When I came out into this world, I was welcomed by a round with numbers from one to twelve written on it. It was an omen. Right there, I was presented at the alter even before I learned that I should be relieved by the fact that my mother has two eyes, one nose and one mouth. It was fun memorizing the post code and phone number. However, I was soon given an identity number, which hinted at what the life ahead of me would be like. The red marks in test papers haunted me for 20 years. I needed to obey the god, which brought happiness, though brief.
I have no intention to hide my love for the god. “The number god (hereafter referred as the god) is almighty. The god is everywhere, even at churches that serve God. The number of believers, contribution…. Always casually taking a good seat, the god may be invisible to the eye but visible to the mind.
#1. Every time I get on a bus or subway, I find myself glancing at the phone screen of people sitting in front of and next to me for about 0.5 second. A few days ago, I witnessed something peculiar – So peculiar that I could not take my eyes off it for 17 seconds. A man was scrolling five centimeters down the screen per second. He searched a hashtag on Twitter and then scrolled down with his left thumb while clicking the retweet button on hundreds of posts with his right thumb like a machine. He looked like a worker on the assembly line in a Charlie Chaplin silent movie. Some people’s brains and hands have already evolved to a level where they can work like machines.
#2. The god runs very deep in our lives. His influence seems to know no limit, especially in the 21st century. The like and view counts on social media are paralyzing people’s reason and emotion, giving power to a specific individual or group. As you probably know, power can be traded. Apparently, famous fashion magazines are buying Instagram followers for millions of won. The leaders of this religion are those with large figures as larger numbers equal a larger following. The rule of this game is that you are famous for being famous and popular for being popular. This is a law, not a trend.
#3. The chart has long been distorted. Strategies such as “stream as you breathe” and “all-out attack” are no longer limited to the fandoms of K-pop stars. Shopping malls and even political parties deploy these strategies. No one can beat those who “stream as they breathe” unless they are machines. It is ironic that it was these people who stream as they breathe that raised doubts over the music charts. They could not believe that the singers they supported did not make it to the top of the chart after all they have done. They played their songs on repeat even when they were not listening to them and went as far as to borrow credentials from their family and friends to play the songs, only to see an unknown singer top the chart. Shocked and enraged, they started raising doubts.
#4. The god is a mystery who exists in four dimensional space and time. My gaze rests on the god as soon as I type a message on my phone. In a world where numbers as small as 1, 2, 3 or 4 are held up so high, it is only natural that legends are worshiped. Troika (3), top two (2), best (1) are worshiped equally by “Martians” and intelligent people.
#5. In the era of big data and smart, the god manifests itself more clearly and loudly than ever. Before the music chart and voting stat manipulation scandals, the system had already been abused. At a time when not only purchases but views and shares are aggregated and published, fans go beyond buying 10,000-won worth of CDs. They create the so-called “voting team,” which basically works like a manual factory. This “team” shows up every time there is an award or a survey. They encourage people to vote and distort the chart, hence popularity. Any of this is neither illegal nor immoral. It is more like executing in faith.
#6. Once again, I do love the god. The world the god created is beautiful.