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I teach through action and immersion. Just keep moving, contemplate later. In art, for me at least, there are times of rest and contemplation, and times of work. Art making is a time for work. It is the time to pull from the mental and make physical. Create a reality, a piece of art. For this the contemplative brain needs to move over, the art critic side isn’t even invited to the party. Learn to ask and answer your own questions on the move. The sooner I can get you making art the better. Get something done and then we have something to talk about.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Some number thoughts...

Some Number Symbolism
One. Divinity, unity, isolation and the male principle (phallus).

Two. Duality, opposition, sexuality, balance and the female principle (as in the state of pregnancy)

Three. Completion of cycles (such as beginning, middle and end; past, present and future; and fertile sexual union), a meaning which appears in religious connotations (like Greek mythology’s Maiden, Mother and Crone, the three Norns of Norse myth, or Christianity’s Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit).

Four. This numeral represents stability, as seen in the tetrahedron (pyramid with triangular base) with four vertices being the first three-dimensional shape, the four elements of air, earth, fire and water, four seasons of the year, four cardinal directions and four horsemen of the Apocalypse. Interestingly, in Oriental cultures the word for four sounds like the word for death, and it is common for multi-story buildings to skip the number four when the stories are numbered. This perception is so pervasive that it even affects product labeling; trying to purchase a 4000-series Nokia phone provides an illustrative example.

Five. As mentioned in the earlier discussion about the connection between our five digits and mathematics, five is a visceral number for humans. Not surprisingly, then, the number five appears in global religious imagery, such as the Five Wounds of Christ, the Five Pillars of Islam, or the five faces of Shiva in Hinduism.

Six. By a wonderful conjunction of mathematical coincidences, 6 is both the sum (1 + 2 + 3) and the product (1 × 2 × 3) of the first three numbers. It is therefore considered “perfect.” In mathematics, a perfect number is one that equals the sum of its divisors (excluding itself), and 6 is the first perfect number in this sense because its divisors are 1, 2, and 3. The next perfect number is 28. No odd perfect numbers are known, but it has not been proved that none exists. The perfection of 6 shows up in the six days of Creation in Genesis, with God.

Seven Lucky number seven. The sum of the spiritual 3 and the material 4 is 7. In medieval education, students pursued the trivium (grammar, rhetoric, and logic) and the quadrivium (music, arithmetic, geometry, and astronomy), a total of seven subjects, collectively known as the liberal arts. Pythagorean interest in the mathematical patterns in music gives 7 a privileged role, for there are seven distinct notes in the musical scale—corresponding roughly to the white notes on a piano. Counting from 1, the eighth note up the scale is the exceedingly harmonious octave, which is how the name arose. - The number of heavens in Islamic tradition
- The number of Earths in Islamic tradition
- The numbers seven, seventy, seventy thousand, etc. are also used in Islamic traditions to denote an infinite or high number. In Arabic seventy, seventy thousand, etc. is used to mean infinite. This is because 1 is the smallest, 2 is just after 1, 5 and 10 are exact, 4 and 6 are just before and after 5, 9 is just before 10. This leaves 3, 7, and 8. 8 is closer to the end although it is larger. 8 is also an even number so divisible by 2. Between 3 and 7, 3 is smaller so 7 is chosen to represent infinite.
- The number of the Deadly Sins: lust, avarice, envy, pride, sloth, gluttony and wrath - The seven terraces of Mount Purgatory. - The number of sacraments in the Roman Catholic faith - The number of palms in an Egyptian Sacred Cubit
- The number of heads of the beast, and of some other monsters, likes the hydra
- The minor symbol number of yang from the Taoist yin-yang - The number of times Cain will be avenged upon for the murder of his brother Abel - The number of ranks in Mithraism - The number of gateways traversed by Inanna during her dissent into the underworld.

Eight. Generally considered to be an auspicious number by numerologists. The square of any odd number, less one, is always a multiple of 8 (for example, 9 − 1 = 8, 25 − 1 = 8 × 3, 49 − 1 = 8 × 6), a fact that can be proved mathematically. In Babylonian myth there were seven spheres plus an eighth realm, the fixed stars, where the gods lived. As a result, 8 is often associated with paradise. Muslims believe that there are seven hells but eight paradises, signifying God’s mercy. In Buddhism 8 is a lucky number, possibly because of the eight petals of the lotus.

Nine. A sacred number; three multiplied by itself to give eternity, completion and fulfillment. In China, number 9 is the number of celestial power; the nine-storied pagoda is a symbol of heaven. Many folk saying around the number 9 like: A stitch in time saves nine; Cloud nine is the ultimate happiness. A cat has nine lives. A nine-pointed star is used by the Bahai as a symbol faith. The number nine has significance in the Bahá'í Revelation. Nine years after the announcement of the Báb in Shiraz, Bahá'u'lláh received the intimation of His mission in the dungeon in Teheran. Nine, as the highest single-digit number, symbolizes completeness. Since the Bahá'í Faith claims to be the fulfillment of the expectations of all prior religions, this symbol, as used for example in nine-sided Bahá'í temples, reflects that sense of fulfillment and completeness.

Ten. As the numbers of the fingers, ten is the foundation of most counting systems including the decimal system. Ten also figures strongly in the Bible; there are Ten Commandments and ten Egyptian plagues. Buddhism has also Ten Commandments - five for monks and 5 for laity. According to some theories, in the decimal system, ten is symbolic of the return to unity.

Eleven. The number 11 is thought of as a "master" number in numerology because it is a double digit of the same number. When this occurs - the vibrational frequency of the prime number doubles in power. Meaning, the attributes of the Number One are doubled. Therefore, the very basic and primary understanding of the Number One is that of new beginnings and purity.

Twelve. Although the number 10 has grown in popularity as a universal basis for measurement, the number 12 historically held that role, presumably because it is easy to divide into halves, thirds and quarters; that divisibility made it easier for uneducated folk to comprehend the passage of time (as seconds, minutes and hours are multiples of 12, and there are 12 months in a year), measurement (such as 12 inches making up a foot in U.S. measurement) and currency (like the English shilling, which was composed of 12 pennies; lesser denominations of currency were even divisions of 12, while greater denominations were multiples of the 12-penny shilling). The symbolic significance of 12 – representing completion of a cycle, in addition to measurement – can be seen in there being 12 labors of Hercules, 12 Tribes of Israel, 12 Apostles attending Jesus Christ and 12 Peers of Charlemagne.

Thirteen. In the West the number 13 is generally considered unlucky. This superstition may derive from the 13 people - Christ and his 12 disciples who were present at the fateful Last Supper. The Kabbalah list 13 spirits of evil. In ancient South America there were 13 Mayan heavens and the Aztec calendar was divided into 13-day periods. In other cultures the number 13 is considered sacred. In ancient Greece it represented Zeus, the 13th deity and is an important.

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