2005


Whether we like it or not, our generation lives under the shadows of Ferdinand Marcos and his Martial Law. As a people we pledged to "never again" allow for a return of the likes of him in the political landscape or, failing in that, to remove him/her in office before he/she gets a chance bring us back in that dark era. Our actions today are judged to the degree that we conform or digress against this pledge and so the question must be asked, are we withdrawing from that pledge?

More than the crisis in national leadership the graver crisis we may be facing today is the crisis in the perceived utility of People Power as a force for good.
It bears to note that the biggest lesson of People Power is the sheer indispensability of a leader, good or bad. Jose Rizal proved himself indispensable in the fight for Filipino liberty against Spanish tyranny. Benigno Aquino likewise proved himself indispensable in the fight for national liberty against the Marcos dictatorship. Heroes willingly die in the conviction that someone, anyone, can take their place and advance their human cause. Instead of perpetuating themselves in power their strategy is to perpetuate their vision in the people's hearts and minds, where it is untouched by any tyrant who may come after them and destroy everything they lived and died for.
The belief, therefore, that someone in high office is just way too qualified that he/she cannot be dispensed with is patently tyrannical and is definitely out of bounds with what is regarded as good in the context of Filipino political experience.
In a sense People Power was our collective acknowledgement of our heroes' belief in us as citizens. We know this so well after EDSA-1. So, where, we may ask, did People Power go wrong?
Maybe, just maybe, what's "wrong" is the basic assumption of People Power being the politics of last resort. In a sense it is. But it was also supposed to be everyday citizenship of the first order so the more proper question should be "where did we, as a people, go wrong?"
Just like that, "maximum tolerance" is dead. In this time of Bush-like "calibrated preemptive response" we are given the signal that the tempo for change has just been increased. They've eliminated tolerance out of the equation in the hope of also getting People Power out of the way for charter change but let's see what really gets eliminated.
Did People Power indeed fail us or are we just in that phase in history when our understanding of People Power is beginning to fully mature? Are we living like romantics, or worse, reactionaries in a post-Marcos era or are we instead living progressively, albeit in a struggle, in a "People Power Era"?
As a martial-law baby my hope is that someday People Power will no longer be asserted in the streets but from within the confines of government when scoundrels will be the ones out in the streets gnashing their teeth. I believe it will happen definitely, except that it will not be in this world.

[Posted in JOURNEYIST]


The philosopher Plato

I started out in my writing "career" with no other ambition than to please myself as a reader. And I had nearly moronic standards as a reader then.

I used to tag myself as a "writer of substance" because I was so poor in grammar that the only way I could mask them was by spewing insight into every paragraph. Needless to say, it worked until a well-meaninged writer friend inspired me to eat my own work and see if I can extract any real substance with a flawed form.

He engaged me in a Substance vs Form debate and I am forever grateful for the favor for it opened my eyes to the other side of the writing coin. You know who you are Chekwa and if you don't, that's too bad because I won't mention your name here.

As a hired business writer, however, I've learned to write neither from the mind nor from the heart. I've learned to write from a set of "mindframes" which I call "newsbytes". Its the best arm a philosophy mercenary could have to survive the brutal world of deadlines and multiple account assignments. At the end of the day, however, the writer inside feels robbed of an opportunity to speak its mind. And, if remained unexpressed, this same writer can unconsciously start writing boring stuffs in protest.

Indeed, it was not until I discovered this corny thing called blog did I rediscover what what joy it is to write again out of convictions. Now if only I could find the time to actually blog...

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Death haunts even the beautiful: an early 20th...

It was not until after my father died that I definitely committed to joining the Church of God. I felt then that I lost the chance to introduce my father to my newfound faith. Needless to say, I worried of what awaits him come judgment day.

Knowing even then the biblical truth that prayers of the living won't help a dead man's soul, I tried to pray instead for the living, in hopes that I won't miss the same chance again with others in my family.

I must confess though, that I prayed that my father may find mercy from God on the last day, holding fast to the knowledge that God once said "...I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." (Exodus 33:19)

I wish I could say something better... something less painful to consider. But I felt then that, for him, it had been a meaningless life marked by an equally meaningless death. That was why I mourned so much...

He was then at the end of a very long journey that never really started. And I felt sorry for him. Being a favorite son to him, I knew that a part of me died with him. I will forever miss his presence, those hauntingly funny memories of him cracking jokes on the fly. His never ending stories of time well past. It was as if my own life preceded me, those stories of his that almost felt to be my own.

Of sadness and happiness, he had many. Of endless lonely musings he had much. But nothing can really mask a soul so engulfed in the heaviness of its own spirit, which no one can run away from except by sincerely turning to God and following His commands.

I knew my father to be a deep thinker, though he was uneasy articulating it. Lately I've been into some lonely musings myself and realized how painfully eloquent he had been. For those who've seen or heard of his morbid end, I hope they didn't miss the point. In life or in death, there is no real meaning beyond God.

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Atlas

Back in college, when I had a philosophic disdain against "Time", I had sought to seize it by its throat, to no avail. Despite having been defeated by "Time" time and time again, however, I remained adamant. As a gesture of my dissent, I even made a conscious decision not to wear a wrist watch. The earth shattering consequences of this landmark decision proved to be nearly phenomenal, to me that is, at least.


Although I had to endure several impractical consequences due to my chronic cluelessness about time, I was able to observe life from the unique point-of-view of a timeless creature trapped in a time-constrained universe. The experiment taught me many things, chief among which was how to really think for myself.

In all humiliation, the first challenge I had to endure was how to tell time without a wrist watch of my own. In the days of the apostles, this seemed to have been not a big problem. They can tell time by the hour without needing a wristwatch!(see Acts 2:15) In my case, I have the option to look at other people's wristwatches. But that too was problematic because people live by varying personal time codes even when they live within the same time zone.

Some people make it a point to turn their watches 5 to 30 minutes in advance, while some are delayed by 5 to 10 or even 15 minutes. Now, how can I tell exactly what time it is without constantly asking them "hey, is that the exact time or are you just being hyperactive?"

Through sheer “hardship”, I learned to tell people apart based on the time code they live by. A-type personalities, for instance, want to live 20 to 30 minutes ahead of the rest while the less aggressive ones are content on being on time so they just set their time around 5 to 10 minutes advance. I noticed too that retired senior citizens are usually content to live around 5 minutes late. I concluded that a person with high Chronologic Quotient (CQ) is one who is consistently on time without tinkering his wristwatch. On the other hand, people who are punctual just because they adjusted their wristwatch can be called "Timeoholic".

(To this day, I still marvel at people who say advancing time on their wristwatch works. How could have they effectively fooled themselves? Maybe they just are just self-disciplined in a contrived way or have a remarkable ability to forget, I really don't know. I tried the same experiment myself and the only times it worked were if I accidentally forgot that I adjusted the time in the first place.)

My first victory in the battle against the legion of differing wristwatches came shortly after I invented a light saber, I mean a cognitive system, which I called a "Rational Standard for telling time when confronted with confusing information". It's a set of short decision-making rules I use so I don't have to ponder the universal question "what time is it, really?" whenever I am confronted with confusing time data. Here's an illustration of how it works in 3 simple rules...
When confronted with 2 or more conflicting time data
1.) The more "advanced" time code is to be preferred. (just to be on the safe side)
2.) When the variance between the time codes is 15 minutes or more, prefer the "late" one then add ten minutes. (again, to be on the safe side)
3.) When the variance is 30 minutes or more, disregard the one(s)
with the largest variance from the rest and choose the median value.

Wallclocks are generally more accurate than wristwatches so this standard don't apply to wallclocks. In fastfood stores, however, wallclocks are usually 10 minutes in advance-- presumably a febble attempt to drive away customers as soon as possible.

The use of a "Rational Standard" is actually the very application of the "scientific method" in not so scientific areas and I do not claim it to be mine. I remember having "invented" a similar standard regading the nature of "Truth". I formulated this independently when I was still in Highschool except I did not call it a "standard" then. Here it is:

In the face of two or more opposing "truths"...
1.) Only one can be true, the other(s) is(are) false.
2.) Otherwise, both are false.

Years later, when I heard bro Eli assert the same "rule", I knew he was talking sensibly...but that's another story.

It later dawned on me that the exciting thing about Rational Standard is its usefulness on practically every confusing issue or even confusing personal situations. My daily experiment with it caused me to write down several "statements of standard" on many personal issues. I eventually organized the whole thing in 1995 into a fool-proof, non-toxic, non-combustible, home-made and totally indigenous, personal philosophy, which I called "Definitism" (incidentally, I recently found out that there's this fictitious character in a novelby the name of Anna Granite who called her philosophy Definitism. The novel was published in 1998. Anna Granite was said to be a caricature of the real person Ayn Rand who espoused a philosophy called Objectivism. I never studied Ayn Rand's Objectivism although I now intend to just to see if there are any similarities with my Definitism. At any rate, I have already dropped Definitism in favor of true Christianity.)

This initial triumph of my Definitism against Time did not last. My experiment with Definitism, however, became the dominant theme of my personal journey at that time and I forgot my grudge against Time, afterall, in the bulwark of Mind, Time is powerless. Lately I’ve almost burst into laughter when I remembered that there was indeed such an episode in my angst-filled life when arrogance had a special place in my heart, when stupidity was the order of the day.

There is this passage in the book of Revelations I read lately that had me remember that I once launched a futile battle against Time. I realized, my battle may have been futile but my cause was nonetheless vindicated. Someday, Time will be effaced from off the scheme of reality and on that day my battle of old would have been won for me, at last.

(See also this post at Newsdrive)
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