Thursday, December 22, 2005

Winter Solstice

Objects are defined subjectively. Since objects are defined arbitrarily, this gives rise to your arbitrary subjectivity.
- Fuyan Qingyuan, 1067-1120

You must see the infinite, i.e., the universal in your particular or it is only gossip.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., 1841-1935

A minor cyclical adjustment within the solar system has exercised the minds of humankind for millennia, giving rise to beliefs, myths and religions. When the earth in its heliocentric orbit changes the angle of its axis to begin tilting the North pole once more inward towards the sun, marks the beginning of a new cycle. The hours of daylight begin once more to increase in the Northern hemisphere giving rise to observances variously to do with the rebirth of the sun, the return of the light, and the overcoming of the darkness.

From a global perspective, this does not make a whole lot of sense to inhabitants of the Southern hemisphere who are broiling under the zenith of the solar body. It marks the end of one year and the beginning of a new one, reflecting the historical accident of the northern origins of the calendar most of us live by. So the Southerners have to adjust to the end and beginning of their year occurring in Summer, an imposition of a single world-view for all.

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