You’re not getting older, you’re getting ... who knows?
I recently had a birthday. My family made guesses as to my age, and their estimates were ... interesting. As I considered some of their guesses, though, I began to notice an intriguing pattern. This led me to do some basic research, and I think I have discovered some fundamental relationships that underlie the data.
The earliest known record of my age is based upon my birth. However, for the life of me, I can’t recall the moment or the date. I also discovered I don’t have that particular certificate. This immediately begs the question of whether or not I could be elected president of the United States, so I have decided not to run.
The first official proof of my existence appears to be my graduation certificate from high school. For the life of me, I don’t really recall that event either. But if I assume I did not graduate early, a fairly safe assumption, and that I was also not held back a grade or two, a rather shaky assumption, then I should have been close to 18 years old at the time of that event.
Stay with me here. The science part is coming. I also found my marriage certificate, dated some time later. It appears to have something on it that looks like a date of birth, but the whole thing is in German so I’m not sure. I do recall this event vividly. It was the major miracle of my life. Anyway, it appears that I may have been 21 years old at that time.
My military discharge papers (surprisingly, honorable) indicate that I was 22 years old on discharge, if government records are to be trusted. After that the trails gets sparse, and my present age is based upon these somewhat shaky assumptions. If this data applies to the general population, and if one graphs the data, they suggest a very real and fundamental relationship.
The physicists treat time as if it were a variable. However, I’m not sure they understand the full implications of that fact. If the estimates I made above are accepted as fact, or at least taken seriously within a margin of error, one cannot escape the following conclusion: As time goes on, the age of the average person not only increases, but actually does so at an accelerating rate.
Since this theory is based entirely on past data, we can conclude that age increases occur only in the past. If that is true, then the point in time representing a person’s birth may be moving backward in time, but at an ever-decreasing rate. Whether aging occurs in the future is not certain. If, however, this pattern continues into the future, we can be sure that at some finite period of time, we each will become infinitely old.
There are serious and pragmatic consequences to these conclusions. First of all, all questions concerning my birth are permanently relegated to past history. Secondly, all speculation about life prior to my birth is equally meaningless.
More research is needed in this area, and not all questions have been cleared up. For example, perhaps this trend in aging is because of some fault in time itself. Where is the evidence that time moves at a constant speed? There is anecdotal evidence that time can seem slow and, at other periods, seem to speed up. These occasions have been dismissed as a result of such questionable properties as fun and despair. These subjects are not generally quantifiable and, therefore, not subject to serious scientific consideration.
Another possible explanation of the “time” thing is that universal expansion of space is accompanied by universal expansion of time. Or perhaps the space expansion is caused by time expansion. Or the time expansion ... err, well, I kind of lost my train of thought there.
Do you suppose you just wasted some time?
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Gary McCallister is professor of biology at Mesa State College.