So when I was in college, I was really into Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus Trilogy. Like Catcher in the Rye (which has to be read early in high school so you can identify with Holden), it has to be read in college when you're experimenting with eastern philosophy for it to make sense. Part of the book talks about the religion of Discordianism. While it comes across as a joke, it's actually kind of serious in its own way. You can read its quasi-Bible at http://www.principiadiscordia.com/
and I still find that "A Sermon on Ethics and Love" (http://www.principiadiscordia.com/book/45.php
) is something that speaks to me.
Anyway, one of the beliefs of Discordianism is the Law of Fives. "ALL THINGS HAPPEN IN FIVES, OR ARE DIVISIBLE BY OR ARE MULTIPLES OF FIVE, OR ARE SOMEHOW DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY APPROPRIATE TO 5." The point of the law - and I tell you this because few of you are in the right target age for this discovery now - is to tell someone about it and point out examples constantly about how things are related to five, even if you have to make it stretch. Some of them should be obvious, things with five items in them, important events that happened in May (the 5th month) or on 2/3 (2+3=5). Eventually you stretch some with things like, "Phish have 5 members, including CK." The goal is first to make someone agree with the comment, "I find the Law of Fives to be more and more manifest the harder I look," and then, weeks or months or years later, catch on that that's because we're pattern matching people and once you start looking for patterns, you find them... and we do this with all sorts of other things and it infects the way we think. It's a pretty powerful revelation.
Part of the Live of Fives thing is the idea of 23 hidden in it. 23 is important because 2+3 = 5, but also because Wilson (yes, I love that that's his name) discovered all sorts of coincidences around the number. It was cool because when I was growing up, I used to play a baseball simulation game APBA and getting the result "23" meant that something weird happened, a rainout or an injury or a player passing another in the basepaths or something... So I had my own 23 weird coincidence.
I got into it when I was at Bard. I even ended up making up a quasi-religion around SPANDEX the Goldfish, that was Discordian themed subconsciously. A lot of myth makers believe that gods are powered by worship, so I shouldn't be that surprised that two minor miracles happened to me on Zzyzx Road, one time having a warning about police being planted in my mind which bizarrely turned out to be true, one time having a water bottle somehow teleport from the car into my pocket as Mel and I were engaged in a hike there. Both of those could be rationalized but they were weird enough to make me think...
Last night I get a photo mailed to me. Someone saw Zzyzx Road on their way back from Indio and found the photo and decided to mail it to me. That happens a lot. However, this time was different. California has been the last hold out for numbering their highway exits. If you drive there, there will be billboards saying things like, "Take the second Red Bluff exit" or something, because they can't say, "Take exit 435." Over the past few years, CDOT has been in the process of numbering their exits in order to conform with everyone else. They're basing it on mile markers - exit 34 is 34 miles from the southern or western end of the highway - which is useful because California is also the only state without those since they had an already existing county exit highway system and it's hard to know how far you are from the end of the state. The photo of Zzyzx Road had the exit number on it. I had never seen that before. What was it? 23!
Hail Eris! All Hail Discordia!
Current Music: Phish - Gotta Jibboo