Susan's "subject matter, context and medium...present a coherent artistic vision"
John Torreano, Clinical Professor of Studio Art, NYU

"Great stuff. Love your work."
Seymour Chwast

Search This Blog

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Seven



 























THE NUMBER SEVEN HAS A HISTORY of being useful for mankind. The cognitive psychologist George Miller wrote a famous article in 1956 about our capacity for processing information. His thesis was that the amount of information or numbers which people can process and remember is often limited to seven, (plus or minus two.)
Of course, seven is not really a magic number. But it really does get around. Many things come in sevens: the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Shakespeare's Seven Ages of Man, Seven up, the Seven Seas and the Seven Dwarfs. Seven is also probably the most popular number. Studies have shown that when asked to pick a number from one to ten, most people will pick Seven.

That's six examples of the ways that seven has been invoked over the ages. There are more, but I am stopping at six because I know from reading George Miller that our digital span is about 7 and I want  readers to be able to remember the most potent use for the number 7. I learned this some years ago from my boss, who used to remind me of it every day when he came back from his seven-mojito lunches. He would invite me into his office, where I would actually have to witness him ask God to grant him the power to get rid of a rival senior partner. He earnestly, if tipsily, prayed that if God did this one thing, he would never ask for anything else. My boss didn't want much–just to be able to dial his enemy's telephone number and when he answered, press the number seven to cause his instant death. By the way, I was being paid an extremely generous salary to listen to this. (I might add that this is why I do not like working for others.)
I wondered why my boss had picked seven to do his killing for him. I started doodling to see if I could understand his choice. I discovered that if I slant a 7 to the left, it looks like the scythe that the Grim Reaper slings over his shoulder. If I draw it upside down, the top could be the blade on a guillotine. If I draw it obliquely, its point could be used for piercing like a spear or arrow. A seven is indeed more frightening than the well-rounded 8 or 3, or 0 with cozy interior space .
I rooted for my boss for a while because I felt this would be a good power to have. With some direction from me, and the right telephone numbers, we could get rid of much of the evil in the world. But then I thought, I can't believe I'm doing this. And I am an enabler for even listening.
So, one day after one of my boss's repetitious afternoon rants, I calmly did my duty. I returned to my office, dialed his extension and then...pressed seven.
PS. If you don't like this post, please don't  seven me.

10 comments:

  1. Please delete my number from your contacts immediately. I can't risk your sevening me.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I only seven those who deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. And, Captain Sum, since you now know about the power of seven, you might reconsider the Villa thing.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Amazing... Brilliant... Lovely... xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. 007 is the seven in the mystery woman (you) that had to watch her boss kill off his enemies. Get with it Laaaady!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Call me 007 anytime. Just don't dial it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. To Depingo - the seventh wonder!

    ReplyDelete
  8. That was brilliant and beautiful. The number 7 will never be the same to me, now. You are very intellectual, smart, beautiful, funny, and a great storyteller.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is New Math! I have always wanted to learn it.

    ReplyDelete