Fire fighter Ryan Jordan tells a similar story. The moment when a forest fire suddenly came racing their way and they had to think fast to avoid getting flame broiled, the crucial moment felt like somebody had paused the game.
Why Can't We Do This All of the Time?
How fast time moves for you is literally all in your head. But you know that, you've been in the waiting room at the dentist, or in the chair while they put that huge tattoo of a bald eagle and American flag on your forehead. Talk about bullet time. Seconds become hours.
Something similar happens during moments of frantic mayhem, but for different reasons. Experts say it's because your brain has two modes of experiencing the world, rational and experiential. The first one is what you're probably in now, calm and able to think things through. But if a bomb goes off on the other side of the room, you'll suddenly be in the experiential mode.
Legal note: Please don't test this just so you can call us liars when you blow up your office building.
Your brain goes into a kind of overdrive, bypassing all sorts of analytical and rational thinking processes in favor of hair trigger decision-making. Most normal thinking processes are scrapped, and suddenly you're operating on instinct (or in the case of a cop or soldier, your training). And because you're thinking faster, the world seems to be moving slower. It makes sense; Neo never had the ability to slow down time. He could just move really fast.
So why can't you just turn it on like Neo? A better question is, would you want to? In those times of your life when you've had to make panicked, split-second decisions, how good were those decisions? We're going to hazard a guess that most of the most idiotic (non-drunken) decisions you've made have been in the middle of some kind of panic.
This is why they make police go through all that training. You have to overcome your natural instinct to start crying and shooting in random directions. Experiential thinking is to your brain like stripping all the weight off your car to make it faster. It's not just losing the air conditioning and headrest DVD players; it's losing the antilock brakes and power steering as well.
Now that we think of it, it's kind of like instead of turning you into Neo, it turns you into Keanu Reeves.
Have an idea for an article? Just go here and sign up. No experience necessary.
Check out some people that actually have superpowers, in 7 People From Around the World With Real Mutant Superpowers. Or find out how all of us will be like the X-Men soon, in 5 Superpowers Science Will Give Us in Our Lifetime.
And swing by Twitter to get previews of upcoming articles and trick your friends into thinking you're psychic.