Thursday, December 20, 2012


As it happens every evening, I come out of work with a lot of ideas to write about. Nothing groundbreaking but just recording my thoughts if I may call that. As enthusiastic as I come out, it is immediately quenched; the cold winter wind or the occasional sleet winning over the ever present tiredness, the mild confusion caused by the green-tea high mind in a caffeine dehydrated body intensified by the awareness that I have timed the walk to the bus so closely that if I stop to tie my shoes, I might miss it. If and when I manage to get into the bus and defrost my hands frozen as a consequence of not bothering to wear gloves in my hurry to the bus, i do manage to  type what's on my mind. Not very unlike what I'm doing now.

Some people hypothecate that the world will end tomorrow quoting the age old long-count calendar of the mayans. A friend aptly put it as "it's the mayans' Y2K". Which in my opinion is the best way to look at it. There are two ways to look at the matter at hand, the good way and the bad way, there are goods and bads for everyone involved. Let's say the world ends tomorrow, then it is good for the mayans, imagine them looking down upon us from the heavens only for six billion people to go "ha ha!", wouldn't make a good entry on their CV. They'll be spared from that embarrassment. If it does go the other way and this all turns out to be a misinterpretation of their calendar or just that they didn't bother to make a further one for the next 5000 years from tomorrow, then the world survives, and that's good for us. In my opinion, the mayans aren't quite clever as they're given credit for, if you were hired at a mayan university to design an algorithm for a long count calendar and then build it, in all the godforsaken meetings and discussions with the scientists of that time, wouldn't the question "what happens when it runs out?" pop up? It probably did in other civilisations, our own for example, we didn't bother hiring people to design stuff with an expiry date, we got rid of it all together by making time cyclical, it's the perfect calendar to keep time. Why bother with bank accounts at that time if they sold gold on the streets. If someone asks "why does it go round and round?", the answer "imagine building a new clock every 12 hours to count the next 12 hours, well, i did this instead of that and you're welcome, i'm going home early today". It's as simple as that. So now, the western civilisation proudly proclaimed, as we are rightfully taught at school, that the wheel is the most important invention/discovery in the entire history of civilisation because it avoided hiring a hundred slaves to pull your chariot and another hundred to build new ones because they keep rubbing the old one into the ground every two days. So, they proclaimed the wheel, something cyclical, to be the best invention, then went on to prove that time is linear claiming the laws of physics and then dismissed the concept of cyclical time as…. well, nonsense, found a linear calendar and are now scared that it ends!

What it means for the common man, is this; there is a lot of hype given on the radio stations by enthusiastic and yet seemingly sad RJs, sad that the world is ending, asking people how they are going to spend it and urging them in ernst to party. What that means is that some young men, the sort who wear green pants halfway down their buttocks, yellow shoes with the laces always undone and a cap backwards are going to get really lucky with the sort of girls who wear a differently coloured stocking up each leg and corsets with the laces very tightly done, thinking the world is going to end. while in reality, will lead only to guilt and/or remorse and/or regret when they find themselves alive in the morning or, to children who grow up looking at their parents wear technicolor clothes. With enough of those, the world will end anyway regardless of the calendar.

On the other hand, if it does end, i'd like say see you all on the other side, and a big hug to the missus, who has been for years, the only person with whom i never have to be the least bit technical and an engineer about anything i discuss with her and hence always fun and relaxing to be with, wish to be with you on the other side. Happy winter solstice!

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