A New Calendrical System
Over the years, many different groups and individuals have attempted to
redefine the way in which we humans keep track of passing years. Each group or
person chooses a year in which to start numbering, and then the years
follow consecutively, which is all well and good as far as that goes.
There is, for example, the One True
Discordian Calendar, which is naturally superior to all others.
Also, Robert Anton Wilson describes his multi-cultural dating method in his
``How to Live Eleven Days in 24 Hours''. His ideas are also naturally
superior to all others, but Robert Anton Wilson is a nincompoop, and
a bald-headed liar besides. Therefore, we reject his system, even if it
isn't really a system at all, which it is.
In any case, his essay describes many and
varied year-numbering systems, so we won't repeat them here. Further,
there are many dating systems which Wilson does not mention -- such as
the Celtic Church reckoning, the Roman system, and the Julian calendar.
There are certainly many more, too.
But the important aspect of all of these dating systems is that they all
involve numbers, which leads us to one seemingly inescapable problem,
not with the calendars themselves, but with the human beings who use them,
Humans have an obsession with round numbers.
This leads people to attach importance to otherwise unimportant units of time
larger than the year itself, which is nicely based on the Newtonian mechanics
of the solar system and therefore has some basis in observable phenomena.
Most notably, this penchant for round numbers causes people to regard human
history in terms of decades, starting with years that end in one zero,
and centuries, starting with years that end in double zeroes.
(It should be noted though that in, for example, the Gregorian calendar with
which most people are familiar, centuries and decades do not really start in
the year with the zero on the end, but in the year with the one on the
end, since the calendar was worked out by non-intelligent types who left out
the year 0.) (The previous parenthetical statement may strike some as
excessively picayune coming from an author with a known chaotic
temperment. Consider that sometimes, chaos can appear very orderly, and that,
even in a chaotic system, certain disorderly elements may get their ass
kicked regardless. Metaphysically speaking, of course.)
It occured to this author, thinking about human life spans, that the division
of human time into centuries is an unfair and arbitrary split. It's not as if
everyone who was alive in 1899 suddenly died in 1900 and was replaced by
``twentieth century'' people. But, when one looks at dates in terms of
decades and centuries, that's the idea one gets. (At least, the idea this one
``Einstein, the greatest scientist of the twentieth century,'' a history book
might say. Why not the greatest scientist of the years between 1853 and 1951?
Why not the greatest scientist of not only his lifetime, but also of 1066?
It annoys this author that, should he be discussing the 1977 release of Star
Wars with twelve-year-old children in the Gregorian year 2015, they'll
think it was a hundred years ago when it was really less than forty. There is
an unnatural break that will most likely occur during this author's lifetime,
after which he will be a relic of the ``twentieth century.''
Fuck all that.
This author has a better way. This author has the One True Dating System
which will cure all these ills. It occurred to him that any counting system
involving years requires some sort of ordering, and ordering implies these
round numbers -- unless one can find an ordered system which does not
immediately bring to mind those devils of digitization, those protagonists of
parcelization, those ninny zeroes of base 10.
And this author found one: The Alphabet.
Certainly, the alphabet does have its own unnatural division; that is, when Z
is followed by A, we've come full circle, and there is something of a break
there. But this author finds this break much less of an obvious stake in the
ground, much less of a chainlink fence across historical consciousness. (Can
one speak of such a fence? Or should it evolve from excrement on a tree
through piles of stones and hedgerows and split-rails up to electrified
chainlink? It doesn't matter, the metaphor is being mangled anyway.)
So, we can order the years A, B, C, and so on, eventually getting to Z, then
following that with AA, AB, AC, and so on and so forth.
This is all good, again as far as it goes. But now we need to find a starting
date, the First Year from which we will start lettering. Different cultures
have answered this question many ways. Discordians, for example, start their
ordering from the Original Snub. Of course, this is the best spot, but
nonetheless, we shall look for another. The Islamic calendar begins its
numbering from the hegira, the date when Mohammed fled from Mecca.
Clearly, this is silly, since hegira isn't even an English word and
no one's really sure how to spell it. The Gregorian and Julian calendars
place Year One at the birth of a probably fictional character named Jesus;
and, to add even less palatable ingredients to an already gamey stew, people
who actually believe in this person have placed his date of birth anywhere
from four years to seventeen years previous to this Year One. Since not
everyone can get together on
this matter -- even those who claim to be on the same side -- this is obviously
a bad choice for reckoning (even if your bank won't accept checks based on any
The ancient Roman system used the date of the founding of Rome. Unfortunately,
all the anicent Romans are dead and have been replaced by people who willingly
elect pornographic models to public office, and while they are to be
commended for such activities, they certainly can't be trusted with important
things like dates. The ancient Hebrew calendar began its counting with the
victory of one Seleucus at Gaza, but he's not even Jewish. The Jews later
calculated the creation of the world as having occured 3007 years prior to
the founding of Rome and used that as their First Year. Any group which is
going to change its mind on matters of such import shouldn't be allowed near
a calendar, at least in this author's opinion.
Others also have adopted their own numbering systems, based on egomania,
James Joyce, the Bible, Hung Mung, and other fictions. All of these are as
meaningless as anything else. (Except, of course, for this new system, which
is deeply and importantly meaningful.)
Fuck all that.
According to Isaac Asimov in Of Time and Space and Other Things,
the earliest event we can date exactly is a battle which was scheduled to
occur between the Lydians and the Medians in Asia Minor. This battle was
thoughtfully called off on account of total eclipse of the Sun, and, thanks
to the modern invention of Newtonian mechanics, we can calculate the exact
date and time on which this eclipse occurred. In the Gregorian calendar,
this date is May 28, 585 B.C.
This strikes the author as being a perfect date for Year A, since it's the
earliest date we can be sure of. In fact, this author thinks it's a perfect
date for Chaos 1, A -- the first day of the first year. (We might as well
keep the Discordian months -- why not?)
The author has chosen to call this wonderful system the Jusanotoron Calendar,
for JUst SAy NO TO ROund Numbers. You can call it whatever you like. For
example, you can decide that Jusanotoron is close enough to
Joshua Norton to
call this the Joshua Norton Memorial Reckoning. Or, you may just decide to
call this system flapdoodle.
So, in the Jusanotoron Calendar, the fictional year of the fictional birth of
the fictional character known as Jesus is VN. This year -- 1995 Gregorian --
is CUF. Today, in fact, is Confusion 47, CUF. Pearl Harbor was supposedly
bombed on Confusion 48, CSD. And the fictional date of the fictional birth
of the fictional character known as Pope Icky Fundament is Confusion 60, CTG.
Keep an eye out for this dating system on official letterheads everywhere.
So much for all that.