Thursday, December 29, 2011


The world of science tells us that the winter solstice passed a week ago, having occurred at a precise moment, 12:30 a.m. EST on the 22nd of December.

This is a powerful example of the ability of scientific knowledge, provided to us in a selective and decontextualized way, to cause us to actually know less than we did before -- humans have traditionally been well aware of the extended period of maximum darkness, lasting more like 14 days than one day -- and then to stop trusting our own perceptions, and finally to stop even having perceptions because we have stopped noticing them.

The reality is that Solstice is not a moment; the sun stands still in the sky for two weeks. The naked eye can't detect a difference in the sun's position between about the 14th and the 28th of December; you would have to have special instruments to know that there had been any change during this period. Meaningful change in the sun's position, and therefore in the length of daylight, begins again on about the 29th, which is today.

A two-week festival at this time of year, with nobody working and everyone having fun, would make a lot of sense -- and is more natural to our race than taking two or three days off and then being thrown back into the grind.

New Year's Day is actually positioned (perhaps by accident) pretty correctly -- because the new solar year does begin just about now, with the days getting just slightly, but perceptibly, longer.

I am wishing everybody peace, friendship, and rebellion in the coming year. Live life fully and furiously, pouring out the best of your love and rage. May the sun accompany you.

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