On the Power of Arbitrary Numbers on the Calendar

Yes. It was 12:12 and 12 seconds on the twelfth day of the twelfth month of the twelfth year of this millennium, let alone century. And for that one brief second . . . what happened? The planets aligned? Peace reigned over the world? The Mayans got ready for a big apocalypse?

Well, I watched it tick off on the online clock with TRC, who has the stomach flu, and so I was grateful for a momentary way to distract him. But other than that, why in the world do we feel like that time is something significant? It’s not like this was some solar phenomenon. It’s not like our calendar system is the only one in existence.

And yet, there I was, tuning in to “watch it happen.” Even though there was no real “it” to watch. Everyone on the globe experienced that second, whether they were watching numbers tick away or not. So why did it seem important to “be a part of it”?

Part of me wonders if this isn’t a remnant sort of belief in the powers of astrology. It’s just that since we as a people are now so relatively distant from actually understanding what the stars and planets are doing, we have turned to other more observable markers of time: our own system. Gone are the days of watching the sun’s movement–building Stonehenge and the like. Replaced instead by a bunch of people staring at man-made objects that tell us what time it is, and where significance is only important in an entirely man-made context. There’s a deeper meaning there, but I’m too tired at the moment to go searching for it too diligently.

We like to look back at our ancestors and think about how quaint they were, with their beliefs in various gods and mystical powers. But at times like these, I have to wonder how different the present day really is.

And that’s my deep thought for you for the day.

Leave a comment