Modern numerology is also called arithmancy, a word that comes from the Greek and means prophecy by numbers. Numerological standards are hardly fixed. The most frequent claims to predict the future of a person by using his first and last names… to transform them into numbers between 1 and 9. The most common rule is attributed to a certain Septimus Tripoli, around 1350. Each letter of A to I is assigned its sequence number (from 1 to 9), then we start again with the letters from J to R then that from S to Z. The numerologists then determine three numbers: the number of expression, the number intimate and the number of achievement. The first is the sum of all the letters of your first and last names, reduced to 9, as in the proof by nine. The second is determined in the same way, but considering only the vowels, while the last uses only the consonants.
A little math
Thus HERVE LEHNING gives: 8 + 5 + 9 + 4 + 5 + 3 + 5 + 8 + 5 + 9 + 5 + 7, i.e. 73 therefore 7 + 3, i.e. 10 therefore 1. The expression number is 1. For the vowels, we get 5 + 5 + 5 + 9 or 24, that is to say 6. The intimate number is 6. For the consonants, we get 73 – 24 = 49, or 4. The number of realization is 4.
A flattering portrait
These calculations made, numerologists work like astrologers, they offer a personality study that no one will dispute, here is an example:
You need to be liked and admired, yet you are critical of yourself. You certainly have weak points in your personality, but you generally know how to compensate for them. You have considerable potential that you have not turned to your advantage. On the outside you are disciplined and self-controlling, but on the inside you tend to be preoccupied and unsure of yourself. Sometimes you seriously wonder if you made the right decision or did the right thing. You prefer a certain amount of change and variety, and become dissatisfied if you are surrounded by restrictions and limitations. You pride yourself on being an independent mind; and you accept the opinion of others only duly demonstrated. But you found it awkward to reveal yourself too easily to others. At times you are very outgoing, talkative, and sociable, while at other times you are introverted, circumspect, and reserved. Some of your aspirations tend to be quite unrealistic.
The Barnum Effect
A psychologist, Bertram Forer (1914 – 2000), after having his students complete a personality test, had given them all this same report, without even reading their tests, and had asked them to rate it from 1 to 5, 5 meaning it was excellent. The average result was 4.26! This test has often been repeated, the result has always been the same. Numerologists, like astrologers or other clairvoyants, use this same process. This defect that pushes us to accept so easily a description, even false, of ourselves provided that it is flattering is often called the Barnum effect, in homage to the master of psychological manipulation that was the man of the circus, Phineas Barnum .
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Arithmancy, numerology and astrology, by Hervé Lehning
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