The inevitable pandemic will force schools and universities (as public places) to shut down their physical facilities and go online. There, they will meld together into a single entity (per language). And that will mark the beginning of a new age.
An artist cannot endure reality, he looks away from it, back: he seriously believes that the value of a thing resides in that shadowy residue one derives from colors, form, sound, ideas, he believes that the more subtilized, attenuated, transient a thing or a man is, the more valuable he becomes; the less real, the more valuable. This is Platonism, which, however, involved yet another bold reversal: Plato measured the degree of reality by the degree of value and said: The more “Idea”, the more being. He reversed the concept “reality” and said: “What you take for real is an error, and the nearer we approach the ‘Idea’, the nearer we approach ‘truth’.” — Is this understood? It was the greatest of rebaptisms; and because it has been adopted by Christianity we do not recognize how astonishing it is. Fundamentally, Plato, as the artist he was, preferred appearance to being! lie and invention to truth! the unreal to the actual! But he was so convinced of the value of appearance that he gave it the attributes “being”, “causality” and “goodness”, and “truth”, in short everything men value.
The concept of value itself considered as a cause: first insight.
The ideal granted all honorific attributes: second insight.
This commentary is absolutely brilliant, even though the involved interpretation of Plato is unfair. It seems to me that Nietzsche simply attempted to set fire to the degenerated intellectual culture in effigie, with Plato as the straw man casualty.
A better or more useful interpretation of Plato is, in my view, one supposing that he was a special kind of mythologian, one working with logical form as well as the usual tools of the trade (drama, symbolism etc). At least in this fictionalist light he becomes palatable. Whether or not it is more historically accurate is, I think, irrelevant, as all I’m interested in here is how to gain access to as much of the wisdom contained in his work as possible. Fictionalism is perfectly suited for this.
Bah, rationality has a way of undermining its own proposals. I’ve already managed to revise the Rational calendar so comprehensively that it has to be called version 3. Here it is (and I think it’s a keeper this time!):
- Exactly 90 day “seasons” to replace the variable month system of the Gregorian calendar. In version 2, the length was set to 91 days, but I realized that it’s much more important to make date calculation easy than to precisely balance the seasons on either side of the winter solstice.
- The five or six days not covered by the seasons are collected at the end of the year as a holiday.
- Each season can, in a transition period, be split in three groups of 30 days and called months, by the standard names.
- 10 day weeks. Week counts are reset by each month, so you have to say what season it is to be unambiguous. This is because it shouldn’t be necessary to do calculations to understand what period is referred to.
If you’ve been paying attention, you see how remarkably similar this is to the French Revolutionary Calendar. Which, bitterly, is kind of where I started.
I’ll come back to this after my exams, wrap it up properly, present some visuals, printable calendars, a furry mascot, and much more.
Here’s a couple of translation tables to make the inevitable switch from the Gregorian calendar to my brilliant alternative a bit easier:
|1st day of Winter, 2009||Dec. 21st, 2008|
|1st day of Spring||March 22nd, 2009|
|1st day of Summer||June 21st|
|1st day of Autumn||Sept. 20th|
Awrg, now I’m reminded that we need to do something about the year count as well… I’ve suggested starting at 10 000, to encompass the entire history of civilization in the positive count, but I’m not completely convinced myself yet. Tell me if you have a better suggestion. Until one is found, I’ll just continue to use the standard one.
This table is better than the above for calculating what day it is:
|Dec. 21st, 2008||Winter 1st, 2009|
|Jan. 1st, 2009||Winter 12th|
|Feb. 1st||Winter 43rd|
|March 1st||Winter 71st|
|March 22nd||Spring 1st|
|April 1st||Spring 11th|
|May 1st||Spring 41st|
|June 1st||Spring 72nd|
|June 21st||Summer 1st|
|July 1st||Summer 11th|
|August 1st||Summer 42nd|
|Sept. 1st||Summer 73rd|
|Sept. 20th||Autumn 1st|
|Oct. 1st||Autumn 12th|
|Nov. 1st||Autumn 43rd|
|Dec. 1st||Autumn 73rd|
|Dec. 20th, 2009||Extra-calendrical holiday!|
|Dec. 21st, 2009||Winter 1st, 2010|
In the Gregorian calendar, today is May 11th, which is 10 days from May 1st, so in the Rational calendar it translates as the 51st day of Spring.
Birthdays are trickier to translate, because in the Gregorian calendar winter solstice isn’t fixed to a date, and might fall on another date in the year you were born than in the current one. My own birthday is 16th of May (1983), but the winter solstice of 1982 fell on the 22nd of December, so if I define my birthday using the Rational calendar, I should celebrate my birthday the 15th of May this year, which, by coincidence is what it’ll continue to be the next few years as well. But as this chart shows, it will slowly slide backward to an earlier date:
I have tended to define the word entertainment in morally disapproving terms, as something shallow and meaningless. But in fact there are higher ways of entertainment as well, even though these are overshadowed by the lower ones predominant in society (also in my personal life, but to a lesser extent). Stigmatizing the feeling of being entertained as reprehensible is unhealthy, because it attaches guilt even to higher forms of enjoyment. I need to adjust my definition of the word to channelize my stream of associations to bypass this moral feeling:
Entertainment: Having one’s attention focused by enjoyment and interest. The best possible normal state — that which is to be aimed for at most or all times — is being entertained by worthy activity.
Addendum: Children and others who are not yet accustomed to worthy activity should see it as their duty to invest themselves in education sufficiently for their further development to be self-driven, i.e. driven by enjoyment and interest rather than letting oneself being pushed around by duty. These to attitudes are natural enemies, and hard to reconcile in one soul.
My previous suggestion was too messy. Here’s how it should be, from the beginning:
- The 12 months are abolished. Day counts should follow seasons instead of pretending to follow the moon’s cycles.
- New year is fixed to the day of winter solstice. This day also marks the beginning of Winter.
- Each season is defined as 91 days long. The first day of Spring, Summer and Autumn is called the calendrical vernal equinox, summer solstice and autumnal equinox respectively (this distinction because the natural events may fall on other dates).
- 91 days times 4 seasons is 364 days. The extra one day (or the two in leap years) is a holiday.
- The week is also redefined, as 10 days long. The 10th day is a weekly holiday.
- The 91st day of each season is a seasonal holiday, and is outside the week system.
- The annual holiday (or days) are outside both week and season systems.
- The 1st day of each season is a holiday as well, as this is the day of solstice or equinox. They are not outside week or season systems.
Here I’ve tried to visualize this:
The holidays line up in such a way that the transition from one season to the next is marked by a series of holidays, in ascending order (if you think of the rare as higher than the common). New year, for ezample, is preceded by three or four holidays: first a weekly, then seasonal, and finally the annual holiday or days. The moment of New Year is of course midnight between the last day and the day of winter solstice. And since the day of solstice is a holiday as well, New Year is associated with a four or five day vacation. Seasonal transitions are associated with a three day vacation.
This makes for a most orderly calendar. The only unknown is when leap years come in, as it is determined by the astronomical event of winter solstice. But this uncertainty is of minimal importance, as weeks and seasons are defined as unaffected.
Introducing myself as “Gorm”, I’m almost invariably asked to repeat or spell out the garbled sound I just made. Even Norwegians find it difficult. Perhaps Danes find it easier. After all, they specialize in garbled sounds, and have Gorm the Old (or Sleepy) as the ancestral head of their monarchy. But everyone else stumbles on my name. So I have to follow the example of my Hungarian neighbors “Dave” and “Mike” and translate my name into English. But what to choose? I’ve searched, and the four contestants in the poll below are at this time closest to my approval. At least I like the names. I don’t know if they suit me very well. Of course, if you have better suggestions, do tell.
I have a slight preference for Graham, if only because its original meaning was “gray home”. My favorite color!
Update: The commenter Occasional Reporter changed my mind after all. I’ll just pronounce my name with an American “r”. I wouldn’t have been able to get comfortable with being called Graham or Gordon anyway. But if some unusual situation insists on translating my name, I now have a name choice ready: Graham (the other alternative is too closely associated with Gordon Freeman in my mind).