Monday, 5 August 2013

Today is August 15, 573 AG

Today is August 15 , 573 AG, or After Gutenberg.  It was in 1440 CE that Johann Gutenberg created his printing press which changed the world.  Only one invention in history - the plough - had a greater impact on humans and societies.

There are many calendars used throughout the world, including some that don't match the solar calendar of 365.241 days.  But the calender commonly used worldwide is called the Common Era (CE/BCE) by the educated, or the "christian" calendar by the religious (AD/BC).

I'm not satisfied with the existing calendar for three reasons.

(1) The CE calendar still refers to a fictitious event that most of the world does not recognize.  People who do not believe in christian mythology do not, or may not, want to use such a calendar.  I have lived in Asia for more than a decade and have seen the effects - and resistance - to cultural imperialism.

(2) Setting January 1 days after the winter solstice is arbitrary, at best.   Why was it done?  It serves no purpose.  Setting the winter solstice or the summer solstice as the first day of the year makes much more sense, the points at which the Earth is closest or farthest from the sun.

(3) The number of days in the months is arbitrary and inconsistent.  Why should one particular month be shorter than the rest?  I would bet those who wanted Black History Month in the US took exception to having it in February.  It would be far more sensible to have five months of 31 days (January to May) and seven months of 30 (June to December), with December 31st in leap years.  Some have argued that we should have thirteen months of 28 days, but even I think that's going a little too far.

So, Friday, December 21, 2012 was the winter solstice, and it was 573 years ago, in 1440, that Gutenberg gave the printing press to the world.  After correction, the solstice becomes January 1, which makes today August 15, 573 AG.

I doubt it will ever catch on, but I like it.

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