Counting from Now

How to think of time as relative to this particular moment.

Although the idea had passed through my thoughts some time ago, I never gave it much thought, until a friend and I were immersed in a discussion about our relative time-related projects (and for the record, the man is a genius, with some interest projects on the go – but that’s for him to share).

theAbysmal Calendar begins counting measures of time with the numeral 0 (this is how the Maya counted, which is where I learned of it). This allows us to count the time periods, like we do with seconds, minutes, and hours. The day begins at midnight (for some), which on the clock is 00:00:00 – or 0 hour, 0 minute, 0 second.

this is followed by 00:00:01, which indicates that one second has elapsed. It is a way of counting a measure of time AFTER it has run its full course.

This is not how we mark longer measures of time. We begin the numbering with 1 (as in the years 1-2014), or in the case of the days of the month, we use the ordinal system of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, which is an indication of the sequence of the days.

theAbysmal applies the system of counting from 0 (as we saw with clock time) to every measure of time, from the second (and by extension, its subdivisions) to the year (and by extension, all its groupings). So, in this sense, time can be indicated from second (on the right) to the year (on the right)

The moment I finish this sentence would be noted as
Year 1, Month 8, Day 5, Hour 13 (1pm), Minute 14, second 39

or in Gregorian terms
1:16 pm and 39 seconds, August 8th, 2014

That’s the way to have an absolute count of days. Any given day is a fixed reference point on the calendar (and every other calendar).

However, if we apply the 0 to the current moment, as in this year, this month, today, this hour, this minute, this second. As we experience the progression of time, the current moment remains the same, but the numbers assigned to every past and future day change. This is a very different method of thinking about time. We do this to some extent, refering to next year, this month, yesterday.

Having this system overlap with theAbysmal requires some kind of programming knowledge to do anything with, and I abandoned any hope of acquiring such knowledge as I scribbled pencil marks in tiny boxes on punchcards.

At any rate, it’s something I haven’t seen applied to any other calendar system, and it would provide yet another function that this tool could perform, if needed. Here’s a comparison. Not sure I’ve quite figured out how to do this.

Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 2014 8 8 1 28 pm
theAbysmal 1 8 5 13 28
Relative 0 0 0 0 0


Past Date
Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 1945 8 6 8 15 am
theAbysmal N/A 08 03 8 15
Relative -69 0 -2 -5 -13


Future Date
Calendar Year Month Day Hour Minute
Gregorian 2050 1 1 1 01 am
theAbysmal 38 0 10 01 01
Relative +37 -8 +5 -12 -27

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