7 is my favourite number.
And apparently it is the most commonly liked number. The man who told me that actually wrote a book about it. He developed a whole internet survey around why people like their favourite numbers: some Hungarian dude told him 7 was like a sexy woman, bla bla bla.
I associate 7 with the divine proportion, Phi, which is embedded in the human concept of beauty and the way nature builds new forms out of old ones. Phi is approximately 1.62 and 4 times that is 6.48, which is a boring number as it is pair but it almost rounds up to 7:
– 7 years of thin cows, 7 years of fat cows, said the Bible,
– 7 years marriage crisis (my marriage died at 7 years),
– I got over living in Edinburgh after 7 years,
– economic cycles renew themselves every 7 years. 7 years is the addition (approximately) of 4 cycles, we learn in Economics school: 1. for the first forth of the cycle things are looking up, all’s good and optimistic; after Phi (1.62) years “mmm maybe it’s not all life-saving but it’s still ok”; 2. after 2*Phi (~3.5) years, “it’s as good as at the start but this shit’s been coming down”; 3. after 3*Phi (~5) years things hit rock bottom and you think it’s all gone; 4. then in the last year and a half you’re back where you started, you’ve gone full cycle, eternal Indian circles.
And then, after those 7 years, you find yourself wondering who you are. What you want. What was this stage that just finished. But more importantly, what is coming next. Am I equipped for what’s coming?, and who’s this person next to me who’s been here so long and who somehow doesn’t see the world my way anymore? And you reassess. And you make new investment decisions. And the economy picks up again. And you divorce and find something else to do with your life, for better or for worse. Or you miraculously manage to patch it up and you enter a whole new fresh phase of your marriage, like I have seen happen.
4 times Phi brings the snail shell back to a new growth cycle, a whole new beginning, a whole new stage of its personal evolution, that seems independent of the previous but stems from it indelibly. I think that’s why most people like 7. Not because it so a prime number that doesn’t quite fit. Not because it balances itself elegantly in a funny angle. But because it encompasses that very cycle that kills the comfort in our lives and sends us off on new adventures and the big Unknown, like the Portuguese on a nutshell boat across the big wide oceans, like Phoenix reborn from the ashes, again again and again.
Have a great day.