Working with automated computer processing systems over the years, I've struggled with the natural and limiting way we tend to conceptualize real time. In short, we count time with only one clock. It is a curious human habit that unconsciously inhibits our ability to see real time in its full potential. Here's a simple exercise to illustrate what I'm talking about:
You have one computer that can render (process) six images in one hour. What is the average time to render one image?
That's easy, right? 60 minutes divided by six images is an average of ten minutes per image.
Now, what if you have two computers and each one can still render an image in ten minutes. With both working, how many images can you render in one hour? And what is the average time to render an image?
Puhleeze, make it harder. Six images per hour multiplied by two computers equals twelve images per hour. And the average time to render an image is obviously still ten minutes per image, right?
Well, this is where things get interesting. From the viewpoint of one of the computers, only one image is rendered every ten minutes of clock time, so its average rendering time is still ten minutes. But from your point of view, you have two computers working at the same time, thus the average rendering time per image as you experience it is only five minutes (60 minutes divided by twelve images rendered). In real-time, you and the computers experience one hour of clock time, but because the computers are processing concurrently, you actually compress two hours worth of total work into one real time hour. So for the sake of discussion, true time can be defined as real time multiplied by the number of entities (human or computer) simultaneously experiencing it.
As a human being, I instinctively measure the period between now and the same time tomorrow as 24 hours because that's how I experience it. But consider this question: How much total human time truly exists in any 24 hour period? Twenty-four hours multiplied by six billion human beings gives us 144 billion total hours! That works out to roughly 16.4 million years worth of total human true time in every full rotation of the Earth. Imagine even a tiny proportion of that applied in just the right way.
Without a doubt, the way our individual brains experience the passing of real time makes thinking in true time awkward. But that does not change the fact that as a global human community with a long list of seemingly intractable problems, we have at our disposal an extraordinary and mind-boggling storehouse of actual time -- a resource that doesn't need to be bought, borrowed or bailed out. It does require that we recognize the exponential power of synchronizing some of our activities in mutually beneficial shared tasks, and that we learn to count time with more than one clock.