Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Dog Years and Inception Math

If you're anything like me you have wondered why there are seven dog years to every one people year. Indeed if you divide the average human lifespan by the average dog life span it comes out to a number around seven. However, this is an observation rather than a reason. The true answer lies in the rules laid out in the movie Inception.

You see, anyone who has or has had a dog will notice that they spend the majority of time sleeping. In fact dogs sleep about sixteen hours per day rather than our eight. A dog's sleeping/waking pattern is the inverse to ours. This means that where our primary place is in the waking world, dogs primary place is the dream world.

Now, you may remember the movie from a couple years ago called Inception. This movie proposed that one could enter another's dream and plant seeds in said dreams in order to influence waking actions. Alongside of this there were of course several rules about how one interacted with the dream world and the real world which included dreams within dreams etc etc. One of the rules was that five minutes in waking time is equivalent to one hour in a dream. This grew exponentially as the numbers of dream layers grew.

So if dogs sleep for sixteen hours per day they are in the dream world for 192 hours per day or eight days. If you add up how many years they spend in the dream world, a dog that lives to fourteen years old actually lives for 112 years in their dream. Now, the astute observers among you will notice that that's quite a few more years than people live for. A good long life for a person is into the 90's and only the oldest of us live to 112. However there are enough differences in dog lifestyle versus human lifestyle that I believe they could live longer than we do. To begin with, they aren't stressed out. They sleep sixteen hours per day. They also tend to be in good shape. They run around a lot. They don't drink. They don't eat junk food. Their food is engineered fairly carefully. They have iron stomachs. They rarely get sick. It therefore makes sense that they live a little longer than we would. They're just healthier. In the dream world, dogs live about the same amount of time as us.

The true Inception fans will now be saying that I have not accounted for dreams within dreams. With each dream within a dream the time exponentially gets longer and I did not account for this with dogs. However, I doubt this has much effect on dogs. The reason is they don't sleep for long and they sleep lightly. A dog can be in full-on sleep yet is attentive to everything around it and can snap out of sleep immediately. Anyone who has dropped something that sounds like kibble in a bowl can certainly attest to this. In addition, they don't sleep long. Unlike us who get our eight ours in one shot they take fifteen minutes here and there and it adds up to sixteen. This being the case, I doubt they truly get a chance to get into a dream within a dream.

A last argument is that one could say humans live correspondingly longer in the dream world than in the waking world as well as dogs. However, we must remember that a dog's primary world is the dream world, as I mentioned earlier. Therefore it is fitting that a dog's life should be measured in terms of the dreamworld where ours should be measured in terms of the waking world since this is where we spend the majority of our time.

In conclusion, the reason that a person year is seven dog years is not because their lifespan is 1/7th that of ours but rather they live a full and possibly rewarding life in the dream world and the backwards Inception math works out to about fourteen years. One could say that Inception math actually calculates that a dog lives a good ten to twenty years longer than a human however dogs simply live better lives than we do, resulting in a few extra years.

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