You might be feeling this right now.
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This idea is extremely weird. But I woke up yesterday feeling like I was stuck in a time warp between 2021 and 2020.
The feeling is odd. It makes you question your life. It forces you to question consciousness. I even had another peculiar thought: Am I stuck in a video game controlled by a being from another planet? Who knows.
It turns out I’m not going crazy. A neuroscientist and researcher from UCLA, Dean Buonomano, who studies time, provides an explanation:
Time is incredibly important because, in many ways, the brain’s most important functions are to predict the future.
Because the degree to which an animal predicts where there’s going to be food or where there is going to be a predator or where there’s going to be water or where it’s going to find a mate determines the success of that animal.
The brain is a prediction device.
2020 has made the future hard to predict, hence your perception of time has been thrown off.
Retrospective time is not so much about time, but about memory, about items in memory.
So if you had a month in which you didn’t have that many new experiences — you certainly didn’t go to a new country, you probably didn’t get out to meet new people, you probably didn’t take up a hobby, and you weren’t meeting people for work — you’re likely not to have anchors or lay down many long-term memories.
So retrospectively, that creates the subjective experience of time flowing quickly.
New experiences right now are rare. Creating new experiences has a barrier to entry and a point of resistance. When the resistance is too high to achieve something you’re more likely not to do it.
This evidence from Buonomano is what has made me feel like I’m stuck in a time warp. You might be feeling the same right now — it’s normal.
You wake up to the pandemic all over again.
I live in Australia. We went into one of the harshest lockdowns in 2020. At the end of 2020, we came out of it. There were 57 days of zero cases in my city of Melbourne. There was hope. The festive season arrived. Sydney, a neighboring state, got a few new Covid cases. Days later my hometown had several outbreaks in a matter of days.
We’ve closed our borders again. Restrictions are not far away. The potential of another lockdown is high.
To top it off, when I turn on the news of the pandemic in other countries it seems to be a repeat of 2020. The world is back to March 2020 all over again with things getting out of control. Hospitals are becoming overloaded again like they were last year. Déjà vu is real when you look at the news.
Hope is the only way to transplant your mind out of the pandemic time warp.
Web 3.0 did its parabolic move again.
Web 3.0 is being built right under our noses. This is not new.
The two blockchain technologies — Bitcoin and Ethereum — have been constant reminders over the last five years of what is coming. When you think they’re gone, their prices reach record highs again.
Bitcoin and Ethereum caused the news networks to blow up in 2017. In 2020 they did the same. Ethereum alone was up over 300% in value. #Bitcoin was trending on Twitter almost weekly during 2020. It’s doing the same in 2021.
I feel like I’m seeing this blockchain time warp over and over again. Society says blockchain is dead. Blockchain grows by more than 100% in value for the year. It’s not that blockchain is a magical solution to humanity’s problems.
It’s that blockchain as an experiment is the only technology to question centralized ownership of everything that has value — and therefore can be easily be manipulated.
We’re stuck in a Web 3.0-time warp, where ownership is given back to each and every human being who inhabits the earth, as it should be.
You’re stuck indoors more than normal.
Most of 2020 were spent indoors. 2021 has been the same. Even when there is no lockdown our minds have been programmed to hibernate indoors out of a fear of the unknown.
The time spent at home makes my surroundings the same most days. Similar surroundings reinforce in my mind that I’m stuck in a time warp. My rational mind says “you’re crazy” while my surroundings say “no you’re not.”
With the pandemic you can’t see with your human eyes, ravaging the habitat we all live in, it’s hard to get any sense of time.
A time warp reminds you of what you took for granted.
The time warp I’m stuck in has helped me see what I took for granted.
You take for granted your family until you can’t see them. You take for granted your car until you can’t let the freedom machine take you wherever you want. You take for granted your current lover who is there for you when the time warp makes you feel numb.
You take for granted your past lovers who allowed you to reach this current moment in time where you’re stuck. You take for granted your job because zoom calls all start to feel the same after a while.
“What makes revenue? How’s revenue doing?” — becomes every video call with a bunch of people in pajamas who don’t know why these two questions even exist or matter at all.
The time warp I’m stuck in has been a harsh reminder. I binged on life’s pleasures without understanding that’s what I was doing. I thought traveling to whatever spot on earth I wanted to was a human right rather than a deeply precious pleasure my 104-year-old grandmother would have traded her last few breaths for.
The possibility of aliens contributing to the time warp.
I’d forgotten about aliens before the time warp.
In 2020, with all the chaos, the release of alien UFO footage felt mediocre at best. The time warp had me so drunk I forgot this event had even happened. In 2021 the President of The United States signed a relief bill with “a request for the Pentagon to brief Congress on all it knows about unidentified flying objects within 180 days.”
This period in history is already weird. The existence of aliens being an everyday accepted truth is sure to shatter human beliefs and psychology into tiny little pieces. I, for one, welcome the disruption in our understanding of the universe. To think we’re the only intelligent life form seems a little ignorant to me.
When I think about the role aliens could play in feeling like we’re stuck in a time warp, I feel curious — even excited, despite the chaos. 2021 may be the year we find out more about whether we are alone in this universe.
What’s radically different about 2021?
The time warp between 2020 and 2021 has one radical difference: the financial crisis.
In 2020, loans on homes were paused in many countries. Trillions of dollars created out of thin air were relabelled as stimulus and handed out to people. The one stark difference that will pull me out of this time warp will be the likely financial crisis we face due to the after-effects of the pandemic.
This is where my investment philosophy will be challenged. This is where the work I do every day in technology will be challenged. This is where the beliefs I publish in my writing will be challenged.
When a financial crisis strikes — as it did in 2008 — what I’ve learned is that even when you’re not directly affected you still are.
You may not lose your job or have your financial net worth decrease. But the physical world you wander around in will look different. The people you do life with will be hit financially, and you will feel their pain like it’s your own.
You can’t predict the future and that may be why you feel like you’re stuck in a time warp. It’s normal when your environment doesn’t change much and the solution to a global problem is still a while away from appearing.
Noticing you’re in a time warp is the first step.
Getting out of a time warp is difficult. You can wait for the causes of the time warp to appear. Or you can do what I’m doing and try and change the perception of a time warp by throwing darts (experiments) at it to see what happens. You’ve got nothing to lose in a time warp.
A time warp is a natural phenomenon. Look beyond the time warp.