So much of our lives in western culture are defined by the number four: four seasons, four horsemen of the Apocalypse, four ages (infancy, youth, adulthood, old age), the Final Four in college basketball. I could go on and on.
A lot of this is strictly cultural. After all, if we lived in another part of the world, we might only recognize two seasons (wet/dry, hot/cool). Why only four horsemen? There are a lot more horrible things out there than conquest, war, famine, and death.
Why isn’t five to be a more natural number? After all, we have five fingers on each hand. It’s how we learn to count. Or ten. Most of the major western languages use a decimal system of counting, and the metric system of measurement used in most of the world is based on ten. Still, four is one of the most commonly used numbers in our culture. For some of us, it’s even more important. Continue reading