What happens to you when you stop time?

Theres always an episode in those sci-fi shows where someone can stop/slow time around them (as opposed to going faster than the speed of light like Superman). What could possibly happen to you if you could? You’re fighting wind resistance at “normal time” So wouldn’t it be like pushing against a wall? Would you be able to see anything because photon particles are suspended? Or would you spontaneously combust because your internal body is moving really fast at normal time. Or even at the molecular level where the electrons aren’t spinning.
What about the effects slowing time down to a ratio of one minute per hour?

I’ve ruined it now, but if you stop time, you will get no replies to your question.

What happens to you when you stop time?


“That’s entertainment!” —Vlad the Impaler

analog or digital? if it’s digital you eat lunch.

“Pardon me while I have a strange interlude.”-Marx

I don’t know, but the best pornography I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading was based on this theme.(“The Fermata” by Nicholson Baker)

Firstly, you stop. You don’t breathe. You don’t think. You don’t live. Since everything you do takes time to happen, you come to a complete stop. But, ok, let’s assume your body and mind continue to function as if time was still moving for you. We’ll put you in some kind of “warp field” so that everything you do takes place instantaneously. (That is how it would work, relativistically speaking. To an outside observer all your actions happen simultaneously.)

Next we have some of the problems you mentioned in the OP. The atmosphere will not move out of your way, so you can’t move. Your eyes (and ears) would be useless, since the stimuli they detect are frozen in place. You would start getting very warm, since the heat in your body has nowhere to go. I think it’s possible you may start feeling weightless (even though you couldn’t actually move). If I’m not mistaken gravity requires time to function. In short, you would be blind, deaf, immobile, overheated, and maybe nauseous.

I think I would just prefer to keep the ol’ Timex ticking, thank you.

Mr. K’s Link of the Month:

The Enchanted World of Rankin-Bass

It would be impossible to move infinetely fast. This would open up all sorts of time paradoxes.

Also, I don’t see any difference between slowing/stopping time and moving faster than light like Superman.

Virtually yours,


The original Superman came from a higher gravity planet, so had a more powerful body. Hence the phrase ‘he can jump tall buildings’. Fair enough, if there were any human inhabitants of the moon, we could outperform them.

Now Superman can ‘fly’ - but of course they don’t explain that, do they. Grrrrrr!


I think you may be forgetting the possible effects of radiation from the red sun of Krypton.


Would this also cause Superman to have a super sense of humor?

I assume the question means “stop time for everyone else but NOT for you.”

If you mean stop time for YOU but not for everyone else, that’s easy to do – you die. Of course, it’s hard to reverse that action.

I think someone just needs to do this, and let the rest of us know how it went.

It is too clear, and so it is hard to see.

Mr.Sparkle, I’d like to see you define ‘TIME.’
ah ha.

I tried stopping Time once, but they just wouldn’t stop sending me those annoying little renewal notices. I had to renew to save my sanity.

After time stops for me, I feel the need for a cigarette…

Yer pal,

Your brilliance and wit is only outstripped by the enormity of your Trust Fund. Touche’


" If you want to kiss the sky, you’d better learn how to kneel "

Ok, what if we look at this question from a slightly different perspective.

While I’m not an expert, I’m pretty sure that we all have reflex’s. And these can be measured…the time it takes you to react to certain events. Everyone doesn’t have the same reaction time…some people have faster reflex’s than others. So if you could find a way to increase the speed of a person’s reflex’s, then to them, it would seem as if everyone else was moving slower. In effect, you wouldn’t be messing with time itself, rather with a person’s perception or time.


It seems to me that what Mr. Sparkle isn’t asking about is truly stopping time, but just stopping all motion. In other words, everything in the universe would be motionless except you. Of course, this would probably have the same effect as stopping time on top of your freezing instantly due to the sudden cold created by lack of molecular motion (i.e. everything reaches absolute 0).

Why is his trust fund so evil? (And, BTW, look up “enormity” in the dictionary.)

As far as the original question is concerned, it’s sort of on the level of asking for a scientific explanation of how so many angels can dance on the head of a pin. It is a fantasy concept and any “scientific” explanation is merely speculating in a vacuum.

“East is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does.” – Marx

Read “Sundials” in the new issue of Aboriginal Science Fiction. www.sff.net/people/rothman

If you’re talking about stopping (or slowing) time relativistically, then it all depends on the observer’s frame of reference. You would only be moving more slowly as other people see you. In your frame of reference, time would seem identical. Brian Green used an illustration in his book, “The Elegant Universe”, that I’m going to steal and mutate a bit.

Imagine that you have a very, very precise clock. The way this clock operates is that it measures the frequency that a photon bounces between two perfect mirrors. The clock is in a transparent spaceship. Let’s say that you are observer A and your frame of reference is situated in the spaceship. Your buddy, observer B, is on the Earth watching you through a telescope. At first, the spaceship is at rest, relative to the Earth. You and your buddy observe the same clock rate. Then the spaceship starts to move very fast. As you watch the clock, nothing changes. The photon bounces back and forth at the fixed speed of light with a vertical movement. As your buddy watches the clock, he notices that the photon isn’t bouncing vertically between the mirrors. The photon now traces a sawtooth. The distance the photon has to travel is now greater, but the photon can’t move any faster. So your buddy observes your clock ticking more slowly, even though it all looks the same to you. If your spaceship could move at the speed of light, your buddy would see the photon take an infinite amount of time to advance toward its next tick - in other words, your buddy would perceive that for you time has stopped. For you, time would still look the same because all processes in your frame of reference (including those at the atomic level) would be dialated in the same way. You would have no perception of the slowing or stoppage of time.

Of course, you can’t make a spaceship move at the speed of light and even at speeds approaching C, the inertial forces would likely crush you, so it’s kind of pointless to think about stuff like this.

There’s no way, relativistically, to stop time for others around you while you move about freely among the frozen bodies like you see on TV sci-fi.

You either go insane because your mind can’t cope without referencing time, or you just don’t notice that time has stopped.

I’m only your wildest fear, from the corners of your darkest thoughts.