The Magic of Numbers

two trees & rabbit 2

Numbers are magical. Well, they can be. Numbers go on forever. We need fractions and percentages and formulas. As much as you may hate math, numbers are everywhere. They allow the Internet to work. They make sure you take enough medicine to help you but not kill you.

Then there are those numbers people believe have magical powers. Birthdays and lucky numbers and dates for the apocalypse. Do you believe in numbers like these? Do you take note when the clock says 11:11? Did you feel something significant should’ve happened on 12-12-12?

A new year arrives and what do you do? Write a list of resolutions? Eat black-eyed peas? Kiss someone at midnight?

I’ll be 45 this year. My mother died when she was 45. It’s hard not to give that number weight, especially when I just scheduled an appointment with a surgeon to make sure I don’t actually have breast cancer. My mother didn’t die of cancer though. She had an aneurysm.

But if I give power to lucky numbers, it seems I’d have to give power to the number 45. I don’t want to do that. Would you?

Happy New Year. May the numbers align like stars and bring you luck.

7 thoughts on “The Magic of Numbers

  1. Numbers have magic because we bestow meaning on them. Synchronicity works like that…meaningful coincidence in time. But a lot is at play within the psyche when such an event occurs. A whole movement believed it was the end of the world on 12:12:12…

    On a personal note, that date was also my 25th wedding anniversary…and I wrote a whole book about an event that occurred on 11:11 1989…We look for meaning when compelled to.

  2. fairyhedgehog

    It seems to be part of human nature to look for patterns and we find them in randomness…

    I hope your doctor visit goes well; I know how scary it can be, checking out symptoms to make sure they’re not cancer. Let us know how it goes.

  3. Well, I do sort of love math although it’s only a casual sort of love. I keep coming across little bits of stuff about things that we think we know to be true… but which are true only because we use a particular number system, or a particular form of geometry. (“Riemann geometry”?!? What they hey?!?) I use math and geometry a lot as mnemonic devices. (Hard to explain without sounding foolish, probably.) And I think The Doctor needs a new phrase to play with, something like “mathy-wathy” to go along with “timey-wimey.”

    When I was in my 20s, I started a journal whose first entry consisted of nothing but a calculation of my lucky number. I took my SSN and my phone number and my birthdate — every number I could think of which was connected to me — and added up all the digits, and then kept adding and re-adding the results until I came up with a single digit. The answer was 6. Then I put the journal aside. A couple days later it occurred to me that I’d forgotten to include some other number — my weight or something — which would have brought about a different result. And then shortly after that I moved (new ZIP code and new phone number), and realized that I’d never ever be able to come up with a single answer that was true forever. What a goof.

    …And when I was in college, one of my professors — for a fantasy/SF course — required us to keep a dream journal. It was a pass-fail assignment: at the end of some previously unannounced class period, as you exited the room you had to open the journal at random and show him the entry. (He didn’t want to peer into our subconsciouses; he wanted US to.) The dream which my journal fell open to was a dream consisting of nothing but digits — large, small, different typefaces and weights, etc. He sort of jumped backward when he saw that. Ha.

    1. Well, I can’t imagine. Numbers always challenged me. If I noticed a student writing numbers for a dream, I’d be taken aback too. But it would be cool. (And I’ve no idea what Riemann geometry is.)

      1. Actually, I myself don’t remember what it is. It’s some form of geometry which replaced the kind we’re all (more or less :)) familiar with… Euclidean geometry? Yeah, that’s right I think. Like the way the “normal” geometry works, when you lay two parallel lines next to each other, no matter how far out you extend them they never converge, but with Riemann geometry they do. (I’m totally winging it here… if I toggle over into Wikipedia now, I’ll probably be very embarrassed.) I think using it fixes some things about Einstein’s theories which even Einstein himself was skeptical about. (Winging it, etc. etc.)

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