The Gregorian Calendar, which is the calendar we use today, corrected an error in the previous Julian Calendar. The error accumulated over time and made the Julian Calendar gradually more inaccurate to the point that it no longer correctly determined the date of Easter, as it was out of sync with the equinoxes and solstices.
Pope Gregory declared that the Thursday, October 4, 1582 would be Friday, October 15, 1582 so that Easter would once again fall on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the Vernal Equinox. The Catholic countries in Europe immediately adopted the changes, but the Protestant-dominated countries refused to change for almost 200 years given that the reform was authored by a Catholic Pope. An interesting local note, the Spanish colonies adopted the change in 1584 while the British colonies waited until September 2, 1752 to reform the calendar. Alaska the last state to adopt the change, waited until October 5, 1867!
Back to the email I received, the theory is that April Fools’ Day began when those who chose not to reform their calendars continued to ring in the New Year on April 1st, as had been practiced for centuries, rather than shifting it to the new date of the New Year, January 1st. Only “fools” would continue to be so old-fashioned! And now they have their day.
This tidbit of history makes me think of how transitory human understanding is, especially when viewed in the context of centuries or even millenia, instead of generations. Every generation gets so caught up in the fixed nature of the social customs and mores, the dominant worldview and even larger, the cosmology of its era that the sense of connection to the past and to a different frame of reference is often the last thing on anyone’s mind. For whatever reason, the human race tends to be myopic in both vision and consciousness.
I was speaking to a horse trainer friend of mine today and he made an interesting observation about the evolution of horsemanship in the United States. Much of the equestrian tradition in our country traces its roots to the Old West, a do or die environment where only the strong and often severe survived. The European tradition, however, went through a period of meticulous refinement during the Renaissance and through the work of the various European military cavalry schools, much of it prior to the birth of the United States.Many of the problems any horse rider experiences due to the difference between how a horse naturally moves and how we as riders like him to move were resolved hundreds of years ago, using systems that were comparably kinder, gentler and more durable than the approaches taken in the “Wild” West. In our current era, there has been a resurgence of interest in the “classical” methods established by the early European masters of horsemanship in the United States and a movement toward establishing new standards that would benefit the more modernly developed systems presently in use.
I hope that the interest continues, as more often than not I find that in virtually every sphere of human activity there are successes established in the past that were forgotten about and yet are worth including in our current approach. It isn’t a question of who is better, rather, it is a question of how best can we achieve the desired result, on a sustainable basis.
Every sustainable construction begins with a well-planned and executed foundation. Whether you are building a house, a business or training a horse, the wise course is to begin with a firm foundation. One of the signature qualities of our modern era is a refinement of the art of the short-cut. Short-cuts in the establishment of a foundation are always ill advised.
As you can tell, my thoughts on this subject are rather raw and uncoordinated, but I look forward to developing a deeper understanding of the importance of a broad vision and a consciousness as unbound by artificial constraints as possible.
Have a great day!