The Beginning and End of Things is a Number

Numbers matter. Let’s face it; numbers make the world go, whether in time, in money, or
in the highly sophisticated equations that make the simple day-to-day possible. The
ancient mathematical philosophers believed that the study of numbers could reveal the
laws of space and time and the principles of creation. Let’s all take a moment to go;
those guys knew what they were talking about! In Greece, even numbers were feminine
and passive, and odd numbers were masculine and active. For China, odd numbers
were yang, and even numbers were yin. Numbers have a fascinating history, because
you know, they’re everywhere. If we were to pick a number to discuss in one of our
columns where would you start? Yep, at zero.

Zero is the number of potential. I mean, it’s before all other numbers. If you know,
counting wasn’t enough for you; zero can represent the womb, an egg, or a seed due to
its shape. All of those things reveal to us possibilities, thus reinforcing the idea of zero
equaling potential.

The last digit added to most numerical systems was the zero. It represents an absence
of values and is used as a placeholder in place value systems. Due to its numeric value,
or lack thereof, zero can symbolize nothingness, death, void, and mystery. Thus making
zero something that may symbolize beginnings and endings. It’s almost like a circle. Hey,
wait a second! Maybe that is why the zero can also represent eternity. In Mayan glyphs,
the cosmic spiral represented the zero.

When dealing with numbers, bigger is generally better. That is unless we’re discussing
money owed, or the number of days until vacation. Nevertheless, in the mystical world of
symbolism and numerology, bigger numbers represent more complex and intriguing
things. At least that’s what all my books tell me. However, in my mind, a number that is all
encompassing, one that is the beginning and the end, or even eternal, well in my mind,
that is number that deserves to go before all others.

For someone who is horrible at math, I have to admit that I find numbers and the history
of mathematics very interesting. Find that idea difficult to grasp, try starting at Wikipedia
and see what you think. Here is Wikipedia’s number zero entry:
Something for Nothing: The Zero
The Magical Buffet