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January 3, 2016

New Year’s Day. It is the arbitrary segue between the end of one solar rotation and the advent of another.

When this switch happens around another arbitrary construction, a “weekend”, the effect is transitioned from one day to a few. But folk now work across all “holiday” platforms: but hospitals, cops and military always worked on the “days off”.

Before the modern era of secular insight, humans in America took the Sabbath very seriously. Hours of church, hours of not doing much. Well, except the homemakers who prepared, served and cleaned up after Sunday Supper.

Now every small business owner, like me, works “as needed”. Once children entered the scene we created another arbitrary break in the continuum of days, “vacation” -7 days where work is limited to my IPad. Before the Great Digital Imposition it was 3 faxes a day.

So we work our lives around days, hours, months, years, holidays and vacations to create an order to life that used to be simply weather and daylight determined.. Why?

My guess is that the reason we create these arbitrary dates and patterns, and thus breaks with them, because we  “have to” in order to accept the arbitrariness of each life, death, success, failure…but it might be dumber than that, perhaps we are simply wired to find meaning. A physicist recently said to me there “has to” be “Dark Energy” because the mass presumed to be in the unmeasurable, unseen impact of “Dark Matter” could not explain the observed movements of all viewable matter.

So one construct was insufficient (Dark Matter), so another was appended to it (Dark Energy) to make sense of what could be observed (the movements of all mass in all space we can measure). This was only true, though, when the universe could be measured well enough, extensively enough, that the gap of understanding could be perceived. Filling the known unknowns with arbitrary ordering is nothing new.

As hunting and gathering and mating became farming and families, the sense that the previously random facts of life was understood to have a cycle of nights and daylight, love and society, so we needed days, months, years to give the bass clef to the treble clef of our time.

The need to grid, to format, to name, to prioritize, to define and apply value that takes us away from the perspective of the pet who would eat us if we were dead and compels us to save animals from being mistreated while humans are dying in squalor and war. When 2 unrelentingly amoral, senseless death machines of World Wars raised questions that had few convincing answers within the God Grid, many have jumped and are jumping off that grid, and continue to think outside it. But we still feel the need for a grid.

We make resolutions to end bad things (fat, smoking) and do good things (help the helpless, like animals and the victims of circumstance). But those resolutions of action are simply responding to a better resolution in seeing a grid of morality defining the unending randomness of love, death, war and sacrifice.

I do not feel the grid of dates, holidays, birthdays or years much, but I do feel the pull of some larger grid than the one I can perceive: Meaning. Meaning is not just measurable, its felt. We, mostly, do not eat our pets. We also “know” there is Dark Energy.

There “has to” be a reality that allows us to feel definition by some level of resolution.

We need more than we can understand.

But we do not always understand that.


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