Great start. The first day of the year, and I didn’t post until well after midnight. This is mostly due to the fact that I was up until all hours last night celebrating. But if we took this nonsense seriously, wouldn’t we have an early night on New Year’s Eve and start the thing right? Because we don’t, each new year begins in failure.
I’ve made many successful resolutions. I’ve given up more vices than a lot of people ever manage to cultivate. But not one of these vows was made on a New Year. They were made when I actually had a real desire to change my life, and the inner strength to make it happen. Which, funnily enough, didn’t often¹ occur on a set calendar date during the coldest, darkest, wettest time of the year.
Calendars were our first real computational devices, and helped our ancient ancestors herd and farm successfully. (The illustration is from Nabta Playa in southern Egypt, though the similarity to stone circles dotted all over Ireland is obvious.) Naturally they became endowed with religious significance; the cycle of the year as metaphor for the cycle of life, death, and birth. But the thing is, it is just a metaphor. The calendar is a way to predict the seasons, no more. The arbitrary start of the year is not sacred or mystical, there is absolutely nothing special about this day.
That’s my excuse anyway.
- Actually I did give up smoking in an early January, but that was pretty much a coincidence. Story for another day.
- Scientists’ proposed calendar synchronizes dates with days (edition.cnn.com)
- David Hunter: What year is it? Well, that depends (knoxnews.com)
- What’s special about 2012? (guruparan18.wordpress.com)