Monday, September 2, 2013

A seven day week?

All through school I have been remarkable for my lack of curiosity. If education is the process of stimulating the curiosity of the student, I qualify among the most uneducated people that has been the misfortune of any school to turn out. Yet, I am periodically afflicted by curiosity about the most absurd of things.

Why is it that a week has seven days? In a world remarkable for people finding almost any flimsy excuse to violently disagree about anything, why is there such a unanimous acceptance since eons about this idea of a seven-day week? It is not even as though we are born with seven fingers making it easy to count up to seven and no more - else we would have adopted base seven math instead of the base ten math that we do use.

Perhaps it is because we are all lunatics - insofar as we all started off following the lunar month of 28 days. If you wanted to break down this number to smaller manageable proportions you had a choice of 2, 4, 7 and 14. So, unless you wished to spend five minutes to count back to some point and say, "13 days back" instead of "About two weeks back" in a jiffy, you had the choice of

1. Fourteen 2 day weeks in the month.
2. Two 14 day weeks in the month.
3. Seven 4 day weeks in the month.
4. Four 7 day weeks in the month.

The first choice, of course, must have been quite popular with the workers. With one day off per week, they would only have to work half the time. The problem, of course, would be with people who needed two days off per week. These people would have starved to death, perched on a tree with fruit hanging in front of their noses, because they would have to wait for a working day that would never come in order to do the job of picking the fruit and eating it.

The second choice would have been the employers' favorite. It is well-known that the employers of yore were wildly upset about night - and the need for sleep - coming to the working classes as much as it did to them. A fourteen day week with just one day for Church would have been just the ticket.

If they could not get that ideal 2-day week, a 4-day week would have been all right for the workers. It is the sad tale of the world that what suits one does not suit the other and the employers were quite put out by the idea of getting work done only 75% of the available time at best.

Thus, as in everything else in the world, a 7-day week was probably the compromise that left everyone moderately unhappy.

I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words 1st - 7th September 2013

88 comments:

  1. Such a great calculation! I would probably go with the first choice. You're extraordinary, Sir!

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    1. Well - Been a finance man and dealt with numbers all through my short working life. So, this was easier for me :)

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  2. Very fantastic oost.It is informative.You have nicely vetoed a seven day week.

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    1. That's like some President wanting to repeal the Law of Gravitation :)

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  3. I personally felt that seven 4-day weeks is the best. That way we can work for 2 days and take off for the next 2 days. Time for a change, eh?

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    1. Let us propose that to the UN :) Me - all my days are now Sundays so I have no stakes in this :)

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  4. As Visu would say, You are very clearly confusing me.

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    1. That is one way of making people think :) by confusing them :)

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  5. A very interesting calculation. Loved it. I am a teacher and in India we have a six working day week. I am happy with the 7 day week and want only 5 working days, thats all.

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    1. I'm in India too! But, yes, I have a 7 day holiday nowadays per week thanks to retiring early

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  6. 'It is not even as though we are born with 7 fingers' haha...some brilliant thinking there! Curiosity of the absurdity in life...hmmm...sometimes m sure you even surprise yourself?!?

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  7. Ah! You do have a way with words...Feels good to read your blog...Intriguing post :-)

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  8. Thank you Suresh....I always thought I am the only one who wondered these things. Now that you have given a wonderful explaination to one, I might have a list of questions for you :D

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    1. Ask! I may get a lot of blog posts out of them :)

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  9. That's a lovely analysis!! Enjoyed your thought process in that!! Okay, has 'lunatic' anything to do with the lunar month too?! :D

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    1. Luna was the other name for the Moon. And 'lunatic' is derived from Luna.

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  10. Like Sugandha, I always thought I was mental for thinking of absolutely trivial stuff like this, but good to know that I have intellectual company like yours who thinks on similar lines albeit in a funnier and calculated manner....

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  11. Yeah and we loved waiting for our favorite day..Sunday! are aj tou Monday hai :( ye sunday kab ayega

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    1. Aayega Aayega yeh write tribe festival katam hote aayega :)

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  12. seven 4 day week should be fine with me. I am not asking for more.. seriously yaar :-))))

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    1. Very moderate of you, Sundar :) You are not asking for 14 two day weeks :)

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  13. I wouldn't mind 28 one day weeks like yours, CS ;)

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    1. Ah! With one holiday per week, huh? :) But you are back at calculating for five minutes and saying '13 weeks ago' or '13 days ago' as the mood takes you :)

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  14. Now I know who or what to blame. I blame the moon for everything anyway, my moods, my sulks and now for the fact that even though 5 working days a week are just fine, two weekly holidays are what I need, I get 7 straight working days. Gah!

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    1. Well - it does not matter how many days are there to the week that way, Ritu :) Anyway all days shall be working days :)

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  15. Clearly, there is no conundrum that can't be resolved if we start thinking about it from the context of 'I don't work Sundays'!
    Very nice!

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  16. Fairly logical deduction! Hahaha!! Can't stop smiling. 2 day week sounds awesome though! :-)

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  17. What ingenious calculations. Love the way you think, Suresh!! :)
    If you ask me, I would go in for seven 4 day a week schedule! :D

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  18. Sigh! Just look at what the management courses have begun to teach us all! :)

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

    PS: Wanted to write IIMs in place of 'management courses'... but then my loyalty to FMS came bounding to hold me back.

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  19. After scratching my hair a bit and racking my tiny little brain a bit more, I've arrived at the following conclusion: Fourteen 2 day weeks in the month will be fine with me.hehehehe

    Anyway, an intelligent post.

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  20. 7 day week is good for me but a 3 day weekend would be perfect!

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  21. Seven 4 day a week would be Perfect for me ;)

    But awesome calculation and conclusions!

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    1. Thanks - I think we have almost a consensus on that :)

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  22. to me 7- 4day weeks sounds great!! arre let's get together and pass that resolution man!

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    1. We have quite a crowd here for this option :)

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  23. Holy heaven!!..this whole analysis is so very confusing.Am no genius but after reading your post, one expression BRILLIANT. Definitely seven 4 day a week for me....:)

    http://sailorswiferamblings.blogspot.com/2013/09/sizzling-seven.html

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    1. Not a bad combination.It actually took me three readings to understand but at last i figure-out.:)

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  24. Thank God it's not 2 weeks with 14 days ! Learning Sunday, Monday till Saturday was so difficult in 1st standard, over that 7 more days to learn ! and today children have to learn it in pre primary ! Wondering what would they have named the additional 7 days ?

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  25. WHAT?? You mean it's not because God created the world in seven perfect days - and, feeling the need for rest on the seventh, Himself, commanded Man to do likewise? (I always wondered if the notion of resting on Sunday wasn't so much a holy commandment as either God not wanting us to show Him up by working on Sundays, or us justifying a day off as "Godly.")

    Either way, I know I need two days off to focus on myself and my family - isn't it strange that we're all willing to work more than half of our time, our best hours, to support someone ELSE's success - and we, and our families, so often take a back seat to that?

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    1. Not me Holly :) I quit working pretty early in life :)

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  26. Seriously, I never thought of this question? I remember longitudes, latitudes, even 24-hour day and 365 days in a year, but I think 7 day week is purely a man-made thing, right? I count my blessings that I enforce a 5-day work week :).

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    1. Months and Weeks are man-made divisions of time - as, indeed, are seconds, minutes and hours. The day and the year are driven by astronomy.

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  27. I would have never come up with the calculations that you did even if I was intelligent enough to ask this question! I am all for the 2 day week. One day work, one day off. What an idea Sirji. :D

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    1. Ah! You just do not have an idle mind like me :)

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  28. I would say a sunday is enough to encompass a week :D :D But then if people insist I would add another day to it.. :) I loved the idea you have presented!

    Richa

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    1. Shucks! How did i miss responding to this. Sorry, Richa!

      Thanks for coming by and showing this post some love :)

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  29. Like you I am curious about the strangest of things, mainly things that others take for granted. Why DO we have a seven-day week? And why is each day named for a particular god or planet? But, nonetheless, every day is Saturday for me now that I am a retired teacher. Wonderful post, Suresh!
    Penny

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    1. Been remiss - Do not know how I missed responding to this.

      Thanks for the comment Penny! And being a retired person myself I too am enjoying a perpetual holiday.

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  30. This write tribe is really getting better of all you guys, Suresh. Another brilliant piece.

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  31. Lol..what are trying to do? Confuse us or make the Romans cringe in their graves! I was always weak in Maths..so the confusion continues :D

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  32. My curiosity was its peak by end of the post with a chuckle of course because some point or the other in my school, college or working life I have always wondered why there are 7 days in a week. Loved reading your post.

    I too am participating in the festival just a late comer. Have 3 posts to catch up...

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  33. your curiosity has lead to such a precise analysis...I'll be waiting to learn what you are getting curious about next.

    you can check out my post here:-
    Karan - Grand Mother

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    1. you already know - I was curious about the days of the week :)

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  34. hahha !
    This is funny. I want two days a week and two weekly offs . Wow the thought itself makes me dance
    hilarious post again suresh

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    1. Everyone seems to - We must start a signature campaign

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  35. Very interesting perspective..never thought about why a 7 day week..

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  36. I vote for the 2 day week and a weekend thrown in ! Now that wouldn't be unfair, isn't it.Why don't you start a petition :)

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  37. I wonder why we have 12 months and not 13 months. 13 months with 4 weeks each seems much more logical.

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    1. They started off with only 10 months - which is why you have September for the ninth month - 'Sept' is used for '7' as you know and indeed it was then 7th month. Till July and August got added by stealing days from the other months. We name roads after celebrities, Augustus Caesar decided to do it with time for all time to come :) (Ref: Etymology and Mythology :) )

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  38. What a post Suresh! You surpass yourself!

    Dagny

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    1. Surpassing myself is easy :) I set the bar so low:)

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    2. You do NOT! Stop fishing Suresh!

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    3. Oh! God! And I don't even like fish :)

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  39. I thought god created the year, months and weeks and gave them to us as a present. Seems it is all manmade.
    I wish Wednesday was a holiday. That would have made life more bearable.

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    1. It is mashed musings like this that has now made me convert all my days to Sundays :)

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  40. You have a point there Suresh on why we have a 7 day week. :D

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