*Posted by Kirk Spencer
My favorite number is eleven. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because eleven was my jersey number when I played basketball. I would say it was my lucky number, but I wasn’t very good. After 1 through 10, eleven is where the number sequence starts over. So it is often considered the number of “new beginnings,” a hopeful thought. And even if “one” is “the loneliest number,” eleven is never lonely because each “one” has a companion. Many times in my life, my attention has been drawn to 11:11 as it appears on digital clocks (as well as other situations). And, in such case, I recognize it as a community of ones. As 11/11/11 approaches, I have been thinking of this multiplicity of ones, especially the ultimate community of one—the Trinity.
A skeptical friend of mine once said that the concept of the Trinity was an absurd notion. He said, “How can anyone ever believe that 1+1+1=1?” Yet, if the concept of the Trinity is a divine concept, as it is presented, then we should not be surprised that it would transcend human conception and thus appear absurd, or as the Bible says—foolish. As both Tertullian and Alice intimate, we might expect that things in which we would be required to “believe-in” would be impossible, or at least appear that way. Even with reasonable faith, it is still faith. To see and believe is one thing. But to not see and yet believe, that is something totally different. And so with the Trinity, though we cannot comprehend it completely, there are intimations that its truth extends beyond our concepts and conceptions. And this is the reason that attempts to speak of such “foolishness” often end in ridicule. However, it is almost 11.11.11 so I thought I would be ridiculous.
If the world is the creation of a Triune Creator, we might expect to find—not a Trinitarian world (that would be ridiculous)—but at least a triune-esque world. As has often been noticed, we know our world through a trinity of trinities. Our Uni-verse is known to us through three primary aspects, entities or whatever-you-call-them: Spatial (Space), Temporal (Time) and Material (Matter/Energy). The more we learn of these aspects, the more we perceive that they are not just simple isolated modes. Space and Time have already been unified into the space-time continuum. And the search for a “Grand Unified Theory” is moving toward a tri-unity of electromagnetism, strong atomic bonding force and weak atomic bonding force.
Each of these aspects—Space, Time and Matter—also has a triune-esque aspect. We know Space in three dimensions: length, width and height. And to know Space, as we know it, we need all three. The three aspects exist as one. Each side of our universal cube extends through the whole. This may be the reason the volume of a cube is not 1 + 1 + 1 = 1. That is the abstraction of a number-line. We do not live in a one-dimensional, linear world. We are not “Linelanders” or “Flatliners.” We live in a triune-esque, three-dimensional world. So if we “do the math” it would be 1 x 1 x 1 which does equal 1 (it is the volume of a cubic, three-dimensional world). In a similar fashion, we know Time as past, present and future. And if time really is a dimension, and if Time exist as a continuum with space, then Time can be seen to exist as a whole and is experienced as the “moving” present, known in three “prospects.” If we could only live in the nunc stans (the eternal Now) we could see the three facets of Time as a whole.
And we know Matter as solid, liquid and gas. The whole of any substance can exist as any of these phases depending on pressure and temperature. As scientists have plotted the states of matter as they exist at different temperatures and pressures, they have found that at low pressures solids become gaseous without an intermediate liquid phase. This “sublimation,” as it is called, is quite mysterious (at least to the alchemists). First it is there in solid form and then it’s gone. Or it’s not there and then, as the temperature drops, it appears as a solid form, seemingly out of nothingness (deposition). It is this mysterious process of sublimation which pulls the solid and gaseous fields of the P-T (pressure-temperature) phase-diagram together, bending each around a center and producing a point (the Triple Point) where all three phases of matter touch. At this juncture, we find the odd “impossible” possibility that there is one particular pressure and one particular temperature, which when achieved, allows all fields (solid, liquid, gas) to exist at the same time and the same place. At this Triple Point, one substance with a singular nature exists in three fundamental coequal forms at the same time, each fully the same in nature but each also behaving in real interactions with each of the others and thus demonstrating a distinction of different properties. But this would be absolute supreme “foolish.”
A Trinitarian “community of oneness” might not apply directly to November 11, 2011 (11.11.11) because such is a “trinity” of elevens, not a trinity of trinities. A trinity of trinities would be 111,111,111. And, strangely, if we multiply this trinity of trinities by itself, we find the flow of numbers from one to nine and back again (12345678987654321).
111,111,111 x 111,111,111
All numbers derived from a trinity of trinities of “1”. All numbers but zero—but zero is nothing (and it is “foolish” too).