Tuesday, April 10, 2007
The number four is a clue to the universe (and reality)?
The fundamental forces of the physicists consist of four: gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force.
Swiss psychologist and philosopher Carl Jung posits the number four as an archetype (from Quodlibet.net):
QUATERNITY. "The quaternity is an archetype of almost universal occurrence. For instance, if you want to describe the horizon as a whole, you name the four quarters of heaven...There are always four elements, four prime qualities, four colors, four castes, four ways of spiritual development, etc. So, too, there are four aspects of psychological orientation. The ideal of completeness is the circle or sphere, but its natural minimal division is a quaternity.” (Jung’s Psychology and Religion: West and East)
Four is the secret number of Kabbalists.
And this is what Wikipedia has to say about the number four:
Four is the only number in the English language for which the number of letters in its name is equal to the number itself. This is also true in several other languages.
Four is the smallest composite number that is equal to the sum of its prime factors. As a consequence of this, it is the smallest Smith number.
It is also a Motzkin number.
In addition, . Continuing the pattern in Knuth's up-arrow notation, , and so on, for any number of up arrows.
A four-sided plane figure is a quadrilateral (quadrangle) or square, sometimes also called a tetragon. A circle divided by 4 makes right angles. Because of it, four (4) is the base number of plane (mathematics). Four cardinal directions, four seasons, duodecimal system, and vigesimal system are based on four.
A solid figure with four faces is a tetrahedron. The regular tetrahedron is the simplest Platonic solid. A tetrahedron, which can also be called a 3-simplex, has four triangular faces and four vertices.
The smallest non-cyclic group has four elements; it is the Klein four-group. Four is also the order of the smallest non-trivial groups that are not simple.
The four-color theorem states that a planar graph (or, equivalently, a flat map of two-dimensional regions such as countries) can be colored using four colors, so that adjacent vertices (or regions) are always different colors. Three colors are not, in general, sufficient to guarantee this.
Lagrange's four-square theorem states that every positive integer can be written as the sum of at most four square numbers. Three are not always sufficient; 7 for instance cannot be written as the sum of three squares.
Four is the first positive non-Fibonacci number.
Each natural number divisible by 4 is a difference of squares of two natural numbers, i.e. 4x = y2 − z2.
Four is an all-Harshad number and a semi-meandric number.
4 is the supreme number of the universe according to the Time Cube.
Now how does reality or the universe come into the picture?
Underlying all laws of physics, all theological discourse, and all philosophical postulations resides something that defines nature, the universe, human existence.
Scientists search for it in evolution, string theory, or mathematical constructs.
Theologians look for it revelations from God.
Philosophers seek it in discourse.
But it is elusive, as has been the case since time immemorial.
The number four is the cover for that ultimate reality; the red-herring that takes mankind away from the underlying truth of life.
By disguising reality as a composite of four things (many listed above), the progenitor(s) of the idea have confused even the most brilliant of minds – Jung is a prime example.
Jung’s God doesn’t consist of just the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost – the Paraclete); it also consists of a fourth entity, Satan or Evil – the dark side of the godhead, shorn by the early Church fathers so as not to confuse the masses or derail the political thrust that the Church needed to maintain its worldly power.
But Jung’s quaternal God only answers the conundrum of Evil in the world; that is, God is both Good and Evil – all things, as Aristotle proclaimed by his captain of the ship analogy and which the great Thomas Aquinas didn’t exactly quell in Summa Theologica.
Just as three (The Trinity) is a falsehood, so is the number four. We know what three is pulling us away from, but what is four pulling us away from?
Yes, Pi…..3.14 (ad infinitum?)
If scientists – mathematicians, physicists, abstractionists – can’t arrive at the Pi culmination, how can we expect them to arrive at the ultimate singularity, the so-called theory of everything?
To derive the final integer of Pi would provide access to the final mystery that confronts man.
Yes, since the game of God, or the consciousness that pervades (we assume) the universe, and certainly this Earth and mankind, will be made clear when (or if) Pi is finalized.
Is there an end to Pi? Or is it infinite in the same way that some say the universe is infinite? Or does Pi have an edge, as others say the universe has?
Pi is God, some say. We won’t go that far, but we do think it’s what 3 and 4 masks, and that Pi, which includes, upfront, 3 and 4 (and significantly) the number 1, seems portentous, and not just in a mystical sense, but in a practical, mathematical, scientific sense.
Do we not have the computing power to bring this about? Or will we, as an intelligent species, continue to be flummoxed by the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter?