Implementing the Calendar

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Change isn’t easy. A period of 1,627 years spanned the difference between the calendar reforms introduced by Julius Caesar and those introduced by Pope Gregory XIII.  Of course, other calendars in other parts of the world were introduced–most notably the Islamic Calendar and the Jalali Calendar in Iran. But as of today, almost all

know that in Western timekeeping, we keep track of years, months and days differently than we do the time of day?  And not just because there’s 24 hours in a day.

With 24-hour time notation, used in the military and in many European countries, midnight is indicated by “00:00.”  With 12 hour clock time, “00:00” is replaced by “12:00.”  This creates the rather strange phenomenon in which 11:59 am is followed by 12:00 pm. We’re used to it, almost to the point of not thinking about it, but can you imagine trying to explain this to someone not familiar with our timekeeping system?

But this phenomenon doesn’t exist in the Gregorian Calendar.  The first year AD is 1, not zero.  The calendar skips from 1 BC to 1 AD, with no zero in between.  This is partially because when Dionysius Exiguus invented the Anno Domini Era in 525 AD (10225 EE) in an attempt to date the Julian Calendar from Jesus’s birth,  the use of zero as a number did not exist in Europe.  While the concept of zero as number seems to have existed in Mesoamerican cultures going back at least to 36 BCE (9663 EE), it wasn’t adopted in Europe until 976 CE (10676 EE) and wasn’t widely used until after the invention of the printing press in 1439 CE (11139 EE).

As I have said before, the calendar most widely in use in the world today has only undergone minor adjustments since the calendar reforms instituted by Julius Caesar in 46 BCE (9653 EE).  As such, the months and days were based on the same ancient numerical system.  These are referred to as “natural” or “counting” numbers, and are used to quantity, i.e. six apples.  But many calculations are very difficult to do with such numbers–such systems, for example, don’t allow for fractions or decimals.  For these, real numbers become necessary.

Because it’s confusing to have counting numbers and real numbers used in different contexts within the same calendar system, The Earth Epic Calendar uses real numbers across the Board.  This means, then, that the first day of a quarter is 0, then followed by 1 which is the same as the first minute and first hour of the day in 24-hour time.  This, then matches the way years are counted.  The year 1 CE is 9701 EE, and the year 1 BCE is 9700 CE.  Year 0 of the Earth Epic Calendar is then 9701 BCE, which is, in fact, what the International Commission on Stratigraphy adopted as the beginning of the Holocene (with a margin of error of plus or minus 99 years).

The confusion between counting and real numbers became evident in the year 2000 CE.  Many people mistakenly believed that January 1, 2000 began the 21st century CE.  This is, in fact, not true due to the lack of a Year Zero in the Gregorian Calendar.  If the Gregorian Calendar did have a Year Zero, January 1, 2000 CE would in fact have been the beginning of the 20th century.  But then again, might it not be confusing that all of the years of the 20th century began with 19?

While these distinctions may seem confusing to us, there is a very easy way to remember how to use .  The numbers 0, 1, 2, etc. refer to the amount of time completed.  In the current Western time-keeping system, 1 a.m. refers to one hour of the day completed, not the first hour.  Thus Easttide 0 means zero days of Easttide completed thus far, and the first second of Easttide 1 means that one day has been completed. The same applies all of the rest of the units from Eon to Sec, with the exception of Quarters where names are used instead of numbers.

To avoid confusion, it is best to avoid reference to the first Eon, the first year, or the first day of a given period.  We would instead say Eon 1, Year 1, Day 1, etc.  If we must refer to the “first year,” we need to realize that it refers to Year 0, the “second year” refers to Year 1, and so on.Edit

countries in the world use the Gregorian Calendar as the official civil (as opposed to religious) calendar. The only countries that do not use the Gregorian Calendar are Iran and Afghanistan, which use the Solar Hijri Calendar, Ethiopia, which uses the Ethiopian Calendar, and Nepal, which uses the Vikram Samvat calendar as its official calendar.  Many other nations use a local or religious calendar side by side with the Gregorian calendar as their official calendars (i.e. India, Bangladesh, and Israel), or use a modified version of the Gregorian calendar (Japan, North Korea, Taiwan, Thailand).

The World Calendar had significant support within the League of Nations and the United Nations between 1930 and 1955.  However, many Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders opposed it because it would have offered 1-2 “off calendar” days that would disrupt the cycle of days of worship.  No other calendar reform has come closer to worldwide acceptance in the modern era, though ISO 8601, which adds a Year “0” between 1 AD and 1 BC, is widely used to help standardize the wide range of date expressions to make data exchange and trade easier.

The Prospects for Gregorian Calendar Reform provides a good summary of the desirability and challenges of calendar reform.   The Earth Epic Calendar is likely unique in the addition of the Epic Time Scales (Eon, Genesis, and Age) That plus replacing months with quarters, switching to an observation-based calendar which starts on the Northern Winter Solstice, and its different method of timekeeping arguably make the Earth Epic Calendar a rather radical effort at reform.

Logically speaking, people will adopt what they wish to adopt.  One advantage of the Earth Epic Calendar is that not all changes have to occur at once, and some changes could be adopted with minimum of effort if people truly have the desire to do so.

The Epic Time Scales (which will be set at 18 Eons, 16 Geneses, and 12 Ages for the next 13,000+ years) can be added to Gregorian date expressions without changing any other date reading or writing habits the average person has.  Perhaps it can be incorporated into formal expressions of the date, as often seen on diplomas or on Roman number expressions of the year.  The expression of the last two digits of the year is identical to that of the Gregorian Calendar as well, requiring only a change to the “prefix” of the year expression from “20” to “117.”

Businesses that rely closely on quarterly numbers could appreciate the efforts of this calendar to divide the days of the calendar equally between the quarters so as to accurately measure and compare numbers.  Businesses that choose to report figures on a monthly basis can issue reports for dates that complete the first second and final third of the quarter.

The Earth Epic calendars benefits are many.  They include:

  • Helping people understand that we human are but one small part of the Earth’s evolution for one (likely) small moment.  Understanding this can hopefully help human beings be more humble at a time when our activities are threatening life on Earth and undoing hundreds of millions–if not billions of years–of evolution.
  • Connecting the Eon roughly to the evolution of dinosaurs and the Genesis to the immediate ancestors of Homo Sapiens puts our existence on Earth in perspective.  That our Eon is also relatively close to another cycle–the rotation of the sun around the Milky Way Galaxy–tells us more about our place in the stars.
  • The date of the start of the current age helps us understand how recent the last glacial periods (ice ages) were, and how human civilization developed quickly once the glaciers retreated.
  • The 25,000-year Age puts in perspective our development as a human race, and helps us realize that we are not necessarily the pinnacle of civilization even with our technology and knowledge.
  • Perhaps it isn’t coincidental that this length of an Age is close to the length of an axial precession and how this Earth phenomenon influences our myths as astrologers tell us how we cycle through the twelve ages of the zodiac.
  • No longer do we set arbitrary boundaries between time periods by designating most of them as “before the year 0.”

Those who share these values can find value in the Earth Epic Calendar