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.