Issue.10 - Numbers
Numbers are science, but science is a human endeavour.
This issue is a philosophical essay and the reader’s discretion is advised.
Welcome to Issue.10, reader!
Life, prosperity, and health to you, O son of Ra!
This is how the Egyptians greeted their pharaohs.
Hence, the pharaoh within you has just been saluted.
Egyptian’s contributions to the development of mathematics, and their legacy continue to influence the field up until this day.
This ancient civilization has always impressed society with the amount of innovation and feats it brought forward to the world, being one of the most unexplainable, the pyramids.
The symbolism behind Ancient Egypt carries such a profound sense of mystery and mysticism up until this day that just by looking at the pyramid on the cover of this issue, someone can already sense something puzzling ahead.
And puzzling this issue shall be.
Because from 0 to 1, there is an infinite amount of numbers.
And this is mark 0.
Hold this thought, reader.
Touch it or don’t believe it.
The philosophical school of Empiricism (Early 18th Century) emerged as a reaction to Rationalism (17th Century).
Rationalism emphasized the role of reason and innate ideas in acquiring knowledge.
Empiricism regards a skeptic foundation that emphasizes the role of experience and observation in acquiring knowledge.
That means that as an empiricist, only what you can see or feel with your body senses can be proven true. Touched with your fingers, seen with your own eyes, felt with the grasp of your hands.
Whereas for a rationalist, you are already born with certain ideas that are undeniable. Through reason and logic alone, you can unfold the truth behind things.
Let’s picture an apple and pretend for a second that you never tried one.
Some people that tried it might tell you that an apple is sweet and crunchy, and based on the fact that it is a red and hard fruit, you can also consider that it might be sweet and crunchy, like other fruits you know with these same properties.
If you are a rationalist, reader, that might be enough information for you to consider apples as sweet and crunchy fruits. You wouldn’t need to eat one to agree with other people.
You go with the flow.
But if you are an empiricist, you would argue that reading about the taste of an apple in a book or hearing someone else's description of it is not the same as experiencing it yourself, so you would deny that until you bite an apple with your mouth!
You go against the tide.
Much attention here, because the apple example was just a simple exercise to understand each approach.
But anything can be observed in the same way we did for the apple.
Can you only imagine how many things you consider true just because you heard from other people, from the news, or from… numbers?
In Issue.0, published on March 3rd, I started the Agency project and kickstarted the narrative where we were in our boats and there was a Tsunami on the way, a threat.
Exactly 7 days later, on March 10th, the SVB bank collapsed.
That economical event put me in a tight corner because my tsunami was entirely fictitious and regardless, what we could label as a tsunami, actually happened outside my narrative, in the real world.
So I spent the next few days going through an immense amount of information (news) and data (statistics) to understand as much as I could about that event and finally published Issue.7 on March 16th.
Because I wasn’t there when it happened. I never saw SVB’s clients withdrawing $42 billion worth of deposits.
I never got an email from the CEO saying: “We are officially a bank filing for bankruptcy.”
So how could I consider such a fact, proven?
Maybe it happened months ago but the media only covered it this month.
Maybe the world’s economy isn’t healthy, something needed to break and SVB was chosen to take the fall.
Maybe if SVB was profitable and the tech startups were innovating as they should, this wouldn’t have happened.
Or maybe, just maybe, it never even happened.
Dare to know.
How about enlightened?
Welcome to the new cultural and intellectual movement of Illuminism (Late 17th Century), where the importance of reason, critical thinking, and individual liberty is profoundly praised.
It gave birth to not only the Empiricist philosophy framework that we have been talking about but also many others.
There was one particular aspect of this movement that served as fuel to ignite a fire that would shine a light in everyone’s eyes.
The illuminists rejected the authority of the Church and traditional institutions (government and news vehicles) and sought to create a more rational and secular society based on scientific principles.
They pursued knowledge and truth without dogmatic, political, biased, or superstitious constraints.
As a result of that, brilliant scientists surged to pave the way for a brighter future.
Scientific progress: Isaac Newton and Galileo Galilei made groundbreaking discoveries in fields such as physics, astronomy, and mathematics.
Human rights and individual liberty: This emphasis on individual rights helped to lay the foundations for modern democracy and human rights.
Education and literacy: A rise of public education and the spread of literacy among the general population. This helped to promote a more informed and engaged citizenry, and facilitated the spread of knowledge and ideas.
Secularism: By challenging the authority of the Church and traditional religious institutions, it helped create a more secular society based on rational inquiry and critical thinking.
Art: The rise of classical music, with composers such as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Franz Joseph Haydn, creating influential works that emphasized formal structure, clarity, and rationality.
10.3 One True Authority
In everyone’s life.
Well, it is! Living in 2023 is in fact, confusing.
Because at the same time that people are skeptical enough to deny superstition and spirituality because they can’t see it with their own eyes, people are not skeptical enough to think critically and individually.
People are obsessed with science and logical thinking, and as a consequence, obsessed with numbers.
So the idea of a higher authority watching everything down here from the heights of heaven is not convincing enough.
But a news headline, written by a person, who serves the interest of a company, who serves the interest of something else, who serves the interest of an algorithm, who serves the interest of numbers is quite enough to convince people nowadays.
If you ask me, we put ourselves in a contradictory place of inertia.
And we will break this mold, together.
Because math and numbers are a creation of science. (Sumerians to be more specific).
And science is a creation of humanity.
But what is humanity? A creation of… numbers?
Machines are numbers and I don’t think we are machines.
Hey, are you a machine?
Stop right there and prove your humanity.
The skeptic in me needs to know.
Ok, you are off the hook.
Ah, all of this talk doesn’t make any sense.
Yet, people only validate that which carries numbers.
If I were to tell you that by March 28th (The day this issue is being published), the 805 Agency’s subscribers have opened 3847 emails, or that our substack has been directly visited 1379 times, then this would give more authority to the content and make you more interested.
If I were to tell you that as a subscriber, you are among some very important people in society, then this would make you feel honored.
If I were to tell you that all these numbers summed a total of 0, one month ago, then perhaps you would feel curious.
But none of this matters.
Because these are just numbers.
What matters is the actual information, the quality, and the depth of what is being said and consumed, and even more so, the intention behind it. (developing your marketing autonomy)
A Music track doesn’t need to hit the Billboard Top 100 Chart to be good.
In the same way that an Instagram influencer with 100.000 followers doesn’t have 100.000 friends.
In the exact same way that a bank account with a huge amount of digits can’t make you a person worth being remembered like a hero as Socrates was pictured in the painting above.
Because history doesn’t remember numbers, it remembers names and words.
Yet, you might be making a lot of decisions solely based on numbers and logic.
Let’s balance that equation.
10.4 Thinking for yourself.
Fighting for your truth.
The Metamodern Philosophy - Reflective Essay
If the philosopher is truly the friend of wisdom and not necessarily the wise one, what would be their position in the liquid and metamodern era in which we live today?
A weightlifting exercise for the arms aims to damage the muscle fibers so that they regenerate with more muscle mass, strength, and health. Similarly, the exercise of philosophy aims to develop the reach of our critical thinking through questioning so that it expands the flexibility of our reasoning and understanding of things. Like muscle injury, the exercise of philosophy also involves a certain type of pain that differs from physical pain because evolving our knowledge about what surrounds us ends up distancing us from many things that sometimes demonstrate visible superficiality only to the eyes of the philosopher. As a consequence, it generates an abstract pain more similar to desolation or isolation.
But just as an athlete with a good physical condition is capable of persevering in a competition through their training and discipline, the philosopher is also capable of standing out in different aspects of life. However, this requires discernment and compassion on the part of the one who considers themselves a thinker, because with regular training, the philosopher equips themselves with the knowledge that can be used to their advantage, but fundamentally understands that a weapon, or muscle, should never be used to attack, but rather to defend and protect.
In a liquid modernity where quantity is valued above quality, not only consumer goods and services but also human relationships become quickly obsolete, and as a consequence, we lose the ability to deepen the power of collaboration and human companionship because it is difficult to trust the moral constancy of everything around us. Therefore, distancing human beings who represent entire universes with their peculiarities and making them incapable of creating new worlds (or projects) through collaboration.
The consequence of an individualistic, numeric, cold, and superficial context like this is an unsustainable reversal of moral values, principles, and virtues that have always been essential for the progression of human evolution. Therefore, the metamodern philosopher, like an athlete who trains diligently their moral discernment, places themselves in a position of a bridge builder with tools that should be used with the main and noble objective of uniting what is separated.
This approach fundamentally differs from what postmodern philosophy represents, which like nihilism, used the pain originating from philosophical exercise to further distance themselves from other thinking humans, seeking power and control to fill an alien lack of identification that resulted in bitterness, sadness, and many other negative feelings. Wouldn't Nietzsche be a perfect example of this? Who in his quest for truth ended up arguing for the death of God, criticizing religions, deconstructing moral values, and pointing to individualism as the paradoxical solution to life in society?
So, if we must exercise our thinking so that we can equip ourselves with arguments capable of generating empathy and uniting what has been separated, let's imagine life as an immense box of lego toys, where infinite pieces of different colors and shapes can fit compatibly, giving the possibility of building absolutely any toy (dream) that is born in the perfect world of ideas that inhabits the dimension of our mind.
Like in the mind of a child who is still at the beginning of the long journey to get to know what the world has to offer, a true tabula rasa, we should first separate everything relevant to our senses (what is visible to the eyes, graspable by the hands, tastable in the mouth...) and what, according to Plato, represents an abstract, untouchable, and perfect reality, that is the world of ideas. This is the immutable and eternal world where the singular human capacity to explore the extraordinary is born. Because it will always be precisely what is extraordinary that will be capable of igniting a flame in hearts that no longer beat as before.
Just like the child, upon opening the Lego box, realizes that they can put together the pieces in any way they imagine and create absolutely any toy, the metamodern philosopher navigates the world of ideas in the perfect process of marveling at every little detail of life, observing and admiring the way things work and questioning how they would be different, if at all?
Therefore, in the position of a child with a box containing infinite Lego pieces in front of them, the metamodern philosopher embraces the world in a light and pure way by understanding that being alive and having the ability to think is simply the best gift they could receive, thus, feeling grateful. It is precisely this gift that they will value and explore with the intention of not only finding different perspectives but mainly finding new ways to unite these pieces that were created to function in the most perfect combination!
Similarly, the metamodern philosopher will not separate from the other Lego pieces because they understand that, as David Hume taught in his "Law of Hume," one cannot deduce what should be from what is. In other words, a statement like "This is" differs from a more neutral hypothesis like "This should be" because it respects the idea that the concept of truth will always be particular to each person and prevents the thinker from imposing their way of thinking to the same extent that they respect the subjectivity of others, given that as Socrates taught in his philosophical maxim, we must always and at all costs affirm that we know nothing because to deny this would be the same as affirming that we have already discovered all the pieces in the infinite and fun Lego box that is the universe and our lives.
Listen, if you arrived up until this point, you just won more than a thousand battles and you didn’t even notice.
Bravo. You are a true Agency reader.
Joy! Pure joy!!!
Because from 0 to 1, there is an infinite amount of numbers.
And this is mark 1.
I just forever passed you the torch and it is yours to hold.
Because I have been turning you into a philosopher ever since Issue.0
“Knowledge is power” someone once said.
Knowledge is only power in the right hands. I say.
Because if you truly understood all of the above, you might feel as if the ground in your feet just turned into a galaxy full of stars and you are about to face a freefall and it won’t be easy.
But I trust you, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here.
Because if you understood the exchange, then the first thing you ought to do is question the veracity of what I have been saying all along.
Not because I haven’t been honest, but because I only know so much, I’m not ChatGPT.
So take this momentum and start your research about what you feel is important.
Wikipedia your way towards truth.
Philosophy will never teach you how to do things better.
It helps you understand why you should do them.
Question the past, future, and present.
Question what shouldn’t be questioned.
Question all the questions.
Dare to know.
But be responsible.
Feel free to reach out via email or phone call if you want to talk!
“The soul becomes dyed with the color of its thoughts.”
― Marcus Aurelius
10.5 The Future of Agency
We have just leveled up.
When I started Agency one month ago I didn’t expect to get so much incredible feedback from creatives, clients, and friends. The words I have written are mostly what I have been studying very hard these last years, compiled into food for thought, but the words I have been receiving are better than anything I could have expected!
I don’t need numbers to recognize a product market fit. I feel it in my bones. So the project shall be upgraded in many different ways.
There are a huge amount of new formats of content coming and you will be meeting some amazing authors that will teach not only about their craft but also their adventures in their careers. There will also be interviews! Expect to meet the next brilliant creative that might be exactly who you need for your next project. Podcasts! We are preparing content (and narrated short stories) in audio format as well. If you are a Brazillian reader, all issues are in the process of being translated into Portuguese.
Last but not least, a new website!
With all of that said, I’m opening the donations and contributions feature for everyone who wants to see Agency grow into one of the most powerful content platforms out there.
If you would like to support Agency, check out the button below!
10.6 Pandora’s Box
10.6.1 In the Lenses of Thi
10.6.2 Chords 🎶
About the Author
Made in 1996. Born & Raised Brazillian. Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising and Communication. Adept to autodidactism. Curious Soul. Published Author. Founder of Sentient.
That’s me in a nutshell but you can learn more about Agency and myself on the About page!
+1 302 261 3824
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