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Archive for February, 2009

Stability in Gray

February 27, 2009 7 comments

"We are all a little weird and life's a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love" - Anonymous
“We are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love” – Anonymous

Looking at the blossoming nara trees and watching the passing clouds beyond it, one could only wistfully accept that these passing beauties would be off in a few days. The flowers would drift from the branches and the clouds would grow darker to obliterate the royal azure of heaven. Nothing would be the same again in this world. Heraclitus said you cannot step on the same river twice; even man is confined with free will to stay as he is, other things in this world will move him eventually. The fact that we are all connected in one single universe, a mere flip of a butterfly’s wing can create a great impact in global disposition. This was what I thought of looking through the bus casement as I passed the length of the Barotac Nuevo highway that had been beautified by local officials with mesmerizing nara trees.

Sitting beside me was a couple who must have been in their late 70’s. The woman tugged the man’s sleeve and laid her head on his shoulder. She must have been exhausted during the trip and wanted to rest her heavy head on the man’s arm. The man obligingly drew her closer to him and lovingly kissed her on the forehead, assuring her of his protection. All the while I thought that the most beautiful thing of the day could be seen through the lovely yellow flowers of nara, but after spotting the old couple affectionately comforting each other, nothing can really contest the true beauty of our own kind. A long time ago, I used to like the sight of young lovers walking aimlessly at the street while clasping hands because their images made me think of passion, of romantic love, of the blossoming emotions so natural and innocent… but I now realize that authentic love requires “stability” which these young lovers missed out. That stability can only be experienced in God and our family and not to the trial-and-error affinity of the young blood. Even though the moment was brief I could sense that the old couple’s love for each other was steadfast and had that stability. It was simply fascinating!

In this secular world, it is quite comforting that even when the trends are rapidly morphing in seasons, love never loses it sfumato. It constantly moves us together, in sickness and in health, in poverty and in wealth, and in sorrows and in happiness. By this, I think that that there are exceptions in general rule. The notion that there is no stability in this world may seem a bad generalization after all. Reflecting on this beautiful sight of a wonderful couple, I am sure that there is in fact one indispensable argument to counter this gross generalization – love binds. This alone is constant because love by nature never separates nor destroys but instead unifies and solidifies.

When we disembarked the bus, I asked the couple where they would be going. The old woman replied, “We will be visiting our dying brother in the hospital. I and my brother are the only family he has.” I expressed my hope for their brother as I helped them settled in the jeepney. They smiled at me in return and said, “God bless you noy.”

God Bless you too, Lolo and Lola.

***

P.S. To neutralize the tone of this blog, please turn to the picture and tell me what you see.

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Categories: philosophy Tags: , , ,

The Worm Chronicle

February 18, 2009 11 comments
lemo-the-worm
lemo-the-worm

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Whether man dies and new species are born, the thread of earth will still remain a fertile breast to nourish the life that feeds on it. The worm, which is deemed gross by lovely ladies, filthy and disgusting by aristocrats has the profoundest wisdom to claim earth as the most wonderful habitat that sustains life even when other environmental cycles stop. This is the very claim of Lemo the worm, who thinks that even in death the food web under the earth continues like an endless feast of ambrosia for his own kind. The cadavers that are buried under it give them the wisdom that even humans are not capable of grasping. If birth and development belongs to the human mind, death and decomposition belong to the abysmal worms that either make use of the flesh to satisfy their carnal drive or to perpetuate their own role to nourish the earth. They alone tasted all sexes; they alone slept with heroes and traitors alike; they alone savoured the difference of a saint and a sinner or a billionaire and the lowliest man  that they have become human themselves by morphing with their lifeless bodies. And when humans hold them in their arms, they assume that these creatures are nothing but mere fish baits and they use them to feed themselves. Yet even nature functions in a samsaric scheme, that when human thinks profoundly, he and the worms are never different. They both belong to the earth and their bodies share the same compounds. So when human eats water creatures, is he not also savoring a part of the death eaters?

***

Afterthought: 1. It always feels good to think that we all share the same compound with the rest of the nature, thus we should never think that we have far dominion over anybody.

2. Philippines, what is your place in nature? Isn’t it ironical that your ground has been emptied by your people in thinking that life in other lands is far better than yours, yet foreign people come to crown you a laureate for beauty? Better are worms then for they continue to nourish the land without being demanded.

Categories: being pinoy, philosophy Tags:

The Ascent of Mind, the Perfection of Man

February 16, 2009 6 comments
synthesis
synthesis

“Is this possible?” asked my friend.

If you look back in time, man was nothing but a small speck in the world, and made his way through water and progressed through the land. The world rotates and man changes along with it. Human mind is also progressing, not just through the stimulus that cause behavioral reaction but also through learning by looking back to the past. Since then man becomes one with nature as he sees himself part of the grander scheme of the universe. There was no logic then. Only acceptance existed.

The world experienced clashes of meteors and asteroids along with galactic debris hitting the earth’s surface and changing the course of time;  and the apparent phenomenon of animals killing each other for survival, and plants struggling to keep its production stable has imprinted a new consciousness among humans. The impact created a new dimension of understanding things, and man with its capability for adaptation saw that the world moved in conflict and that the need for a supreme unifier was summoned. Ideas and images started to surface in the consciousness of man that eventually gave birth to cultural systems such as religion, language and art.  This was also the time that speculation started and eventually gave birth to human logic. Yet the thought remained very simple as the communal belief rested on one matrix: “In conflict there is harmony as there will be birth in every death.” But no matter how they called on their deities, conflict remained and unity left like a tide.

Darwin speculated on this change after roaming the world to prove his theory that man will always find its way through conflict and will eventually adapt through evolution. There was a clamor however of whether man was designed to exist naturally without the intervention of a super-natural being as supreme architect. However scientifically validated, the idea of the holy can never be disputed as far as logic is used by religious utilitarians;  thus leaving the Theory of Natural Selection  a smidgen of science and not a law for universal acceptance. If the body belongs to science, human faith on the other limb, which is attributed by a compound of human emotions and self projections, belongs to religion. The two human aspects (physical substance or body and spirit or the soul) can be hardly reconciled and will always be in constant enmity as there will always be boundary between Thomas Aquinas and Rene Descartes.

The notion “Faith seeking understanding” may be acceptable momentarily as far as human logic is concerned, but logic is not science for it always settles in relative position as tool for justification. Science is different from logic yet science cannot exist apart from it. This is also true with religion as the justification of it needs the aid of logic.

“But how can you say that there will be a complete synthesis of these bi-polar notions? Can there be such faith seeking science or science seeking faith?” he continued asking.

If humanity moves in history, it surely progresses in time.

In a Hegelian philosophy, man progresses through the scheme of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. This scheme moves along in time as number increases when you add 1 to the previous prime, and so on… ad infinitum. This may sound very abstract but when you look back to history you will see the great changes humans have undergone in years. Long time ago there was no computer and man used to do things manually, but since it is the tendency of mind to move forward, computers were created and that  gave great significance in human progress. However the inevitability of deviants like Hitler and the inhumane system of the communist government will always hinder the progress.  Deviants like them will always discredit this claim; but, I dare say that it is the system – along with its underlying principles, beliefs, and philosophy – that determines destruction and not the natural tendency of the mind to transcend any system. Remember that Hitler and the communist ideologues are nothing but a product of the existing grotesque system, a concocted belief to perfection; and so with their receptacles, all of them were gradually destroyed by a greater mind, that holds nothing but the authentic harmony in society. You must take note then that it is a natural course that the mind will seek harmony and so, sooner or later, any system that creates chaos will be naturally eradicated someday. One mind may hinder progress, the other will efface it to clear the way.

Things move in a dialectic process and it’s always like that. It is always between good and evil. Yet, we have no choice but to progress in history because that is how human mind is devised – to move ahead and to choose harmony among other things.

If this is possible, can it also be possible that human beings will in time see faith in science and vice-versa?

We all started as brutes but through history we have become sophisticated beings to roam this world. This simple premise makes me believe that human perfection will be achieved in time. We are progressing, not regressing, as far as human mind is assessed; and with all hope, humans will achieve this undoubtedly. It may happen in the next gazillion years…but eventually it will. By that time man will acknowledge that with the mind, perfection  is possible and only the mind can eliminate conflicts . Acceptance will come back in. Only harmony will exist.

“What will happen then if humans achieved its perfection?”

Well, we definitely can confront God and challenge his army. However I don’t want to talk about it. Maybe our future children can give us the answer.

******

P.S.

1. (Just a thought.) Can there also be a perfect evil? That’s the biggest problem.

Categories: philosophy Tags: , , ,

Tagging Iloilo

February 10, 2009 4 comments

road bumpers
road bumpers

I have been traveling every part of Iloilo for 2 months to check on the existing data in all municipalities along with the problems   in gathering, storing and analyzing them. It wasn’t easy to locate the problems in their data system unless you sit down with the department heads and excavate each process starting from the barangay up to the municipal offices. I felt that I have lost weight and that I have to compensate for the sleepless night of analyzing data and making reports. I sometimes skipped regular meals because of my erratic travel schedule s. Working as researcher for a very strict boss from ADB (former official of the WorldBank that used to handle cases like the rigged $33M project of DPWH), you have to get all the result in time or else you would have the entire malediction in life. I haven’t really regret working with him because I have learned a lot from him as well except that I forgot to think of myself and that I hardly noticed the people I love especially my girlfriend who luckily was very understanding of my job. Sorry sweetheart.

The data actually are all present within the locality however there is no system to consolidate and process these information in a centralized databank. The result is a messy setting that leaves even the investors and researchers perplexed over the data. But leave that for the moment. I would not talk about it because that would fill this whole page talking about myself and the problems that clothed me during my encounters with various MPDCs. I want to talk something I learned along the whole span of my research period. I know this may subject to some validation and that the whole panorama of the result may sound absurd, but as far as the data is concerned, numbers will never lie unless fabricated.

1.       In the entire Iloilo, Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) shrunk down at 20 % leaving all the municipalities with the difficulties in managing finance and expenditures. This is due to the contesting figures between the actual barangay demographic survey and the 2007 Census result by NSO. The disparity of statistics surmount to the loss of 8-10% of the whole population of Iloilo.  It has been noted that the smaller the IRA for the LGU, the bigger the saving of the National Government especially that the 2010 election is nearing in which the saving will be undoubtedly spent .

2.       The Municipality of the Estancia ranks as the second smallest municipality next to Pavia. Since their IRA is reduced to almost 5 million that rotted to the shrinking of demographic figures due to the unreliable survey of NSO, the municipality has to find other means to let the municipality going. The presence of the feeder port in the locality boosted their income to 50-60M annually making the locality as one of the most promising municipalities in the Province of Iloilo. However this could have been boosted more if the RO-RO operation will be transferred to Estancia instead of Caticlan which is 4 hours faster going to Batangas. If it takes a cargo to transport goods to Batangas via Caticlan in 18 hrs, in Estancia it will only take 13-14 hrs of travel. This simply means that the goods will arrive fresher and marketable. If this will be initiated and implemented, the whole province will enjoy a boost up of 9% in the local economy.

3.       In local economy, one primary driver is transportation. Since Iloilo is known to be an old city with old-engineered roads for one-way flow, traffic is very immanent. No matter how the city government constructs road networks and fly-overs to pave way to the drastic shift to urbanization, the traffic will remain a problem. Why? Every month there is an increase of more than a hundred motorcycles in the entire province which adds up to the inconvenience of the flow of traffic. The greater the number of motorcycles, the greater the number of accidents.  About more than 30% of the total accidents are all motorcycle accidents. Another factor is the increase of about 1% of the total jeepneys is put into the road every month thus contributing also to the problems of traffic system. And going to private cars, about 70 car loans are approved every month by the entire banks in Iloilo thus also causing logjams.  Naks! Late na lg ako palagi!

4.       In economic capitalization, in the entire banks in Iloilo have a total 95B deposits. About 30% of it is owned by the Chinese businessman. Another 30% is owned by the local conglomerates. The next slice which amounts to 20% of the 95B is owned by educational institutions and the last 20% is owned by OFWs. This amount is not utilized or invested in the locality thus making Iloilo as only depositing site and not and investment prospect. In order for Iloilo to make it to the level of competitiveness with Cebu, Ilonggos have to invest locally.

5.       The Province’s biggest income comes Real Property Tax. It said that more than 60% of the whole income comes from RPT. However, the survey shows only 24% of the whole RPT are collected annually. If the collection is met at 100%, how happy Iloilo should be! Yayaman tayong talaga!!!

6.   In environmental aspect, Iloilo is assumed to have water shortage by 2012. the Maasin water shed will no longer hold the ditribution of water in the increasing number of households in the MIGEDC area excluding Guimaras. About 30% of the entire supply goes to illegal connections that are most rampant in the slum areas in the city. This a big problem and the government has to track all the channel of distributions before the problem gets worst.

These and more are just preliminary results of the research. I wish to discuss a lot more but that will already be illegal in some sense as far as research is concerned. I just hope that by these realizations, Ilonggos will be prompted to help improve Iloilo.  I still believe that the biggest change starts with the individual because it is this basic unit that makes up the system. Let us then move for a change and make Iloilo “The Next Big Thing!”

*****

P.S. I promise to write more of my realizations next time and probably will be discussing more of the beautiful side about Iloilo.