Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"New" Year? Haha... Funny

When the calendar shows today's date to be 31st Dec 2008, a lot of us take it to mean that we must commemorate today in an unusual way. Celebrating the closing of another year while inaugurating a brand new one. Wait a minute. A "brand new" one?

First, that betrays the fact that our perception of time is confined by the calendar, particularly the one that was being reformed by Pope Gregory XIII in the 16th century. Hence the first day of a new year is not like a birthday where there is a new reality existing.

If anything the new year signifies the fact that the earth has orbited the sun one full circle. And that means going back to almost the same place the earth was located 365, or so, days ago. Then that is not something "new". The earth is, in a sense, back to square one, back to the old place.

That leads us to the second point. The "new year" is a social construct for practical reasons to keep the socio-economics going. "New year" means new budget, new vision, new resolution, new whatever for individuals, families, governments, and organizations.

That leads us to this third point. Besides practical reasons, the "newness" of time that we had fashioned ourselves by the calendar is an existential attempt to moderate our mundane existence. The "new year" give us reason to celebrate, give thanks, party, get drunk, get new car, get married, and get whatever to further furnish our banal livelihood.

Fourth, the idea of segmenting time gives us a sense of control. Segmenting time into temporal cubes called "year" allow us to grasp security over the upcoming and the unforeseen, and both. Hence we have all the economics forecast which is segmentize into 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarter respectively every "year". And yes, this is an extension of the second point above.

So is there such thing as a "new" year to be celebrated? There is in as much as there is a "new" meal (contra 'food') to be eaten daily. Aren't we keep eating since the time we are born?

Happy "new" year? Do we wish one another happy new meal every time we eat?

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