Sunday, December 23, 2007

The Number Twenty Three

Items Randomly Lined Up In The Bathroom - Twenty Three Is Everywhere, But Who Cares?

Tonight my daughter insisted that the family watch a movie together. She was quite convinced that it would be well worth our time, as she had seen it before, and was impressed.

It was The Number 23

As I watched the movie I found myself half interested in the plot, and almost fell asleep at several points. My daughter on the other hand continually looked over at me, excited by the various implications of the movie. The number twenty three is everywhere.

The fact that the number 23 is made up of two low numbers, numbers which are used in common everyday life, or can be easily obtained by simple counting, subtracting, dividing, or multiplying other common numbers didn't cross my daughter's mind.

She was after all under the spell of the number 23.

Just as the human brain is designed to find facial patterns, which makes us all vulnerable to seeing cloud creatures looking down upon us on a cloudy day, so too does the mind attempt to organize the world about us into other more easily understandable patterns. This is after all how human beings managed to survive in a world of faster, and more ably equipped predators. We organized the world outside ourselves to match the ever more organized mind within.

The number 235,742,100,300 for example will never have a movie based upon it, because it is simply too long of a number, and no human on this planet seemingly relates to the fact that this is the number of sentient, and quasi-sentient creatures in the Zebulon star system wiped out by Neader Colonial Invaders in a rather unremarkable spiral galaxy two billion years ago. Yes, I just made that up, but who knows - the Metaverse is an awfully big place.

It is therefore left to the shorter numbers, which the human mind can more easily grasp and manipulate, to act as harbingers, and portents - of betrayors of hidden connections, and worth. It is the human mind which insist on making the numbers 666, 7, 11, and even 23 important. It is the human imagination which assist such numbers in raising both goose bumps and hairs upon the back of the neck, and in giving them a meaning at all.

This is not to suggest that hidden order does not exist within a greater level of chaos, or that hidden meanings can not be devined from applying a simple filter upon reality. Conspiracies exist too, however, it is obvious that it is the mind's desire to create a simpler and more understabable world which is the underlying significance of the number 23.

Not only is it seemingly necessary to understand our world, but it also appears necessary to misunderstand it as well. It's an old story. Numerology is just one in a long list of recently abandoned methods upon which human beings have depended upon to make sense of it all.

However, in this modern age, an age of science one would hope that numerology would have seen its final day, but the human psyche is not willing to give up what the brain so willingly wants to project - connections where none exist.

My daughter added up some numbers tonight, and is convinced of the significance of the number twenty three. Despite my attempts to explain that the movie The number 23 is in fact fiction, she is convinced that there must be something special about the number.

I guess I shouldn't have pointed out to her immediately after watching the movie that the letters which make up the names of personal care products, pictured above, add up to twenty three. Nor was it a good thing that upon quick review that she discovered that the dates of birth of her father and mother are connected to the number 23, and that her date of birth is similarly so connected. It's going to be a long night as she is now finding it difficult falling asleep.

I would never tell her that I started writing this post at 2:03 A.M., nor would I try to explain that as I look up to write this concluding paragraph that it is 2:30 A.M., or that the number of letters in the file name of the photograph above is twenty three letters in length.

No, that would be too much.

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