February 24, 2007

The Number 23


I came across a book in the bookstore one day entitled "The Cosmic Trigger: Final Secret Of The Illuminati" by Robert Anton Wilson, and my intrigue was immediately sparked. It was just one of those books you know will be interesting, possibly even mind-bending...even so, I put the book back after thumbing through it casually, and that was that.
Almost...a couple years later, being about 6 months ago, I finally let my curiosity take over and purchased a copy on Amazon.com, and you know what...I still can't believe I put that book back on the shelf after that first encounter. Not entirely believable, but then again, what is in this life? In fact, I find myself believing and trusting the most in the things in this world that cannot be proven or guaranteed beyond the hope and faith that they are believable. Belief in anything tangible is unnecessary.
Did I mention I purchased this book on 9/14? Go figure...
Well, Wilson sure has a way of convincing someone not to be convinced. I found myself presented with some pretty outlandish questions and ideas, from Aleister Crowley to Timothy Leary to the Dog Star Sirius, and of course, the 23 enigma. The 23 enigma is a reoccurring theme throughout the Cosmic Trigger trilogy, and is responsible for the birth of Discordianism, Wilson being among the founders of the movement. It was also frequently speculated by Aleister Crowley in his many occult works. Being a Christian, I was not at once given to the idea of a number guiding or ruling one's life, but once I read on, I realized just how it could be possible. All around us are numbers...everything is a variable of one equation or another...but why 23? Why is 23 sacred, or cursed? Why 13? Where does superstition end, and philosophy begin? I guess the real question is not why, but how many...does the universe work in 23's more than any other endless combination of numbers, and if so, what exactly does that mean? I was not and am still not able to answer these questions, but I began noticing the 23's in my life regardless, to the extent of wearing my favorite hooded sweatshirt, which I never noticed featured a knit "2" and "3" on either side of the zipper, on the 23rd of October!
Anyway, if you look hard enough, you may find what you are looking for. Enter "The Number 23", directed by Joel Schumacher and starring Jim Carrey and Virginia Madsen. Can a number drive a man to murder? It definitely drove Jim Carrey crazy. I enjoyed this movie. I enjoyed the direct references to Robert Anton Wilson's "The Cosmic Trigger" (notice the doctor's name...Sirius Leary, a combination of the Dog Star and Timothy Leary, plus the striking resemblance of the actor to the late Wilson himself), and having seen the movie a second time, and getting the twists and turns of the plot out of the way, I could really pick out the 23's throughout the film, some of them well hidden and well placed. I would see this movie again, and already plan on owning it whenever it happens to grace the digital video disc. 2 + 3 = 5 stars.
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