Indignant from Arcadia

I wrote a letter to the Jamaican Gleaner newspaper about an article in yesterday’s edition by Dr Phillip Phinn, prophet and confidant of Jamaica’s Prime Minister.

Why does the Gleaner (10 January) continue to allow “Prophet” Phinn space in its paper for his absurd and pointless ramblings? First he claims divine Christian inspiration in the number seven, when in fact the influence of this number on human culture predates the Bible, originating in Sumeria some 4,000 years ago. The Sumerians’ invention of the seven-day week was inspired by the seven visible planets, taken as divine entities, and whose names were given to each day; just as later cultures, including our own, named the days after Gods.

The frequent occurrence of the number seven in the Bible is merely a cultural inheritance from Sumeria into Judaeo-Christian culture. Claiming some supernatural power in seven-letter words is plain stupid. Is [opposition leader] “Golding” (seven letters!) holier than [Prime Minister] Miller? Two more seven-letter words for Dr Phinn: trainee realist.

As for “Prophet” Phinn’s predictions, to claim that three prominent Jamaicans will die in 2007 is easy enough; that there will be a major fire in Germany caused by explosion at a power plant is a more difficult prediction to bluff. However, it will probably be forgotten, together with last year’s prediction (Gleaner 18 March 2006) that there would be a repeat of “the divine visitation in New Orleans”. Wrong.

What purpose do “Prophet” Phinn’s predictions serve? Only to bemuse and befuddle. The Prime Minister should surround herself with more realistic advisors who can offer rational and concrete solutions.

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