Saturday, January 20, 2007


Escher spent a lot of his time in the Mediterranean Happy New Year to Muslims everywhere – 1428!

Just to show that I don’t bear any grudge against religions (they count as ‘cultures’, too) – and I like alternative calendars (so you don’t mistake Pope Gregory’s calendar for ‘reality’). I have a lot of respect for the early Muslims who approached the world in a scientific and humanist way, who disapproved of the worship of graven idols (love those mosaics!), who found marijuana less reprehensible than alcohol, etc.

Doesn’t time fly when you find yourself stuck in the Middle Ages…

Calendars and Numbers, hey? On the Gregorian (Christian) calendar most of us currently use the number '1428 AD' to point to the time of England invading France, and confronting Joan of Arc…At that point in time, the graceful architecture and tolerant, intelligent, multicultural civilization in Southern Spain, ruled by Muslims for nearly 800 years, must have seemed the height of culture. A few years later (1492), the Catholic Christians threw out Jews and Muslims and Gypsies and the country reverted to ignorance and intolerance.
The Lion Courtyard at The Alhambra in Granada
Of course, back in 1428 they still used the Julian calendar, and Pope Gregory’s corrections only got accepted in Catholic countries in 1582. The Protestants held out longer - the UK finally accepting the current calendar in 1752. The 11 day adjustment needed led to superstitious people believing that they had lost eleven real days of their lives (confusion of measuring systems and ‘reality’). When you put the clocks back you don't gain an hour of anything...(except sleep, maybe).

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