Friday, February 16, 2007

Marking Time

We were talking in my public diplomacy class last night about calendars, about how we mark time and the cultural/political significance of it. That got me thinking: how would I describe when I was born? How would I mark that date? Here’s an attempt:

I was born on the morning of Thursday, the eleventh day of August, the Feast of St. Clare and the Day of Thor, in the month of Caesar Augustus, in the midst of the Perseids meteor shower, in the two thousand seven hundred thirty sixth year of the City of Rome, the two hundred seventh year of the American Republic, the second year of the presidency of Ronald Reagan, the fourth year of the prime ministership of Margaret Thatcher, the fourth year of the pontificate of John Paul the Great, the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighty three.

Interesting, no? How would you describe a date or place? To what would you reference it?


  • Why describe something when you can take a 'picture'? We can measure scientifically a time or place as it relates to the whole of space and time. Something occurs at hh:mm:ss on mm/dd/yy. Isn't that enough?

    By Blogger Paul, at 5:39 PM, February 16, 2007  

  • But what do those numbers mean? If all we want is numbers we might as well switch to the metric calender. And indeed, marking time "scientifically" says something about your culture and what matters to it. Though even then, you have the problem of measuring FROM something. This is the silliness of talking about the "Common Era." What makes it common? Was this an arbitrary moment in time we call year 1? Or was it perhaps tied to the greatest events of salvation history?

    By Blogger Aaron, at 9:50 PM, February 16, 2007  

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