Happy Same Year

World Calendar
All the calendar you'll ever need

More calendar bollocks. I linked to this a couple of days ago but it’s been picked up by Time, so now it’s real.

Some people think we should change the calendar so that each date falls on the same day of the week ever year. It’s one of those ideas that’s so brilliantly simple you wonder why no one’s ever done it. Until you realise the reason why no one’s ever done it is that there’s no bloody point in doing it.

The chief stumbling block to the enterprise is that 365 is not divisible by 7. But while others might give up at that point, these two have a simple solution: Adding a day that has no name. It ain’t a Tuesday or a Sunday or nothin’, it’s just “Worldsday”.

The advantages of this? Well, you wouldn’t need to buy a new calendar every year. If you still buy calendars. And you’ll be able to work out which day of the week every date is, forever. Instead of asking a computer to.

Any disadvantages? Well, we’ll have to memorise a different set of month lengths. Thirty days hath… November? And there’s the little detail that it puts an end to a seven-day cycle that has been unbroken for thousands of years. That… seems a shame.

I believe we have a seven day week simply because it divides evenly into both a 364-day solar year and a 28-day lunar month. Of course we know now that the year and month are both a little longer than that, but when the ancients came up with it I bet they thought it was really cool. It isn’t sacred though. Well, not any more. We don’t have to stick with their mistake. Indeed throughout history, people have tried to clear that mess up. What bugs me most about this attempt though is that it is so much change to achieve so little. The sixteenth of May will be a Thursday, forever. So ****ing what? If we’re going to rip it up and start again, let’s replace it with something that will be worth the trouble, something that will really blow the doors off calendrical conformity.

They tried to decimalise it after the French revolution. Unfortunately, ten divides into 365 even less well than seven does and the system was ridiculed. Merely being revolutionary for its own sake doesn’t cut it. For a new system to catch on, it will need to have real benefits. I’ve had a go at this myself, spending weeks on a radical but no doubt ultimately doomed scheme to harmonise the rhythms of the firmament. I’ll tell you how it works if there’s time – and such a thing as – tomorrow.

Lunchtime Doubly So

English: Nabta Playa calendar in Aswan Nubia m...
Calendars. Useful for predicting the seasons. Visibly less effective at predicting climate.

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 often┬╣ 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.

 

  1. Actually I did give up smoking in an early January, but that was pretty much a coincidence. Story for another day.

Nabta_Playa