Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Enigma Of The Number 23

by Crowbar (writer), Los Angeles, February 24, 2007


September 23rd is the fall equinox.

The USA performed 23 tests of atomic detonations at Bikini Atoll in the South Pacific.

It takes 23 seconds for blood to circulate through the human body.

The number of joints in the human arm is 23.

There are 23 pairs of chromosomes in the human body.

Caesar was stabbed 23 times when he was assassinated.

Michael Jordan's shirt number is 23, which is also the day of his father's murder.

December 23, 2012 is the day the Mayans believed the world will end.

2 divided by 3 is .666

In Joel Schumacher's latest movie The Number 23, Walter Sparrow (played by Jim Carrey) is a dog catcher whose run- in with this mysterious number affects his entire life. While in The Number 23, the filmmaker's hint at the revelations of the 23 enigma and its prophetic significance, the movie more focuses on the delusional nature of Carrey's character and never really drifts into the myth of 23.

While the movie shows similarities to Pi and a A Beautiful Mind, it seems like Schumacher tries to borrow more from Lynch's playbook; the movie has more in similarity to Lost Highway than the 23 enigma. In Lost Highway, Bill Pullman is a saxophonist who drifts from reality and might have murdered his wife. Carrey's alter ego in 23 is a sax wielding detective who might have murdered the woman he loves. Even the music score is reminiscent of Angelo Badalamenti's music for Lost Highway. Where Lynch's film succeeds in it's quasi-reality, The Number 23 relies too heavy on style over substance.

So what is the enigma of 23?

The myth of 23 lives deep in the denizens of Crowley's black magic, the Illuminati, and is believed to surface in the Mormon Church. The 23 enigma can be found in Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's infamous Illuminatus! trilogy, Wilson's Cosmic Trigger I: The Final Secret of Illuminati, and also in the Principia Discordia, the foundational document responsible for Discordianism where 23 plays a vital role. In these works, the number 23 is considered to be either lucky, unlucky, sinister, sacred to the godess Eris and the unholy gods of Cthulhu, or just strange. Also, the origins of Discordianism have similar roots to that of the tale of discovery of the Book of Mormon.

In interviews, Robert Anton Wilson has acknowledged the self fulfilling nature of the 23 enigma and implied that the real value of 23 lies in the demonstration of the mind's power to perceive "truth" in nearly anything.

Discordianism is a modern, chaos-based religion that believes that chaos and disharmony are equally valid aspects of reality. It has been described as both an elaborate joke disguised as a religion, and as a religion disguised as an elaborate joke. It has also been described as "Zen for Round-eyes".

While the enigma of 23 can be found almost anywhere since 2 and 3 are the most common prime numbers, there is a infamous story about William Borroughs. While in Tangiers in the 60's, Burroughs knew a certain "Captain Clark" who ran a ferry. One day, Clark told Burroughs that he'd been running the ferry 23 years without incident. That very day, the ferry sank, killing Clark and everyone on board. In the evening, Burroughs was thinking about Clark when he turned on the radio. The first newscast headlined the crash of Flight 23. The pilot's name was Clark.

Hundreds of dates and times add up to 23 or have its significance. On August 23, River Phoenix, Keith Moon, and David Gottel, a member of the group Skinny Puppy were born. They all died of overdose. Also, August 23 is the day William Wallace was executed.

Whatever the truth is about 23, whatever its significance is in our lives, or whether it is just another obsession of conspiracy theorist is not clear and don't expect the movie to answer this mystery.

But remember one thing, September 11, 2001, the most violent day in America adds up to 23. ( 9+11+2+1=23)

About the Writer

Crowbar is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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2 comments on The Enigma Of The Number 23

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By Crowbar on February 25, 2007 at 05:15 pm
no it is not worth two hours or 2 cents... yeah, i could've made it longer, but i am still playing around with length of articles.... its good to know that i didn't bore you and left you hungry for more..... the movie doesn't go down the path of Da Vinci Code which explored the phenomena.... it just takes the enigma and incorporates it completely to Carrey's two characters in the movie.... very little has to deal with 23 ... except price of ticket + popcorn + sm. drink for one person
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By tripzilch on March 22, 2010 at 12:04 pm

Great article! Also do not forget the German movie 23 nichts ist wie es scheint, which is based on a true story about the young hacker that coined the term "trojan horse" virus, back when computers looked like fridges, falling into the criminal black market and losing himself in paranoid delusions about the Illuminati. Also featuring a short appearance by Robert Anton Wilson, playing himself [being the author of the book that inspired the kid]. At least, that's what I remember from it, you can read the summary yourself on IMDB:
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