Author: Steven Pither
Trade Paperback, 319 pages
Publication date: July 2002
Price & More Info: Click Here
The Complete Book of Numbers is an ambitious book. In his introduction, Pither says that his book aims to transliterate the "techniques and terminology" of Pythagorean numerology "into current mathematical practice." The back cover is a bit more specific. It talks about "exploring the symbolic and spiritual meaning of numbers and the mathematical processes of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division." Since I've always been interested in numerology and took more math courses than I wanted to, I expected to enjoy this book.
Unfortunately, my hopes were dashed when much of the book proved to be written in a turgid and often impenetrable prose. The author seemed to be trying to write in the style of a college text without really knowing how. It does not help that sentences are often long and florid. Here is a sample paragraph, selected by opening the book at random and selecting a good example from the two pages in front of me:
The ceaseless mixing and reconfiguring of number forces swoon the individual into the belief that the Numeric Dream is Reality, causing him to forget momentarily (that is, during each incarnation) that he is Director of his Numbers and Captain of his Soul. This dreamy preoccupation is called Illusion, but it appears very, very real to the enrapt gaze of mundane consciousness. It is a cosmic case of the divine dog chasing after its own eternal tail: the dog cannot be made to realize that it is rushing its own tail away from its own eagerly onrushing mouth. This is a paradox to the dog, whose cause and inevitable effect are perfectly clear to humans, just as our own cosmic conundrums are obvious as self-induced traps to the Eyes of Cosmic Consciousness.
--- from page 113 (Chapter 6, The Interpretation Process)
Much of The Complete Book of Numbers reads like this. The author may have some interesting ideas on number symbolism and numerology buried in his book. Trying to dig them out of his text, however, seemed more trouble than it was worth. I eventually gave up. Unless you have more patience with this style of prose than I do or are a professional numerologist who feels obligated to read everything in the field, I'd pass this book by.
Reviewed by Randall