the moment. When we focus entirely on work and productivity, we skew our internal clocks and miss important moments of life.

I wanted to write about this because now that my son is at home with us, I take every occasion to be present, without distractions, to make that time truly memorable.

To conclude, I want to recommend an awesome movie about time (no, not Back to the Future, sorry :p): About Time.

Dev Concepts progress

This week I’ve finally launched the new landing page of Dev Concepts. It took me a few days to craft it, but I’m happy with the results. Now I hope that more people will get to discover the project!

By the way, the project updates are now available here: https://www.dev-concepts.dev/updates

Recent articles

Nothing to see here this week!

Tips of the week

Here’s a new idea for the newsletter: weekly tips & tricks!

Did you know that if you type something in your browser’s address bar and press ctrl + enter, what you typed will be surrounded by www. and .com?

Do you have a problem in your life? Here's the solution: https://boingboing.net/2011/06/17/do-you-have-a-proble.html

Books corner

This week I want to share a book that has strongly influenced the way I manage my personal finances.

Quote of the week

Never take a job for which you are qualified. You won’t grow. — Esther Dyson

Here are a few links that I found interesting this week:

That's all folks!

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I'm really interested to know what you think of this newsletter. If you have remarks/ideas/articles/links to share, then please don't hesitate to reply to this mail or send me a DM on Twitter.

PS: check out the Dev Concepts collection of e-books, join the Software Crafters community, the Personal Knowledge Management community, and come say hi on Twitter!
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