Humans put an odd emphasis on years, decades, centuries, and millennia, not to mention seconds, minutes, hours, days, and weeks. The long process of industrialism has only exacerbated the (“evil”?) necessity of such socially constructed measurements. Our lives are controlled, very simply, by the clock, by the rhymes and rhythms of industry and capitalism.
That we are “beginning a new year” is a very human construct, a very modern one, too. Notions of measuring time are completely foreign to most living creates now and of the past.
Such artificial delineations are useful, of course. They help us have, however imperfect, a way to make sense of the world in which we inhabit. Imagine how much more complex it would be to understand past events and peoples without months and years. Drawbacks factor in when people put any kind of significant weight on “the 60s” or traits supposedly innately connected to a given cluster of 30 or 31 days (unless you’re February!).
The extremely widespread acceptance of our basic calendar system and its deep roots are a powerful testament, an important and interesting indicator of how much humans can accomplish and agree upon.
For those of us in the United States, our journey through time and Space the next twelve human months is going to be extremely important and transformative. They say historians aren’t supposed to “predict” the future. But, by using history we can make informed forecasts. No matter who is elected President of the United States this November 2016 big changes will follow. Changes that will dramatically alter the nation.
In addition, how the United States responds to the following (and other) issues/changes will test the vitality of the United States more than ever before.
- the on-going “war on drugs,” which has actually been mostly a war by Big Money on Black men – #BlackLivesMatter
- expenses associated with a higher education
- the ever-looming society where it is argued humans will be unemployable
- people living longer and longer and needing medication and the right to die when gravely ill
- climate change and recognizing we don’t need to “save” the Earth – we need to keep the Earth where we can live on it
- the powerfully, wonderful, stubborn power of social media
- a society that is less and less religious
- a society more and more interested in science and history and diverse ideas
- a society where the status quo is no longer simply challenged, but threatened (by the power and agency of LGBTs, women, Blacks, Hispanics, etc, etc), and the status quo is no longer so powerful.