[P. J.] [RU] [FR]


Numerous anniversaries and mystical dates have become a real plague of the modern humanity. Instead of thinking about the current necessities and following the natural sequence of events, people get engaged in the preparation of yet another pompous celebration, or in the expectation of yet another end of everything.

A strange habit, indeed. Even for an individual, it does not really matter how many years, days or microseconds one has managed to live; the only thing that matters is whether there is something to be pride of in the past and whether there is yet something to achieve in the future. Life is measured by such achievements, and never by the pages of the calendar.

It is most astonishing that such abstract year counts become sometimes official events often requiring an expensive public campaign. What if I don't know that presumed celebrity, or simply don't care for what he or she has presumably done? Nobody can (or should) be universally known and appreciated. And, if I don't care for the anniversaries of a real person, why should I celebrate the birthdays of those who have probably never existed at all, like Mr. Jesus Christ?

The same holds for various historical events. What does it change if 100 years have passed from some (not always) commonly known date, and not 207, or 53? The very notion of anniversary is very approximate and often contradictory. What shall we take for the length of a year? There is no fundamental physical constant to apply (and even the physical constants are suspected to vary). There are different calendars; which of them will determine the anniversary dates? When it comes to a few centuries, mapping historical dates to modern calendars is a serious scientific problem which is still far from being entirely resolved. Additionally, some calendars are moveable obeying numerous official and religious prescriptions for the “allowed” days, and the calculation of the correct date becomes so complicated that the very idea of anniversary seems spurious.

And, like with imaginary personalities, there are imaginary historical anniversaries. Thus, nobody knows the exact foundation date for Moscow (the present capital of Russia), and, most probably, there was no such date at all, since many cities gradually grew from primitive villages never requiring an official inauguration. Still, in 1997, a pompous celebration of the 850 anniversary of Moscow marks yet another peak of general idiotism. A devastated and depopulated country with agonizing economy has been robbed by the Moscow officials to waste billions of dollars on primitive entertainment, nothing that would deserve mentioning. Millions of people did not get their salaries for months, and this money would be enough to clear off the debts. A family of two could comfortably live on that for 50000 years! They say that people need such festivities. Do they, really? Just a handful of the richer inhabitants of the country, getting bored of their usual entertainment, would demand more fun, for the poor's expense.

Now, let's take the numerological dates. Why should one date be better (or worse) than another? And still, millions of people believe that 10.10.10 means something special, and 21.12.2112 looks like the real end of doom, being the last round date in the Gregorian calendar. They don't care for the existence of different date notations (for example, the above “end of doom” date would become mere 12/21/2112 in the US notation, losing all its numerological attractiveness). They don't care for the existence of difference calendar systems (for example, the shift of Julian dates as compared to Gregorian). And, of course, they don't care for the arbitrariness of the reference point, an imaginary birth of a fictitious character.

Sometimes, numerology prevails over formal anniversaries. Thus, most people were sure that the new millennium was to begin on January 1, 2000, though the 2000 anniversary of Jesus Christ was to be celebrated a year later. Well, two millennia, it's better than one anyway; let's celebrate both!

[Assorted Notes] [Unism]