The Bubble

“You live in a bubble.”  A common phrase often slung as an insult in the political arena, to describe someone who has a coddled lifestyle.  Whether through wealth, class, upbringing, or where someone lives, “Living in a bubble” insulates them from the “real world”.  How could a trust fund kid possibly understand the plight of someone that grew up with a single mother living in Section 8 housing? How could someone who has spent their entire life in the suburbs, possibly understand the everyday life of a farmer in rural Kansas?  How could someone who grew up with a specific religion, understand the beliefs of someone who was raised with a different religion?  You know the drill.  The truth is, we ALL live in a bubble – a bubble of our own imagined reality.

Of course, by now, if you listen to the Podcast, you have heard me ruminate about our perception of time, and how our perception of time is not how time actually works.  Instead, time is a construct that we have created in our minds to make sense of it all. As we grow older, our perception of time actually changes.  When you are 5-years-old, one hour is much different than your perception of one hour when you are 70-years-old. The more time we experience, the faster it actually moves in our brain and therefore our perception of time changes. Time itself hasn’t changed.  Our perception of time did.

This does not mean that time slows down and speeds up as we age, it simply means that we perceive it differently as we experienced more of it.  When sleeping or dreaming, time is completely irrelevant. In a dream, there could be a whole set of memories, in fact an entirely different narrative to your life, which happens in a split-second in reality, or conscious, waking life. So the question is, is linear time and the way we experienced it, at all relevant to the environment around us?

I have theorized for many years, that human beings actually exist in somewhat of a Wi-Fi bubble, if you will, of our perception of time, in our living spaces and our environment.  Which is to say that we physically hold objects in our perception of time simply by being present.

Imagine for a moment, that one house at the end of your neighborhood that went abandoned years ago, or that business that shut down a few months ago.  When you notice that location after say, a few months or even a few years, your always shocked by how quickly it has deteriorated.  The property has literally fallen into disrepair: paint chipping off, shutter and gutters detached, windows filthy with dust, plants overgrown. You ask yourself, “Man, when was that place abandoned?  By appearance, could it have been that long ago?” It seems like a lot of deterioration in such a short amount of time.

I am fairly certain everyone has experienced this. Because of my hobby foraging and looking for snakes, I visit a lot of abandoned, dilapidated, run-down places.  In one season, there might be a house that is occupied, and the next time I see it, it is abandoned and completely destroyed by the elements. In fact, I can think of one specific house in Kankakee County, Illinois, that I pass probably five or six times a summer for the past ten years.  At the beginning of those ten years, the house was occupied and ramshackle, but it was not falling apart.  Then, a couple of years down the line it, went abandoned, and the roof started falling off and the windows started falling out and everything was just a mess. I went by it the other day, and people started cleaning it up, and even though they did not do any structural repairs, it almost looks as if it was healed – like it came back to life just from someone caring about it again and being in its presence.

Now imagine two identical houses.  One has a family living in it and the other has been abandoned.  What would happen to the abandon house after a year?  Chances are it will look like it has been abandoned for a long, long time: animals will have gotten into it, shutters falling off, windows all dirty, paint falling off, water stains in the ceiling, roof collapsing.  Other than just living in it, the identical, occupied house, will look much different than the abandoned one and will still be intact.  Even if the people living in the home only up-kept the house to bare minimum, there would be very little, if any, signs of deterioration.  What would cause the abandoned house to break down so quickly?  Other than animals taking nest, what makes the house fall apart so quickly? Could it be that the home has reverted to “natural time”?  In other words, the home’s rate of decay is different when humans are not present to keep it in their “bubble”.

From what I have observed, I feel very strongly that human beings, by simply being present, can actually hold a physical space, or object (a house in this case) in our perception of time.  That simply by being here, we are keeping things from decaying and falling apart quicker, because the way we perceive time is slower than time actually moves in nature.

Perhaps it is just a crackpot theory, but I believe there is some merit to it.  Besides, just about everyone can see this theory in action in their own neighborhood.

Look around and see if you can observe this phenomenon yourself and let us know your thoughts.  Send them to

Dave Black