The Number 23 and the law of fives
YT: Robert Anton Wilson: What is the 23 enigma?
The "23 Enigma" is the Discordian belief that all events are connected to the number 23, given enough ingenuity on the part of the interpreter. It can be seen in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus! trilogy (there called the "23/17 phenomenon"), Wilson's Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of the Illuminati (there called "The Law of 23s" and "The 23 Enigma"), Arthur Koestler's Challenge of Chance, as well as the Principia Discordia. In these works, 23 is considered either lucky, unlucky, sacred to the goddess Eris, sinister, sacred to the unholy gods of the Cthulhu Mythos, or strange.
Discordians regard this as a corollary of the Law of Fives. As with most numerological claims, the 23 enigma can be viewed as an example of apophenia, selection bias, and confirmation bias. In interviews, Wilson has acknowledged the self-fulfilling nature of the 23 enigma, implying that the real value of the Laws of Fives and Twenty-threes lies in their demonstration of the mind's power to perceive "truth" in nearly anything.
"When you start looking for something you tend to find it. This wouldn't be like Simon Newcombe, the great astronomer, who wrote a mathematical proof that heavier than air flight was impossible and published it a day before the Wright brothers took off. I'm talking about people who found a pattern in nature and wrote several scientific articles and got it accepted by a large part of the scientific community before it was generally agreed that there was no such pattern, it was all just selective perception." - Robert Anton Wilson explaining how easily people find facts to back their conspiracy theories after using the 23 phenomenon to illustrate this tendency (From Robert Anton Wilson Explains Everything, Sounds True, December 2001). In the Illuminatus! Trilogy, he expresses the same view: that one can find a numerological significance to anything, provided "sufficient cleverness." Though check the video linked above if this piece of text took the mystery out of it for you ;).
(from the wikipedia article)
Fusion Anomaly 23: The Law of Fives states simply that:|
ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5.
9/11 2001: 9+11+2+1=23. WTC: W=23rd letter, T=20th, C=3rd, T+C=23.
The BBC also reported the collapse of WTC building 7 which wasn't hit by a plane but obviously imploded due to controlled demolition
(like Building 1 and 2) 23 minutes before its actual collapse. Oops. 2012: 20+1+2=23
Some 23 excerpts from the 'Illuminatus! Trilogy - Eye in the Pyramid' by Robert Shea & Robert Anton Wilson:
...He was launching into a peroration about the mystic significance of the number 23— pointing out that 2 plus 3 equals 5, the pentad within which the Devil can be invoked "as for example in a pentacle or at the Pentagon building in Washington," while 2 divided by 3 equals 0.666, "the Number of The Beast, according to that freaked-out Revelation of Saint John the Mushroom-head," that 23 itself was present esoterically "because of its conspicuous exoteric absence" in the number series represented by the Wobbly Hall address, which was 2422 North Halsted—and that the dates of the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Lee Harvey Oswald, November 22 and 24, also had a conspicuous 23 absent in between them—when he finally was shouted down, the conversation returned to a more mundane level.
Half in whimsy and half in despair, Joe decided to perform one of his chronic acts of faith and convince himself, at least for a while, that there was some kind of
meaning in Simon's ramblings. His equally chronic skepticism, he knew, would soon enough reassert itself.
"What the world calls sanity has led us to the present planetary crises," Simon had said, "and insanity is the only viable alternative." That was a paradox worth some kind of consideration.
"About that 23," Joe said, approaching Simon tentatively after the meeting broke up.
"It's everywhere," was the instant reply. "I just started to scratch the surface. All the great anarchists died on the 23rd day of some month or other—Sacco and Vanzetti on August 23, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow on May 23, Dutch on October 23—and Vince Coll was 23 years old when he was shot on 23rd Street—and even though John Dillinger died on the 22nd of July, if you look it up, like I did, in Toland's book, The Dillinger Days, you'll find he couldn't get away from the 23 Principle, because 23 other people died that night in Chicago, too, all from heat prostration. 'Nova heat moving in,' dig? And the world began on October 23, in 4004 B.C., according to Bishop Usher, and the Hungarian Revolution started on October 23, too, and Harpo Marx was born on November 23, and—"
There was more of it, much more, and Joe patiently listened to all of it, determined to continue his experiment in applied schizophrenia at least for this one evening. They retired to a nearby restaurant, the Seminary, on Fullerton Street, and Simon rambled on, over beers, proceeding to the mystic significance of the letter W—23rd in the alphabet—and its presence in the words "woman" and "womb" as well as in the shape of the feminine breasts and spread-eagled legs of the copulating female. He even found some mystic meaning in the W in Washington, but was strangely evasive about explicating this.
"So, you see," Simon was explaining when the restaurant was starting to close, "the whole key to liberation is magic. Anarchism remains tied to politics, and remains a form of death like all other politics, until it breaks free from the defined 'reality' of capitalist society and creates its own reality. A pig for President. Acid in the water supply. Fucking in the streets. Making the totally impossible become the eternally possible. Reality is thermoplastic, not thermosetting, you know: I mean you can reprogram it much more than people realize. The hex hoax—original sin, logical positivism, those restriction and constriction myths—all that's based on a thermosetting reality. Christ, man, there are limits, of course—nobody is nutty enough to deny that—but the limits are nowhere near as rigid as we've been taught to believe. It's much closer to the truth to say there are no practical limits at all and reality is whatever people decide to make it. But we've been on one restriction kick after another for a couple thousand years now, the world's longest head-trip, and it takes real negative entropy to shake up the foundations. This isn't shit; I've got a degree in mathematics, man."
"I studied engineering myself, a long time ago." Joe said. "I realize that part of what you say is true. . . ."
"It's all true. The land belongs to the landlords, right now, because of magic. People worship the deeds in the government offices, and they won't dare move onto a square of ground if one of the deeds says somebody else owns it. It's a head-trip, a kind of magic, and you need the opposite magic to lift the curse. You need shock elements to break up and disorganize the chains of command in the brain, the 'mind-forg'd manacles' that Blake wrote about. That's the unpredictable elements, dads: the erratic, the erotic, the Eristic. Tim Leary said it: 'People have to go out of their minds before they can come to their senses.' They can't feel and touch and smell the real earth, man, as long as the manacles in the cortex tell them it belongs to somebody else. If you don't want to call it magic, call it counter-conditioning, but the principle is the same. Breaking up the trip society laid on us and starting our own trip. Bringing back old realities that are supposed to be dead. Creating new realities. Astrology, demons, lifting poetry off of the written page into the acts of your daily life. Surrealism, dig? Antonin Artaud and Andre Breton put it in a nutshell in the First Surrealist Manifesto: 'total transformation of mind, and all that resembles it.' They knew all about the Illuminated Lodge, founded in Munich in 1923, and that it controlled Wall Street and Hitler and Stalin, through witchcraft. We gotta get into witchcraft ourselves to undo the hex they've cast on everybody's mind. All hail Discordia! Do you read me?"
When they finally parted, and Joe headed back for his hotel, the spell ended. I've been listening to a spaced-out acid-head all night, Joe thought in his cab headed south toward the Loop, and almost managing to believe him. If I keep on with this little experiment, I will believe him. And that's how insanity always begins: you find reality unbearable and start manufacturing a fantasy alternative. With an effort of will, he forced himself back into his usual framework; no matter how cruel reality was, Joe Malik would face it and would not follow the Yippies and Crazies in the joy ride to Cloud Cuckoo Land.
But when he arrived at his hotel door, and noticed for the first time that he had Room 23, he had to fight the impulse to call Simon on the phone and tell him about the latest invasion of surrealism into the real world.
And he lay awake in his bed for hours remembering 23s that had occurred in his own life . . . and wondering about the origin of that mysterious bit of 1929 slang, "23 Skidoo. ..."
In the act of conception, of course, the father contributes 23 chromosomes and the mother contributes another 23. In the / Ching, hexagram 23 has connotations of "sinking" or "breaking apart," shades of the unfortunate Captain Clarks. . . .
Another woman just came by, collecting for the Mothers March against Muscular Dystrophy. I gave her a quarter. Where was I? Oh, yes: James Joyce had five letters in both his front name and his hind name, so he was worth looking into. A Portrait of the Artist has five chapters, all well and good, but Ulysses has 18 chapters, a stumper, until I remembered that 5 + 18 = 23. How about Finnegans Wake? Alas, that has 17 chapters, and I was bogged down for a while.
Trying another angle, I wondered if Frank Sullivan, the poor cluck who got shot instead of John at the Biograph Theatre that night, could have lingered until after midnight, dying on July 23 instead of July
22 as usually stated. I looked it up in Toland's book, The Dillinger Days. Poor Frank, sad to say, died before midnight, but Toland included an interesting detail, which I told you that night at the Seminary bar:
23 people died of heat prostration that day in Chicago. He added something else: 17 people had died of heat prostration the day before. Why did he mention that? I'm sure he doesn't know—but there it was again, 23 and 17. Maybe something important is going to happen in the year 2317? I couldn't check that, of course (you can't navigate precisely in the Morgensheutegesternwelt), so I went back to 1723, and struck golden apples. That was the year Adam Smith and Adam Weishaupt were both born (and Smith published The Wealth of Nations the same year Weishaupt revived the Illluminati: 1776.)
Well, 2 + 3 = 5, fitting the Law of Fives, but 1+7 = 8, fitting nothing. Where did that leave me? Eight, I reflected, is the number of letters in Kallisti, back to the golden apple again, and 8 is also 23, hot damn. Naturally, it came as no surprise when the 8 defendants in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, which grew out of our little Convention Week Carnival, were tried on the 23rd floor of the Federal Building, amid a flurry of synchronicity—a Hoffman among the defendants, a Hoffman as judge; the Uluminati pyramid, or Great Seal of the U.S. right inside the door of the building, and a Scale getting worse abuse than the other defendants; five-letter names and proliferating—Abbie, Davis, Foran, Scale, Jerry Rubin (twice), and the clincher, Clark (Ramsey, not Captain) who was torpedoed and sunk by the judge before he could testify.
I got interested in Dutch Shultz because he died on October 23. A cluster of synchronicity, that man: he ordered the shooting of Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (remember Mad Dog, Texas); Coll was shot on 23rd Street, when he was 23 years old; and Charlie Workman, who allegedly shot Schultz, served 23 years in prison for it (although rumor has it that Mendy Weiss—two five-letter names, again—did the real shooting.) Does 17 come in? You bet Shultz was first sentenced to prison at the age of 17.
Around this time I bought Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, thinking the plot might parallel some Illuminati operations. Imagine how I felt when Chapter Two began, "23 hours and 17 minutes ago, a flying saucer landed in Iowa . . ."
A woman from the Mothers March Against Psoriasis just came by with another collection box. I gave her a quarter, too. The marching mothers are going to strip Moon of his bread if this keeps up.
Where was I? I meant to add, in relation to the Dutch Shultz shooting that Marty Krompier, who ran the policy racket in Harlem, was also shot on October 23, 1935. The police asked him if there was a connection with phlegmatic Flegenheimer's demise and he said, "It's got to be one of them coincidences." I wonder how he emphasized that—"one of them coincidences" or "one of them coincidences"? How much did he know?
That brings me to the 40 enigma. As pointed out, 1 + 7 = 8, the number of letters in Kallisti. 8 x 5 = 40.
More interestingly, without invoking the mystic 5, we still arrive at 40 by adding 17 + 23. What, then, is the significance of 40? I've run through various associations—Jesus had his 40 days in the desert, Ali Baba had his 40 thieves, Buddhists have their 40 meditations, the solar system is almost exactly 40 astronomical units in radius (Pluto yo-yos a bit)—but I have no definite theory yet . . .
The color television set in the Three Lions Pub in the Tudor Hotel at Forty-second Street and Second Avenue shows the white-helmeted men carrying wooden crosses fall back as the blue-helmeted men carrying billy clubs move forward. The CBS camera pans over the plaza. There are five bodies on the ground scattered like flotsam tossed on a beach by a receding wave. Four of them are moving, making slow efforts to get up. The fifth is not moving at all.
...Returning to the yearly round, each of the five seasons is divided, of course, into five months, thus producing a year of 5 X 5 or 25 months. The first three months of every season (known as the tricycle) each have 15 days, which fits the law of five because 1x5 = 5. The last two months of each season each have 14 days, which also fits the law of fives because 1+4 = 5. Each season has 73 days, because (a) you have to get 73 when you divide 365 by 5; (b) 7 + 3 = 10, the first multiple of 5 after 5 itself; and (c) this corresponds, as Dr. Ignotius pointed out in the novel, to the 73 parts of the Illuminati pyramid (counting the Eye as a part). The last day of each season is known as Eye Day and is celebrated in ways too foul to be mentioned in a book such as this, intended for family entertainment.
The mystic 23 appears in the calendar in the following ways:
(1) The bicycle has 2 months and the tricycle has 3.
(2) The bicycle has 28 days (two months of 14 days each), and when you subtract the all-important 5 this leaves, again, the mystic 23.
(3) When 5 is multiplied by its own first product, 10, the result is 50; and when this, in turn, is subtracted from the days in a season, 73, the significant 23 once again appears.
(4) The tricycle has 45 days; add one for Leap Year's Day and you get 46—exactly 2 X 23.
(5) 2 + 3 of course equals the all-important 5, the number on which the calendar is based and, even more significant, the number of this proof.
As Weishaupt said to Knigge after explaining all this, "Could Aquinas do better?" (Actually, the mystic meaning of these numbers is sexual. The male sex cycle is, as Tantrists know, 23 days; add the mystic five and you get 28 days, the female cycle. It's that simple. Or is it?)
The sanctification of the number 5 antedates Atlantis itself and goes back to the intelligent cephalopods who infested Antarctica about 150,000,000 years before humankind appeared on earth; see H.P. Lovecraft's work of "fiction," At the Mountains of Madness (Arkham House, 1968), in which it is suggested that 5 was sacred to these creatures because they had five tentacles or pseudopods. In this connection, the reader might find some food for thought in a conversation which took place between Hag-bard Celine and Joe Malik in the late autumn of 1980. Joe, at the time, had just received the Pulitzer Prize. (He was also under investigation by a Congressional Committee, in connection with the same achievement: publication of certain governmental secrets.)
"Five of the Senators voted to cite me for contempt, for not revealing my source," Joe said. "Three voted against it. So I'll be cited, and the Grand Jury will draw up an indictment. There's that Law of Fives again."
"Are you worried?" Hagbard asked, relaxing in one of the heavy leather chairs that were part of Confrontation's new, more ornate offices.
"Hell, no. I can always seek sanctuary in Panama, or someplace, if they convict me. And Peter can keep this operation going."
"You're not afraid to start a new life as an exile?"
Joe grinned. "At my age, any new experience is an adventure."
"You're doing fine," Hagbard said. "Here's your latest revelation from the A:.A:. ." He reached into his pocket and took out a photo of a female infant with six fingers on each hand. "Got this from a doctor friend at Johns Hopkins."
Joe looked at it and said, "So?"
"If we all looked like her, there'd be a Law of Sixes."
Joe stared at him. "You mean, after all the evidence I collected, the Law of Fives is an Illuminati put-on? You've been letting me delude myself?"
"Not at all." Hagbard was most earnest. "The Law of Fives is perfectly true. Everybody from the JAMs to the Dealy Lama agrees on that. But you have to understand it more deeply now, Joe. Correctly formulated, the Law is: All phenomena are directly or indirectly related to the number five, and this relationship can always be demonstrated, given enough ingenuity on the part of the demonstrator." The evil grin flashed. "That's the very model of what a true scientific law must always be: a statement about how the human mind relates to the cosmos. We can never make a statement about the cosmos itself—but only about how our senses (or our instruments) detect it, and about how our codes and languages symbolize it. That's the key to the Einstein-Heisenberg revolution in physics, and to the Buddha's revolution in psychology much earlier."
"But," Joe protested, "everything fits the Law. The harder I looked, the more things there were that fit."
"Exactly," said Hagbard. "Think about that. If you need quick transportation to Panama," he added, heading for the door, "call Gold and Appel Transfers and leave a message."
Number 23 movie site with Jim Carrey
The Number 23 Trailer
The Number 23 is a suspense film starring Jim Carrey, Virginia Madsen, and Danny Huston, directed by Joel Schumacher. It was released on February 23, 2007 with the DVD scheduled to be released July 24, 2007. The plot involves an obsession with the 23 Enigma, an esoteric belief that all incidents and events are directly connected to the number 23, some permutation of the number 23, or a number related to the number 23. Although the 23 Enigma is pervasive in the works of Robert Anton Wilson, including the 1998 film 23, Wilson is not acknowledged in the credits for this film, which is not a remake of 23. (Which was the least they could do with the recent death of the MVP - Most Valuable Philosopher)
There's also the movie 23 (1998). The movie's plot is based on the true story of a group of young computer hackers from Hannover, Germany. In the late 1980s the orphaned Karl Koch invests his heritage in a flat and a home computer. At first he dials up to bulletin boards to discuss conspiracy theories inspired by his favorite novel, R.A. Wilson's Illuminatus", but soon he and his friend David start breaking into government and military computers. Pepe, one of Karl's rather criminal acquaintances senses that there is money in computer cracking - he travels to east Berlin and tries to contact the KGB.
Also check out the Synchronicity page. Synchronicity reveals the meaningful connections between the subjective and objective world. For instance, I notice the number 311 everywhere I turn because I love a band by that name. I seem to notice the clock almost everyday at 23.11 or 13.11 or 3.11 whenever possible, or on license plates, or anything. It always makes me smile.
Also, obviously :p, 311 is 23 backwards 1+1=2 and 3, there you go. And as for the law of fives 3+1+1 = 5 :p
There were ridiculous accusations that 311 chose their bandname as it is 3x the 11th letter of the alphabet, meaning KKK - ludicrous of course as they promote the most peaceful and tolerant lyrics you can imagine. The band later explained that they picked the name as it is the police code for Indecent Exposure: "The name actually came from a skinny dipping incident when Jim Watson, the band's former guitarist, was charged with indecent exposure by the Omaha Police Department and was escorted home handcuffed and naked. The police code which appeared on the citation was "311". Nick Hexum has said: After the humor of the name wore off, we still kept it because we liked that it was just abstract and that it did not define us in any way. The name did not describe our sound or our politics, it just let the music speak for itself.
311 is also used in the name of a gang in Las Vegas, known as the 311 Boyz. 311 is the number of times Timothy Leary claimed to have taken LSD in his interview with Playboy magazine. The article is titled She Comes in Colors, and it appears in the September 1996 issue. A reprint of the article appears in Leary's book The Politics of Ecstasy. 311 was formerly the Los Angeles Police Code for an armed robbery. This is sometimes referenced in Hip-Hop/Rap music and movies. 3-1-1 is a special phone number used in many large cities such as New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles that provides access to non-emergency municipal services.
3/11, by analogy with 9/11, may refer to the March 11, 2004, Madrid train bombings. The False Flag operation (just like 9/11 and the 7/7 London bombings) of which the scapegoat charged was in posession of the private cell phone nr of the head of the Madrid Bomb Squad. What a coincidence!