India Uncut

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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Bunty gets a number change

Let us say there is a man called Bunty, and I am a famous numerologist running a service called Numbers Uncut. One day, Bunty comes to me. "I need fame, prosperity, success," he says. "Help me."

"You have come to the right person," I say. "I will help you. First of all, your vibrations are all wrong. Your birthday is 26th, which makes you a number 8. 'Bunty' totals 9. Change your name to 'Bbuunty', which totals 8. And do all important things on days which total 8 -- that is, the 8th, 17th and 26th of every month."

Now, Bunty has come to me, in the first place, because he is inclined to believe in this stuff. He wants to blame something other than himself for his frustrations, and to rationalise past and future failures. So he touches my feet, pays me Rs. 8000 (a Rs 1000 discount just for him), and changes his name. Bunty becomes Bbuunty.

Now, in life, good shit happens and bad shit happens. Whenever bad shit happens to Bbuunty, he thinks, "well, shit happens." Whenever good shit happens, he thinks, "wow, Guruji was right." This is called the confirmation bias. (I'd written about it here as well.)

Also, he starts all important projects on the 8th, 17th or 26th of whatever month. Some of them work out. You know where the credit goes. Repeat and rinse. And so, in a self-validating feedback loop, his faith goes stronger and stronger and stronger.

So why does this come to mind now? Well, I caught this report in DNA of Raj Thackeray leaving the Shiv Sena, and caught this line:
Interestingly, Raj has chosen his lucky number 9 (Sunday’s date is 18) to bid farewell to the party.
Maybe it's the party's lucky number as well. Not that I could care less. The party is a danger to civil society, and so is he. Numbers, though, are largely harmless, and sometimes amusing. What's your birthdate?

Update: JK points me to a post by Vellithira on how Malayalam film-makers are using numerology to produce hits. What to say now?
amit varma, 4:22 PM| write to me | permalink | homepage

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