Numerology

#1
I searched Skeptiko for "numerology" and turned up 0, so I thought I would start a thread on numerology and see if anyone else is interested in it or has any book recommendations on it.

Numerology is considered a pseudoscience by "skeptics" probably because the rules (or grammar) regarding numerology are subjective or open to interpretation. Numerology is associated with the occult and often blended with synchronicity or the notion of a divine plan to derive some meaning from apparently random events.

So is Numerology just seeing faces in clouds, or is there something to it?

The basic premise of numerology is that it is a form of cryptic communication. All communication involves a sender, a receiver, a symbol, a meaning, and a context. On the surface level, the possible meanings of a word come by convention and the specific meaning of a word in a message is dependent upon the context. There is no direct link between a word and meaning. The receiver imparts his own meaning to words by offering his best guess as to the intended meaning of the sender. There will always be inherent ambiguity in language (see deconstruction) and there is inherent ambiguity in numerology as well. But that does not mean language or numerology are useless.

As with words, certain numbers or patterns of numbers have meanings that are determined by convention and context. The conventional meanings of numbers are derived from sacred geometry, astrology, appearance in nature, usage in sacred texts, and Gematria or other alphabet/number correlations.

Simple examples from geometry: take the number "360". Most people would probably think of a circle or a cycle since there are 360 degrees in a circle, so by convention "360" most likely means circle or cycle. A very simple example from astrology: "365" connotes a year.

There is sometimes a grammer to numerology such as... add the numbers in a sequence to get the root single digit number. For example: 365 = 3 + 6 + 5 = 14 = 1 + 4 = 5. A number repeated connotes emphasis or greater degree of that number's qualities.

Another brief example that will be well known to anyone from a Christian background: From revelation 13:18 666 brings to mind the apocalypse and the beast government and a tyranny over all commerce. 6 is said to be the number of man. Is it a coincidence that the 6th word in the 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th book of the New Testament is "man"? or that man was said to have been created on the 6th day? As another example, 7 brings to mind completion. 7 days in a week. 7 days of creation. etc.

My interest in numerology has recently been once again piqued by the Pope's upcoming visit to the White House on 9/23 (or 23/9 as the rest of the world writes it). This is the 266th Pope visiting the White House on the 266th day of the year which is the 239th year of the U.S. nation also happens to be 7/10 and 7/11 on the Jewish calendar which is the day of atonement during which God supposedly makes a judgement about a person's status for the remainder of the year. A woman is typically pregnant for 266 days before she goes into labor, and labor pain is the first judgment from God to mankind. 9/23 is also fall equinox which is metaphorically the day that the powers of darkness become stronger than the powers of light. 7/11 could also be seen as 9/11 since SEPTember was originally the 7th month. There are other interesting meanings behind 7/11 which I can't recall at the moment and there is more strangeness regarding the date of 9/23 which is much hyped on the interwebs right now, but I don't want to make this thread about the 9/23 subject. I only offer it as a recent example of an interesting confluence of symbolic numbers and events.

There is probably no group more obsessed with numerology than the Free Masons who go to extraordinary lengths to incorporate symbolic numbers into their architecture, works of art, and rituals. The Free Masons descend from an ancient school of hermetic teaching that goes back through Israel, Egypt, and Babylon.

To ignore the subject of numerology at the very least inhibits a person from perceiving the full depth of layered meanings within the Free Masonry artwork that is pervasive around the world and in prominent display in cities of power such as Washington D.C., Paris, London, etc. The Free Masons also incorporate teachings of the Kabbalah which heavily involves numerology. The Hebrew scriptures are replete with particular numbers that create patterns of meaning.

For a good presentation on some sacred geometry and numerology in architecture and art:

Since secret societies and Free Masons in particular have had such a great influence on world events, power politics, art, and architecture, I think numerology is worthy of study. The "sender" of the cryptic message in this case is human.

But could there be a non-human sender of numerological messages? Depending on your model of reality behind the veil, non-human senders could be divine, angelic, demonic, a sub-conscious aspect of self, or synchronicity.

Could engaging numerology open the door to the paranormal? In other words, by opening the mind to significance in numbers and by applying significance to numbers in one's own cryptic communications could one open the door for the "Trickster" or the paranormal to engage in this process? For minds that easily obsess or engage in paranoia, numerology can be a dangerous rabbit hole, but for those who are disciplined enough to maintain a balance of sanity, could studies in numerology be a beneficial and gratifying endeavor?
 
#3
I must say that the fascination that so many, highly inteligent and influential, individuals have with numerology is equally fascinating. I have discussed my experiences with synchronicity and have commented that it may be a "language" of sorts, patterns certainly seem more obvious while experiencing such a chain. I can't really say that there were distinct numbers involved... But who knows?
 
#5
I don't know much about numerology so I don't really believe in it, but Carl Jung thought that astrology worked by synchronicity ... and some talented psychics use tarot cards as a structure upon which to organize their genuine insights ... so I won't say I'm certain there is nothing to it under any circumstances.

But you can find coincidences in almost anything so I am not impressed by coincidences in numbers. If someone can reliably make specific accurate predictions before events, that would demonstrate there is something paranormal going on. Finding coincidences after the fact is not proof of anything.

If you want to exerience the paranormal, keep a dream log and start meditating.
 
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#6
But you can find coincidences in almost anything so I am not impressed by coincidences in numbers. If someone can reliably make specific accurate predictions before events, that would demonstrate there is something paranormal going on. Finding coincidences after the fact is not proof of anything.
Perhaps you'd care to weigh in on the post I started, "Coincidence Bias"?
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/coincidence-bias.2496/

If we start from the premise that the universe is random, logical, and meaningless, then seeing meaning in numbers or coincidences is confirmation bias and fallacious post-hoc reasoning. But if we start from the premise that the universe is fundamentally an interesting creative story, then ignoring coincidences could be a mistake that I've called "coincidence bias" like the poor literary or film critic who misses the deeper meaning, the foreshadowing, the playing with symbols crafted into the story.
 
#7
Perhaps you'd care to weigh in on the post I started, "Coincidence Bias"?
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/coincidence-bias.2496/

If we start from the premise that the universe is random, logical, and meaningless, then seeing meaning in numbers or coincidences is confirmation bias and fallacious post-hoc reasoning. But if we start from the premise that the universe is fundamentally an interesting creative story, then ignoring coincidences could be a mistake that I've called "coincidence bias" like the poor literary or film critic who misses the deeper meaning, the foreshadowing, the playing with symbols crafted into the story.
Okay, but you don't know it is foreshadowing until the thing it is foreshadowing actually occurs.

I agree there can be meaningful synchronicities. But I also believe there can be meaningless coincidences.

Materialists should consider the possibility of coincidence bias, but people who are already open to the possibility that there can be meaning in synchronicities might have the opposite problem - they need to figure out when a coincidence is just due to chance. They could suffer from synchronicity bias, so I think you have to consider the odds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem
In probability theory, the birthday problem or birthday paradox[1] concerns the probability that, in a set of randomly chosen people, some pair of them will have the same birthday. By the pigeonhole principle, the probability reaches 100% when the number of people reaches 367 (since there are 366 possible birthdays, including February 29). However, 99.9% probability is reached with just 70 people, and 50% probability with 23 people.
A coincidence is at least two things happening at the same time. Often in synchronicitiies there are more than two meaningful things occurring that significantly lower the odds it can be explained by chance. Also, often in meaningful synchronicities there is some abnormal behavior in one or more persons that requires explanation as well.
 
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#10
Okay, but you don't know it is foreshadowing until the thing it is foreshadowing actually occurs.

I agree there can be meaningful synchronicities. But I also believe there can be meaningless coincidences.

Materialists should consider the possibility of coincidence bias, but people who are already open to the possibility that there can be meaning in synchronicities might have the opposite problem - they need to figure out when a coincidence is just due to chance. They could suffer from synchronicity bias, so I think you have to consider the odds.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_problem


A coincidence is at least two things happening at the same time. Often in synchronicitiies there are more than two meaningful things occurring that significantly lower the odds it can be explained by chance. Also, often in meaningful synchronicities there is some abnormal behavior in one or more persons that requires explanation as well.
Yes, any good story must be told in the context of an apparently random universe. And I agree that one can go overboard with numerology or synchronicity and see patterns and symbolism everywhere - Jesus and Mary on a piece of burnt toast for example.

The problem with attempting to apply statistics is there is often not a good way or no way to estimate odds for unusual non-repeatable circumstances. Take a recent synchronicity I experienced: I change my desktop background once every year or so. In June while my girlfriend was planning a surprise birthday trip for us that included a stop at Crater Lake Oregon, I happened to change my desktop background to a picture of Crater Lake. I did not realize the picture was of crater lake until I got back to work and turned on my computer. I had no idea where we were going until we got there. Now how do I calculate the probability of me changing my desktop background to a picture of our future destination during the same time period that my girlfriend was planning the trip there?
 
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