Several times over the course of this blog, I have wrote about the profound failures in how we look at years, months, and weeks. Here, I propose several levels of compromise solutions.
The United States, and also the United Nations, loves to talk about freedom of religion. Whatever extent to which religion is actually free, both the US and the world in general operate in a society heavily biased towards Christianity.
This bias manifests itself both overtly and subtly. The English language (as well as many other western languages) is systemically rigged in ways to glorify Christianity, as can be seen in, for instance, how many places you can go to confirm “Christian” as a synonym for “ethical”. Although not clearly pointing towards just Christianity, the pledge of allegiance forces the reciter to acknowledge a relationship between the USA and some religion with a singular god. (The pledge of allegiance is also a very unnecessary and mindless act of gratuitous patriotism on top of a religiously biased message. I have refused to recite the pledge of allegiance for six years and recommend the same to you.)
There are also places where Christian hegemony still controls society that are not obvious at first glance. Many of these exist within societal standards. In the modern human society, pretty much the entire world is forced to bend to a system of year-numbering that honors Christianity, with an origin at an alleged time of Jesus’ birth. (Two things: both the origin and the alignment to Jesus’ birth are themselves lies, failing to even fulfill their intended biasing purpose. Year 0 never happened in the Gregorian calendar, and Jesus was actually born 4 years “before Christ”, which is hilarious to think about.) Some like to change the “AD” and “BC” labels on Gregorian years to “CE” and “BCE”, claiming this secularizes the calendar, but this does not change the fact that the numbers of the years themselves give special treatment to Christianity. CE and BCE can count as secular as much as the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea can count as a democratic republic. Changing a name does not change the content referred to.
And thus, we should set out to choose a new zero. (Or, I guess, a first zero, really.) Year 0 should mark a massively impactful event. I think it is in the spirit of this search to choose a massively liberating event. And specifically, the year I will make a case for is that known in the Gregorian calendar as “1945”.
There were other years of mass liberation that have occurred. Gregorian “1991” comes to mind. I’d argue there are still many massive liberations to occur in the future. But “1945” was and probably will remain a uniquely stark year of liberation. That year, the terribly bittersweet end of World War II, was a year when many different people of many different sorts saw a life not nearly as terrible as that just lived the past few years. And more importantly, it was a year in which the tremor of massive liberation could be felt around the world.
(This is how years will be referenced from now on on this blog and on my data visualization blog, wywing.wordpress.com. I will attempt to fully abandon the Gregorian numberings, a symbol of Christian oppression and the father of tradition-justified inefficient conventions. This year is year 71 (or with a suffix, 71 CL, 71 years closer to liberty).)
Here are a few additional recognitions for various other points of compromise between the goals of rejection of a ridiculous calendar and ease of interchange with current time-keeping methods.
- January 1 is not a good start of the year. It does not line up with anything seasonally or astronomically significant. December 21 is a good nearby solstice to recognize as a start of the year, although June 21 is a better solstice to use due to greater proximity to aphelion. (Like how the moon month begins with a new moon, the ellipse of orbit should begin with minimal closeness and velocity. The state most like zero should be the start of the cycle.) Better yet, use aphelion itself. These choices come with increasing difficulty of keeping track of; acknowledging December 21 as the start of the year is simply a matter of making an extra month before January of 11 days and making both it and December just be short months.
- 31-day months are bad. They are much less divisible than 30-day months, and align worse with a 365-day year. We can afford to have less 31-day months and more 30-day months because one month stupidly has 28 (or 29) days. Derecognize January 31 and rerecognize it as February 0. This is the change of minimal effort; one could also make the change to make months have consistent indexing by shifting all of February’s days forwards, but notice that using February 0 is backwards-compatible outside the local change. Rerecognizing March 1 as February 29 is not backwards-compatible, but recognizing it as February 30 is, using skipping from 28 to 30 on non-leap years.
- Discard the seven-day week. Seven is pretty much the worst number to have for days in a week. Make it either six days with a day skipped in February on non-leap years or five days with an extra day in February on leap years; make it so you don’t have to design or print a new calendar for the new year.