The documentary starts with the experiment of Michel Siffre
, a French geologist and underground explorer who wanted to contribute to the space race in some way. Mr. Siffre had the idea of isolating himself underground for two whole months
in the abyss of Scarasson
. It was a scientific survival experiment aiming to explore the physiological impact of living underground, without being exposed to sunlight for a long period of time. He only had a small electric light, no clocks, and was all alone the whole time. Michel was already very experienced by then; as a child (10-17), he did 150+ underground explorations. But that experiment was a first.
Our bodies have internal clocks
that regulate our biological rhythm
. I find it quite fascinating that this is part of our DNA. The sun and its light have shaped us over millions of years.
One point from the documentary I want to focus on is the fact that time feels
different depending on our emotions. Sometimes we drive on autopilot and don’t remember doing so. Sometimes hours go by in a jiffy because we’re super engaged in what we’re doing. Sometimes weeks and months disappear in an instant without leaving traces behind. And sometimes it’s the polar opposite; each minute we’re waiting for important news feels like forever. Emotions heavily influence our sense of time
After his experiment, Michel Siffre realized that his estimates of how much time had passed were far off. It took him five minutes to count to 120. His sense of time was completely messed up. His explanation
for this is the fact that memory does not capture the time when there are no important moments
. During his time underground, days & nights were all the same. Nothing much happened: wake up in the dark, spend the day in the dark, go to sleep, repeat.
In the documentary, they went on to compare that experiment with the Covid lockdowns around the world, which have also distorted the sense of time for most of us.
This reminded me of the boring work routine
. Days and weeks go unnoticed if we don’t pay attention. And here’s the thing. Routine is great for productivity, but it’s important for us to create memories for ourselves and to really live the moment. When we focus entirely on work and productivity, we skew our internal clocks and miss important moments of life.
I wanted to write about this because now that my son is at home with us, I take every occasion to be present, without distractions, to make that time truly memorable.
To conclude, I want to recommend an awesome movie about time (no, not Back to the Future, sorry :p): About Time