Relativity and fasting.
Recently, my young sons have had the experience of fasting. They have endured it pretty well – Fintan, 8, and Ainan, 11, anyway, Tiarnan, 5, is too young to fast.
Fintan had an interesting take on the effects of fasting:
“When I fast, the day seems to last much longer.”
This remark had an added poignancy considering that he was in the middle of a fasting day at the time he made it!
He then went on to describe his perceptions of each fasting day. They did, indeed, seem to stretch out ahead of him. Fintan certainly did experience a "time dilation of fasting". It was funny since, for him, this was a first experience with the perceptual alteration of time – though for any adult, this will be an old experience and one well known.
It did seem, however, that the effect of fasting on his time sense was particularly pronounced and that it really DID make the days seem longer. I have no comparable experience of fasting, at his age, to come to my own assessment, however. As an adult, I find that fasting has no real effect on my time perception at all – perhaps because I am very used to fasting and it doesn’t bother me at all.
I should note that Fintan wasn’t bemoaning this elongation of his time perception...he was just observing that it was so. As a faster, he is very good. He doesn’t complain and just endures. This is characteristic of him when faced with any personal challenge – he just gets on with it, largely in silence. I think, in this way, fasting is a good challenge for young children – it strikes at the very heart of their natural instinct to eat and eat, non-stop all the junk they can possibly get their hands on. With fasting, they have to come to understand the value of food. In the case of Fintan, that seems very much tied up in time. Perhaps food is his clock and he has been measuring the days out by their meals. Stretch the meals and you are stretching Fintan’s day!
Well done, Fintan, on being able to fast so well. I am proud of your strength of will.
Posted by Valentine Cawley
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