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I'm A Beginner: Relativity & The Human Mind

  1. Feb 22, 2013 #1
    I am traveling at 50% C in a rocket ship.

    My buddy passes me at 51% C in a rocket ship.

    Assume my buddy is doing long division, & it's required that he writes down his work on paper.

    Let's go off on a tangent here. Relative to our prehistoric ancestors, the human mind today is far more intelligent/advanced. In other words, the human mind can compute things that much faster than it could many years ago.

    As I see my buddy fly by, I notice his clock ticking slower than mine. However, he doesn't notice a thing. He's still working on that long division problem just as fast as he would if he were back at home. He just doesn't notice anything different, ...as time itself has slowed down.

    Now let's assume it's many (many) years later. Keep in mind at this time, the human mind is much more intelligent advanced than it was in the year 2013. Assume the same scenerio above. Something has changed. You see, my buddy has already finished the long division problem in his head, being so smart. ...but according to relativity, the time it takes for him to write it down physically shouldn't change....

    So where's the delay?

    Problems: The human mind doesn't physically exhist.

    Relative to me, everything is looking pretty dang normal watching my buddy figure out that problem. BUT. When my buddy thought up that answer to his long division, what was going through his head when it was taking him forever to write it down?

    Why is the computing speed of the human mind limited? It's not. We are proof. Assuming time itself as gone by at a constant rate, we are MUCH more intelligent than we were thousands of years ago.

    So what's that mean? That means that the human mind isn't proportional to time. ...there's no ratio

    Another thing to note on:

    It might be a little difficult to observe my buddy at one point in time, & then another many (many) years later all in one reference frame. Can't you argue this?

    This is going to be difficult to explain, but...

    Assume you are standing in one spot, spinning in circles.

    Your buddy is moving around you, however in order for you to get a clear view of him as you spin around, he will have to be moving faster than you.

    Get it?

    Assume I'm standing in one spot traveling at 50% C. Now we want my buddy to be traveling at 51% C, BUT we also want me to have a clear view of my buddy at all times.

    So, my buddy just needs to be "that far" away from me where the distance makes up for the speed difference. Think radius.
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2013
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 22, 2013 #2
    In your friends frame he is writing down the division problem at a normal rate, and thinking at a normal rate. In your frame he is writing down the division problem slowly, and also thinking slowly. He MUST be, as the signals propagating in the brain as electrochemical waves are moving slower in your frame.

    Also people have *not* gotten smarter than they were thousands of years ago. Try calculating the square root of 2 without a calculator? Babylonians in 2000 BC could do it.
  4. Feb 22, 2013 #3

    ^This cancels out my whole argument. If the human mind has NOT advanced in it's computing abilities, then there's no point to my question.
  5. Feb 22, 2013 #4
    Btw, isn't it like 1.4125 ...

    Just watched that on an MIT lecture lol
  6. Feb 22, 2013 #5


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    You may be a bit too specific in the 'abilities' you are considering. Mere number crunching is not particularly clever and doing it manually is just very time consuming. 'Computers', not so long ago were actual people who spent their lives 'computing' (doing massive arithmetical calculations) under the instructions of a 'bigger brain'.
    I should say that the human mind has managed to 'evolved' significantly in the last few centuries because it can now work far more co-operatively with other minds, thanks to the data / communications revolution.

    Our capacity to grasp the consequences of Relativity has improved because our familiarity has increased. We have learned to accept things which used not to be 'intuitive'. When we feel we understand something, it is largely that we can connect it with our experience. Modern students have been 'saturated' with notions of reference frames and the chatty bits of SR and find it much easier to accept ('understand') stuff that used to tax the minds of even the cleverest and best informed Scientists of a century ago. Are they cleverer? In one sense you could say they are. On the other hand . . . . . .
  7. Feb 22, 2013 #6

    Doc Al

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    Staff: Mentor

    With respect to what?

    With respect to what?


    Highly unlikely.

    Realize that if he were observing you doing the same thing, that he would see your time "slowing down".

    Again, a dubious premise.
    Huh? Why do you think relativity has anything to say here?
  8. Feb 22, 2013 #7


    Staff: Mentor

    Yes. In other words, the human mind does not make a good clock. This is well known and is obviously the reason we build mechanical ones instead.
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