Feynman looking

NickRandom 3 days ago | next [–]

I have been in true ‘life or death’ situations (in other words, I’m alive because others were slower or less able to draw their weapons and fire).

In those sorts of situations time truly does slow down. I replay those times endlessly in my dreams/nightmares but either way it seemed like both at the time and in my mental replaying of the events that time slowed down to a crawl.

During endless sessions with various mental health professionals it seems that people involved in car crashes have the same slowing down of time. Based on what I’ve learnt, the time differential boils down to muscle memory (much like a batter hits a fast ball) that can and does initiate a response before the brain processes the event and that the mind catches up afterwards and is able to replay the events in a somewhat coherent way.

retrac 3 days ago | parent | next [–]

I once found a loved one in grave condition, without a pulse. What followed was like a surreal movie that has its frames out of order. I remember a thought of surprise at basically flinging furniture out of the way. Very much a passenger in my body at that point. I began CPR. Muscle memory is right. I was not really conscious throughout most of it.

One of the few things that resembles a thought during the entire episode is something like “you cannot think about this right now if you do you will collapse”. A jumble of eternal instants. It dragged on. And on. And on. Eventually, very eventually, the paramedics arrived. I had another thing resembling a thought. I can collapse now. I can look away now. I have no basically no memory until the next day when I saw her, awake, in the hospital.

I know the day and time it happened. I checked the logs after. The paramedics took less than 5 minutes to arrive. But it was outside the normal linearity of my experience. It doesn’t fit between the day before and the day after. For a while, the jumbled movie would play in my head, involuntarily. I think I was trying to make sense of it, fit it in, when it really doesn’t fit. Experiences and memories I couldn’t easily process because I didn’t really experience them consciously when they occurred? Maybe something like that. It went away with time, and does not bother me these days, but descriptions of PTSD do make a lot more sense to me now.

— Richard Feynman on looking at the world from another point of view (1973)

— Hacker News



2022.12.22 Thursday ACHK