Who gave the week 7 days?

David M. Henkin, author of “The Week: A History of the Unnatural Rhythms That Made Us Who We Are,” claimed in an interview for The Atlantic that “[the week is] the only one that doesn’t fit neatly into the fraction of any larger unit, like everything else does, from seconds to centuries”(Pinsker 14). But why doesn’t the 7-day week work? 

Henkin claims that this 7-day week model is both “weirder” and “clunkier” than any other measure of time. The week, now a global standard, comes to an end on Sunday — the much needed rest day—and starts on a Monday, the most dreaded day. Built on a history of religious processes and historical efforts, the week is our central orientation of time and where we stand in the flow of time. Our 7-day weeks determine our recurring activities and when it’s necessary to give Mom or Dad a call back.  

My question is: would it be better for us to simply have 6-day weeks instead of 7-day weeks? The answer is yet to be determined. 

As a college student trying to hold on to every minute of time that I have, my weeks go by in a flash. And no matter how many “to-do” lists I make or all-nighters I pull, time is never on my side. It worries me that changing this model will completely throw me off. 

Luckily, this model will probably never change. Just as Daylight Savings is unlikely to change, no matter how many people fight it and question its actual use. 

And like so many other aspects of our lives, it just becomes “normal” and expected. For a unit of time that doesn’t seem to fit, for many of us it’s the one thing constant in our lives that keep us organized, or at least functioning. 

 

hardy4@stolaf.edu

Mathilde Hardy is from

Edina, Minn.

Her major is undeclared.

 

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