Some random thoughts . . .

It's interesting that, whereas numbers are an abstract creation (think, specifically of the zero), geometry seems to derive from a very intuitive place in our cognition. And by intuitive, I mean to imply "unconscious" or "from the other".

But numbers are relatively easy for us to abstract from geometry . . . which strikes me as "intuitively" more about complex ordered relationships (i.e., angles, distances, etc.) . . . or about how things "fit" together.

I have occasionally wondered about some of the core "magical" numbers. Specifically 3 and 4. 3 and 4 are enormously "relational" numbers, numbers with distinct shapes that we can easily grasp and manipulate in our conscious, short-term memories. And other numbers that can be derived from 3 and/or 4 also tend to have magical significance, e.g., 7 and 12 especially. But also 10 (3+4+3), etc.

It seems "right" somehow that 3 and 4 are two different relational portrayals of wholeness for us. 3 as beginning, middle, and end . . . and as the minimum points with which to maintain stability (as in the tripod) or focus a force in a particular (fourth) direction. 4 as a balance of pairs or an equilibrium.

The alchemical Axiom of Maria tries to reconcile these two kinds of wholeness: ". . . out of the three comes the one which is the fourth."

I also think of the "

Rule of Seven" in cognitive studies relating to short-term memory limitations.

It is also worth noting that both 1 and 2 are also "terms of wholeness" . . . so 1 (the unity), 2 (the polarization or union of polarities), 3, and 4 . . . and perhaps, various combinations of these numbers help construct our sense of wholeness . . . the possible wholes.

If indeed there is a genetic restriction on short-term memory that confines us to these four wholeness terms (these "shapely" numbers), we might hypothesize that these are "instinctual numbers" for us. Our intuition can, perhaps, make complex arrays based on the arrangement of these various wholes, each one equivalent to a One, a single piece our brains can move around.

Just think how much meaning we can construct with 1, 2, 3, and 4 alone (using either geometry or some kind of numerology).

I have nothing more to make of this . . . just the suggestion that these "magic" numbers are not numinous to us because they are somehow "divine", but because they are rooted in our instinctual, genetic make-up in a concrete and biological way. They are numinous just like all the other archetypes feel numinous to us . . . because they trigger our instinctual selves and bring us an intuitive-emotional awareness that we are somehow both self and Other simultaneously.

So I guess I am saying that these numbers deserve to be called archetypes.