I am toying with the idea of a character who handles time differently.

For them time is slower. To be clear:

They do not perceive time as going slower in the way that one would while waiting for something. Rather time is simply slower for them. You could compare it to the theory in the movie Epic, where smaller things are faster (and so see bigger things as slower).

The character functions, their brain and body can and does keep up with this way of perceiving time.

The obvious consequences are then that they seem very clever. They read faster, reason faster and do faster than other people.

What are the consequences on the body though? Do they age faster and need to eat far more? On a normal (guideline type) human diet would they starve?

I realize that all this largely rests on how much slower time goes for them. For instance if every second for a normal person is two for this character this is not a huge amount of difference. However at one minute for them to the second for us consequences should become large.

Another consequence is that they will probably that everyone seems so stupid (slow!) to that character.

So to sum up: How slow can time go for them while still allowing them to be viable? What are the most important consequences of this blessing (or curse in disguise...)? I am especially interested in the effects on the body rather than the psychology of the character. Anything about psychology in the answer is an extra bonus.

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    $\begingroup$ Maybe they need a huge amount of sleep, because their brain functionality ist too high. In combat or in some tasks they are very fast and good, but they do not have "more" time than others cause of the amout of sleep. Just an idea and not an answer to your question. (That's why I'm commenting) $\endgroup$ – user27459 Jan 10 '17 at 12:59
  • $\begingroup$ "For instance if every second for a normal person is two for this character" - well, in conjunction with faster aging this means that they age twice as fast as a normal human, which is quite a lot (living expectancy of 35-40 years!). $\endgroup$ – Yogev Levy Jan 10 '17 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Flies and rats see in slow motion compared to humans. Sounds similar to what you are describing. $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Jan 10 '17 at 13:15
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    $\begingroup$ Scott Flansburg can calculate mathematics in his head faster than a person can do with a calculator. His perceptions might be something you could research...maybe he experiences time differently. $\endgroup$ – Thom Blair III Jan 10 '17 at 13:21
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    $\begingroup$ Would they know they're any different? It is all they have known and they might never have pushed themselves to be quicker. If you meet expectations without trying why would you feel the need to push yourself? Is it something others know about? Is this character born as part of an experiment or is it a mutation? $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Jan 10 '17 at 13:43

The person would have to have incredible patience and endurance. Even if he experienced time at say, 10% more slowly, that would mean a day to him would seem like 26.4 hours. He would appear to tire quickly, but also recover quickly as well. He would need to eat more, and more frequently.

He'd seem a fairly fast typist, fast walker, fast talker, and likely impatient unless he learned to pace himself. If he did that, he'd look like the actors in the Ramones video "I want to be sedated". He might be perceived as having tics as his movements would seem sudden and unnatural.

He wouldn't have normal body language and movements, so people might unconsciously see him as strange, off-putting, eccentric and even dangerous.

Every time he went to the doctor, the doctor would be concerned about his rapid heart beat and accelerated metabolism. He would age quickly as well. On the upside, he'd probably heal more quickly, recover from illness more quickly, but any injury or illness that would be life threatening would kill him more quickly as well.

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    $\begingroup$ Also, he is terrible in bed. $\endgroup$ – Willk Jan 10 '17 at 17:16
  • $\begingroup$ @Will that's actually a very good point. $\endgroup$ – Richard U Jan 10 '17 at 18:19

They would find spoken communication and other real-time communications very tedious, constantly waiting for the other side to catch up. It's likely they would much prefer written communication and even hold multiple conversations simultaneously by splitting their time between them.

They would indeed burn calories much faster, a simplistic argument would say twice as fast but actually you have inefficiencies and things that increase with the square of velocity rather than linearly so a 2 times speedup could easily use 4 times as much energy. A 4 times speedup 16 times as much energy.

They would age at a normal rate (for them) living their normal timespan, however to the external world this would involve aging at an accelerated rate.

Are they stronger and tougher as well as faster? Keep in mind that accidents at higher speeds become more serious. If we walk and stub a toe it hurts, moving at twice speed might break the toe, four times speed might break the foot, etc.

Note that speed does not equal intelligence. Give someone with no programming experience a problem to solve and even with half as much time an actual programmer will do a better job. In certain cases they will seem smarter, but in others they will not.

  • $\begingroup$ About the speed and intelligence thing, we may add that education would be extremely painful for that person. With lectures always being "too long and boring". $\endgroup$ – PatJ Jan 10 '17 at 13:44

You've basically described the DC comic character Flash. All of those questions have been addressed in detail over the years in comics, books, TV, and Film.

Basically he perceives everything as if time slowed down, while he moves faster. His metabolism and natural healing abilities are faster, allowing him to take more damage than an ordinary human. He also eats like a horse without any noticeable weight gain.


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