“Sṇtējō, dō mejnō daitis atqe legs…”
– First Hierophant, 0 HE
The “pulse” or activity-level of any movement can best be measured by looking at its events calendar, since that is likely to give you information about organizational capability, scale, frequency of events, the ‘shape’ of intra-movement networks and its external connections. Zero State (ZS) is a young community, part of the wider Social Futurist movement, and this article outlines the initial configuration of the “ZS Year”, circa 12018 HE.
No, “12018” wasn’t a typo. ZS uses the Holocene Calendar, which is to say one which counts years from the approximate beginning of human civilization, rather than on any religious basis. Years HE (Holocene Era) are simply calculated by pinning a “1” to the beginning of the Gregorian year to represent the 10,000 years of human development prior to Christianity.
You may be wondering what the point is, to any of this. Beyond the simple need to run events, why does a Futurist movement need its own calendar or holidays? The simple fact is that mythos – a sense of historical narrative, importance and focus – is critical to our ability to build mass momentum toward our goal. Our goal is nothing short of the total redemption of humanity long promised by the world’s religions, and so any claim those religions had to organizing societal activity goes double for a global movement which (with exponentially advancing technology as its basis) actually can deliver on those promises. Just as individual humans readjust their ways to better approach their goals, so must humanity as a whole.
Holidays, & How The West Was Won (by Catholicism)
The extraordinary historical success of Christianity (in the form of the Catholic Church) was largely due to the way the Church incorporated pagan traditions and holidays into its own mythos and structure. Rather than attempting to ban pagan practices from the outset – something the early Church was in no position to do – priests simply co-opted pagan practices, put a Christian gloss on them, and as older generations passed away young people were only taught the Christian explanations for these things.
This is essentially the conscious, strategic application of Thomas Kuhn’s theory of paradigm shift; i.e that people don’t so much change their minds, as die and make way for people who were educated into the new paradigm. In that spirit, the “ZS Calendar” begins with four core celebrations – known as the “cornerstones” – each of which parallels contemporary holidays of various types:
May Day is historically the Spring Equinox holiday of the Northern European peoples, only (much, much) later being adopted as a Socialist workers’ day. We draw upon both of these traditions, celebrating May Day as a time of rebirth for all people, for workers and community members, and as the start of the ZS year because it commemorates the official founding of ZS on 1st May 2011, when the Principles of Social Futurism were first published.
“X Day” (AKA. Day X / Day of Execution)
Zero State has at least two features which clearly set it apart from other activist movements and communities. The first is that it can be (and often is) conceptualized as an Alternate Reality Game (ARG), designed to engender an activity-promoting suspension of disbelief in its participants. The second is that the ARG scenario/narrative involves some time travel (or simulation of the past). Taking these two things together, we should expect the mythos to not only refer to metafictional future events, but to also deliberately blur the line between them, their context/implications, and reality.
“X Day” is a term borrowed from metafictional Discordian fellow-travellers the Church of the SubGenius, who have celebrated their own day-of-expected-eschatological-weirdness under this name for twenty years now. ZSers also take a cue from the title single of postmodern prophet David Bowie’s final album, which refers repeatedly to a mysterious event known as “The Day of Execution”). Bowie and co-conspirator Brian Eno were both involved in launching the career of post-punk–electro–absurdists DEVO, who have consistently supported and promoted the SubGenius parody-religion over the decades.
But what do ZSers say happens on this date in the future, then? That, I’m afraid, is at present a secret kept by the Hierophants of Doctrine Zero. In other words, if you want to know, you’ll have to do a little digging… 😉
“Independence Day” (Independence Month)
July 4th (- August 4th)
The 4th of July is of course well-known as the day on which Americans celebrate their independence from the now-defunct British Empire. ZS incorporates this meme and sentiment by celebrating our collective independence from all traditional geo-states on the same day. We are not historically independent from one empire, but independent in principle, from all empires, nations, companies, and controlling entities. We celebrate our own independence as a pure ideal to continually strive toward. Where this holiday is celebrated as Independence Month (rather than Day), extending until August 4th, the point is to reflect upon the various subtle forms of control that we seek independence from.
“The Fifty Days”
November 5th – December 25th
A fifty day period (or some related tradition) has significance in all of the world’s major monotheistic religions, albeit with a slightly different significance in each of them. Within the ZS mythos, the Fifty Days begin with an exhortation to remember the need for periodic revolution or renewal (being a recent understanding of an old rhyme popularized by Alan Moore’s “V for Vendetta”), and ends with a celebration of the eternal ideal served by such revolution, while the period as a whole marks our dedication to building (and rebuilding) a better future for humanity.