Calendars and confusions

Sharing a write-up on "Calendars and confusions" received on January 1, 2020 from Exrbites Group member Vathsala Jayaraman:
M G Warrier
Calendars and confusions

On arrival of the New Year the first thing that comes to our mind is calendar, leave alone New Year oaths.

The schedule of our lives is shaped by the movements of the earth, moon, and sun.

In ancient Rome, a priest observed the sky and announced a new moon cycle to the king. For centuries afterwards, Romans referred to the first day of each new month as Kalends (from their word calare, which means “to proclaim”).

The word calendar was derived from this custom.
We are amazed at the vast calculations in any calendar or panchang.

But Rome was not built overnight.There have been confusions and confusions.

The ancient Babylonians utilized a lunar calendar. But using a lunar calendar poses a major problem as well. A lunar month is 29.5 days, meaning 12 lunar months add up to 354 lunar days, which is about 11 days short of a solar year. As a result they had to reduce 11 days when they shifted to Gregorian calendar.They simply reduced 11days in October 1582. The calendar in Oct showed date 16 next after 5th.

But many countries started doing adjustments at various time intervals.Sweden was more confused than anyone, as a result of which it had 30 days in February 1712

As soon a year is born, a 5th std student will be asked to find out how many days Feb has this year.Just divide the year number by 4.This was done at the assumption that the earth takes 365 days and 6 hrs to go around the sun.But later it was estimated to be 365 days 5hrs and 48 mts.To accommodate this, they took a step to reduce one leap year in every 400 years.Years 1700, 1800,and 1900 were not leap years, but year 2000 was.
Was it perfectly alright?Sadly, no. To make more or less accurate provision for a lakh of years another alteration was suggested not to make years 4000,8000 12000 etc leap years so that the period of year comes to 365.2422 days.

Reg months, lesser said the better. there were only 304 days ranging for 10 months starting from March to Dec as the name Sep , OctNOv and Dec indicate the seventh, eighth ninth and tenth months respectively. It was then  followed by days of winter, later named as Jan and Feb.

However Romans had a superstition that months having even days were inauspicious, they started reducing the dates from 30 to 29 creating much confusions.

Ancient Romans, during the Republic, did not use a seven day week, but rather went with eight days. One “eighth day” of every week was set aside as a shopping day where people would buy and sell things, particularly buying food supplies for the following week. Rather than labeling the days of the week with actual names, at this time the Romans labeled them with letters, A-H.

After all these misunderstanding and misnomenclatures, a consensus was finally arrived and the present day calendar is in fine shape to see.
On many occasions confusion is perceived as an impediment.

But when it comes to learning, our intuitions here are exactly wrong. It is said that confusion can lead us to learn more efficiently, more deeply, more lastingly—as long as it’s properly managed.
The human brain is a pattern-recognition machine. This gives us a subconscious familiarity with their essential nature that we can hardly articulate in words, but which we can easily put into action.
Actually living in confusion is a process of subconscious learning.When we rush in too soon with an answer,and we feel doubtful about the correctness of our decision, it’s better to allow that confused, confounded feeling to last a little longer—for two reasons. First, not knowing the single correct way to resolve a problem allows us to explore a wide variety of potential explanations, thereby giving us a deeper and broader sense of the issues involved. Second, the feeling of being confused, of not knowing what’s up, creates a powerful drive to figure it out. We’re motivated to look more deeply into the problem.We may arrive at more meaningful patterns.

When we withhold the answers ,there is an experience of overcoming failure , a necessity
to have mental strength to solve problems, amidst crisis. The solutionless emptiness creates “fertile ground” in the brain for encoding the answer when it is eventually provided.

The present day calendars and panchangs created by Varahamihira and others are classic examples of cleared confusions.

Why can't we term 'confusions' as productive failures?

Are you getting ready to get confused in 2020?
I am already at it.

Vathsala Jayaraman 


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