the name

the phrase was featured in an episode of star trek. it acted as the 'ultimate conversation stopper', when uttered. the actual quote from star trek in full is 'every moment requires a purpose. every purpose requires a plan. the higher the fewer.'

this can be traced back to a nonsense riddle from the early part of the century that goes something like: 'why does a mouse when it spins?' and the answer is 'the higher the fewer'.

there are many stories surrounding the meaning of this riddle. one of them describes, in ireland, a family whose house was being searched by military investigators. the family was part of the revolution.

one of the officers asked the woman a question and she replied with the line 'why does a mouse when it spins? the higher the fewer,' to which he raised his eyebrows and immediately cut the search short and left the house, not finding the radio trasnmitter she was hiding this is what established it as 'the ultimate conversation stopper'.

there is also a reference to it in an ancient book of egyptian magic, called the book of the holy fool or 'liber a vel follis'. it is amongst the hermetic magical texts. it was listed in a section of translations of symbols with no explanation as to how it got there or what it means.