You live in the past. It’s weird, I know, but even right now you are living life with lag. The only human who isn’t is The Flash. In the DC universe a few mortals have assumed the identity of The Flash, but they all possess the almighty speed force — an ability to move at incredible speeds derived from some undefined extra-dimension. Moving at superhero-speed makes for some weird consequences in physics, but time perception is definitely the weirdest. Light has to go through a few steps in your eyes and brain before you actually see it. For example, when you’re looking at your computer screen right now photons are hitting the backs of your eyes, touching off complex chemical signals that are then translated into electricity. These electrical signals are sent along neurons towards the back of the brain, and eventually translated into what we see. But this process isn’t instantaneous. This path is some distance and it takes some time. If life were a movie, it would be running at about 60 frames per second. This means that there is some of life that you are missing. Not only are you seeing the world as it was milliseconds ago, but you are seeing life in frames, and not continuously.
Other organisms live a bit more in the now. The golden-mantled ground squirrel, for example, experiences the world at 120 frames per second. Flies see the world at what would effectively look like bullet-time, at 250 fps. But the epitome of perception has to be The Flash. It’s because he wouldn’t be able to see anything otherwise. The Flash can sprint at the speed of light. At those speeds, it would seem like bunches up like how an ambulance seems to get louder when it’s rushing towards you. If The Flash’s brain also couldn’t process information at those insane speeds, the world would blur out. It’s counter-intuitive, but by moving at or near light-speed, The Flash’s world would be one standing still. By processing information as fast as he can run, he is closer to reality than any of us. Woah. There are less philosophical points here too. By processing information that fast, The Flash could pick out any single frame of a movie just by watching it, you know, kinda like that single frame of porn in Fight Club.
Or not. He could see every individual flap of a hummingbird’s wings. Thinking at the speed of light gives The Flash access to more of reality than any of us have. To him, our lives would look like a laggy MMO. To understand the present it seems…you have to understand the fast. Why? Because science. Thanks for watching the first episode of my new show, you can check back right here every Thursday for a new episode or click subscribe to get them delivered automatically. Still have questions? You can find me on the Twitterverse @Sci_Phile. Thanks!.