Numerology and Synchronicity in Restaurant Stubs

When I see a number or sequence, I have a tendency to deconstruct it into other numbers or sequences; I do this with license plates, addresses, receipt stubs and all other manner of things. It is receipt stubs, specifically from restaurants that I'd like to take as my discussion nucleus today. Yesterday, for the first time, I got a steak and cheese from Theo's Cheesesteak at the Rincon Center nearby and I happened to be order number 64. Upon seeing 64, I internally deconstructed it to 2^6 and spent the subsequent few moments thinking generally about powers of two. Today, having enjoyed yesterday's cheesesteak, I decided to get another and went, again, to Theo's where I, once again, happened to be order number 64. Performing the same deconstruction to 2^6 immediately reminded me that I had been given 64 yesterday, allowing me to note that I had received the same number from the same restaurant, two days in a row. Coincidence: yes; synchronicity: I found it meaningful, so yes; evidence for numerology: oh come on, no.

This particular synchronicity got me thinking philosophically about the nature of significance and how we attach meaning to things. We humans are pattern finders, we do it very well and we tend to do it unconsciously. Patterns simplify the world and allow us to abstract things into easier pieces. Since we use patterns to better understand tho world, we tend to do our best to fit things into patterns, even if it's merely a coincidental pattern, which is fine because patterns do arise spontaneously. People, in my experience, tend to conflate the existence of a pattern with the presence of meaning. In the case of numbers, I believe that the relative ease of constructing arbitrary patterns often leads people to attach meaning to things that are random in nature. I know that I'm guilty of attaching meaning where it isn't due but, at least, I tend to be conscious of and complicit in my misattributions.

The question now is whether or not I should get a cheesesteak tomorrow, for pseudoscience and all.


Update: In my subsequent three visits to Theo's I have not received a 64 again.