When I think about 1949, I think it was 50 years ago . . . .
that’s not true.
(the answer is 72)
—that reminds me of this tweet I saw the other day:
The Wonder Years premiered 33 years ago today (1988) depicting events 20 years earlier (1968). A similar show today would be set in 2001.
I don’t know what 2001 looks like. (I know what 1995 looked like though.) Maybe 2001 looked like everything and nothing.
Anyway, this isn’t about any of that. It’s about the number 49—which has starting coming at me . . . .
I recently recognized that much of The Recognitions (which is the 42 Minutes Winter Seasonal Book Club choice) occurs in 1949. I’ve been musing on this a bit. The interesting thing I noticed was that our first bookclub regarding The Recognitions was 42 Minutes episode 249.
But 49 has arisen before . . .
01.29.18 Episode 297: Winter Book Club
The Crying Of Lot 49
Tonight the 42 Minutes Seasonal Book Club regulars uncover, Thomas Pynchon's classic post-modern satire, which tells the wonderfully unusual story of Oedipa Maas, first published in 1965.
Topics: High Brow, Prose, Gravity's Rainbow, Identity, Postal Service, David Foster Wallace, Sync, Conspiracy, Inherent Vice, Code, Time, Tragedy, Bones, Meaning, California, MK Ultra, 1960s Conspiracy, Alternate Mail System, Bleeding Edge, The Information, PKD, 1904, Crowley, Horus, Revelation, The Matrix, Farina, Mason, Beatles, Jesus, Miracle.
So I did a little digging . . .
The Sacred Number 49
by Seana Miracle
The number 49 is found all over San Francisco, which is seven miles by seven miles, or 49 square miles. San Francisco was born during the Gold Rush of 1849, and her first wave of immigrants are known as “49’ers.” San Francisco’s football team, which is named after these pioneers, joined the NFL in 1949. The highway which runs through Gold Country is Highway 49, and the most famous route through San Francisco is the 49 Mile scenic drive. San Francisco’s symbol, the phoenix, rises from the ashes “seven times seven,” or 49 times. San Francisco’s founding Mission Church is devoted to “Our Lady of Seven Sorrows,” who is depicted with seven swords piercing her heart. The Mater Delorosa’s litanies are sung in 49 voices, and her rosary has 49 beads.
The number 49 is significant in nearly all spiritual traditions and refers to a sacred cycle of transformation.
In the Tibetan Book of the Dead, the “Bardo State,” the intermediary state between life and death, is 49 days. It is believed that after death, the soul wanders for 49 days. Interestingly, the pineal gland, called the “seat of the soul,” forms 49 days following conception.
All major religions point to the importance of this 49 day cycle. The Buddha spent 49 days under the Bodhi tree in order to achieve enlightenment, and he did not start instructing the public for another 49 days. Christ’s disciples did not receive divine consciousness until 49 days after the resurrection. Moses did not receive the Ten Commandments until 49 days after he freed the slaves from Egypt. In Judaism, “The Counting of Omer” is a verbal counting of the 49 days between these two events, and is considered the appropriate length of time in order to learn the Torah. In the ancient Mithraic mysteries, initiates were required to spend 49 days underground before emerging and achieving enlightenment on the 50th day.
The Meaning of Numbers: The Number 49
The meaning of the number 49 is derived from the fact that it is 7 times 7. Seven is a Biblically perfect numeral representing spiritual perfection.
Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive a person who sinned against him. He suggested that forgiving someone seven times seemed fairly generous to him. The Lord's response, however, was "I do not say to you until seven times, but until seventy times seven (490 or 49 x 10)" (Matthew 18:22). Christians are not to limit themselves in regards to forgiveness and mercy. If they are to be perfect, like their heavenly Father (Matthew 5:48), believers are required to offer unlimited forgiveness.
The name of the Apostle John is recorded forty-nine times in the KJV version of the Gospels.
So take all that with a grain of salt, but also interestingly, 2021 is the year I turn 49.
—which again means that . . .
(the answer is 72)
—the year I was born, 1972.