Roles of East and West As Inherently Subsidiary Directions
While the choice of north over south as prime direction reflects quite arbitrary historical factors, east and west are not nearly as natural alternatives as first glance might suggest. Their folk definitions are, respectively, "where the sun rises" and "where it sets". Except on the Equator, however, these definitions, taken together, would imply that
- east and west would not be 180 degrees apart, but instead would differ from that by up to twice the degrees of latitude of the location in question, and
- they would each move slightly from day to day and, in the temperate zones, markedly over the course of the year.
Reasonably accurate folk astronomy, such as is usually attributed to Stone Age peoples or later Celts, would arrive at east and west by noting the directions of rising and setting (preferably more than once each) and choosing as prime direction one of the two mutually opposite directions that lie halfway between those two. The true folk-astronomical definitions of east and west are "the directions, a right angle from the prime direction, that are closest to the rising and setting, respectively, of the sun (or moon).
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Famous quotes containing the words roles, east, west and/or directions:
“There is a striking dichotomy between the behavior of many women in their lives at work and in their lives as mothers. Many of the same women who are battling stereotypes on the job, who are up against unspoken assumptions about the roles of men and women, seem to acceptand in their acceptance seem to reinforcethese roles at home with both their sons and their daughters.”
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“We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken. Maugre all the selfishness that chills like east winds the world, the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether.”
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“You in the West have a problem. You are unsure when you are being lied to, when you are being tricked. We do not suffer from this; and unlike you, we have acquired the skill of reading between the lines.”
—Zdenek Urbának (b. 1917)
“My friend devotes himself to his life, whenever he can find the spare time. His motto is: Dont just sit there: live! So hes too busy to stand, to walk, to do anything, except to live. He even refused to kiss a girl, when invited, on the grounds that it was time again to be living. Schedules are sacred to him.”
—Marvin Cohen, U.S. author and humorist. The Self-Devoted Friend, New Directions (1967)