Numerology, the 23 Enigma-and Confirmation Bias

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On February 23 a movie by Joel Schumacher, starring Jim Carrey, will be released entitled ‘The Number 23’. The story centers around a book given to the main character ( Carrey ) that seems to echo the events in his life and features prominently the phenomena that has come to be known as “The 23 Enigma”. The 23 enigma is the belief that every event is somehow related to the number 23. This is sometimes misattributed to the science of Numerology although, that is incorrect. Like the ‘9-11’ phenomenon wherein coincidences of the number 911 are charted and listed, the 23 enigma may be nothing more than a particular example of the confirmation bias in cognitive theory know as apophenia – the experience of finding connections or patterns in random, meaningless data. The adherents of the 911 phenomenon find a good portion of these coincidences by manipulating numbers to arrive at a desired outcome ( negating the possibility of true coincidence ) and many of the examples given in the numerous lists regarding the 23 enigma share this trait. Robert Anton Wilson himself, whose work explores some of these interesting coincidences regarding the number 23, comments that the phenomenon merely shows how the mind can find ‘truth’ in anything if it wishes to see it.

However there are some genuine coincidences ( or synchronicities ) that feature the number 23 and these are often interesting to ponder as harmless amusements, a few of which we will list here. Owing to popular culture there are also many instances where the enigma is intentionally evoked in artistic works that feature some reference to 23. If you should decide to provisionally accept the phenomenon as a true example of synchronicity in action do not be surprised if you begin to see the number 23 everywhere as it becomes what is know in psychology as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Whether you see it or not, have fun. 23 times over!

Curiosities of the number 23

The physical biorhythm cycle is said to be 23 days. It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body. The male and female each contribute 23 chromosomes during conception. A full turn of the DNA helix occurs every 23 angstroms. The number of joints in the human arm is 23. There are 23 vertebrae in the human body. Tantrists believe the male sex cycle is 23 days.

Shakespeare was born on April 23. Shakespeare died on April 23. Two 23’s equals 46 and, that’s how old Shakespeare was when the KJV was published. Grab a King James Version of the Bible and turn to Psalm 46. Count 46 words and you arrive at the word ‘shake’. Turn to the end of the chapter and count 46 words backwards and the word you end on is ‘spear’.

The Ancient Egyptians hailed the New Year on July 23 – the day Sirius rises behind the sun.

The ideal orbit, Clarke’s Orbit, for a satellite is 23,000 miles above the earth.

The first prime number wherein both of the digits are prime and add up to another prime number is 23.

The 23rd letter of the alphabet, W, has 3 points up and 2 points down.

Two-thirds or, 2/3, is equal to .666.

The first Morse code transmission is reported to have been “What hath god wrought?”. A Biblical quote from Numbers 23:23.

Alexander the Great was 23 when he cut the Gordian Knot and Caesar is reported to have been stabbed 23 times. The Knights Templar had 23 Grand Masters.

The “Day the Music Died” was February 3 or, 2-3. This was of course the day Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper died.

Devin Hester, whose jersey number is 23, becomes the first person to return the opening kickoff for a touchdown in a Super Bowl ( XLI ).

Now, how many more instances of the 23 mystery can you find?

Copyright Jakob Steele 2007

write by Leonard

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