Friday, November 11, 2011

Six Ones

It's 11/11/11.

Earlier this month it was 11/11/11.

This only happens once a century.  Thus, people born in the next ten years,  will have to live to 90 or 100 to ever experience it.

But, so what?  Does it matter?  If you missed it, would your life be less?

"According to Alan Lenzi, professor of religious studies at University of the Pacific who studies biblical numerology, seeking meaning in numbers is a natural human tendency. "Cognitive scientists have demonstrated that the human brain is hard-wired to look for meaningful patterns in the sensory data it collects from the world," Lenzi told Life's Little Mysteries.
In most situations, this cognitive wiring helps us: It enables us to pick important information out of a background of random noise. But sometimes we overdo it by finding patterns where they aren't — from faces seen in the clouds to numerical coincidences. Once found, these patterns "are easily imbued with imaginative meaning," he said.
There is nothing unusual about the time 11:11 or the date 11/11/11, but our brains can't help noticing the repeating digits, and seeing them as meaningful. "Numbers that are already significant to us, such as calendar dates that also coincidentally fall into an obvious pattern, become doubly significant," Lenzi said. "11/11/11 is another example of people doing what people are cognitively prone to do: find significance." (from Life's Little Mysteries)

Of course, this is all silly because it is really 11/11/2011.  But 11/11/1111!  Now that would have been a year to see.  Unless you wrote the year in Roman Numerals MCXI.  During the 12th  century, according to Wikipedia 
the blast furnace for the smelting of cast iron is imported from China, appearing around Lapphyttan, Sweden, as early as 1150, and Alexander Neckam is the first European to document the mariner's compass, first documented by Shen Kuo in the previous century. 
Angkor Wat is built under the Hindu king Suryavarman II.

It was 45 years after William the Conqueror was crowned King of England and the population of London was about 18,000.   And beavers were hunted to extinction in England in the 12th Century.

The League of the Iroquois would be founded 31 years later in 1142.

But how does this fit into the world today?  What can we learn from the collapse of so many ancient empires?  How can each of us make today's world better?  Or keep it from getting worse?

For more than you want to know about 11 11 11.

Happy Birthday Beth!

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