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Some Change Can’t Be Imagined

One of the “cool” things about Twitter is that someone can tweet a link to something like this and launch a whole blog topic or even, if you guys are on board, a discussion.

The gist of the article is that a couple of guys have created a new calendar for the whole world. It keeps the 7-day structure, but sets up the months so that every date falls on the same day each year. They say it would make everything more efficient and cut the costs of making new calendars every year by a huge amount. Planning would be easy, because we’d always know what day a date falls on, or what days of the week an annual event will take place (i.e. keep it on the same dates each year).

These guys also advocate doing away with time zones and making the world all work on the same schedule, because it would make international business easier. That one is just ridiculous. Changing the clock doesn’t change the sun. If you live in Columbus, Ohio, and you want to talk to someone in Asia, one of you us setting up the meeting when it’s dark. If we did this, who would get to have their work day during daylight hours? Whose physical systems would be royally screwed, not just on the occasions when they need to be, but every day? What about the people who don’t do international business? Are we going to make kids walk to school in the dark just to put everyone on the same schedule?

“Don’t be silly,” some might say. “The kids could still go to school in the daylight. It would just be nighttime on the clock.” Then why force almost the entire world to change to something unnatural? I can’t see any logic in this one at all.

Okay, back to the calendar. This at least does have some logic to it. The schedule they propose creates a 365-day year, but instead of leap year, they’d just add an extra week to December every 6 or 7 years. Besides that factor, it would make planning easier, I suppose. Kind of. I mean, how hard is it to look to see if my May retreat starts on the 17th or 16th next year? Or which day my birthday falls on?

If your birthday is a weekend, maybe you’d be happy if it never changed. But that wouldn’t be the case for most of us, and that would kind of suck. I also like the variety of having holidays fall on different days. The rare Wednesday Fourth of July, for example, breaks up the week quite nicely.

Even if the new calendar means there’s some stuff we’d always know, like what day New Year’s Eve falls on, we won’t memorize all 365 days and instantly know that October 3rd is a Friday. Relatively few things in our day-to-day lives rely on a static date like that.

People would still need to make calendars. I guess those people who do the calculating to make sure they list everything properly would be out of a job. And wouldn’t that be helpful to the economy? More people unemployed.

The biggest obstacle I see, though, is getting everyone to agree to do it, then instituting it. There would have to be a really long lead time. The organizers of the Fiftieth Annual Possum Festival would be royally pissed if they had to change the date of something already in planning. So we’re talking at least a year of preparation and education.

Assuming everyone would be on board. I mean, look at the European Union. How many years did it take them to implement the euro? And there were still holdouts. You should (and probably do) hear the whining whenever Congress in the U.S. passes a new law that requires companies to do something. New Medicare regulations got postponed to give practices and insurance companies more time to comply. That’s a small portion of the population that’s affected. What happens when we try to get the U.S. government and, say, Saudi Arabia to cooperate? Never mind Pakistan, Libya, or, God forbid, North Korea.

Anyway, it seems to me a purely intellectual exercise that has absolutely no chance of seeing practice. Not pre-apocalypse. Because yes, the global calendar underwent many changes before we settled on the one we all use today (and not everyone uses it exclusively). But change three centuries ago was easier when there were only a few million people to convert. We’ll never get 7 billion people to change something that monumental.

Who disagrees? Am I missing any benefits that would make this worth forcing? What other issues can you see arising from such a change? Are you in favor or opposed? Sound out in the comments!

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10 Responses

  1. I would not like that at all. This seems really stupid. Something that would mess up all kinds of other things to save a few bucks on printing calendars? Not worth it to me

  2. I’m with Heather on this one. And I’d hate never having my birthday on a Saturday again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I can’t see getting the whole world behind it either. Do you remember how big a deal it was when we changed Daylight Savings Time a few years ago?

    In fact, if they want to make life easier, how about getting rid of DST?

  3. Would hate it. Like you said, I like the idea of holidays falling on different days. I like the variety.

    and Daylight Savings Time? Horrible waste of energy. I’m pretty sure there are states or even cities within states that don’t adhere to DST. I’m with Gwen. Get rid of DST.

    I understand what the scientists are saying about the money savings but I don’t think the savings would off-set the PITA this change would bring about!

    But interesting food for thought, Nat

  4. LOL first thing I thought of, “that sucks for people’s whose birthday falls during the week!” ๐Ÿ˜‰

    but yeah, no. I wouldn’t be in favor of this. or the time thing. gag.

  5. Count me in with the selfish birthday folks! All I’ve got to say is someone needs to send those nutjobs-with-too-much-time-on-their-hands my direction. I’ve got laundry that needs doing!

  6. So glad I’m not the only one thinking this way! LOL

    I’m torn on the issue of DST. I don’t like it being dark earlier at night, but Number One walks to the bus stop at 6:40 a.m. DST reduces the number of days she does that in pitch blackness.

  7. Oh, wow! I kinda of like the variety we have now. I think it would get boring after a while. And yeah, if my birthday was one that fell on a weekday I’d be pretty bummed too! Yuk!

  8. I agree with Micki – some people have too much time on their hands. People we have phones with calendars on them. It’s easy peasy to look up dates and, well, why am I arguing. It’s plain dumb.

  9. I guess i’m the lone voice of dissent. Why would you want to keep a calendar as broken as the one we have? Of all the various calendar systems in use in the world, as well as numerous proposed calendars, the Gregorian is by far the worst possible choice for a global calendar.

    Why does it matter if you celebrate your birthday on the day itself, or the next closest saturday? that’s a cultural bias. For example, in Italy, people celebrate on the Saint’s day after whom they are named. So all the Anthony’s celebrate on St Anthony’s day – it doesn’t matter what day you were born.

    The advantage of reforming the calendar is to get rid of the uneven months (31, 30, 28 or 29, 31, etc) without rhyme, reason, ties to the natural phenomena. It doesn’t account for the moon, which is necessary for the major holiday of easter. It names its months after roman gods & emperors, and the numbered months (september through december) don’t line up with when the months fall during the year.

    the fact that you don’t think about the calendar, which is one of the most fundamental technologies that shapes how we perceive and understand time. if you feel that laundry is more important than our psyche, I have to disagree.

    happy days all.

    • Interesting viewpoint. Thanks for coming to voice it!

      The new calendar would still alternate 30 and 31 days, and throw an extra week in every few years. How is that less broken? Why do we have to account for the moon and Easter (I don’t get that connection) when not everyone celebrates Easter? That doesn’t seem relevant.

      The fact is, the Earth’s position and movement make uniformity impossible. I don’t see the value in the change.

      Sent from my iPod Natalie J. Damschroder http://www.nataliedamschroder.com

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