Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New years and zero years

Ah, the new year. So full of promise, a time of renewal, rebirth, Ragnarok, all that. But no, really, the world is not being remade. It's the same shithole it was on December 31st.

The end of the world nonsense about the Mayan calendar in recent years is amusing in more than one way. First off, there's the obvious: are you idiots surprised that some Mayan number-cruncher with an expected disease-ridden lifespan of thirty didn't continue to chisel out the calendar for more than seven hundred years into the future?
Second, it's nice that at least some pointed out how ridiculous it is to take such an arbitrary point in time (determined by some Mayan scribe getting a hand cramp) and turn it into a globe-spanning superstition, but almost nobody seems to be able to go one further and point out our own 21st century high-rise living tribal superstitions' ephemeral senselessness.

It's not only the religious nonsense about celebrating what is probably not the actual birthday of someone who was born four years before he was born (forget the virgin birth, how's that one for a miracle) but the insistence on such an artificial delineation as the end of December as the 'new year.' If we're going to arbitrarily section time for the sake of record-keeping, could we start the solar calendar with something a bit more noteworthy, like a solstice or an equinox?

Getting back to that zombified one-third of a trinity, it's long past time we stopped using his misremembered year of birth as the reference point for our brief existence in the universe. We can misremember slightly more important things. My personal favorite is the legendary year of the founding of Rome. Maybe we could make a wild guess about when Hammurabi legalized social injustice. Maybe someone can track down the exact date of the first cave-painting.

Think about it. I could be writing this on the twelfth day after the solstice in the year of Romulus 2780. Eh? Eh?

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