Brides and brothers, days of the week, deadly sins, seas, and a somewhat dark and scary Brad Pitt movie from the 1990’s that I’ve never really recovered from.
The thread that ties these eclectic bunch of things together is of course the number 7.
For some reason humanity has for a millennia had a love affair with the number 7 and it’s has just been confirmed in a online survey with more than 30,000 responses to the question, “What is your favourite number” conducted by Alex Bellos.
The answer for 9.7% of respondents was 7 with 3 and 8 rounding out the top 10.
Adding to the mythology around our love of numbers is the fact that 4 of the top 10 places were taken by Fibonacci numbers with 5 and 13 also amongst the top 10.
Writing in the Guardian, Bellos said the aim of the survey “was to research the emotional connection that people have with numbers. In what non-numerical ways are we influenced by arithmetical patterns?”
But why 7?
Seven owes its striking success in my survey – and in global culture since antiquity – to its exceptional arithmetical properties.
If we consider only the numbers between 1 and 10, the basic number grouping, 7 is the only number that cannot be multiplied or divided within the group.
- 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 can be doubled.
- 6, 8 and 10 can be halved.
- 9 divides by 3.
- 7 is left on its own.
We love seven because it is unique. It reflects our uniqueness. Of course it’s the world’s favourite number
There you have it – we love 7 because it’s unique. But in doing so we are part of the crowd that has 7 as our favourite number.