“ my friend and i are having a little chat…
i say 2000-2009 is a decade,
she says 2001-2010 is a decade.
we both agree there is no 0 AD, but i’m certain 2010 is a new decade…” answers.yahoo.com
The questioner may be certain-but he’s certainly wrong!
I just arrived back from a 6 day bike trip to Lake Taylor and Loch Katrine in the North Canterbury High Country. My ride, into the teeth of an old man Nor’wester, spanned the New Year. It was also a trip back in time which covered half the ground traversed first by Maori en route to the West Coast pounamu and then by the Europeans on their way to the West Coast goldfields in the 1850s before the Arthurs Pass route supplanted it.
I emerged from a phone, newspaper, TV (and, until late at night radio) blackout to discover that, in a clear case of premature exhortation, the mass media had jumped the gun by a year in celebrating the arrival of the new decade. Magazines, newspapers, radio and television programs were filling the holiday white spaces with interminable “Best of the Decade” lists.
Having failed to pin the nauseous nickname “The Noughties” on the allegedly completed first decade of the third millennium, wordsters were already suggesting even more dreadful terms like the “Twenty Teens” for the second. At least they used capital letters.
If you accept that the third millennium began on 1 January 2001 the last decade has suddenly shrunk by 2 years-ie it covers the period 2001-2009. (Certainly, it seemed a whole lot longer, but that was only because George Bush II inhabited the White House for a good chunk of this abbreviated time span).
But when does the new decade really begin?
Okay, strictly speaking, a decade can be any period of ten years, but for the concept to be of any historical use there need to be certain agreed conventions about when it really begins. It’s a matter of knowing how to count to 10. Perhaps the Government’s new numeracy standards need to be broadened to cover media mavens.
If you want to number from the beginning of the Common Era, C.E. (it’s a bit tricky using AD- most biblical scholars are now agreed that Jesus Christ was born anachronistically around 4 BC) and you agree that there is no year zero, the first year was 1 C.E. and the 10th year, or the last year of the first decade was 10 C.E. Extrapolate from there. Years ending in 1 are the first year of the decade. Years ending in 0 are the 10th year of the decade-ditto for centuries and millennia.
Richard Brody in a blog “When Does the Decade Really End?” persuasively develops the argument that the new decade doesn’t begin until 2011: HINT- There Never was a Year “0”. Since there never was a year “0,” the first decade was Years “1-10,” and the first century “1-100,” and thus the first millenium was “1-1000.”
It seems as if the wrong headed view of the majority, misled by the media, is squeezing out the logical voice of the minority.
Of course, if the Mayan calendar and prophecy is correct we won’t need to go through the same logical and semantic contortions in 2021. The Mayan Calendar is more than just a system to mark off the passage of time; it is above all a prophetic system. The Mayan word is that Close Of Play for The World is going to be either December 21 or December 23, 2012, the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle. (The 22nd must be a rain day).
No matter into whichever of the two numbers in the celestial roulette wheel the ball drops, the decade debate will stop once and for all.
Meanwhile it’s back to the future. While you are waiting around go for shorter investment terms and longer mortgages.
Before it goes all black in 2012 the All Blacks just better make sure they win the Rugby World Cup next year.
#Lyall Lukey 6 Jan 2010