A Minute On The London Tube

This post came about as Lamo spends a lot of his time travelling through the tunnels of London inside a metal tube, yet one thing has always struck him down there. (Oh, if you can’t gather from the description he is referring to the London Tube network.) What on earth is this crazy lion on about in this post. Well read on and he will try to explain more about this weird experience he often encounters.

Every living thing bows to the cycle of time, feeling its affect every waking moment. Its almost relentless march upon whose wave we are propelled forward, a helpless ship upon its endless ocean. Unable to fight it so we have learned to mark its direction. Breaking the eternal line of its form into bite sized chunks enabling us to try to make sense of what we do not understand.

Humanity has broken this unyielding master into smaller characters like years, months, days, hours, minutes seconds, right down to the tiniest fractions like milliseconds, which to be honest really bear no relevance as they are beyond our actual human perception.

Minutes, seconds, these do make sense they feel manageable to us, understandable. We can almost touch them with our feelings, their effect felt as we go about our daily lives. So much so that we can almost count them off in our minds like a mental clock.

As we grow we become so accustomed to these measures it becomes instinctive almost to know exactly how long they are. Our environment of course is a huge help here for we have the light of day and night, the routine occurrences set to act out their function at specific times. Our own bodies giving us inbuilt clocks through the beating tocks of rhythmic heartbeats. Lastly, yet not least we are surrounded by technology, which some part shows a ticking clock counting of the minutes and seconds of our lives. Time then is as much a part of us as the blood flowing constantly around our innards.

Earlier this century a much smarter lion than Lion, by the name of Einstein wrote of time;

Time is relative to the observer, and more specifically to the motion of that observer.

In clever wording he is saying that time can flow differently, relative to each individual, depending upon their circumstances. He said many other smart things to but for the purpose of this post, it is only this quote we need to think about.

Let us now go back to the London Tube, standing upon one of the many platforms deep down below the City above. It is in here that Lamo notices, actually, more feels that time is different. Diluted for some reason, it passes a little slower.

If we take Mr Einstein’s quote to perhaps try and explain this. Is that being below the surface that time some how is affected from the way it behaves above surface? He mentions motion of the person, is the fact we are stood absolutely still waiting for that next subterranean train to turn up affecting how we are perceiving time, adding to the effect?

One thought he ponders is does the mass of people all doing the same thing come together like some cosmic time rod attracting more time to the area? Does not it follow that if there is more time, a minute has to stretch further now to fill it?

Maybe the motion of the tube itself speeding through the tight fitting tunnels some how creates vortexes of time which are blown out in front of it along with the wind we feel on our skin? Both of these are unseen yet we feel the wind act upon us, why can’t time do the same? Going back to our late friend Mr Einsten we also have Gravity conspiring to change time;

Time dilation doesn’t just occur because of relative motion, it can also occur because of gravity. Einstein’s theory of relativity says that gravity is a property of the warping of space and time. So when you have a mass like Earth, it actually warps space and time.

If you’re standing on the Earth, your time appears to move a little bit more slowly than someone up in space, because of the difference in gravity.

Down there in those seemingly endless tunnels, is our friend Gravity also at work. After all we are technically nearer the Earths centre, does this little change in altitude add to the other things affecting Father Time, to be more like Grandfather Time instead?

The title of this post is, “A London Tube Minute” because Lamo has come to experience a minute passing in these depths as being a little longer than a normal one. It actually feels physically longer to him. Do all these things we’ve thought about add up to create a dilution of time in this particular environment? The tonoi  announces in its perky tone, “The next train to Mars will arrive in 2 minutes.” (Well maybe not Mars, not yet anyway!) In then what feels more like two and a half, it finally turns up, which has it been, 2 or 2 and a half?

Measure it then!” is what you are all crying out as you read this post, fair point. But here is the thing. We all know that time plays funny tricks on the Universe. Why would it not affect the things we may use to measure that minute in exactly the same way as Lamo is? The electronics in the clocks we might use, they are all going to measure the minute the same down here thus appearing to use that it is a standard minute. Yet is it like mass hysteria in everything in this time tunnel experiences the same time dilution?

However we try to analyse it, in reality we know logically that it is an impossibility to do so. In our ears though we can always hear Einstein explaining to us, “no time is relative“, why is Lamo’s belief that a minute in the London Tube system is not truly longer than one above it?

In a final thought we all know that people will explain how time goes faster when your doing something you enjoy against something you don’t. As the following quote quite nicely sums up;

In bed its 6am, you close your eyes for 5 minutes, its 07:45.
At work its 13:30, close your eyes for 5 minutes its 13:31!

Would that next then dictate the time dilution would be different when you are travelling towards something you like on the tube, move faster, slower when it is the opposite? Lamo experiences only this extension of time, no matter where he travels to, never the over way around.

Therefore this must rule out the human mood in the tube affecting the time. If it is always slower then does not that common factor point to time itself actually being different here, diluted?

How many of you that use the tube regularly have felt that same change in how time flows here in this world below worlds?

Is a minute on the London Tube actually different to a normal one?


(c) Harlin & Lamo The Lion 2019

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