My Theory of General Relativity: Timescale Alignment

Bryan Johnson
Aug 9, 2018 · 2 min read

I’ve spoken to to tens of thousands of people in the past year alone about the urgent need to cognitively uplevel ourselves and create humanity-scale plans for the fast approaching future.

The responses—“Holy shit! I’m in!” or “I’m not worried, technology will solve our problems,” or “We’re *^#@!, why even bother?”—have been fascinating. And still others just shrug their shoulders: “So what? What does it even matter anyways?”

When attempting a conversation about cognitive enhancement, eyes usually gloss over: “So, like, advanced meditation?”

My experience is we are locked in our own worlds, for many different reasons — based on our belief systems, group association(s), wealth, life’s stressors, level of hunger at the moment, whether we’re having a bad day, what we fear, etc.

Most importantly, these factors combine to create timescales which our reality revolves around. But everyone is at a different timescale! It’s like everyone’s dial is set to a single time frame at any given moment, which means they are much less receptive to ideas, problems, or solutions outside this band.

It’s one of the most rigid and stubborn cognitive configurations I’ve ever come across. Sometimes we are tragically forced to radically change our timescales (i.e. a terminal disease). Depending on the person, operating time scales can be days, weeks, months, years, decades or even eternity (in the case of some religions) at any given time, and changing constantly.

Importantly, it is really hard for two people to communicate and cooperate whose dials aren’t aligned. Do we need a method for time scale alignment? Or is this a bias and/or oversimplification of mine?

If it’s impeding our progress, do we 1) change the problem to meet people at their timescale; or 2) change the people to match the problem’s timescale? What other options are there?

My experience has been it’s currently extremely challenging for humans to change #2. What do you think?

Future Literacy

Creating mental models for an emerging future

Bryan Johnson

Written by

Founder @KernelCo @OSFund & Braintree

Future Literacy

Creating mental models for an emerging future