I had to write a paper on numerology for AP Chemistry (still trying to figure out why) and I thought I should share it. Please note that for the most part this is not very objective and is totally biased.
From the beginning of time, man has been trying to understand and explain the baffling phenomena of the natural world. From a glance through the pages of history, it is possible to glean that man has some sort of innate desire to know all that surrounds him. And when he cannot possibly figure it out, he often times makes it up. Perhaps it starts off with a little child asking a hard-working parent a question such as, “why does it rain?” Of course the parent does not have time to answer such questions when farming or hunting or gathering must be done. The natural response to such a questions would be “Shh, can’t you see I’m busy.” The determined child must have then persisted with his or her inquiry until finally an angry parent yelled out “IT RAINS WHEN ZEUS IS ANGRY, AND IF YOU DON’T KEEP QUIET AND START WORKING, ZEUS WILL THROW A LIGHTENING BOLT RIGHT AT YOU.” The child then became silent and began to contemplate the implications of Zeus throwing lightning bolts. And thus was born the very scientific discipline of making things up to tell children when they asked annoying questions. I imagine that one fine day an unemployed hooligan aimlessly loitering the highly acclaimed roads of ancient Rome saw this most miraculous thing, that of someone making something up to shut a child up, and realized that he could be making money off of that. So he did the most logical thing at the time, got some fancy looking clothes and set up a booth right outside a bustling city and tried to get people so that he could then lie to their faces in a very profound manner. The craft started off slowly, with things like a glass orb but later, as knowledge of science dawned somewhat on the people, these con artists began to add just enough “science” to make the less intelligent members of society fall under the illusion that the trickery here was actually science. And of course, they all fell for it.
It is perhaps out of this type of an event that the pseudoscience of numerology was born. But from this point on the cynical voice that has been entertaining you thus far will change to a more informative one that functions only to put you into a deep sleep. So grab a blanket and pillow and listen to this most (not) fascinating description of numerology.
Numerology seems to have roots in many different civilizations throughout the world. However, it seems that the Roman Catholic Church was opposed to this practice because it was blasphemous. The Council of Nicaea, which was designed to unite the different early denominations of the Christian faith, actually made it a violation of Roman law to practice numerology (or any other practice opposed by the Church – including but not limited to actual science). Of course, Roman law did not mean very much after about 100 years, because the Roman Empire collapsed under various kinds of stress .
Numerology deals with things like lucky and unlucky numbers. The number 8, for example, is “auspicious” When it comes to an explanation; an interesting mathematical observation is pointed out by author Annemarie Schimmel in her book The Mystery of Numbers. Schimmel points out that the square of every odd number (other than 1), is one more than a multiple of 8. Schimmel then goes into describing and developing certain historical and religious examples regarding the number 8, however the question still exists as to why 8 is “auspicious” per se. Another question that comes to mind is the practical application of such numbers. Under what circumstances will knowledge of the alleged characteristics of certain numbers come handy?
It seems that these numbers come in handy when put together with significant numbers related to yourself, such as your birth date. A combination of sorts with the digits that constitute your birthday will result in something that can give you a rough guide to your life. Such a life number is the sum of the each component of your birthdate (month plus date plus year (four-digit)). This digits in this number are then added together to reduce to a single digit. Often times, a double digit number arises. This double digit number is called a master number, but to find one’s life path they must add the digits once more to obtain a single digit number. According to the calculations for myself, I am a peacemaker and counselor. However, based on historical evidence I would have to disagree with these statements.
In closing however, I would like to bring your attention to one recent episode where numerology was discovered in the contemporary settings, and some of the implications of it. According to a 2006 article in the Washington Post, a woman in Washington DC was kicked off of the jury because she attempted to deliberate upon a murder case by analyzing birthdates, death dates, etc. (5). Another example is very familiar to us, and that is of the Rapture, which was destined to occur last Saturday (May 21, 2011) and now is scheduled to occur on October 21, 2011. The theme here sounds so similar to the hypothetical one I described in the opening paragraph, that it is almost scary.
On that note, please always let your rational mind have a say in what you believe and what you don’t.