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JeanPaulSartre's avatar

What kind of event would it take for us to change the year to zero?

Asked by JeanPaulSartre (5779points) June 11th, 2010

The western world, and as a result, the majority of the developed world considers this to be 2010 Anno Domini (AD) or as we often say “After Death.” What sort of event do you think would cause us to start numbering again? Inter-stellar travel and visitation by extraterrestrials (who would have a different idea of time) are two that come to mind, but what do you think?

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36 Answers

syz's avatar

Well, there’s always the disaster movie theory – after any apocalyptic event, especially those that destroy civilization and most of the population of the earth.

On that note, happy Friday!

Nullo's avatar

Imperial edict.

gemiwing's avatar

I would have to say nuclear winter/global apoc or alien communication- verified and witnessed by many. Or perhaps a global pandemic that kills over half of the population.

jfos's avatar

It would most likely be something destructive, such as a pandemic, natural or manmade disaster, technological failure (Y2Kesque), or astronomical phenomenon.

I don’t think extraterrestrial contact would cause a new recorded-time era.

Nullo's avatar

Technically, “After Death” would have to refer to what we call 33 A.D.

Buttonstc's avatar

Well perhaps another version of what started our current system.

If you believe in it, the second coming of Christ would qualify. Even if you don’t, just the fact that it actually did occur would really get our collective attention, wouldn’t it ?

Ya know, that whole deal of a new heavens and a new earth kind of thing wherein dwells righteousness. The lion shall lay down beside the lamb, peace shall reign. It would certainly be memorable.

Buttonstc's avatar


Not to get too picky, but A. D. is an abbreviation for the Latin Anno Domini (year of our lord) referring, of course, to Jesus Christ.

Hence my answer. The first coming of Christ started the current dating system, so it would be sort of fitting symmetry if the second coming kicked off a new one.

Kind of an interesting parallel.
However, if one is an atheist, it’s kind of a moot point :)

mYcHeMiCaLrOmAnCe's avatar

we can wait till 2012 and then, the people will start counting from 0 lol
if there’s gonna be anyone left xD

I don’t believe in the whole 2012 theory but it’s fun

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I’m aware of that AD doesn’t stand for After Death – but that’s not really what this is about, thanks for clarifying though!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

It’s interesting to me that the current accepted date is based on an even that ⅔ of the world doesn’t believe in, but not surprising.

Nullo's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre I think that it’s interesting that some people hang the validity of a concept on the number of people who share it. Validity ought to be intrinsic, right?

marinelife's avatar

I can’t imagine that any event would cause us to do that. it would be totally negating our entire past.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@marinelife I don’t see it that way – history would still be history. What makes you think so?
@Nullo True. But this isn’t about validity… Time is arbitrarily counted, so it’s a situation where there is no “right” way only a consensus of a way to do something, so it’s interesting that the consensus is to follow a system that implies that something they don’t believe is true.

Nullo's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Ah, sorry, I was unclear. I was referring to a general tendency in cases other than the ordering of the dates.

CMaz's avatar

Big Bang: Part 2

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Nullo Fair enough… why mention it here?

Nullo's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Because it came up at the same time that I was thinking about it, mostly.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Nullo Seems somewhat random, then, but we’re all sorts of off track, at this point.

Cruiser's avatar

We could start getting used to the Chinese Calendar when they eventually will own all our debt and the entire country. This would be the year of the Tiger 4708!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Cruiser Haha – sounds like a plan. Of course this wouldn’t change much for any of us peasants, but that’s a whole other conversation ;)

ucme's avatar

A ride on H G Wells’ glorious time machine.Ahh, if only that were possible.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ucme That’d be a good… um… “time!”

ucme's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Avoid the morlocks at all costs.Creepy buggers.

DominicX's avatar

The French tried to do it during the French Revolution, making the year 1789 the new year 1.

Just thought I’d share that little tidbit; I don’t have any idea that would cause a renumbering. I personally would never want to “start over”. I like records to be consistent. :)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@DominicX I didn’t know that! How interesting… and kinda Franco centric on their part! Ha!

Nullo's avatar

@DominicX Didn’t they also try to move all measurements of time to a Base 10 system? Ten-day week, ten-hour day, ten-month year, etc?

KatawaGrey's avatar

Maybe the calendar will change with the coming of the Jewish Messiah. I’m not sure the exact year, but I think the Jewish calendar is in the 5000’s though I could be wrong.

Also, point of interest, anthropologists have begun to refer to any year after the year 1 as C.E. as in Commone Era and any time before the year 1 as B.C.E. as in Before Common Era.

bolwerk's avatar

The end of high technology. Four-digit years are now pretty hardwired into computing, and therefore the life of virtually every citizen of the planet. This will be a problem in approximately 7990 years.

That Jesus was supposedly born in year 0001 is incidental. Of course, common belief now is that he was born 5 BC or so (Before Himself?). Fucking mix-up in God’s HR department or something.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@KatawaGrey I used to joke that it was Common Error. ;)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

lol @bolwerk Nice. I think lots of techies went a little nuts and put many extra date bits in for years up to 999999999 or something just to avoid another Y2K.

bolwerk's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre: the next problem coming up is the signed 32-bit integer addressed to the UNIX epoch. There may be Y2K-style problems with older equipment starting around 2038.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@bolwerk Yep – but it’s the one’s we’re not aware of that really worry me (mostly because I witnessed the efficiency with which we fixed the Y2K issue.) If one catches us with our pants down, then we’re in trouble.

mattbrowne's avatar

The arrival of Kurzweil’s singularity.

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