A strange notion of time

Recently during a conversation someone made the following observation.

Did you know that, in terms of years, the premier of Terminator 2 is closer to the moon landing than it is to the present?

In what year were you born?

It is true and very simple to verify. Nevertheless, somehow, it feels extremely counter intuitive. I grew up thinking of the moon landing as an historical event. On the other hand, I watched T2 when it came out on TV and grew up watching constant reruns of the movie. Nevertheless despite all that reinforcement, the premier is also a specific event that occurred in 1991 and is only getting further away from the present.

My completely uninformed theory is that memories of things you grew up with, and therefore to which you have some emotional connection, are always subjectively considered closer to the present than events you learned about but to which you have no other connection (like historical events).

The different moments of memory

There are these different moments in our memory and events that are within certain boundaries – boundaries that define your strong emotional connection – are felt as closer than other non-personal or historical events. Those emotional events, that help define you, are felt as moving with you. This can also extend to the future. Events that have not happened yet are felt has already having an impact.

Well, I digress. That something like the movie Terminator 2 is also getting historical still feels strange and after sharing that factoid with other people I checked that they all frowned initially with a tough like “no, it can’t be” mirrored on their faces. It can. It does not matter much but it keeps getting worst. For example, Jurassic Park will be closer to the moon landing that to the present next year.