January 2, 2007

What's in a Year?

A year is a man-made measure which has no deep significance. This is a thought which I was going to expand on. But then I came across this article in the New Republic. It is a reprint of an article in TNR in 1983 which talked about how 1982 was the year of money. It discussed some interesting issues, but what caught my attention was the first paragraph. I can not put my thoughts better. So I will just quote it here.

A year is an artificial thing, a measure of experience that experience does not obey. The end of a year brings nothing to an end. It is, rather, a convention for the ordering of all that is accumulating in all the spheres of life, a ceremony of self consciousness. The ceremony has to do less with knowledge than with sentiment; we do not so much understand our situation, which is never easy to do, as we claim it. The end of a year confers a feeling of meaning. It imparts significance, a rare thing in a society in which significance seems to slip by so many individual lives. There comes a wintry moment when all these lives take on the aspect of stories; they appear to have a plot, to have begun somewhere and to be heading somewhere. The calendar brings coherence to chaos--no small gift, in times like these.


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