New Year's: The Eternal Revolution

Posted on Dec 31, 2013 by Oliver

I've had 30 December 31sts now, and on or near many of them throughout my life I've heard various people express the sentiment that "New Year's is such a dumb holiday; it's all so arbitrary; it's just another day", etc, etc.

Um... fucking duh? ALL holidays are just another day. They're ALL arbitrary. This word "arbitrary" is derived from a latin word for "judge" or "decision-maker", and this is meaningful in that we choose to observe these certain days because we judge them to have symbolic value. In this case, the value is in the recognition that we tiny creatures have survived another complete revolution of this little blue mothership around a massive, heaving furnace of unfathomable size, situated way the fuck far away from us. Let's not devalue the strangeness of there being such a thing as a "day" by saying that this is "just another one".

You want to talk about 'arbitrary'? You live on a hurtling mass of mostly rock and magma. Somehow two gametes formed a zygote with your name on it, and you made it to a level of development where you have the capacity to recognize these facts, in an era when we have been able to observe these processes and understand them as never before. Your entire existence is arbitrary, in the word's more more modern sense which is closer to "capricious". Ain't it great? Everything from your conception and birth onward is a total fucking bonus!

Our planet's circular path reminds us that time, inasmuch as it exists, is not linear, and neither are the courses of our lives. We tend to circle around key themes, issues, struggles, desires and delights that seem to have chosen us as their agents of destiny. They do not seem to just go away in time, not the important ones. They stick around and we pass them by at many points in every revolution we make. Our ongoing relationship with them is the crux of the matter, and we do well do take stock of our progress from time to time.

We can argue til blue in the face about the bounds and limits of free will, but we all know that on SOME level we have a say in how much joy we take in getting to be conscious beings, for this brief moment oddly and riotously alive on an island called space-time adrift upon eternal seas. This is a day when, moreso than others, we may collectively take stock of how we're using that agency and that awareness. 

And THEN? We get wicked drunk on sparkling white wine. Now THAT'S arbitrary!!! 

Love you all! Happy 2014. Be safe tonight.