The fascination of numbers
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MAN imagines a world without numbers. There would be no money; business would have to be done by barter. What would it look like in sport? Without numbers you couldn't give a score, you couldn't even determine the size of a team!
But numbers are not only practical. They are abstract and therefore also have something mysterious about them. You cannot see, touch or otherwise feel numbers. An apple, for example, has a certain color, firmness, size and shape as well as a certain smell and taste. On the basis of such characteristics one can determine whether it is really an apple or perhaps a lemon, a ball or something else. With a number it behaves completely different. A collection of seven items may have nothing in common with a group of seven other items - except that they are seven. So understanding the meaning of numbers - for example, the difference between six and seven - means understanding something very abstract. This is where number mysticism comes in.
From Pythagoras to Pseudoscience
In antiquity it was common to ascribe a special meaning to numbers. Thus Pythagoras, a Greek philosopher and mathematician of the 6th century B.C.E., taught that all things could be attributed to number patterns. He and his students argued that the whole universe bears witness to order and proportion. Could this not mean, they argued, that all material things are inherently mathematical?
Since the days of Pythagoras, numbers have been used to make predictions, interpret dreams and design memory aids. The Greeks, Muslims and Christians have interpreted numbers. Jewish Kabbalists used a numerological system called gematria. They assigned a numerical value to all 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet in order to elicit hidden meanings from the Hebrew scriptures.
Today's numerology is similar. The starting point is often a person's name and date of birth. A certain number is assigned to each letter of his name. By adding these numbers and the numbers of the month and day of birth, the numerologist determines the key numbers of the person concerned. He then assigns a special meaning to these numbers, which he believes fully describe the respective person - his personality, his unconscious desires and his fate.
Perhaps the main reason why numerology is so popular is that it provides apparently accurate analyses. "Many people have begun to believe in numerology because they discover how well the numbers fit the people to whom they are applied," writes Edward Albertson in his book Prophecy for the Millions. However, numerology has also been called a pseudoscience. Why? Is there a reason to distrust what it claims to be?
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HIDDEN MESSAGES IN THE BIBLE?
In his book The Bible Code, journalist Michael Drosnin claims to have used computer analysis to decipher hidden messages in the Hebrew Scriptures. A year before Israeli Prime Minister Rabin was assassinated, he discovered that the "code" contained the words "murderer who will murder" along with the name of Itzhak Rabin, Drosnin explained.
As was to be expected, The Bible Code provoked some opposition. The mathematician and physicist Dave Thomas demonstrated that computer analysis could be used to extract so-called encrypted messages from any text. When analyzing Drosnin's own text, Thomas found the English words for "code", "silly" and "fraud". "Hidden messages can be found anywhere," says Thomas, "you just have to go to the trouble and graze the wide field of probability long enough.
Since a computer can perform any number of arithmetical operations, it will probably always track down some letter combinations that are useful for some kind of prediction. However, this is pure coincidence and by no means a proof that the Bible contains hidden messages
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)