Explained season 3 episode 12 tackles the idiosyncrasies of how different individuals view time, even though the clock keeps striking relentlessly. Vox’s Explained this time tries to analyze if not answer the undying question- “what is time?”. This particular episode is narrated by Inception actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt and has a runtime of about 22 minutes.
– Netflix’s Explained Season 3 Episode 12 Recap contains spoilers –
Explained Season 3 Episode 12: Analyzing Time
The episode opens with an informative quote suggesting the central trope of the episode: “To study time, we must venture beyond the ordinary. And when we do, it opens up a whole new realm. Time and Space.”
Like all other episodes, this one too takes us back to the origin of debate over time by educating us about a journey taken by Michel Siffre who stayed in a cave for two months away from all people, clocks or light of the sun, anything that tells time to evaluate the human sleep-wake cycle. These initial studies showed how isolated existence can feel like “living beyond time” yet how the body retains its 24-hour schedule with the help of circadian clocks apparently inbuilt in every living thing. In fact, turns out keeping track of time must have been a fundamental way to evolve on earth.
The groundwork of this study is later compared to the isolation the entire world faced during the lockdown due to COVID 19. Psychologist Ruth Ogden talks about a study she conducted during that time where over 600 people consented to the fact that staying isolated and locked up indoors made them experience a significant distortion in time, i.e., 81% of the total number of subjects involved.
Through this episode of Vox’s Explained season 3, we see how even though our circadian clocks remain uninterrupted, emotions can really distort our sense of time: stress can make time drag whereas moments of happiness can seem to pass by quicker than ever. The interviewees in the episode seem to like the idea how there must be a stopwatch like a mechanism in our brains that helps us differentiate the passage of time from the emotions we experience. However, through various MRIs and studies, the only conclusion is there isn’t a single spot and rather, our sense of time is embedded all across our brain.
But given we cannot touch, see or smell time, it comes down to the boil that time is nothing but a construct of our brains. Although, scientists do have some else tale to tell: Time is Space. Everyone time is thought of as a concept having a direction like coordinates on a map. And, what we splayed out this map on the vast space? Well, it becomes the fourth dimension of our three-dimensional world called space-time.
This notion gave rise to the atomic clocks which through an experiment was made to travel around the world in a plane giving rise to the theory of if time moves more slowly at a faster speed, a person would also age slowly.
However, the concept of spatial time also gives rise to a rather complicated question: Is time travel possible? And, a greater questionable reality that the past, present and future is nothing but a “stubbornly persistent illusion.” Which complicates matters with the idea of free will- is the future already written?
Explained Season 3 Episode 12 : Final Thoughts
Overall, the concept of time is still questionable. However, calendars and clocks which are seemingly our primary way to understand time have helped us over the years to function and exist properly. Explained Season 3 Episode 12 generates a lot of thoughts and arguments about time but, by the end, we are just grateful for its existence.