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Derren Brown, Lottery Predictions & The Number 23

September 14th, 2009
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Derren Brown & The Number 23I was watching Derren Brown's explanation of his correct National Lottery predictions yesterday with my kids. It was a really, amazing trick. There's lots of speculation and talk about "how" Derren Brown was able to correctly predict all 6 numbers (and a lot of people frustrated with his explanation of how this was done). One thing I observed which has, until now, seemed to go unnoticed was how the number 23 seemed to keep coming up...

I'm not a 23rdian, or even into numerology, and recently a good friend sent me a very interesting link to an article about the number 23 in the Independent. The number 23 seems to be very powerful. I was intrigued by this idea but thought nothing of it. Until yesterday...

In this post, I'll be showing you how 23 kept coming up again and again in Derren Brown's show. The number 23 also appears in the "random" lottery numbers that were selected by the machine. For those of you who are slightly mathematically challenged, be warned - there are numbers involved in the following post. Strange numbers that may challenge your preconceptions and belief systems. Read with an open mind.

Is Derren's Brown's trick simply an illusion performed by a wonderful mentalist, or has Derren Brown managed, consciously or unconsciously, to tap into a world of poweful numbers that challenges our preconceptions of "randomness" and "predictability"?

The Lottery Numbers

Let us begin with the actual National Lottery numbers that were drawn on 09/09/09. These were:

2, 11, 23, 28, 35, 39

Immediately we can see that the number 23 has been drawn.

Now, let's have a look at a few calculations where 23 appears in these numbers. This is where it starts to get freaky:

  • 11 + 35 = 46
    If we divide 46 by the 2 balls, what number do we get? That's right 23!
  • 11 + 23 + 35 = 69
    Again, divide 69 by the 3 balls. We get 23.
  • 2 + 23 + 28 + 39 = 92
    Divide the total of 92 between the 4 balls and you get? 23.
  • 2 + 11 + 28 + 35 + 39 = 115
    Take 115 and divide by 5 balls. What do you get? That's right. 23.
  • And finally... 2 + 11 + 23 + 28 + 35 + 39 = 138
    Divide 138 by all 6 balls. And yes, you get 23!

So, as you've now seen. The numbers drawn for the actual National Lottery - regardless of Derren's intervention or trick - have a combination of numbers which, when divided by the number of balls used, result in the number 23.

Are you freaked yet?

Is this numerical pattern in any way similar to the type of "auto-matic writing" that Derren Brown teaches his subjects to do, so they can help predict the correct numbersĀ  during the show? Are the numbers that the subjects tap into, simply part of a bigger pattern that is - as yet - unseen?

Note: was it just me or wasn't it also interesting that during the "Automatic Writing" segment, out of the 24 volunteers, one was removed so there were 23 making the predictions? I'm also wondering if Tyler contributed to the final prediction or if Derren relied on the 23. No mention is made of this fact during the show, but it would add to the bizarre, almost spiritual aspect of 23 if there were indeed 23 automatic writing subjects used...!

Fibonacci Sequence - CauliflowerThroughout the ages, Mathematicians and Scientists have pointed to how patterns in numbers can be found within Nature. For example, the Fibonacci sequence is a perfect example of spirals that can be found in shells and even the growth of leaves on the stem of a tree. There is a beauty in numbers - especially those that can be predicted accurately and then applied in a proper, conscious, way to re-produce nature's perfect order.

Could Mathematicians who *deny* that there is any perfect mathematical predictions of the National Lottery numbers simply be part of a group who are unable to perceive the greater order of things? Perhaps these objections - made by an inability to find the patterns in the numbers - are nothing more than self-inflicted boundary conditions, placed upon limited understanding of naturally occuring "patterns". What would happen if a paradigm shift appeared whereby correct predictions could be made of "random" events - like the probability of having 6 balls correctly drawn in a Lottery? What would need to happen for this type of perceptual shift to occur? Is it unreasonable to pre-suppose an order of things that go beyond our limited (habituated) understanding of how things work?

Did the Fibonacci sequence exist before it was discovered? The answer to this is obviously "Yes". Our perception of this sequence of numerical patterns, however, did NOT exist in the minds of Science until it was perceived. This is an important point to note: Science is never 100% accurate or true. Perceived reality is simply an illusion. Science is simply backed up by evidence of 99.9999% etc probability... until the next paradigm shift occurs. Remember that there will *always* be small percentage - however improbable - that could also be "true" and it would only take 1 instance of this improbability to occur before Science has to change it's perception.

Does this mean that Science is simply a matter of Faith? And can the same be said of Mathematics, the perceived numerical patterns and the natural order of things? Do we need to simply have "faith" in Science and Maths in order for our reality to be true, or is there a reality that is yet unperceived by us waiting to be discovered?

These are interesting questions that I like to ponder... By challenging our pre-conceptions and established limitations, I think it's possible to get closer to "truth" (a truth). What the truth may be, is something that very difficult to perceive without correct assumptions to begin our investigations.

As Derren Brown demonstrates, it's very easy for the human mind to be deceived. There are illusions that surround us. And people and things that can easily mislead us. What Derren does extremely well is to frustrate us into asking questions. And it is only by asking questions that we can properly challenge the world around us, with a view to providing better solution for the problems we face.

Is there really anything in the pattern of 23 that we've seen? Is there any significance to Derren Brown's show being 46 minutes long? Is there an untapped world of numbers which currently appear to us as "random" but in reality could be part of a great pattern, as yet undiscovered?

At the end of the day, I don't know. I love watching Derren Brown and his wonderful tricks. The skillful misdirection, making you believe that you're watching one thing, when really he's getting drawing your attention to something else.

I'm hoping this post is similar.

I'm actually trying to sell you an idea. How? Simply by asking questions.

Have you thought about the context of where you are reading this article? If you're on the original site of this post, you should be on FAQ-Tastic.com - a simple WordPress plugin to help you ask questions of your site readers. The basic idea behind the plugin is that, it is only through the power of questions, that you can gain a clearer picture of your perceived reality. Through feedback, we allow constant re-development and change. By asking "What specifically is the problem?", we can find the most appropriate solution to a problem. These concepts are powerful when applied in the correct way... What would happen if you simply asked your site readers what their problems are and just answered them? With a little creativity and imagination, it's easy to see that "asking questions" is an extremely powerful way of creating new solutions. In a business context, it means providing products that people actually want. In a societal context, asking questions means finding the most appropriate solutions to common issues - simply by understanding what the problem *actually* is. In a metaphysical and spiritual context, asking questions can help us to redefine the boundaries of ourselves.

If you're wondering how we got to this point, then let me explain.

This post has been written as a response to the questions I found myself asking in reply to my previous article on how best to provide support for my plugin and challenging the common misconceptions of Open Source software. Quite simply, what I came to realise during the past few days is that there is *nothing* that binds the users of my product other than Questions. So, what better than to write thought provoking posts based merely on "asking questions" and then enlightening people on the power of Questions?

Will writing about Questions, that challenge fantastic and bizarre notions, help people realise the true power of questions? I certainly hope so.

I also hope that you've enjoyed this momentary diversion - from Derren Brown to 23 to Mathematics to Questions and ultimately to, perhaps, sparking enough of an interest for you check out the WordPress FAQ-Tastic plugin right now.

I love Questions. To me Questions are wonderful, powerful, things that can help us all to examine our preconceptions and accepted beliefs. Through questions we can reach various points of certainty - until the next question challenges us and we must re-evaluate. It is this wonderful, natural human ability to push our boundaries and go further than we have ever imagined that I find fascinating. And this ability is in You...

To conclude, I'd like to quote Einstein:

The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.

If you missed it, here's Derren Brown's trick (split screen with the original BBC footage):

You can view the Full Derren Brown Lottery show explanation of the trick on 4OD.

Enjoy asking yourself "How did he do that?". Whether it frustrates, infuriates or intrigues you, take a moment to appreciate how far we've evolved simply by our ability, as a species, to ask Questions. Take a moment to be in awe of the wonder that is your Curiosity. And then, take a moment to realise that you can be more than yourself, simply by asking more of Yourself... The Truth is within You.

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Written by edith on September 14th, 2009
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