Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-2011

Is it significant that at this precise moment it is 11:11 p.m. on 11 November, 2011?

This question raises interesting linguistic questions.*

First, and most practically, does 11/11 mean 11 November or November 11? Which is more logical? This is entirely dependent on where one lives in the world and with whom one interacts. Grammar and syntax are extremely, even uncomfortably, relative due to dependence on usage.

Second, is the way we record and count time anything but a social construct? A highly useful, nearly indispensable one, but a social construct nonetheless. Its nature as a social construct, then, means moments such as this one (which has assuredly already passed anyway by the time you finish reading this parenthetical, or before you even started it, for that matter) have no special significance whatsoever. They do, however, give us special human feelings, just like other entirely insignificant events can do (e.g., a favorite sports team winning a game).

If you have definitive answers to these questions, that is interesting. If you do not, no worries. Happy Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day anyway.

*This post operates on the enormous underlying but unproven assumption that numbers, including time and dates, are language.

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