Before Now

Ron Bijok (
Mon, 20 Jan 1997 18:31:28 -0800

On replacing the Julian calendar.

I am amused by the Extropist suggection that it was time to replace the
archoiaic Julian calandar for something a litlle more progresssive. But
I found the suggestion to supplant the birth of Jesus with a more
Extropicaly correct refferent (Galileo, etc.) to byso a remarabaly
myopic solution to a well-stated problem. I was puzxzled by the similar
qu4estions about the implication of our culturally based notions of
calandar nad tyhe inherent baises and cconceptual blinders it emb0odies
while in high school some twenty ytears ago.

My problem at the time was the noted difference between our individual
nad separate existences in space - generic to the notoion of individual,
compared to the univeraal acceptance of absolute time zonces. Though we
each exist in individual time zones, we share our time frames. The fact
that there are at least a couple dozen time zones and a variety of
cuyltures which do not participate in the notions of time with which we
take for granted doesw not undermine the observation tyhat we share our
time frames with innumerable other souls.

My solution at the time was simple - divide the twenty four hours
availablke to the day into not a couple dozen, but into millions,
billions of individual time zones - enough, in fact, so that each of
would live in a unique, personal time frame. I envisioned myself ek=ing
out a living by managing the company that would administer the
allocation of the zones for the billions of individuals to which they
would apply. But high school ended and I shelved the idea in favour of
more important thimngs. The only tangible effect was that I reset my
watch back half an hour, encouraged my friends to do the same (tto a
different zone of course) and for a year or so actually put my notions
of tome into practice.

But returning to the immediate problem put forth by Extropic thought, I
would like to propose a solution that at once addresse sthe concern of
those upset by ethnocentric Julianism, elides the problems generated by
the comventional? Extroopic suggestions, and adiitionally depends on
technology that is only now becoming universally available enough to
make the solution feasible. The idea, once again, is simple the
refferent baseline becomes now. It is now always 0:00:00 on the firstr
of (fill in the blank).

Of course, such a redefinition is not without consquense. Firstly,
historical dates are no longer fixed, but refer, of course, to now.
Jesus was born in BN.1994, almost 2000 years ago. World War II came to
a close in BN.49 years ago. I left the house thius morning at 3:00:00,
or three hours ago. The result is a radically new (literal)
perspefctive on history. Just what such changes would mean would feul
many debates.

Secondly, since historical dates are no longer static, and are
incountinual flux as now moves forward, history itself must now be
maintained. Every date becomes a clock, measuring its distance to
today. Difficult to implement in paper media, but a breeze in any
electronic format.

Abd thirdly, such a conceptual shift does not conflict, at least in
princial, though it does complicate matters, with my naive high school
notion of allocating unique time zones to each individual. Everyone
could be assigned a unique random number between one and , say, 50
million. That would then become a personal reference. Of course there
exists the danger that a kind of chono-elitism would arise, with those
possessing lower baselinbe refferents being envied by those further douw
the line.

Copyright, 1994 by Ron Bijok (+/- 2.5 yrs BN)