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The Philosophy of Numbers and Meanings -- How They Are the Keys to Reality and Subjectivity

Updated: May 9

A beautiful lady.

The Paradox of Numbers: Inherent or Invented?


Technically, numbers are everywhere, embedded into the fabric of reality both within and outside of human perception. We can assume that they exist independently of us, even though we were the ones who gave them their meaning and purpose. As such, however, there's a paradox:


  • Numbers seem independent: We can measure things that predate humanity, suggesting numbers exist irrespective of human existence. Even if no sentient beings existed, objects could be measured, valued, and have their characteristics calculated (meaning that the universe and its measurements exists independently of our choice to perceive it).

  • Numbers require meaning-makers: Despite their seeming independence, numbers gain meaning through human invention. We created symbols and imbued them with specific values. This way of measurement is unique to humans and it's currently impossible to prove if other beings, like aliens, measure the universe the same way as we do.


This paradox leads to the question: who came first, humans or numbers? Compare this to the common dilemma of, which came first, the chicken or the egg?


While we can measure things with numbers that existed long before us (and independently as well), the act of measurement itself requires a conscious entity.


The Distinction Between Potential and Reality


Just because something can be measured doesn't mean there's currently the ability for that measurement to to be made. Consider a restaurant where your order isn't taken. While it's possible for your order to be taken, the action hasn't occurred. As presented by the bodybuilder arguement, possibility doesn't necessitate the existence of someone to make that possibility a reality.


This distinction between potential and actuality is key to understanding numbers further. They may possess an inherent potential, but their meaning and specific use arise from human invention.


Through Objectivity and Perception


There's a captivating paradox surrounding numbers. We can argue that some numbers exist independently of us, even though we created the term, "number", itself. A question than arises: Are numbers subjective to our perception and value, or exist objectively in the world beyond the mind?


Imagine a vast universe full with objects, each with a specific size, distance, or quantity. These properties, measurable by numbers, existed long before humans assigned labels. Many of them are to exist regardless of what we think about them, and are unaffected by the doubted law of attraction. As such, An undiscovered planet with an unknown size still possesses a quantifiable dimension, even if we lack the awareness.


This sparks the question: What is a number, truly?


It's a fallacy to believe numbers are solely mathematical constructs, despite everything arguably capable of being measured. Maybe one can mathematically measure emotion through equations, but can the human experience truly be accurately reduced to mere numbers?


Beyond Measurement: The Duality of Numbers


Numbers exist in two distinct realms:


  • The Objective Realm: Numbers inherent to the universe, independent of human perception. The size of an undiscovered planet, the rhythm of a heartbeat, or the specific temperature for coffee all fall under this category.

  • The Subjective Realm: Numbers imbued with symbolic by human perception, both collective and personal. "Six million" became a symbol of immense grief after the Holocaust, and also racist mockery. Similarly, a child might dislike 3 p.m. as it means solitary time before a parent wakes from their afternoon nap. These meanings, though powerful, are not inherent to the numbers themselves, which further highlights subjective attribution to reality.

Numbers: The Building Blocks of Existence


Numbers are fundamental to the universe's composition. In addition, finances, which are the lifeline of any economy, cannot exist without them. Our very existence therefore hinges on their intricate dance of history and development. From heartbeats to cell division, which occur every single second, everything operates according to mathematical principles.


Even the temperature of our morning coffee, though seemingly arbitrary, adheres to a specific numeric value for optimal enjoyment, which leads to numbers' effect on our ability to have fun, and thus on our mental state.


Do schools actually teach us the fundemental importance of math on reality? Maybe if teachers more enthusiastic about it, I wouldn't be so bad at math!


Words are powerful tools for communication, but their reach is limited. We use words to discuss art, and this transforms the art into a symbol within our communication system, as we have the ability to render them, in our minds, as highly valuable or as useless.


Numbers, however, transcend these limitations, and present us the relationship between their subjective value, and how that value objectively impacts reality in return. Ever since I've been improving the art in Philosocom, the user experience has been improved, meaning that subjectivity deserves to be redeemed from both a logical and practical viewpoint. Furthermore, user experience can be mathematically measured.



Numerology: Unveiling the Universe, or Just Ourselves?


Numerology attempts to bridge the gap between numbers and human understanding through the arcane. It seeks to unlock the deeper meaning of the universe through assigned meanings to numbers. However, a crucial question arises: Who assigns these meanings? And are these truly objective?


Subjectivity is inherent to meaning, but meaning can be objective through pragmatism. In other words, if we can be certain that something or someone are an asset for our goals, then their value is objective. As such, if writing on certain topics can help a writer in terms of SEO, these topics are objectively meaningful, for their blog to develop further. Objective meaning is therefore conditional, as much of the work being done in math.


Outside of conditionality, how can a human definitively declare that a specific number has a singular, universally true meaning?


Furthermore, numerology lacks the skepticism that drives philosophy, as much of it is based on intuition. Angel numbers, for example, require us to trust our gut, and not question ourselves, in order to better understand reality. And of course, intuition is highly subjective.




Philosophers, however thrive on questioning accepted truths, leading to diverse interpretations with the likelihood of depersonalization.


Why then, should we expect universal agreement on the meaning of numbers, when philosophy compels us to criticize anything like our own findings?


Symbolism: The Power of Represented Existence


The very symbol "1" exists because we agreed upon it. In a parallel universe, "5" could represent the concept of one, rendering our "1" something entirely different. Similarly, my height of 190cm reflects our chosen measurement system, along with what it means to humans specifically. In another universe, the same height might be expressed as far shorter, along with completely different meanings to humans in our universe. Both numbers represent the same reality, yet their symbols differ and thus affect reality in accordance.


Numbers, then, become a microcosm of a larger phenomenon. We assign meaning to navigate and understand the world, but this process isn't without its flaws. Just like assigning different meanings to the same word across languages, leading to bias, we can be entirely wrong in our interpretations.


The Delusion of Fixed Meanings


This becomes especially evident in the realm of the "arcane." Tarot cards, initially a game, were later embedded with deeper symbolic meaning. This highlights the arbitrary nature of such interpretations.


Unlike a table's objective measurements, the "number of the hermit" in Tarot lacks the same certainty. Is "9" inherently linked to the concept of a hermit, or is it simply a meaning someone (or some group) decided to attach to it? Speaking of 9, it could also be 6 at the same time. The universality of truth means that the same object can have several meanings which are equally correct, similarly to the wisdom behind the 6 blind men Indian tale.


Mystics, unlike scientists, operate on the foundation of belief rather than verifiable evidence. How can a mystic definitively claim "9" belongs to the Hermit card, while a scientist can demonstrate a principle through experimentation? Mysticism, while originates from the heart, deserves to be criticized like anything elze.


This lack of evidence-based reasoning forms the core critique of spirituality. It often relies heavily on personal experiences, dreams, visions – all subjective sources. Here lies the fundamental difference between faith and knowledge: If there's true knowledge, faith becomes unnecessary.


Spirituality thrives on the abstract, where anything can be imbued with meaning without any necessary correlation. An anicent card game "becomes" a system of discovery; crystals "transform" into powerful healing emitters. Yet, the only supporting pillar is personal belief, not rigorous examination or logic. Emotional conviction thus reigns supreme more than we think.



Conclusion: A Call For Skepticism and Openness


Throughout this exploration, we've delved into the fascinating and often paradoxical nature of meaning. Numbers, symbols, and even spiritual concepts exist in interplays between objective reality and subjective interpretation. We've seen how the inherent size of a planet and the symbolic weight of "6 million" co-exist, reminding us that meaning is both inherent and subjectively-constructed.


The importance of acknowledging the "other side" of things has become abundantly clear. Examining the potential falsehoods of established meanings allows us to refine our understanding and identify potential biases that can delude us.


This skeptical approach has led me to a place of measured doubt regarding the "arcane." While the truths of the occult remain elusive, the journey itself has been enlightening. All things and beings deserve the benefit of the doubt in some degree, in order to allow a more balanced and realistic approach to reality.


While skepticism guides the path, the possibility of deeper truths, hidden within the mysteries of the world, continues to keep me unsatisfied. I am more than okay with this.


This exploration may have reached its conclusion for now, but the quest for understanding, both within and beyond the realm of the arcane, relentlessly continues.

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Very interesting article. I'm glad that I came across this article.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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