All numbers are
equal, but some numbers are less equal than others. And in recent
years, it is clear that a lot of attention is being focused on
the numbers 11 and 23. Why?
any number between 1 and 10, and you’re likely to choose
7. Seven is often seen as a very holy or esoteric number, linked
with the number of (traditional) planets, the number of archangels,
etc. But dig a bit deeper, and one will find that all numbers,
from 1 to 9 have all been well-mapped and are part of numerical
religious sequences that are deemed to be “important”.
In fact, counting from 1 to 9 has often been a mnemonic device
to illustrate the creation of the universe.
Surprise, surprise, therefore that it might be the number 11 that
is deemed by many to be an unexpected entrant in the competition
for being the most interesting or important number. Its importance
has been promoted by the likes of Uri Geller, who even argues
that it is specifically the occurrence of 11:11 that is of most
interest. For many years, he wondered whether others felt the
same and he launched what is best describe as an appeal on his
website for others with a similar fascination to come forward.
He also incorporated it into his novel “Ella”, where
he explains his fascination: “I started experiencing this
rather bizarre occurrence when I was forty years old, at first
I thought they were coincidences, I would stand with my back to
a digital clock and something made me turn around and I would
notice that the time would be 11:11. These incidents intensified.
I would be checked into hotel rooms on floor 11 room 1111. I started
noticing these digits on computers, microwave ovens, cars, documents,
etc. I decided to write about it on my website. I was immediately
inundated by hundreds of emails from all around the world. Individuals
were telling me their own 11:11 stories, almost always saying
‘I thought it only happened to me’.” It therefore
seemed to Geller that something was special about these numbers.
And if so, the question then is what precisely?
question is whether there is an “11 phenomenon”, or
whether perhaps there is even an 11:11 or 11:22 phenomenon, seeing
that the two numbers are obviously related. It was 11:22 that
was a favourite time for the producers of “The X Files”,
many of the clocks shown in the series showing this time.
Geller concluded: “It is in my opinion and feeling that
the endless recurrence of the number eleven represents some kind
of a positive connection or a gateway to the mysteries of the
universe. And beyond.”
If Geller is right, the most obvious approach is to argue that
the numbers 11 and 22 are heavily linked with the Kabbalah and
the 22 paths that connect the ten sephiroth of the Tree of Life.
Coincidence? Or an insight into a larger reality? If there is
a difference, of course.
where does 11 take us to? In numerology, it is the first of the
Master Numbers. It also takes us to pyramids, as the proportions
of the Great Pyramid are 7:11, and 11 is a number harmonious with
In today’s western calendar, 11 is of course associated
with the month of November, and if we go for a sequence of elevens,
we end up on November 11, 11.11am – a date and time that
is specifically linked with the commemoration of World War I,
as the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, at 11,11am.
Coincidence, design, or actually perhaps responsible for part
of the 11:11 phenomenon?
important dates in our recent history were of course November
22, 1963, the day John F. Kennedy was murdered in Dallas, which
some see as a watershed event in the history of American politics.
There is also the total solar eclipse of August 11, 1999, which
occurred at 11.11 AM (GMT). Though the event was heavily promoted
as extremely important (it featured in Nostradamus’ infamous
Centuries), in retrospect, it is clear that very little truly
happened beyond the astronomical phenomenon itself – and
definitely not as much as some of the Nostradamus fanatics thought
But let us continue by listing interesting number elevens: there
was of course Apollo 11 that was the first mission that set foot
on the Moon, just like a sunspot cycle is roughly 11 years –
though this is an approximation. And should we attach any significance
at all to the fact that England’s primary sports of football
and cricket have eleven players on the field – though the
same applies to an American football team? If we were to do so,
how can we exclude dozens of other sports, that do not have 11
people in the team?
What to make of the fact that the winter solstice in 2012 will
occur at 11:11 universal time? It is of course this event that
is so deeply linked with the Mayan calendar and its ending –
or, if you are a fan of “The X Files”, the date of
the alien invasion.
But, it is clear, that some events need to happen at certain moments
in time, and the question is whether we can pick individual events
from the larger calendar, and disregard all other dates and times.
Though one might argue that 9/11 contains the number 11, the equivalent
terrorist activities in London occurred on 7/7, that other holy
number. But noting that all numbers from 1 to 9, as well as 12,
if not 10 and 11 too, are “sacred” in some form or
other, it is clear that within a twelve month calendar, the majority
of dates can all be labelled as “sacred” in one form
recent years, 11 has actually gotten competition from the number
23 – which even became the title of a movie, staring Jim
Carrey – and the shirt number Beckham wore for Real Madrid,
trading it in from Manchester United’s holy seven.
There are 22 chapters in Revelation, and some query whether the
unwritten 23rd chapter is of course what everyone is dying to
hear. One of the earliest to subscribe to the 23 enigma was beat
poet William S. Burroughs. For him, it was not just the unusual
frequency of the number; it was that in any coincidence he would
find the number 23. When he was in Tangiers in the 1960s, Burroughs
met one Captain Clark, a ferry captain who boasted of not having
had an accident for 23 years. That night the boat sank, killing
Clark and everyone aboard. Later that evening, Burroughs heard
a radio broadcast about a plane crash. The pilot’s name
was Captain Clark. The flight number was 23. After that day, Burroughs
kept a record of similar coincidences involving the number 23.
Throughout his journal, 23 recurred over and over, like a footprint
of chance, like the signature on the handiwork of fate. The question,
of course, is whether he could have held a similar diary about
the number 17. Or 55. Or 765.
high lord of the number 23 was the science-fiction author and
former Playboy editor Robert Anton Wilson. He caught the 23 bug
after a Playboy interview with Burroughs. Wilson was thrilled
to discover that parents each contribute 23 chromosomes of DNA
at their child’s conception. He nevertheless completely
freaked out when he learned that the British occultist Aleister
Crowley tied 23 to reproduction by defining 23 as the number of
“parting, removal, separation,” “Joy”,
“a Thread” and “Life”. Of course, Crowley
associated himself with the Great Beast, and believed that his
number was 666. Two divided by three is… 0.666…6666
like Burroughs, Wilson and Crowley have made 23 a sort of self-fulfilling
prophecy. And it does seem that the fascination with a particular
number is akin to a personal obsession – though there is
little wrong with that. Whether 11, 22 or 23, it is clear that
each of us seems to have a personal – favourite –
number, and some numbers might merely be a bit more universal
than others, or attractive to one person, but not the other. Hence
why some numbers are less equal than others.
The vital question remains: so what? Well, for the likes of Geller,
it is clear that he is convinced that there is true significance
in “his” number. If, like the protagonist of “The
Number 23”, you start noticing that this signature of fate
peals back the skin of reality and upon peeking through, you realize,
as you suspected all along, that there is a dark hand manipulating
the events of all creation to a malicious end, well then, 23 can
be profoundly disturbing – so can be 11, or any other number.
At the same time, it might make you more alert, or even warn you
that “something” might happen e.g. next time the clock
turns 11.11am – or pm.
inroads to such a realisation, it is clear, are always coincidences.
One person for whom the number 11 was important, told me that
significant events in her life tended to happen on the 11th day
of the month. The apparent presence of meaning in what should
be a random sequence of numbers is precisely what makes a coincidence
into a synchronicity: an important event. In fact, a common definition
of a synchronicity is that two events should not be linked via
any causality, but are purely linked by their meaning.
The man who brought the term synchronicity into our world was
Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung. Jung spoke about the subject
as early as the 1920s, but only committed his thoughts to paper
in 1951, continuing his forays into the subject in 1952, with
“Synchronicity – An Acausal Connecting Principle”.
For Jung, synchronicities were signs, in this reality, that something
behind the scenes of this reality was occurring – very much
like what occurs to the main character in “The Number 23”.
For Jung, synchronicities went hand in hand with his concepts
of the collective unconscious, as well as the archetypes. In short,
for Jung, there were few “real” coincidences –
or rather, meaningless coincidences. Mostly, Jung posited that
there was an order to the randomness, and that this order was
not directly apparent to us; that it needed a kind of “insight”
– an open eye – to realise that… there was no
such thing as a coincidence.
whether there is genuine meaning to certain numbers, or whether
it is all a coincidence, is the big question. For some, there
is no such thing as a synchronicity, arguing that in the great
mass of chaos, there will be some aspects that might appear to
be ordered, but are in fact not. Jung’s approach, of course,
is akin to the quantum physicist who argues that thoughts –
our brains – are central to the entire structure and operation
of this universe. In short, Jung might be right – and so
might everyone else who believes that he or she has a special
number, which has special meaning for them.
Sceptics have labelled such thinking “confirmation bias”,
i.e. a tendency to accept information that confirms an already-held
idea. But even the likes of Nobel Prize winning scientist Wolfgang
Pauli were convinced that synchronicities were genuine, arguing
that often, ideas occurred in his dreams which would have synchronous
analogues elsewhere, as he later discovered when his distant collaborators
corresponded with him. It’s a strange universe we live in
and didn’t Paul Adrien Maurice Dirac, a Nobel Prize winner
in physics say that “God is a mathematician of very high
order, and He used very advanced mathematics in constructing the
article appeared in Atlantis Rising, Issue 74 (March - April 2009).