In honor of all the friggatriskaidekaphobics out there, I was pondering numbers this morning as I walked along.
The fear of the number 13, has plagued people for millenia. Some people believe that there are references to the evil associated with the number 13 as far back as the Code of Hammurabi, but I can’t find any scholarly references to that and I have not personally read through the full text of that Code. There are people who hold that Judas was the 13th person to sit down to dinner at the Last Supper, but there are no references to the seating order in the Bible, which I have read.
I’ve read that the ancient Persians believed that each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac would rule the world for a 1000 years and that when the 13th cycle came to rule, the world would collapse into chaos. I don’t know where we are in that cycle, but I think Congress may be a window into what that chaos might be.
I read a piece in the Mirror this morning that reports that one third of all Britons admit they change their plans which fall on Friday the 13th. They are not willing to take the chance of plans being ruined by the date.
Personally, I have never had anything bad happen on Friday the 13th. I have never changed my plans and never avoided the day.
One of my best friends was born on Friday the 13th and has led quite a charmed and successful life.
Numbers are just a way of ordering our lives. We use numbers to put time into perspective. We use them to keep track of how much money we have, of how hot or cold it feels, of how much taller we are than so-and-so, of how far away we are from our destination. But do they really mean anything? If there were no clocks, would it matter what specific time it was or would we just look to the sky to figure if we were closer to the start of light or the start of dark. If there were no numbers representing the date would it make a difference in how long we lived?
The lack of numbers might make a difference only in how well we lived.
Numerologists claim each date is representative of a different number and that number will help predict the kind of day to expect or the sort of activities one should pursue. (Sounds a lot like astrology, no?) One numerology site I peeked at hinted that today should be a good one for making plans for the future. No mention of the evil 13…
“Friday, December 13, 2013 — number 4
(12+13+2013 = 2038 = 13 = 4)
This is a day of work toward building a good foundation for the future. Details are important.”
Numbers are everywhere. They drive and define us. People practically deify numbers in their quest to understand the world. Perhaps, if we let go of our need to control our surroundings by assigning numbers to categorize everything , we could find a simpler life, a happier life. But there is no escaping the numbers. They are everywhere and they drive everything we do.
Don’t be afraid of Friday the 13th or 13 or any other number. They are just categories. Being afraid of the 13th number is like being afraid of the 13th letter. Have you ever heard of anyone who is afraid of M?