RE: 1 Year Till New Millennium

From: Joseph Sterlynne (
Date: Sat Jan 01 2000 - 12:21:09 MST

> Mike <>
>> Ian Goddard

>> Happy New Year 2000!!
>> 366 more days till the New Millennium!!!

> *warning: useless argument inevitable*
> Some (inc. me) have argued this, but what's the use?

Unfortunately, talking about this at all now only results in dismissive
criticism and reactions of the sort that Mike has offered. Many of you may
consider that anyone daring to challenge the idea that the millennium begins
today is only dragging out a completely trivial and "useless" argument.

I will be brief. And I will try to relate a seemingly inconsequential point
to broader matters of interest in the hopes of maintaining the attention of
those who are still reading.

If the Gregorian calendar actually began in year 1 then the third millennium
does begin in 2001. That is a fact. No further debate is necessary.

People apparently know this. A few months ago people were still discussing it
in public. But it quite disturbs me that, by popular demand (facilitated by
constant repetition and assertion in every medium), an indisputable fact was
changed. Now it is the third millennium. Mentioning the logical objection
will do nothing to change that. In fact, saying otherwise invites charges of
being a hopeless purist, nitpicker, or, worst of all, a party-pooper.

This should disturb you as well. Do you really have no problem with the fact
that everyone in the world, apparently, intentionally ignored a basic fact?
How many journalists and news anchors have to say something before you accept

Sure, the date is a social fact, not a scientific one. The Gregorian calendar
was invented and is used by consensus in the first place. (And some of us,
myself included, don't even want it or any system based on a mythology. A
metric date/time system, in which seconds are simply counted and grouped,
would be much better.)

But social facts, whether we like or care about them or not, still affect us.
So it's fine that to the general public "hacker" now means "cracker", despite
the resistance to that usage by many hackers themselves. It's fine that "free
software" can have nothing to do with source code. It's fine that enough
Luddite activists can impede work in genengineering or cloning. It's fine
that evolution is "just a theory" and therefore ignorable, at least in some
U.S. school systems. It's fine that certain facts can change if enough
newsmedia, money, uninformed banter, advertisements, corporations, activists,
or governments want it to. "What's the use?" The use is to exercise and
maintain rational, critical thought.

I am not disputing the fact that expressions of ideas and meanings of words
can change. Why they change, who changes them, and what happens as a result
is another question entirely. You've heard it before and, if you're still
reading, you're hearing it again. It's not just about the date, as many of us
here who are watching transhumanist ideas reaching and even taking hold within
the public mind realize.

All right; enough. Back to the real future, which all of us here are
manufacturing every day by individually and together exploring the visions and
ideas we share.

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