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What is numerology?

At the beginning of civilization, man invented the alphabet and the written word. The early writing systems did not have numbers, so letters were assigned to represent numbers. In the Hebrew alphabet, for example, Alef (א) represented 1, Bet (ב) represented 2, Gimel (ג) represented 3, etc. The Roman numbers made from the letters C, D, I, L, M, V, and X are more familiar to us today and we use them on clock faces, book chapters, and movie production dates. The Roman number LIX represents 59, where the L is 50, the X is 10 and the I to the left of the ten subtracts 1 from the 10. Notice that LIX could be pronounced in English like "licks" or "likes". This type of association of numbers with words and meanings is the basis of the ancient numerology.

There are many systems of numerology, but they all seek esoteric and mystical relationships between numbers, words, and the physical objects that the words represent. Numerology, like astrology, has been classified as a pseudoscience because the purported associations between numbers and objects are arbitrary and based on traditions and beliefs that do not have an objective origin. Numerological divination was practiced by early mathematicians, such as Pythagoras, but numerology is not part of mathematics today.

The association of words and numbers is practiced on a large scale today for encoding alphabetic characters in computer records. Computers can only work with numbers, and mappings such as EBCDIC, ASCII, and UTF-8 specify how those numbers are to be interpreted to represent letters and words.

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