There is no answer to that question, because the answer would depend on a whole series of factors which are ever changing.
Generally speaking, the number of processes isn't really the issue, it's how much in the way of resources each process takes up. If you have 50 processes that virtually never run, only take a few seconds when they do run, and use less than 1MB of memory each, that's not a big deal. However, if you say each of those processes takes several minutes to run, run frequently, and takes 100MB of RAM each, it becomes a whole different story.
I would suggest just leaving things you don't fully understand alone until you have some cause for spelunking in the innards of the operating system. The most likely outcome, should you continue down the path you're currently on, is that you're going to end up breaking something and having to reinstall the OS. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, if you're goal is to learn about the operating system. Most of the best techs I've ever known are self-taught, just picking things apart, breaking them, then putting them back together again. However, not everyone is interested in that sort of thing, so if the idea of having to reinstall your OS is something that you dread like paying your taxes, I'd suggest staying out of the task manager.
I have a HP Pavilion dv5000 and it has the basic thins on it but, I have noticed that task manager has up to 46 processes on it.
Is this nornal or do I have too many things (past or present) slowing my laptop down?