Over the past few weeks, I’ve become frustrated by the Gregorian calendar. It’s esoteric & misguided. It follows no sense of logic. The numbering system is sporadic at best. Why do some months get 30 days, some get 31, & one gets 28? (I’m looking at you, February)
To make it all the worse, the naming conventions don’t relate to any centralized system, but pull from the Roman names, who were fickle & renamed their months based on whims. Antoninus Pius rejected a proposal by senators to rename September & November after him & his Empress Faustina, respectively.
There has to be a better way.
I’ve redesigned the calendar for myself, as a modified version of the International Fixed Calendar. I intend to use this in my notebooks & writing app of choice, Ulysses, but might push it onto Monochromatic at some point as well.
To say designed is misleading; my ideas here are not new, & have been appropriated from a variety of sources. However, I've brought a few of these ideas together in a new way, & hope to provide a beautiful & elegant solution to the calendar problem in a way not seen before.
I’m calling it MONOCAL at the moment, in honor of the monospace concept in typefaces, which I am so enamored with.
Here’s how it works:
A Year is 4 Quarters.
Each quarter is labelled one through four in Latin numerals, or denoted by one of the four classical elements.
Quarter 1 is i. or (air)
Quarter 2 is ii. or (water)
Quarter 3 is iii. or (fire)
Quarter 4 is iv. or (earth)
After 4 Quarters comes Chomsky Day.
Chomsky Day is named for Noam Chomsky, MIT professor & contemporary philosopher. Mr. Chomsky has made countless contributions to both the studies of linguistics & his brand of philosophy, which is often critical of American policy, especially abroad, & consumerist culture.
The naming of this day is borrowed from filmmaker Matt Ross, whom I spoke with at the premiere of his film Captain Fantastic. He advocated for a stronger push towards intellectualism, which I agree with, & I think Noam Chomsky’s brand of critical thinking is the perfect example to have a day of celebration for.
A Quarter is 13 Weeks.
Each week is 7 days long, & is the second smallest unit. I’m retaining the pagan names for the days, as I think the abstract concept of Germanic Deities offer an interesting think point. Plus, it’s easier to stick with an already adopted naming scheme than institute my own.
The difference for American readers is that this calendar has its weeks starting on Monday. Given the culture in the western world of the work week, it makes more sense to group the days like this rather than splitting up the weekend. Starting the week on Sunday was initially done for the Sabbath, but for the increasingly secular world I think this makes less sense than keeping them together.
Quarters, in practice:
Quarters are not meant to be used as a primary method for tracking or denoting the days. While you could use it as such, like describing today as i.16, it’s meant more as a guideline for where you are in the year, a reference point. Similar to how numbering the weeks is used now. I wouldn’t describe the date today as Calendar Week 3, day 16.
So how are years broken down, functionally?
How I learned to stop worrying & love 13 months:
Okay, 365 is an odd number for division, however, when broken down to 364 + 1, the math becomes simple.
364 days can be broken down evenly into 13 months of 4 weeks each. Each week is 7 days long, as they are now, but starting on Mondays. Is it coincidence that the year has 13 months, & a quarter has 13 weeks? No, it’s math, & it’s beautiful.
Under this system, each month is exactly 28 days long, starting on Monday & ending on Sunday. After 4 weeks, a new month begins.
Of course, being there are only 12 months in the Gregorian Calendar, I’d have to add at least one for it to make sense. I’ve decided to start from scratch & rename all the months to make more logical sense.
Each month is named based on the Latin numeral name, from 1-13. It looks like this:
Do you get the convention? We go from 1-10, & then start over with 1. There’s been research on how the English numeral names from 11-20 might hinder the development of Children’s math abilities. That’s because it makes no sense. This does.
So how do I use this?
Glad you asked! Under this calendrical system, January 1st, 2017 was actually Chomsky Day. This is written in shorthand as CHOM17, for CHOMsky & the year. January second would become Unumium 1, making today Unumium 15.
So how do you write that?
The most logical method would be to write in ascending unit order, from day to month to year. Written out, that would be 15 UNUM 17. You can drop the suffix, “ium”, & even remove all spaces for the cleanest version as 15UNUM17.
If you want to preserve standard conventions, Unumium 15th, 2017 is fine too!
Why would I bother?
Here’s why: It makes sense. Like Metric Numbers, or the 24-hour clock, it leads to more standard & efficient timekeeping & dictating, & allows a more regulated calendar.
I'm not suggesting you to dump the Gregorian calendar overnight. This is meant to be a transition, something that can work alongside the traditional calendar. Maybe you'll find it works better for you in the end.
Since all units are standardized, you can perform math on the calendar days with a precision previously not possible. For example, when converting from the Gregorian calendar, if you know the day number you can easily find out the new date. Since July 28th is day 209, you can divide it by 28 to find out it’s 13SEPT17. You can easily determine the week of the year, the day of the quarter, the day of the year, because each unit has a standard size & value. Each piece is a building block, all cascading up like the stairs to a great monument.
You should use it because it's beautiful, & because it makes sense. Not only does it adhere to logic & math, but basic aesthetic principles, & isn't that something we should strive for? Why not make things more logical & beautiful than before? For too long we as a society have been stuck entrenched in the past, clinging on to traditions that hold little relevance to our modern world. So let's remake them, bit by bit.
- Ian Battaglia