What’s in a number? A lot actually. If you are starting to lose your religion, try doing the math and you will figure out what life is all about. Truth be told, if President Noynoy Aquino will be honest with himself, he should see his win as no more than a numbers game result, and not the outcome of some imagined divine intervention as his supporters keep claiming. Remember those dubious survey results? Well, before the election, gullible Filipino voters thought that it made sense to vote for P.Noy even if they didn’t want to, but because mainstream media (owned and operated by P.Noy relatives and friends) kept emphasizing that he was leading in the polls before the election, they voted for him anyway (although the credibility of the first automated election is still being questioned by some).
Imagine forming a new religion also based on numbers to rival that of Scientology; a religion, which they claim, is based on science (fiction)? I think it is a great idea and for now I might call it Numbertology. In fact, if there was one place where you can strike it rich establishing a new religion, it would be in the Philippines because of the number of people who are emotional. Indeed, it is a country full of people who are always looking for a scapegoat and, as such, susceptible to joining cults. But then again, a religion based on numbers (which is also associated with logic and not on emo slogans) might not get the right number of people for it to take off. Suffice to say, we will be up against the cult leader of the year, P.Noy, who we all know can be quite difficult to topple off the top of the charts because of his strong hold on Filipino people’s mind.
How important are numbers?
Even before the invention of machines, men studied nature using mathematical approaches. Thanks to the father of modern science, Galileo Galilei, mastering the mathematics of nature allowed people to understand the forces of nature and how to use them. Galileo wrote, “Philosophy is written in this grand book, the universe … It is written in the language of mathematics, and its characters are triangles, circles, and other geometric figures…”
Galileo’s appreciation for mathematics was due to his father’s (Vincenzo Galilei) influence, who was a lutenist and music theorist. According to information taken from the Net, “he performed experiments establishing perhaps the oldest known non-linear relation in physics: for a stretched string, the pitch varies as the square root of the tension. These observations lay within the framework of the Pythagorean tradition of music, well known to instrument makers, which included the fact that subdividing a string by a whole number produces a harmonious scale. Thus, a limited amount of mathematics had long related music and physical science, and young Galileo could see his own father’s observations expand on that tradition.”
Of course, because of Galileo’s countless scientific experiments and subsequent findings, he always had run-ins with the Catholic Church. The Clergy did not take kindly to having their dogma contradicted (some things never change!). Although Galileo tried to remain loyal to the Catholic Church, logic always got in the way and led to a rejection of blind allegiance to authority, both philosophical and religious, in matters of science. It was said that in broader terms, “this aided the separation of science from both philosophy and religion; a major development in human thought.”
It is a pity that until now, the Philippines is still a country that pretty much doesn’t have a functional separation of church and state. Likewise, the absence of leading philosophers in the country means that our countrymen are not capable of internalizing and, therefore, cannot think outside the square.
Numbers rule our lives.
Numbers are very important to our complicated lives. Shallow people actually measure your success by how much money you have or how many accolades you have garnered and by how many friends you have. The latter is so funny and true judging by the number of “friends” people have on Facebook and how information on how many people are following Ashton Kutcher on Twitter became news worthy worldwide. There are even people who lose sleep wondering about how many people will go to their funeral. One wonders though why they even want to know because if they are already dead, why should they care how many people went to their wake?
I didn’t realize how serious some people take the number of “friends” they need to have, until I read an article about this company in Tokyo, Japan, called Office Agents that rents out friends, work colleagues and even relatives to pad some people’s empty lives. “Brides and grooms who want people to believe they are popular are among those secretly hiring fake friends” according to the article and the company even stated that the recent recession has also boosted the popularity of the service. “With unemployment rising and a growing number of Japanese in part time jobs, people rent fake bosses or colleagues.”
Unfortunately, some people also gauge the success of other people’s careers using numbers. Musicians like rock stars or pop artists who made waves with their first single but do not make the same cut on their succeeding songs are often mocked and dismissed as “one hit wonders”. Unfortunately, if your song only debuted above the top ten music charts, it won’t get played as much on the airwaves and that could mean less number of sales for your album and less return on investment for your sponsors.
Actors or actresses who get paid millions of dollars for a film but do not bring in the desired amount of box office receipts can kiss their acting gigs goodbye. In the movie industry, age is not just a number because it can make or break an actors career. The saying that men age better like wine is so true in Hollywood because actors who are in their 40s or 50s still get to play James Bond with a 20 something leading lady while women who hit 40 are limited to “cougar” roles. Sadly, numbers also affect some parts of our bodies. At a certain age, they say that hormone levels can affect collagen levels, which can greatly affect the elasticity levels of the skin. Whew! Talk about life by numbers. That’s bad news for those who were hired solely for their looks.
We need to use numbers more often.
When we are experiencing the moment, any moment for instance, we are ruled by our emotions. When we look at the past and try to figure out how things turned out the way they did, all we have as a guide to explain things are figures and data that consist mostly of numbers. Quite often, when people try to question why they made a bad decision about something in the past, say, wearing a shoulder padded shirt or an acid washed pair of jeans, it can be quite difficult for them to understand the logic behind such decisions. What they will most likely say is that, everyone else was wearing it. When they say “everyone” it means the majority of people. We don’t have to get the exact figure of how many people wore acid washed jeans in the 80s but we will more than likely look at the trend in that era and look at what people wore. This will give us an idea of how people behaved and what they were like then.
The above will be the same for some people who voted for P.Noy. Take away the emotion involved in the past election, Filipino voters will one day ask themselves why they voted for him and most likely dismiss it by saying “Well, the majority voted for him too.” Without the backing of any kind of credible experience behind him or a working platform, it will be quite difficult for people to recall why they did vote for P.Noy even this early.
When looking at the past, logical people can be devoid of emotion because they look at cold hard facts. This is contrary to what most Filipinos do though. Most Filipinos love living in the past; ironic, considering that any knowledge of the Philippines’ past did not get applied to getting a bit more control over the country’s future. It is my opinion that it is high time that Filipinos learn to study past figures or data in analyzing what area the country needs to improve on.
When we deal with numbers, we cannot escape reality. No matter how many times some people say we are talking bullshit here at AntiPinoy.com, they cannot dismiss the fact that there are figures to show that we are right. Just to cite an example, let us look at the population of the Philippines. The CIA World Fact Book estimates the Population of the Philippines at 99,900,177. If you are not familiar with what the state the country is in right now, that figure won’t mean much to you. But just to put it in the right context, we have now made it to 12th place in the list of most populous countries in the world.
The population of the Philippines rose steadily from 27 million in 1960. Furthermore, the country has the highest population growth rate in the region-despite being one of the first to implement a population-control policy in the 1970s. The growth rate is currently about 2 percent per year. According to the Asian Development Bank, “The prospects for development and alleviation of poverty in the Philippines will remain poor unless the country’s spiraling population growth can be brought under control”. And just to add salt to the injury, the Philippines ranks 105th out of 182 countries in the UNDP Human Development Index, down from 77 in 1997 and from 84 in 2003.
Despite the figures staring everyone in the face, our politicians who still answer to the Catholic Church, are still in denial about what needs to be done to kerb population growth. Most are still of the opinion that if they eliminate corruption, poverty can be eliminated.
Progress using numbers
The Christian fate contributed a lot to helping President Noynoy Aquino win the hearts and minds of the voters. The mainstream media, without any data to back up their claim, disseminated debatable assertions — like “Noynoy Aquino has integrity” — to the public. The voting public meanwhile also did not look for data before believing the mainstream media. Despite these assertions being debatable, there was hardly any debate.
It is therefore imperative that for our country to progress, Filipinos need to learn to look at figures and data more in deciding their fate. The numbers in the data will help them decide which person or government policy will be best to meet the needs of the public. Religion actually has nothing to do with it. But if we really want to appear saintly, we can always call worshipping by numbers “Numbertology.”