The Irrepressible Number "7" (Continued)
George Miller’s theory might explain why we should use the number 7 to clean up the pollution in our brains and regain some cognitive control. But what about the other phenomena? What about the seven wonders of the world, the seven seas, the seven continents, the seven ages of man, the seven daughters of Atlas in the Pleiades, the seven levels of hell, the seven primary colors, the seven notes of the musical scale, and the seven days of the week? Why were there only “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Why only 7 dwarfs, 7 ingredients in a Big Mac, 7 continents? Why were there originally only 7 deadly sins (lust, greed, pride, wrath, sloth, envy, gluttony), especially since it’s so easy to think of at least a dozen more.
Why were the 7 Sisters a group of women’s colleges, a group of Stalinist skyscrapers in Moscow and a group of popular magazines aimed at women? And why, when asked to choose a number between 1 and 10, do most people choose 7? Why is there a 7-year itch and why does the opposite sides of a die add up to 7? I began to investigate why the number 7 played such a dominant role in religion, science, the arts, literature, business, and education.
Seven can not only filter the flood of information that constantly assaults us in our daily lives, it can help us make smart choices when we search for a job, purchase a house, or even shop for orange juice. Seven can help us find the right words at the right time, and avoid the words and phrases that undermine or embarrass us. I learned that the number 7 is that near-perfect value, and I wanted to celebrate and share its wonderful and ancient history. I also discovered that 7 has been used as a tool to define time, synthesize ideas, and keep one’s mind and memory performing at top speed. Seven shows us how to get the most out of life and give the best of ourselves. It will make every day living a little bit better.