Cycling in 2016

Cycling in 2016

Another new year.

Seventy, let’s see, divisible by one, two, five, seven, ten, fourteen and thirty-five I think. That’s seven whole numbers excluding, of course, its namesake, seventy.

“So what’s with all this seventy stuff?” … would be a reasonable question. The answer, “because it’s the seventieth year in which I’ve lived on this plant, at least this time around”.

Ok, some more number games but based on unproven premises (something becoming more and more fashionable). Assuming that Yeshua ben Miriam was born in 4 BC and died in 29 BC at the ripe old age of 33, then, in 2016, it will have been 1,987 years since he left, and that, divided by 70 would be 28.38 years. So, assuming that each member of a test group lived for 70 years, we are twenty nine 70 year life cycles away from the world in which Yeshua lived and died, assuming of course, that the myths are accurate (is that an oxymoron?). I don’t know why but that seems to provide me with some strange sort of perspective. After all, 29 people would fit comfortably at a party in my apartment (although if they were the 29 posited, their differences in ages might make interrelation a bit awkward).

How much has our world changed during that time?

In many ways, not much:

There was a hegemon then, the newly nascent Roman Empire which maintained the trappings of republican government but had, in reality, already morphed into something very different. The world had already discovered steam power, hot and cold running water, flush toilets, indoor heating and rudimentary computers. And war was omnipresent, with its origins all too frequently in the Middle East.

In other ways, drastically different:

We’ve been to the moon and back and are exploring more and more of our solar system, we’ve entered an information age that appears to be changing human cognitive functions in fundamental aspects, with future generations likely to “think” in ways we find aberrant today (for example, with respect to so called attention deficit disorder). And, the Abrahamic religions, back then a minor annoyance, are today threatening to bring on their long, longed for apocalypse.

During the interim, we’ve experienced dark ages where most knowledge and civilization was either lost, hidden or, shifted between different cultures; something that a great many people seem anxious to repeat.

Religion fascinates me and the las two millennia have provided fascinating materials for a case study in psychohistory (if that “science” existed outside of the worlds introduced to us by the late Isaac Asimov). The Abrahamic religions have amplified their multiple personality disorder a thousand fold, now seeking desperately to commit fratricide in the name of their shared God, rejecting most of the benign and valuable aspects of their founders and instead, replacing them with dysfunctional doctrines of subsequent prophets or “disciples” personified best perhaps by Saul of Tarsus and a series of racist misogynists led by Martin Luther and John Calvin. War in the name of peace and greed in the name of brotherhood have become their banners. Whether good or bad, the economic philosophies most aligned with all three Abrahamic branches, socialism and communism, are and have always been, for most adherents, anathema, yet on their respective holy days, related platitudes are reverently evoked. Capitalism, the economic philosophy most likely anathema to their God, the one most like the golden calf and idolatry, is venerated. Somehow, the concepts of prophets and profits have either merged, or become confused.

Oh well. Adherents quoting chapter and verse while ignoring inconsistencies and contradiction and most especially, the spirit of foundational philosophies, will go on advancing ethical and moral mutations, at least for the foreseeable future. After all, it’s faith, not actions that count.

Speaking of history (or more accurately, writing, but it just doesn’t sound right), families also have histories, some of which may be true although, the further back one takes them, the less likely their accuracy. My family’s oldest legend is that we are lineal descendants of a Roman by the name of Calvisius Sabinus who in 4 BC (hence my interest in that date) was co-consul with Augustus (formerly Octavian). That would be kind of cool but given the distortive effects of time, improbable. On the other hand, given the intermixing involved in procreation during 1,987 years, a great many people today are probably related to Calvisius Sabinus so why not us as well? On a third hand, if I had one (which I don’t, at least not yet), what relevance would either case have?

Well, perhaps one reflection of this pseudo rambling essay is that 2016 is starting out silly. That, for some reason, creates an image in my mind of an announcer at a championship fight, not boxing however, but rather literary, exclaiming into his microphone, “Let’s get reeeaaady to raambeeeeel!!!”

Wouldn’t it be great if it turned out to be a harmlessly silly year?

Unfortunately, while 2016’s immediate predecessors have been characterized by silliness, most of it has been horrible silliness and promising bigger and better horrors for 2016. In the 28.38 year cycles posited above, the one just ended has been pretty awful. It would have started in 1987, seven presidential election cycles ago, during which we’ve seen two Bushes (neither burning but both causing a lot of fires), a Clinton and an Obama, but with a second Clinton and a third Bush doing all they can to create a dynastic tradition in US presidential politics.


Wouldn’t it be great if a change in cycle brought a change in our fortunes for the better (that last qualifier being essential)?

Doesn’t seem likely though!

© Guillermo Calvo Mahé; Manizales, 2016; all rights reserved

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