Re: Metric Time (was Re: Why not 13 months? (Was La Systeme Metrique))

Peter Ceresole (
Sun, 22 Oct 1995 14:06:41 +0000

In article <46cr4q$>, (Whittet) wrote:

>It is interesting that the meter seems to be based on the Belgic Germanic
>system where the measures are in triple decimal intervals

The point everybody seems to miss about the metric system is that it was
the product of a rationalist revolution.

They started like everyone else. The metre is a human scale measurement-
like the yard. Its size is immaterial; it was just convenient, so it's no
surprise if it is similar in length to other "yards". After that, they
related it to some "objective" size, and came up with with a 40,000,000th
of the circumference of the earth. Why not? It was a classic piece of
backwards rationalisation.

>From there onwards they did the truly revolutionary work, and related all
the quantities in a rational and simple way. And that's why the metric
system has conquered the world- not because of the size of the metre, but
because the French Revolution provided the context for a radical, logical
system, that unlike its predecessors was related to what had become a
universal way of counting.

I guess in that way, the French Revolution will prove to have been the most
influential in history.