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Pythagoras the Ancient Greek philosopher believed that mathematics played a key role in the realisation of everything in the universe. Pythagoras traced the origins of all things in the cosmos to one common factor – number. Students of Pythagoras believed the study of the relationships between numbers would reveal the truth of who we are and why we are here. The Pythagorean scholar Philolaus ventured that the number one was the origin of all creation. It represented the singularity of the cosmos, the essential unity of everything in existence. From this unity the material universe evolved into two essential aspects, the finite and the infinite. Odd numbers represented the finite. Even numbers represented the infinite.
The philosopher Plato developed a different theory on the nature of the universe. He believed the foundation of all creation to be the five Platonic solids. He concluded that the tetrahedron, the octahedron, the icosahedron and the square formed the four elements of fire, air, water and earth. The dodecahedron constituted the fifth element of spirit, the quintessence of the universe. Scientists at the Paris Observatory recently came to a similar conclusion on the importance of shape in cosmic creation. They measured radiation patterns left over from the Big Bang. Their findings suggested that some of Plato’s theories may have been right. The universe could indeed be shaped like a dodecahedron.
In ancient creation myths the number three had particular significance. In Norse mythology the world is created by three brothers. The Greeks believed there were three gods who ruled the world. They were Zeus, Hades and Poseidon. The Egyptians believed there were three aspects to the Egyptian sun god Ra. They represented the rising sun, the midday sun and the setting sun. The Babylonians worshiped three principal gods. One signified earth, one heaven and one the abyss.
Number also plays an important role in Theosophy’s explanation of the structure of the cosmos. Theosophy is a system of thought based on the comparative study of religion, philosophy and science. In Theosophical doctrine there are seven versions of the earth. They are called the seven globes. The physical earth is a globe which is surrounded by six other more ethereal globes. Two of these six globes are on the astral plane, two on the etheric plane and two on the mental plane. Of the two globes on each plane, one is positive and one is negative. The six ethereal globes intersect to form a cluster. The densest matter is found at the intersection of the six globes. This denser matter forms the seventh globe – the earth as we perceive it on the physical plane.
There are many scientific theories, philosophical concepts and mythical stories about the realisation of the universe. Number plays a role in each of them. The structures of the universe are based on patterns, shapes and number. Without them nothing would exist at all. One cannot help but wonder about the numerical secrets in the universe still waiting to be uncovered.
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