My calendar page was inspired by this article:
Because links die, I've transcribed it from my hard-copy, exactly as I found it in issue 46 of Magical Blend.
I found the article again published in issue 4 of Strand Three.
I found another copy in Rowan's Tree House.
by Robert Anton Wilson
For about a year now, I have dated all my letters with my own no-bias multi-cultural calendar. Of course, I know a multi-cultural chronology seems very Politically Correct, but don't let that shock you. I happen to agree with the P.C. cult about many things. In fact, I only differ with them in not liking their intolerance, their fascist tactics, their introduction of Maoist brainwashing to our groves of Academe, and their utter lack of humor or ordinary common sense. Aside from those issues, I almost approve the P.C. agenda.
Actually, I started using a single non-Western calendar back in 1969-71 when working on Illuminatus with Bob Shea. I had realized that the Gregorian calendar, the standard Occidental system, dates everything from the alleged birth of a comic-book super-hero I regarded as fictitious. He supposedly had a virgin for mother, a pigeon for father, and cured the blind by throwing dirt in their eyes. You can see why I had doubts.
But dating everything, a la Pope Gregory, not only subliminally conditions to us to the mythology of the Vatican, but also divides written history artificially in the middle, creating a certain off-kilter view of how things actually transpired since neolithic times.
For instance, in the Gregorian calendar, the first Egyptian dynasty began c. 3400 "B.C.", the founding of Rome 509 "B.C." and the nomination of the boar hog Pigasus for President of the U.S. in 1968 "A.D." To try to escape the Papist trap here by writing "B.C.E.," before the Common Era, and "C.E.,"the Common Era," doesn't really help much. We still remain stuck in the Romish reality tunnel.
Even worse side effects of the Gregorian calendar arise when you try to sense the time span covered in the dates just mentioned. It requires hard thinking, a historical imagination and even, for those as close to senility as myself, possible paper and pencil work. In the Illuminati calendar, however, these events fall into place in a single time line: Egypt's first dynasty begins around 600 A.L., the founding of Rome 3491 A.L. and the apotheosis of Pigasus 5968 A.L. (A.L., as in Masonry, means Anno Lumina--year of light.) Fill in a few more dates--Hassan I Sabbah illuminated 5092 A.L., Native Americans discover Columbus 5492 A.L., U.S. Declaration of Independence 5776 A.L., Noble Drew Ali born 5886 A.L.--and history begins to make sense as a single orderly sequence, not bent in the middle.
The Illuminati chronology (year one A.L. or 4000 BCE Gregorian) begins with the birth of Hung Mung, the ancient Chaoist (pre-Taoist), Chinese philosopher who answered all questions by shouting loudly, "I don't know! I don't know!" Thus, this system begins with a date around the first dawnings of civilization and writing, and allows us to see all history as a single sequence, not interrupted by an artificial minus-to-plus changeover to commemorate the god of a single weird cult.
As I say, I worked all this out, including the five seasons of the Illuminati year, back in 5969/5971 A.L.--just as "the sixties" died under the clubs and tear gas of the Nixon counter-revolution. Only c. 5992 A.L. after discovering Noble Drew Ali and the Moorish Science Temple, did I realize that any one calendar, even my own lovely Illuminati chronolog, imposes a single order on a complex system, and thereby has reductionist and almost totalitarian implications, at least subliminally. I therefore have switched to a multi-cultural system which, I dare to think, adequately represent what historian Crane Brinton called the growing multanimity (as distinguished from unanimity) of Spaceship Earth today.
For instance, in my multicultural calendars the date on which I began writing this article looks as shown below :
Poundian--19 Artemis, 72 p.s. U. Thelemic--19 September, Anno XC ‘Pataphysical--12 Absolu, 122 E.P. French Revolutionary--Le Travail, 202 Islamic--12 Rabi-2, 1373 A.H. Gregorian--19 September 1994 C.E. Erisian--43 Bureaucracy, 3178 y.C. Chinese--15th day of the 8th month, Year of the Dog 4692 Mayan--6 Reed, 5106 Hebrew--14 Tishri, 5755 A.M. Illuminati--43 Beamtenherrschaft, 5994 A.L.
A few quick, and valuable lessons, immediately leap out of this chronolog .
First of all, the much touted "Millenium" only appears close in some calendars, and remains e.g. 245 years off in the Hebrew, 798 years away in the ‘Pataphysical, etc.
Second, when I called this system mine I did not intend to brag, but to indicate personal limitations and emic realities: many alternatives can exist, at the preference of the user. You can drop the Chinese and Mayan, if you want, or add the Tibetan and Aztec, etc. Personally, I would love to include Wiccan and Druidic dating systems, if somebody would find them or create them.
A few additional words of explanation:
The Poundian calendar, designed by Ezra Pound, attempts to define the post-Christian era and dates everything from 31 October 1921 (Gregorian)--the date Joyce wrote the last words of Ulysses.[*] (The "p.s.U." means post scriptum Ulysses, "after the writing of Ulysses.") I November 1921, accordingly, becomes 1 Hephaistos in the year 1 p.s.U. The year has 6 male months for the solar phallic male gods (Hephaistos, Zeus, Saturn, Hermes, Mars, Phoebus, i.e. in Gregorian, November, December, January, February, March and April) and 6 female months for the lunar female goddesses (Kupris, Juno, Athene, Hestia, Artemis, Demeter i.e. in Gregorian May, June, July, August September and October.)
In this system, we have progressed 72 years into the post-Christian epoch and will soon enter the 73rd.
For those who have other ideas about when the post-Christian era began, the Thelemic calendar dates everything from 1904 Gregorian, when Aleister Crowley received, or conceived The Book of the Law. That makes this the year 90, which like all years gets written Latin style by Thelemites--Anno XC. For some reason, Crowley did not rename the months, so I keep the Gregorian month names here.
As a multiculturalist, I play no favorites. In one sense, we have evolved 72 years beyond the Christ cult, and in another sense we have evolved 90 years. As Sri Syadasti said, "All systems are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense." A secret Illuminati teaching holds that if you repeat that 666 times, you will achieve Total Illumintaion, in some sense.
For those who agree that we have entered the ‘Pataphysical Era, I include the ‘Pataphysical calendar, starting from Alfted Jarry's birth on 8 September 1873. (He shares the 8 September birthday with the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Catholic mythos and Molly Bloom in the Joycean mythos. ‘Pataphysically that "coincidence" must mean something.) Thus every ‘Pataphysical year begins on Jarry's birthday, renamed 1 Absolu, and proceeds through 13 months of 29 days each (Absolu, Maha, As, Sable, Decervelage, Gueles, Pedale, Clinamen, Palotin, Merdre, Gidouille, Tatane and Phalle.) Since each week has seven days and each month four weeks, and 7 x 4 = 28, we have one extra day each month. We call these days "imaginary" by analogy with imaginary numbers. Every month starts on a Sunday, which simplifies the system and ensures that the 13th will always fall on a Friday. As UFO sightings, UFO abductions, poltergeists, Bigfoot encounters and falls of fish and frogs get reported more and more often, many may find the ‘Pataphysical calendar the most plausible of all. As Jarry said, all other sciences deal with generalization, but ‘Pataphysics deals only with the exceptional.
The French Revolutionary calendar dates everything from 1792 Gregorian, and as I write this amid the five Sansculotides or feast days (Les Vertus, Le Genie, Le Travail, L'Opinion and Les Recompenses, i.e. Virtues, Genius, Labor, Blather and Wages. No month name gets used. In three days (22 September) the month of Vendemaire, in the year 203 begins, followed by Brumaire, Frimaire, Nivose, Pluvose, Ventose, Germinal, Floreal, Prairial, Messidor, Thermidor and Frustidor. (i.e. Vintage, Fog, Sleet, Snow, Rain, Wind, Sprouts, Flowers, Pasture, Harvest, Heat, Fruit--a good description of a year in Paris).
The Islamic calendar begins with the flight of the prophet (hejira) in the year 4621 A.L. (621 Gregorian). A.H. means after the Hejira, the usual abbreviation used by Muslims writing in English; this year thus becomes 1373 A.H. You can look up the months in any encyclopedia. I don't intend to do all the work for you, and if I did, this article would run longer than the editors want.
You already know the Gregorian calendar. It gets drummed into our heads in our allegedly "secular" "public" schools and everybody in our society who holds power--banks, corporations, even governments--uses it. My system intends to break the conditioning/hypnosis created by this artificial uniformity.
The Erisian calendar, which we owe to the sublime genius of Malclypse the Younger, dates events from 2816 A.L. (1184 BCE, Gregorain), the year of the Original Snub. If you don't know about the Original Snub, go thou and read Mal's Principia Discordia, from Loompanics Unlimited in Port Townsend, Washington, wherein you will find the Snub, together with the Golden Apple, the Trojan War, and everything else in the universe, explained once and for all. Each year has five seasons, representing the five degrees of SNAFU imposed upon us by the Original Snub--Chaos, Discord, Confusion, Bureaucracy and International Relations. That gives us 73 days to each season, which equals one Chockmah day in Cabala. Herein the Wise and Subtle will find a profound secret hidden, if they can Know, and Dare, and Will and Keep Silence.
Every fourth year, of course, we run into that damned extra day that also perplexes the Gregorians. We Erisians call it St. Tibb's Day, since everybody now agrees that St. Tibb never existed.
The Chinese calendar makes more sense than any of the others, but I find it too complex to explain in full. You look it up, eh? Meanwhile, rest satisfied that we now live in the year 4692, and you don't have to worry about any damned Millenium for another 308 years.
I find the Mayan calendar even more perplexing, but keep it on my letters because I like the names of the days: Crocadile, Night, Snake, Deer, Jade, Monkey, Reed, Eagle, Thought, Storm, Wind, Net, Death, Rabbit, Dog, Tooth, Jaguar, Wax, Knife, Hunter. Sort of sounds like my last acid trip. This year counts as 5106 of this cycle, but numerous cycles roll on and on and do not necessarily end in 2012 Gregorian, whatever you may have heard; that may just mark the opening of another mega-cycle.
You can look up the Hebrew dating system for yourself, too. Really, do you think you can learn anything important without personal effort?
The Illuminati years you already know. The five seasons have the names Verwirrung, Zweitracht, Unordnung, Beamtennherrwschaft and Realpolitik, each 73 days long. Like the Gregorians and Erisians, we thus have an extra day dangling loose every four years. We call it Heiligefliegendekindersheissetag, and it has rituals that beat all hell out of Saint Tibb's Day.
The beauty of this multicultural system, to me, resides in its total lack of allegience to any one emic reality, and in its conditioning the users to think in comparative realities. Thus, to most Americans, December 25 means Christ-mass and even the atheists feel dragged into the Reality Grid of the Romish cult. But on my multiple calendar system, the same date appears in many guises--as 25 Zeus, 72 p.s.U. or as 25 December Anno XC or as 25 Sable 122 E.P. or as 5 Nivose, 203, or as 22 Rajab, 1373 A.H. or as 67 International Relations, 3178 y.C., or as the 22nd day of the 11th month, 4692, or as 11 Dog, 5106, , or as 23 Teves 5755 A.M., or as 67 Realpolitik, 5994 A.L. You have a wide choice of what to celebrate. Why not celebrate all of them? But don't go driving afterwards.
I want to thank Hakim Bey, James Koehnline, Gregory Hill and John ver der Does for help with parts of this multi-calendar. If anybody finds any mistakes, please notify me at once.
Of course, my basic motive in trying to popularize this system lies in the hope that some people will use it and get cured of asking, "But which is the real date?" Then they might start to see the fallacy of all questions in that form, and we will achieve a large part of the goals of General Semantics, Erisianism, Deconstructionism and Buddhism. Some may even understand why no form of "is" or "be" appears anywhere in this article.
* Pound had his 36th birthday on that date also. You can't expect an egomaniac, even one as generous as Ez, to leave himself entirely out of the dating of the New Age.