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Slow But Speeding


Today is a very special day. Not only is it the Autumnal Equinox, or one of two days in the year where the center of the sun is in the same plane as the Earth’s equator, but it is also the first time since 1991 that Fall will begin with a full -actually Harvest- moon. This is fascinating news since 1991 also marked the start of the Dave Matthews Band’s touring career, and 2011 will be their first summer off since that fateful annum. Events like this make one think of the natural cycle of things, and how interesting it is when personal decisions coincide with ecological occurrences. It makes us wonder whether astrological pulls could in some way affect our behaviors, perhaps unconsciously.

What we do know, is that time, or rather, our perception of it, does affect the choices that we make. A classic psychological study from 1977 looked at seminary students who were asked to prepare a talk on the Good Samaritan. Some of the students were told to rush over to their presentation, while others were told that they had no time constraints. Both groups encountered a person who appeared to be in severe distress on the way to their lecture. The researchers in this experiment found that only those students who believed that they had enough time stopped to help, despite the fact that they were going to deliver information about being a Good Samaritan, or helper of those in need. This finding shows how important it is that we discard the old belief that time is scarce, and embrace the truth of abundance.

While time has always been thought of as a hard, scientific phenomenon, new fields like quantum physics are challenging our beliefs about this sensation. In this area, as in many others, it seems that intellectualism is lagging behind what artists, writers, poets, and other creatives have known for centuries. Time is merely an illusion. Many of Dave’s lyrics, in particular, point to the necessity of being fully present in this moment, lest the best of what’s around be gone. One of my eternal favorites, (and the namesake for this website!), “Pig” urges us to “Wash out this tired notion, that the best is yet to come,” reminding us that if we live disconnected from what is happening right now, we will surely miss out on life’s treasures. This theme appears in a host of other tracks as well, including, “You Might Die Trying,” “Ants Marching,” “Lie in Our Graves,” “When the World Ends,” and, of course, the quintessential, “Two Step.” Even select cover songs like, “Funny How Time Slips Away,” and “Time of the Season,” which I believe are chosen for a reason, contain variations of this motif. Indeed, it seems that the mystery behind the ticking clock has inspired some outstanding musical inquiries. Sometimes, though, it is the occurrence of outside events that affects the timing of the music, like the unseasonably fast, and clearly cathartic, “Bartender,” that the band performed on the night of LeRoi Moore’s death.

And yet. On a day like today, when time is creeping sluggishly by, as I wait for my fall-tour ticket confirmations, it’s hard to believe that an hour, is an hour, is an hour. Instead, it feels like the Universe has pressed pause on my personal life’s play-list. But in reality, "it’s all in a day’s dream."

Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.

Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self

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