Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The end of the decade?

Articles filling the papers and wrap-up shows on TV as we come to the end of 2009 indicate we're not only ending a year, we're also finishing a decade. Which leads to the question I consider at times like this - When does a decade really start and end?

Since we start counting with one and not zero, it's a good argument to say a decade begins with the year one and ends at the end of the year 10 - not at the beginning. But common use shows that we talk about 'the 50s,' 'the 60s,' 'the 70s,' giving the nod to keeping everything tidy based on the initial number of the decade.

I was struck by something the Wizard said in Wicked. I am paraphrasing, but the gist was this: The truth has nothing to do with facts. The truth is what we all agree on.

In this case, it appears the media agree the new decade begins on January 1, 2010, so we're all carried along. And it really isn't worth fighting over, I don't think. Time being an arbitrary function created by humans to bring some order to our lives and to make us think we have some control over something.

But the Wizard's comment was funny at the moment, thought provoking over time, and a tad scary upon reflection. How often do we succumb to group think? When we start down the slippery slope of ignoring the facts, where do we land when we stop sliding? What really are the facts?

Something to think about as we finish another year. And maybe another decade.


  1. I can remember exactly where I was when this awful decade came into being. Believe it or not, when I rang in the new year on January 1, 2000, not only was I stone-cold sober - I was at church! My then-girlfriend and I attended a special midnight mass at the local Catholic church to welcome in, not only a new decade, but a new century and a new millennium. I remember feeling filled with optimism. By entering this new era, I felt, we could wipe the slate clean. Maybe this would be a new age of peace, love, brother and sisterhood. EVERYBODY SING!

    This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius!
    Age of Aquarius!

    How utterly naive on my part, huh? By year's end, all of that hope was out the window and into the toilet. In December of 2000, an ideologically perverted Supreme Court would assist in a stolen election by stopping the vote count in the state of Florida, installing a corrupt little frat boy with the I.Q. of a half-eaten box of Milk Duds as president of the United States. It was all downhill from that moment on. From the birth of "Reality Television" to the worst attack on American soil since the Civil War, it was quite a strange ten years to say the least. Thankfully this awful decade is a mere three days away from being forever consigned to history's scrap heap. Hallelujah.

    Tom Degan

  2. I remember reading about a sage who was questioned about whether a recent event was good or bad. His response was 'We'll see.' The sage gave the same response when questioned about an event that had taken place hundreds of year's past. We've been over some really rough ground in the past 10 years. I wonder what we can learn - how we can benefit - from having lived at this time?