It could be the approach of a horror movie: Eight men and seven women are locked in a cave in Ariège (France) with the intention of spending 40 days in isolation without more light than what they can provide themselves with a pedal generator. However, it is an experiment to test the long-term effects of isolation.
An isolation, yes, quite special. Because no natural light, no clocks of any kind, this project called ‘Deep Time’ wants to explore what happens when time disappears from our lives.
A clock that syncs with the outside world
The human body is a very complex machine in which thousands of processes occur daily fitting one on top of the other like gears in a clock. In fact, the metaphor of the clock has been used a lot throughout history. Although, and this is important to say, it looks more like a wind-up watch than an atomic clock.
To continue with the metaphor, some bodies lag behind; others advance. And, whatever the case, needs the outside world to “catch up” and regulate. Failure to do so, we well know, not only increases the possibility of having cancer in the medium term, but also increases the risk of developing immune, metabolic, cardiac, psychological and cognitive problems.
Nevertheless, there’s a lot we don’t know about chronophysiological mechanisms. In this sense, ‘Deep Time’ agrees that there is a scientific vacuum on the details of small great balance. And surely an experiment like this would be really interesting to study the effects of “timeless fog” on the human body and psychologies.
Unfortunately ‘Deep Time’ won’t do us any good. It is not a scientific experiment to the full extent of the expression; in fact, I’m not sure (beyond the general idea) the research design was the best one to get the answers we need. In France, without going any further, some discomfort has been generated precisely due to the lack of specialists in charge of the project.
It is fundamentally one of those expeditions that combine scientific interest with a sense of entertainment (although, normally, the latter predominates). Be that as it may, the 15 mighty men locked themselves in the cave on March 14 and will be out on April 22. We will see then, if the darkness has been worth it.
Image | David garrido