I have abandoned the project to make decimal time systems, firstly because it is really impractical, and secondly because I’ve realized that a base-16 numeral system is preferable to base-10 anyway. But of course, I couldn’t quit altogether. Our conventional systems are so frustratingly bad, I had to at least try to make them more intelligible. Here are my suggestions for new ways to present our conventional time systems; one for the clock, one for the calendar, and one for a full lifetime (100 years). The idea is that a new way of presenting these things will enable us to relate to time in an easier and more intuitive way. For me at least, they do the trick.
I’ve introduced my idea for the “clock” before, but for the occasion I have made a more presentable image file. To repeat what the idea behind it is: to include only the 16 waking hours, and split these up in four groups of four hours each. Why four? Because this number is so eminently intelligible.
The following is my new suggestion for how to reorganize the calendar. It was made with the OpenOffice equivalent of Excel (here’s the file, in .pdf and .xls format). As you can see, I have split the year in four seasons with an equal number of complete weeks. This way, it is not strictly adjusted to any definition of New Year, but starts, loosely, somewhere near the winter solstice. Also, a day or two will be left out of the overview of any one year, but this is of lesser importance, as the calendar is optimized just for ease of comprehension.
And finally, my suggestion for how to present the time available to one in one’s entire life. Plotted below is my own life (descriptions in Norwegian). It was quite powerful for me to see my whole life laid out like this. That might be partly because I have a poor memory, but I think a diagram such as this provides a perspective that would be useful even to people with excellent memory. On the one hand perspective on how long life really is, on the other, how significant every single season is.
The two quarter-circles on the outside of the life-circle represents the two seasons on the cold side of the equinoxes, and vice versa with the inner quarter-circles. My life began in the spring of 1983, and the chart ends 100 years after that. Click the image for a larger version.
I have taped the calendar and the lifetime overview on my door, so I see them several times a day. And I have printed out a few copies of the week overview, with the intention of testing it out over the coming weeks as a tool to help me make better use of my time. Already the comprehension of time is motivating. I have a feeling this method will work better than have some previous approaches of mine.
One last thing: An list view of how the decimal time project developed. This is provided primarily to get trackback links to here in reply to each of these posts.
- Version 1 (in Norwegian)
- Helpful tables for version 1 (in Norwegian)
- Version 1.5 (from now on, all versions are in English)
- Version 2
- Helpful tables for version 2
- Version 3 (an outline)