Vermin outnumber humans in the millions to one. They infest every nook and cranny of every form and aspect of human habitation. Some of them are essential to our survival -- they aid digestion and decompose our toxic waste products into forms that can be recycled by natural processes. Others pose immediate threats to us. They carry disease and transmit them to us. Many feed on and, in so doing, degrade our food. Still others ruin what we build simply by making their homes within them. As such we are not only repelled or offended by evidence of their work, we also directly find their existence disturbing if not objectionable.
Whether their contribution to human interests is a plus or minus, vermin have one thing in common. They are alien to us. In short, nature has ingrained in our psyche a deep instinct to find discomfort in both direct and indirect evidence of alien habitation within our personal spaces.
In this way, I contextualise what was initially something vaguely disturbing about the following snippet coming from Roberto de Ocampo's recent article on the Inquirer.net, "The Chosen People"...
Great masses of Filipinos cover the entire park of Central Hong Kong and the famed Spanish steps in Rome every Sunday.
Perhaps, Filipinos are indeed the "Chosen People" as de Ocampo asserts. Our ability to multiply at rates far beyond replacement levels, makes us collectively immune to practically anything that nature might throw at us.
Our fragility as a species has supposedly come to light in the aftermath of a raft of recent disasters -- the earthquakes and floods that devastated Christchurch in New Zealand, large swaths of coastal and inland towns and cities in Queensland, Australia, and most recently Japan. Less tangible but even more far reaching are the impacts to entire ways of life by financial collapses, and the catastrophes (both immediate and drawn-out) caused by our ever-growing demand for energy-dense fuels like petroleum and radioactive minerals. But this "fragility" is in the context of the large-scale structures of civilisation advanced societies had built -- complex supply chains, vast economic interdependencies, and intricate works of engineering are all designed under the premise of acceptable risk. The combination of factors that contributed to the failure of the cooling systems in the nuclear facilities currently in peril in Japan was deemed a highly unlikely scenario at a time these systems were designed. Financial systems operate under the dubious premise of limitless "growth" deemed "likely" by "economists".
Filipinos on the other hand lack any such systems and any such structures at the scale found in advanced societies like Japan. Tens of thousands of Filipino lives are needlessly lost and millions wasted in impoverishment every year because of a lack of these advanced structures of civilisation. Yet, as de Ocampo observes, the prospect of Filipinos engulfing the planet with our sheer numbers is not such a farfetched scenario. From a purely Darwinian perspective, we can be considered to be a successful strain of humans in the same way that a relatively mindless mass of microbes can bring an elephant to its grave.
Observes de Ocampo further...
The 2011 fertility rate estimate for Spain is 1.47, Italy 1.39, UK 1.91, France 1.96 and Germany 1.41, to name a select few. The average fertility rate of all Western Europe is about 1.5. In short, these nations are either on are perilously close to what population experts call an irreversible demographic decline. To put it more starkly, for example, by 2020 (or just nine years from now) more than half of all births in a country like, say, the Netherlands (1.66 fertility rate) will be of non-European Dutch origin. Furthermore, with the birth rate dropping below replacement, the population of such countries ages and the problems facing an aging population are numerous and startling enough to deserve a separate treatise.
Humans will persist. Perhaps not in the form Western-set standards of civilised living currently describe. But we as a species will probably be around for a long time, maybe even in a post-technological world. Such will be a world where Filipinos will have a legitimate claim to world domination.