Okay, this is me beating a dead horse, but i have a rather simple question. Is the time dilation effect described in reference to a black hole literal or figurative? for example, a man falling toward a black hole will appear to slow as he approaches the EH. This effect obviously increases exponentially in inverse relation to the distance of the man to the black hole (and i assume in direct proportion to the distance between the man and his observer) Would the man also experience the universe "accelerating" in velocity as he slows in relation to the outside observer, or would he simple not notice anything different? I think my real question is, is the appearance of suspension of the falling body simply an optical effect produced by the intense gravity decreasing the rate at which energy can reach an outside observer, or is it LITERAL slowing of time in the frame of the falling body from the perspective of the observer and observed? Example... You suspend a man on an unbreakable cord and lower him toward a black hole from a safe distance. You lower him to within a very small distance of the EH (assume the BH is large enough that tidal forces are a non-issue. He is suspended there for 100 year in "real time" and then pulled back in. What would he experience of that time? Would he experience the first 7 days then die, or would he literally experience only moments and witness the universe age 100 years in that time?