Let’s Be Friends

A good friend of mine and I were talking yesterday about how Facebook drains the energy out of us and yet we can’t seem to stop scrolling down the feed for hours in hopes of getting news from anyone. Well most of the time, all I get to see are statuses of acquaintances — some I’ve only met once or twice in my life — about their problematic love life, how much they hate going to school, how stupid the government is, and whatnot. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not here to tell people to stop posting for all the world to see whatever it is they feel like sharing. After all, we all have our own accounts to manage and, needless to say, this is a free country. That actually goes for Twitter and other social networking sites as well. However, based from what I’ve experienced yesterday, I don’t think these sites can really ever match up with the feeling of meeting your friend face-to-face or striking a conversation with them without the eyes of the world prying on your every reply.

Yesterday we had a despedida lunch date for one of my college friends who’s going to Germany for internship. We spent half of our afternoon talking and updating one another about the happenings in our lives and how we are all thrilled and anxious of what’s yet to come. It was just a simple date (in fact there were only three of us) but it was priceless. Of course, we learned the news of her internship through Facebook. But the lunch date filled the things in-between which FB failed to cover. There were lots of laughter, funny queer remarks, crazy stories, and even self-ridicule.

I think for the most part, we tend to be overly self-conscious when we’re interacting through social media. Knowing that the whole world is looking at us, we try to choose the right words to say to earn the most “likes” or “favorites” and to appear more self-righteous than we actually are. While it is a good way of trying to become more “responsible” especially when airing an opinion about a sensitive issue, I don’t think the same method would work well if you’re trying to make a relationship work.

At least for me, it doesn’t. From time to time I crave for some real conversation with friends and whenever I post something on FB or Twitter which garners a reply, I find myself struggling on my next sentence because I know I would literally be answering to the whole world. There were a lot of times that I felt like cursing or saying mean things but always find myself stopping midway because I know a lot of people won’t like it, particularly my relatives, professors, and possible future employers who have Facebook and Twitter accounts. (Though it’s a different thing to openly express hatred to someone or something and you know a lot of people will back you up, case in point example, the newly-elect senators of the country. But then again, it’s still a form of self-preservation on your part.)

And the question is, do I really have to be ‘that’ reserved when it comes to my friends? Doesn’t it make me someone less than who I really am?

See that’s the thing. These social networking sites put everyone in one place — friends, family, colleagues, enemies, strangers, so much so that it becomes a struggle to come up with a reply to a certain simple comment that would make you look good to all these different people. It’s as if all arrows are suddenly pointed at you and you now have to make yourself more interesting, more self-righteous, more…likable. If you’re operating in five different social sites, it gets REALLY tiring…toxic, even. Like a part of you dies everytime.

With that said, I’d like to stay away from FB as much as possible. It seriously consumes my time and energy so much looking at different posts when all I ever want to have is a real conversation with a friend. As for my Twitter, I would be more active in it compared to FB, but I would definitely tweet less. I won’t deactivate them because I might still want to talk to the world from time to time — of course, in a less affectionate and impersonal way.

As for my friends, well if you don’t mind, I’d like to be more old-fashioned. I miss being with you guys and I miss being myself when I’m with you. E-mail, phone call, SNAIL MAIL whatever as long as we don’t have to mind if someone’s looking. Text and chat are good too, but they almost always end in awkward silence — one end waiting for the other who clearly doesn’t know the best reply to ‘:)’. Hit me up for a cup of coffee or a movie or a simple walk in the park and I would gladly meet you even if you’re halfway around the world.

They don’t have to be as frequent as everyday. They can even go as few as once a month. The point here is, we’ll have our own private little world where we can talk and be ourselves as we watch the bigger one pass by without caring what it has to say. By all means, we could use that as our escape when things get rough. It would require more effort but the reward would surely be more fulfilling. You get the idea.

So say let’s forget the social media and bridge the gap ourselves, shall we?




Slow Me Down, Lord

Slow me down Lord
Ease the pounding of my heart
By the quieting of my mind
Steady my hurried pace
With a vision of the eternal reach of time.

Give me amidst the confusion of my day
The calmness of the everlasting hills
Break the tensions of my nerves and muscles
With the soothing music of the singing streams
That live in my memory.

Help me to know
The magical restoring power of sleep
Teach me the art
Of taking minute vacations
Of slowing down to look at a flower
To chat with a friend
To pat a dog
To read a few lines from a good book.

Remind me each day of the fable
Of the hare and the tortoise
That I may know that the race
Is not always to be swift
That there is more to life
Than measuring speed.

Let me look upward
Into the branches of the towering oak
And know that it grew great and strong
Because it grew slowly and well.

Slow me down Lord
And inspire me to send my roots
Deep into the soil
Of life’s enduring values
That I may grow towards the stars
Of my enduring destiny.

Wilfred Arlan Peterson

April 2, 2013


She held his face in both hands, looked at it.
‘You’re getting married?-‘
-‘And you’re going to be a father?’
‘I know! Fuck me a father!’
‘Is that allowed? I mean will they let you?’
‘I think it’s wonderful. Fucking hell, Dexter, I turn my back for one minute…!’
She hugged him once again her arms high round his neck. She felt drunk, full of affection and a certain sadness too, as if something was coming to an end. She wanted to say something along these lines, but thought it best to do this through a joke.
‘Of course you’ve destroyed any chance I had of future happiness, but I’m delighted for you, really.”

“Can I say something?’
‘Go on’
‘I’m a little drunk’
‘Me too. That’s okay.’
‘Just….I missed you, you know.’
‘I missed you too.’
‘But so, so much, Dexter. There were so many things I wanted to talk to you about, and you weren’t there-‘
‘same here.’
‘I tell you what it is. It’s…..When I didn’t see you, I thought about you every day, I mean EVERY DAY in some way or another-‘
‘same here.’
‘-Even if it was just “I wish Dexter could see this” or “Where’s Dexter now?” or “Christ that Dexter, what an idiot”, you know what I mean, and seeing you today, well, I thought I’d got you back – my BEST friend. And now all this, the wedding, the baby- I’m so happy for you, Dex, but it feels like I’ve lost you again.’-

-‘You know what happens you have a family, your responsibilities change, you lose touch with people’
‘It won’t be like that, I promise.’
‘Do you?’
‘You swear? No more disappearing?’
‘I won’t if you won’t.’
Their lips touched now, mouths pursed tight, their eyes open, both of them stock still. The moment held, a kind of glorious confusion.”

– One Day, David Nicholls

Philosophy of Religion | Of Love and Faith

2. Kailangan ba mahalin ang Diyos upang manampalataya sa Kanya?

            Maraming tanong ang mahihinuha kung ang pag-uusapan ay ang pananampalataya sa Diyos tulad ng mga: Ano nga ba ang pananampalataya? Paano ba mapananinindigan ang pananampalataya sa Kanya sa mga panahong niyayanig ang iyong buong pagkatao at tila ba walang kabuluhan ang mga nangyayari sa kasalukuyan? At higit sa lahat, maaari bang manampalataya ang tao nang hindi niya minamahal ang Diyos? Susubukan nating sagutin ang mga ito gamit ang kaalaman ni Kierkegaard bilang primaryang batis, ang ilang babasahin na natalakay sa klase, at ang sariling paghihinuha at pagtataya.

            Sa libro ni Søren Kierkegaard na Fear and Trembling, inilahad kung paano nahigitan ni Abraham ang unibersal at etikal upang maipakita ang pananampalataya sa Diyos. Ayon sa Bibliya, inutusan ng Diyos si Abraham na ialay ang kaisa-isang anak na si Isaac sa bundok ng Moriah. Walang pag-aalinlangan na sinunod ni Abraham ang utos ng Diyos datapwat pinakamamahal si Isaac at itinuturing na biyaya at milagro ng matandang mag-asawa. Ngunit tulad nang nabanggit sa kwento, hindi natuloy ang pag-aalay na ito sapagkat isang anghel ang bumaba sa langit at pinigilan si Abraham sa kanyang gagawin. Sinabi ng anghel na isa lamang itong pagsubok ng Diyos kay Abraham upang sukatin ang tibay ng kanyang pananampalataya at gaano siya kahandang ibalik sa Panginoon ang anumang hilingin Niya sa kanya. Ang pagsasaibayo sa unibersal at etikal na tinutukoy ni Kierkegaard dito ay yaong pagpili ni Abraham na talikdan ang itinuturing na batas sa mundong ibabaw at gawin ang iniutos ng Diyos nang hindi iniisip kung mabuti ba ang pagsunod na ito sa paningin ng ibang tao.

            Mayroong interesentang punto na inilahad si Kierkegaard sa kanyang akda: “Why then did Abraham do it? For God’s sake and (in complete identitiy with this) for his own sake” (Kierkegaard, p.4). Isang pagtataya ang nangyari; ang pananampalataya ni Abraham ang nagtulak sa kanya upang isantabi muna ang sa tingin niya ay tama o makatuwiran at gawin ang tila ba ay hindi makatarungang pagpatay kay Isaac na may buong pagtitiwala at pananampalataya na ito ay magdudulot ng higit na kabutihan sa huli. Kung gayon, masasabing ang pananamapalataya ni Abraham ay isang sariling pagpapasya na may pagsasaalang-alang sa ikasasaya ng Diyos at ikasasaya ng sarili. Bago patotohanan ang mga ito, makabubuting suriin muna kung ano nga ba ang ibig sabihin ng pananampalataya.

            Marami sa atin ay ipinanganak na may relihiyon. Kadalasan, kung hindi palagi, ay namamana ito mula sa ating mga magulang at tila ba nakatakda na ring mapabilang sa anumang relihiyon na mayroon sila. Ngunit, hindi ibig sabihin na bininyagan ang tao ay mayroon na kaagad siyang pananampalataya sa Diyos. Ang mapabilang sa isang grupo ng mga taong mayroong iisang layunin lalo pa at itinakda lamang ito ay hindi nangangahulugang mayroon na ring siyang iisang kaisipan sa kanila. Maaaring mamulat sa isang pamilya na “kilala” ang Diyos – “kilala” sa paraang naniniwala sila sa pag-iral Niya at sa Kanyang mga salita – ngunit hindi ito sapat upang masabi na rin sa iyong sarili na nananampalataya ka sa Kanya. Kung walang pagtataya, kung walang paglundag, at kung puro katuwiran ng ibang tao ang kaya lamang ilahad sakaling tanungin kung bakit kumakapit sa Diyos, mayroong kapahamakan na baka pagdating ng araw na may sumubok sa mga katuwiran na ito at sabihing pawang kasinungalingan lamang ang lahat, bigla ka na lamang mapapabitaw sa iyong mga pinaniniwalaan. Sapagkat binigo ka na ng iyong mga katuwiran, ano pa ang silbi na maniwala ka? Tulad na lamang sa paniniwala ng mga sinaunang Griyego na ang mundo ang sentro ng uniberso. Nang mapatunayan ni Copernicus na mali ang teorya ni Ptolemy na ang mundo ay nasa sentro, nayanig ang lahat. Unti-unting nagbago ang pananaw sa mundo at ang teoryang pinaniwalaan ng ilang daang taon ay nabaon na sa limot. At iyon ang malaking kaibahan sa paniniwala sa sariling kaalaman at sa pananampalataya sa mga bagay na hindi kayang maatim ng  kaisipan. Maaaring maniwala ang tao sa mga bagay na sakop ng katuwiran tulad na lamang ng mga teorya, siyensiya, at mga batas. At maaari ring tumigil sa paniniwala sakaling mapabulaan ang mga ito. Ngunit ang pananampalataya, lalo na sa Diyos, ay hindi limitado sa katuwiran. Bagkus, ito ay lumalagpas, sumasaibayo, at kumakapit sa kung anong hindi na kayang maipaliwanag ng tao. Hindi dahil naharap ang tao sa isang matinding balakid ay agad-agad nang babawiin “pananampalataya” sa Diyos. Sa ganitong sitwasyon, masasabing hindi pa siya “nananampalataya” – sapagkat umiiral pa rin ang kanyang katuwiran. Iniisip pa rin niya ang sarili at kung ano ang maaaring mangyari sa kanya. Ang pananampalataya ay pinagpapasiyahan, nilulundag, at tinatayaan. Ang ganitong karanasan ay hindi itinatakda at hindi namamana. Kailangan itong pagsikapang hanapin ng bawat isa upang magkaroon ng sariling karanasan sa Diyos. Sapagkat sa ganitong paraan mayroon kang panghahawakan na iyong-iyo at hindi iyon kailanman maaaring pawalang-bisa ng mga taong hindi nakaranas ng iyong naranasan.

Sa pagsubok na magkaroon ng sariling karanasan ng Diyos, gumagawa ang tao ng sarili niyang tulay tungo sa pagpapatibay ng kanyang pananampalataya. Kung babalikan ang desisyon ni Abraham, hindi mauunawaan ng buo ang nararamdaman ni Abraham noong mga panahong iyon dahil binabagtas niya ang sarili niyang tulay. Posibleng may maunawaan kahit kaunti sa absolutong relasyon nila ng Diyos – dahil para saan pa ang Bibliya kung wala rin namang makauunawa ng mga testimonya? Ngunit hindi ito maikakahon nang buong-buo, tulad na lamang ng nararanasan ng dalawang nagmamahalan. Sa mga susunod na talata, sisikaping intindihin ang relasyon sa pagitan ng pagmamahal sa Diyos at pananampalataya sa Kanya.

Tulad ng pananampalataya, ang pag-ibig sa isang tao ay hindi itinatakda. Maraming katuwiran kung bakit bigla-biglang nagugustuhan ang isang tao; maaaring mabait siya, maaalalahanin, mapagtimpi, at kung anu-ano pa. Ngunit hindi sa lahat ng panahon ay ganito ang napakikita ng minamahal. Sa mga panahong hindi niya napupunan ang mga bagay na nagustuhan, ang totoong nagmamahal ay pinipili pa ring manatili at magmahal. Lalo pa sa mga mag-asawa, dumadating sa punto na nawawala na ang dating tamis ng pagmamahalan. Ngunit nananaig pa rin ang desisyon nilang magsama at mahalin ang kung anong mayroon ang isa’t isa. Sa pananaw ng iba, mahirap intindihin ang ganitong sitwasyon at kung minsan, mababansagan pang tanga o bulag-bulagan ang mga nagmamahalan. Ngunit sabi nga ni Nietszche sa kanyang librong Beyond Good and Evil, “What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil”. Ang mga desisyong nagagawa dahil at para sa pag-ibig, lalo pa at yung walang hinihinging kapalit, ay hindi mahuhusgahan o mauuri. Minsan, kailangang ilagay sa isang tabi kung ano ang tama o mali para sa ikasasaya ng kabiyak. Minsan, kailangang kalimutan kung ano ang etikal at unibersal para masunod ang nais ng Diyos na minamahal. At dito sasagutin ang tanong na, “Kailangan bang mahalin ang Diyos upang manampalataya sa Kanya?”

Ang sagot dito ay oo. Kung saan mayroong pananampalataya sa Diyos, mayroong pagmamahal na sumasaibayo at hindi humihingi ng kapalit na nagsisilbing pwersang tumutulak upang lalo pang maatim ang anumang naisin ng Maykapal. Nasabi noon sa isang diskusyon  na mahirap manampalataya kung di iniibig ang isang tao. Mahirap lumundag, o kahit pa kumilos, kung hindi ito para sa iyong minamahal. Bakit? Sapagkat kung hindi minamahal ng tao ang Diyos, maghahanap ito ng katuwiran para manampalataya sa Kanya; mga katuwiran na may kondisyon at maaaring mapawalang-bisa sa oras na hindi sagutin ng Diyos ang kanyang mga dasal. Kumpara sa taong nananampalataya sa Kanya na ang ginawang katuwiran para manatiling nananampalataya ay ang mismong pagmamahal na nararamdaman niya. Dito, hindi maaaring kontrahin ang katuwiran sapagkat ito ay isang pag-uusig ng damdamin, isang karanasan na likas sa nagmamahal, at yaong hindi kailanman pabulaan ng siyensiya o ng katuwiran.

Kung tatanungin naman ang kabaliktaran, “Kailangan bang manampalataya sa Diyos upang mahalin Siya?” Ang sagot pa rin ay oo. Sapagkat ang pagmamahal na tinutukoy rito ay ang uri ng pagmamahal na walang hinihintay na kapalit. Iba ito sa pagmamahal na nararamdaman mo para sa iyong mga alaga o sa mga bagay na iyong pinapahalagahan. Bagaman at nakararamdam ng pagmamahal para sa mga iyon, palagi pa rin itong bumabalik sa sarili. “Mahal” mo ang mga alaga sapagkat napapasaya ka nila sa tuwing ikaw ay umuuwi at maaaring “mahal” mo ang iyong mga koleksyon sapagkat naaalala mo ang iyong kabataan tuwing nakikita ang mga ito. Ngunit sa huli, kapag nawalan na ng silbi at napagsawaan na, nawawalan na rin ng saysay para itago pa ang mga ito.

Di tulad sa pagmamahal na walang hinihinging kapalit, nagmamahal ang tao sa kadahilanang mahal niya lang talaga. Isang magandang halimbawa nito ang pagmamahal ng ina sa isang anak na naligaw ng landas na patuloy pa rin sa paghihintay sa pagbalik sa kabila ng mga nagawang kasalanan. Nawawalan ng saysay ang “Bakit?” at ang tanging naisasagot ay “Kasi mahal ko”.  Datapwat, hindi ito madali dahil likas sa atin ang magdasal at umasa sa Kanya, na kung minsan pa ay nagagalit tayo kapag hindi nasagot ang dasal. Ngunit sa kabila ng kakulangan bilang tao, nagsusumikap at sumusubok pa rin ang iilan. Ang pagsisikap ng tao na kumapit sa pananampalataya kahit na mahirap at maraming pagsubok ay isang manipesto ng pagsusumikap rin nilang mapantayan – o kahit na masubukan man lamang na pantayan– ang walang hanggang pagmamahal ng Diyos. At sa aking palagay, iyon ang importante sa lahat.


Isaac and Abraham | source

Effie Fielle M. Ignacio | 091835 | September 28, 2012 | Sir Michael Aurelio

 Ikalawang Mahabang Pagsusulit

Philosophy of Religion | On God’s Silence

Bakit pa kailangang maniwala sa isang tahimik at di nakikitang Diyos?

Isa sa pinakamalalaking hamon na kailangang harapin ng tao ay ang paninindigan sa kanyang pananampalataya sa isang Diyos na tahimik at di nakikita. Paano nga ba maipaglalaban ang paniniwala kung mismong ang naniniwala ay nahihirapang humagilap ng konkretong katibayan ng pag-iral ng Diyos? Ano ang pinagkaiba nito sa isang Diyos na hindi umiiral? At higit pa rito, may halaga ba ang paniniwala sa isang Diyos na walang imik?

Sa nobela ni Shusaku Endo na Silence, ipinakita ang labis na paghihirap na dinanas ng mga taong nananampalataya sa Diyos at kung paanong tiniis nila ang lahat upang maipakita ang katatagan ng kanilang paniniwala. Naritong igapos sila sa kahoy at buhusan ng kumukulong tubig, ibitin patiwarik at hiwaan ang gilid ng tainga upang unti-unting ubusin ang dugo, o di kaya ay itali sa kahoy na poste at iwanang mag-isa sa harap ng dagat habang hinahampas ng malalakas na alon. Naging matagal at mabagal ang proseso ng kanilang paghihirap.  Ngunit sa kabila ng kanilang pagtitiis at pagtangging talikdan ang Diyos, naramdaman nila na tila ang Diyos na kanilang ipinaglalaban ay walang pakialam sa kanila. Hindi nila (lalo na ang pangunahing tauhan na si Rodrigues) maiwasang isipin na ang Diyos na kanilang sinasamba at minamahal ay patuloy na bulag sa kanilang mga hinagpis at bingi sa pagsasamo na iligtas sila sa kamay ng mga mapang-api.

Sinabi ni Rodrigues ang linyang, “I cannot bear the monotonous sound of the dark sea gnawing at the shore. Behind the depressing silence of this sea, the silence of God…the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish, God remains with folded arms, silent” (Endo, p.61) noong nakita niyang unti-unting namamatay sina Mokichi at Ichizo dahil sa kanilang desisyon na kumapit sa kanilang pananampalataya. Kalakip ng katahimikan na iyon ng Diyos sa oras ng pangangailangan nang kanyang mga kaibigan ay ang pagkakatanto niya na ang mundo ay patuloy na umiikot at hindi nagbabago sa kabila nang pagkamatay ng mga naniniwala sa Kanya.

Ngunit bago bigyang kahulugan ang pangyayaring ito, makabubuting suriin muna kung bakit nga ba nagiging tahimik ang isang tao.

Maraming dahilan kung bakit nananahimik ang isang tao. Maaaring tahimik ito dahil hindi niya nagugustuhan ang nangyayari o di kaya ay nakararamdam siya ng matinding emosyon na hindi kayang ipaliwanag ng mga salita. Maaaring tahimik ang isang tao dahil nag-iisip pa ito ng sasabihin o di kaya ay maaaring tahimik ito dahil tapos na siyang magsalita. Anuman ang dahilan sa likod ng katahimikang ito, maaaring itong magdulot ng kawalan ng kapanatagan sa taong kinakausap. Tulad nang sa tao, ang dahilan ng Diyos upang maging tahimik ay di kailanman mauunawaan nang buo. Mayroon Siyang sariling rason kung bakit pinili niyang manahimik sa panahon ng paghihinagpis ng mga tao. Kadalasan, ang katahimikang ito ay nakabibingi at nakakapagpabagabag. Lalo pa at ang Diyos ang kausap, hindi maiiwasan na humiling ng mabilis at eksaktong kasagutan o tulong ang tao mula sa Kanya. Samakatuwid, ang katahimikang tinutukoy rito ay ang tila nakabibingi at walang katapusang pagitan sa oras nang paghiling ng tao at sa oras nang pagsagot ng Diyos. Kung minsan ay nagiging desperado ang tao dahil sa tagal Niyang sumagot – dumadating sa punto na kinukwestyon kung tunay bang nakikinig at may pakialam ang Diyos sa kanyang mga hinaing. Hindi maiiwasang tanungin bakit sa dinami-rami ng mga taong nasasaktan at umiiyak, bakit walang ginagawa ang Diyos upang hilumin ang kanilang mga sugat. Ngunit, kakatwang isipin na sa kabila nito, patuloy pa ring nangungusap ang iilan, umaasa na marahil balang-araw, kung hindi man bukas, ay sasagutin na ng Diyos ang kanilang mga dasal. Kung susundin ang ganitong argumento, maaaring tanungin, “Ano pa nga ba ang silbi ng pagkapit sa isang Diyos na nananahimik?”

Marahil ito.

Sa kabila ng kanyang katahimikan, mayroong kasiguraduhang pinanghahawakan ang mga nananampalataya na Siya ay nakikinig. Walang imik ngunit nakikinig. Ang katiyakang ito na Siya ay nariyan at nakikinig ay mahihinuha sa mga panahon na pinili Niyang mangusap, magparamdam, at sumagot. Tulad ng nalaman ni Rodrigues sa katapusan ng Silence, ang Diyos, bagama’t naging tahimik sa kanya, ay kumibo at isinalba ang buhay ng nakararami.

Iba ito sa pakiramdam na wala talagang kinakausap. Sa katunayan, isang kabalintunaan ang sabihin na hindi umiiral ang Diyos dahil hindi Siya umiimik. Kung ibababa ang lebel ng lohikang ito, maihahalintulad ito sa kung paanong naniniwala ang taong nariyan lamang ang araw sa kabila ng bagyo at dilim. Hindi ito nakikita, ni hindi ito nadarama, ngunit alam at sigurado siya na nandiyan lamang ang araw – naghihintay mapawi ang ulan upang magdulot ulit ng init at liwanag. At kung sakaling sa kinabukasan ay magkukubli muli ang araw sa likod ng mga ulap, maghihintay ulit ang tao, aasa at tataya na sana sa susunod, masisilayan niyang muli ang ganda ng araw.

Ganito ang pakiramdam ng isang taong nananampalataya sa isang tahimik at di nagpapakitang Diyos. Sa mismong katahimikan ng Diyos napagtatanto ng tao ang pag-iiral Niya. Sa katahimikan, nararamdaman ng tao ang matinding sakit at pagnanais na madama ang realidad ng Kanyang pag-iiral sa kanyang buhay. Umiigting ang pag-asa na marinig ang Diyos, na malaman ang Kanyang mga saloobin, na madama ang Kanyang pagmamahal at nagkakaroon ng isang paghahangad na malampasan ang kung anong masamang nararanasan sa kasalukuyan. Isang pangungulila sa presensya ng Diyos ang nararanasan ng tao kapag napagtatanto niyang ang Diyos ay nananahimik. At kung susundan iyon, hindi mangungulila ang tao sa isang bagay na hindi niya pa nararanasan o nakakamtan sa kanyang buhay. Dito sa pangungulilang dulot ng katahimikan ng Diyos napaiigting ang realidad na mayroong Diyos at mayroong nakikinig sa kabila ng katahimikan. Kaalinsunod din dito ang pagpapatibay na hindi kinakailangang makita ang pisikal na anyo ng Diyos upang maniwala. Tulad na lamang ng dalawang magkalayong nag-iibigan, hindi kinakailangang makita nila ang isa’t isa bawat oras para masabing tunay ang nararamdaman ng bawat isa. Narito ang pagtataya, ang paglalagay ng tiwala, at pag-aalay ng damdamin sa taong alam mong minamahal mo. Kung magagawa iyon ng tao sa kanyang minamahal – sa isang kapwa tao na maaaring magkulang o magkamali, ano pa kaya sa Diyos na bukas-palad, handing tumanggap, at walang hanggang ang pagmamahal sa lahat?

At importante iyon – ang pagkapit sa Diyos sa kabila ng katahimikan at di pagpapakita. Dahil kung hindi magagawang kumapit sa Kanya sa kabila ng pagkakatanto sa Kanyang realidad, saan pa nga ba maaaring umasa ang tao? Kung ang lahat ng bagay sa mundo ay lumilipas at nawawala, saan pa nga ba mas mabuting “i-angkla” ang buhay kundi sa Diyos na hindi nagbabago at walang hanggan?

Kung titingnan naman sa kabilang banda, masasabing maaaring mabuhay nang hindi naniniwala o nananampalataya sa Kanya. Hindi makakaila na ang pananampalataya sa Kanya ay di tulad ng pagkain o hangin na kapag nawala, mamamatay ang tao. Dito pumapasok ang kalayaan ng tao na pumili kung maniniwala o hindi sa Diyos. Ngunit, kaakibat ng pagpili na “hindi maniwala” ay ang paglimot o pagtanggi rin sa “liwanag” na unang nakita at naranasan. Kung nakaranas na ang tao ng sobrang pagmamahal noon, hindi ba at sisikapin rin niyang maatim ito sa panahon na siya ay walang-wala? Hindi basta-basta nalilimutan ang ganoong pakiramdam. Sa parehong paraan, mahirap talikdan ang Diyos kung naipakilala at naipadama na Siya sa iyo noon. Nagkakaroon ng ibang pagtingin sa mundo ang taong naniniwala. Nakikita niya kung ano ang sumasaibayo at nagiging kampante siya na mayroong mas malalim na kahulugan ang buhay.

Masasabing absurdo naman ang buhay ng isang taong nagpapadala na lamang sa agos ng problema at pasakit (na tila bang inaamin ng mga ito na nabubuhay ang tao upang mamatay lamang sa huli) kumpara sa taong lumalaban sa alon at umaasang darating din ang saklolong hinihintay. Masusubok ang katatagan at tiyaga sa paghihintay ng pagdating ng saklolo. May mga pagkakataong maaaring mapagod, magalit, at maghinagpis sa sakit. Ngunit, hindi katulad ng mga taong nagpapadausdos sa alon (bagama’t mas madaling gawin ito) na bumabagsak na lamang sa kawalan, patuloy na kumakapit ang mga nananampalataya sa kaalamang mayroong nakakakita sa pagpupursigi nila; na sa kabila ng pagdurusa, hindi sila kailanman nag-iisa. Kaya at gaano man kahirap, nagpupumilit silang makabalik ng pampang. Gaano man kahaba ang kanyang katahimikan at ang oras ng paghihintay sa Kanyang sagot, naroon ang tiyak na kaalaman na nanonood Siya at maaaring (maaari – sapagkat hindi kailanman lubos na mauunawaan ng tao ang Kanyang mga magiging desisyon) sumaklolo Siya. Ang katiyakang ito ay sapat na upang kumapit at umasa sa kabila ng kanyang walang imik at di pagpapakita sa kasalukuyan.


Währing Cemetery in Vienna

Effie Fielle M. Ignacio | 091835 | August 2, 2012 | Sir Michael Aurelio

Unang Mahabang Pagsusulit (at unang papel na masaya rin ako sa resulta)

July 25, 2012

Words sometimes fail us when we experience or see something as infinite and unchanging as the sky. Try as we may, we can never find the right words to encapsulate, let alone make others understand, what touched us. It’s something that happens internally – the easing of the mind, the stirring of the heart, the softening of the soul. Needless to say it’s really something that defies the logic. And coming from a person of reasons, I know it sounds absurd. But like what I always tell people, you’ll only see it when you look up. I did. And I’m thankful I did.

And I will rise on wings of eagle,

Soaring high above all my fears,

I rest in Your open arms of love.

– Saving Grace, Hillsong

 To my friend who is perpetually bothered every Philo discussion, this one’s for you. :)

In relation to my previous post…

I had an unexpected conversation with my then-PolSci professor today. My friend just finished interviewing me for DRS and we were supposed to check Zeitgeist if they have Odyssey translated by Robert Fitzgerald when we saw him on his way to the library. After the usual “hi-hello-how are you and what are you currently busy with” type of conversation has gone by, I was surprised that he started opening up about his love life. Although it didn’t really freak me out since he’s just 5 years ahead of us but I just didn’t expect that we would actually be talking about his love life — right then and there, midway of the library and the Dela Costa hall, with all the students bustling and jostling around.  Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I honestly like having out-of-the-blue conversations with the most random people and I felt myself swell with…I don’t know, pride? Happiness? It’s not like everyday your professors tell you something as personal as their love lives. Haha. I hope I’m not being too shallow. :))

We talked for around 30 minutes (without even sitting down!) about the girls he dated in high school, in college, and how confused he is with the girl he’s currently dating now. I was tempted to give him a pat on the back but I opted to keep my hand down for fear that it might make things awkward :)) When he was finally done talking, he inquired about ours (well, particularly mine). I told him I don’t have any as of the moment and my life right now is as exciting as the life of a hermit crab. But then he told us that he remembers back in summer semester, he walked with us one time after class and he caught something that my friends jokingly said about “manok ni Fielle”. I laughed as I remembered and told him it’s really nothing (and partly because I really don’t know how to begin the story). Still he insisted and invited us for a cup of coffee one of these days so we can catch up with these stuff. Weird, huh. But yeah, like what I said, it’s not every day you can find a professor that will lend an ear to your non-academic concerns and stories totally not related to the subject he or she teaches. I was grateful, in a way, but still kinda iffy because his choice of topic is something that I don’t really tell out loud to everyone. I have to find a way how to answer potential questions without giving away too much.

Anyway. In relation to the other post: for some reason, the conversation got sidetracked to the giving of blue rose. “Make it count”, he told us. Again, the pressure of trying to find a recipient of my blue rose heightened. I asked him what is it REALLY for. He answered something that goes like, “the last hurrah” or “the final effort that you’re going to exert for someone who might not be even aware of your existence because who knows when you’re going to meet again”. And as what I’ve mentioned in my previous post, the only person I thought of giving my blue rose to is, hmm, how do I put this. Let’s just say I’m not sure if it’s going to be worth it.

Or maybe it’s wrong for me to think of it that way because if I do, I’ll be missing the point — to do what you need to do and not expect anything.

I really don’t know. I have yet to find out.

Late Night Musings

I’m supposed to be doing our Deutsch Referat for Thursday but I got so distracted by the stuff people post in Facebook – mainly about the upcoming AEGIS photoshoot and graduation videos. Here are my batchmates, looking forward to our 2013 graduation while I’m here trying to think of ways how to get by day after day. I can’t even bring myself to look forward to the photoshoot, let alone graduation, given that I have a lot of deadlines to meet this week. Also, my friend told me that senior write-ups are due (also) this August and that they tweaked the topic a little bit. Instead of the usual “write something about yourself”, they’re going to ask us to “write about the most memorable experience you’ve had in your college life” and encapsulate it in 500 characters (I’m not sure though if spaces will be counted, too). Now, I know that the AEGIS team is trying its best to create the best yearbook; yet I can’t help but ask how is it possible for us to have a nice write-up when 1) it’s due on a hell month and 2) the year hasn’t ended yet – I mean, what if the best is yet to come? And usually, the most memorable are found at the end. So I guess I’m just going to write about JTA (like I always do) and if ever, through the course of my last year in Ateneo, another experience tops it off, then I guess I’ll have to relay it through other means just so I could give justice to it.

Just last week, my friends and I made a list of the things we want or need to do before we graduate. I know bucket lists are kinda overrated and I personally don’t like the idea of trying to compress everything that we should have done but didn’t do in the past three to four years. Why do people have to wait for the end in order to pluck up the courage and fulfill what their hearts desire? Risk aversion, I guess?

I really have no idea. And I won’t deny that I shared that trait, too.

Anyhow, our list contains meaningful and ridiculous things alike. From going to each and every restaurant in Katipunan (I personally don’t think we can do this – I’ve been a dormer for three years now and I can simply count with my fingers the number of restaurants that I’ve already visited), attending simbang gabi in Gesu (even if we’re not all Catholics), eating in LST cafeteria, wearing boots and scarfs in school, jumping into the Rizal fountain, to hugging a huggable professor (my personal recommendation haha!). Of of course, the list won’t end there. Those are just the preliminaries.

As for the photoshoot, well, I’m so NOT ready for it. I think it would require some magic in order to hide my bulging eye-bags.  Plus, I still haven’t figured out my hair’s zip code. Not to mention the awkward poses and projections. Ugh. I would really need a miracle to get through this one.

And lastly, the blue rose. They say it’s an Atenean tradition in which during the “graduation party”, you are to give a blue rose to the person who really inspired you in your college life. It would be better if that person is unsuspecting (but of course, if one has a girlfriend or a boyfriend, then it’s already a giveaway). It may be the guy in your first year Chemistry class whom you never talked to yet you always look out for in SecWalk or JSEC. Or that volleyball star player whom you always cheer for during UAAP games yet never actually got the courage to personally wish her a good luck. Or maybe your bestfriend whom you’re secretly in love with for the past four years. I don’t know when and how this crazy tradition started but I think it’s a pretty good idea; you know, leaving a legacy and stuff. It’s like saying that graduation is the symbol for our victory in overcoming all trials and hindrances – be it in academics or in expressing our emotions. But as of now, I still don’t have any who the recipient of my blue rose will be. I thought of one, but I doubt that he’ll attend.

Sigh. I didn’t know it could be this stressful.

Philosophy and Being Human

                 Back in Philo 101, we tried to answer the question, “What is Philosophy?” only to come up with the explanation that it is not something that you can define without actually doing it. As Heidegger mentioned in one of his texts, to philosophize is to recognize that all being is in Being – that everything exists as they are. Philosophy, unlike other disciplines such as Biology, Mathematics, Management and the likes, is an attitude and a way of life in which human beings gain appreciation of themselves and the world in which they live in. Philosophy then is a part of a fabric of our very human nature.

                The question now is why is it important for humans to keep in mind of this thought and how exactly, in this present day and age, does Philosophy (which is actually regarded as useless by some) help us become more human? To answer these questions, I will try to incorporate the movie “The Bucket List”, the lessons we had in Philo 101 and 102, my very own experiences, and some quotes from the speech of William Deresiewicz in Stanford University.

My synthesis statement then, is:

                To philosophize is to submerge yourself into deep-thinking, reflection, and open-mindedness that can lead you towards the awareness of the existence of other beings and how they freely appear. By having the ability to recognize the existence of others, we remove the danger of thinking that we are the “ultimate subjects” and taking the appearance of other beings for granted. By doing so, we learn how to step out of our comfort zones and how to take risk by exercising our freedom to make our own decisions in the face of the unknown. To philosophize then, is to be free; and by being free, we are able to open ourselves up to innumerable possibilities which, when acted upon, would make our lives worth examining and make us more human. 

                Ever since we were brought into this world, we were taught to follow what we are told to do. We were taught how to read and how to write, how to speak and how to listen. We were taught about the difference between numbers and alphabets, between animals and objects. We were taught how to follow the rules and the regulation – be it in school, at home, or in the community, and how to do good and be good. We were taught how to educate our own conscience and be morally upright. Suffice it to say that these things were taught to us in order to assure that we will live a good and happy life. And from there, after all the basics have been mastered, we were taught how to dream and how to build it. We were taught how to find out what our interests are, how to enhance our strengths and work on our weaknesses. I remember at age 16, in preparation for our graduation, we were asked by our 4th year HS adviser to write an essay about how we see ourselves 25 years from now. I pondered about this and I made a list of the things I am interested in. From playing the piano, to dancing, to cheerleading, to singing although with much frustration, to fashion designing, to curing people (but my sister already beat me to it). And being the dreamer that I am, I put in my memorabilia “I wanna be a successful businesswoman and a car racer”. Businesswoman or anyone that’s part of the corporate world because I was told that they earn a lot of money and I grew up seeing what my mom does. And a car racer simply because I love cars. And because we were also taught that going to school would build the bridge to success and choosing which school to go to is crucial, I chose the one that specializes in business. I decided to pursue the former because I was told that if I earn a lot, I could be anyone I wanna be later on. So I opt for the one that gives me more assurance of having a steady flow of income. From being a 7-year old curious kid who can be so amazed with just a simple fluttering butterfly, I have gone under transformation to being a 19-year old woman wanting to specialize in corporate law, which by the way I only considered when my mom confessed that she secretly wanted to have a lawyer in the family. While there is nothing wrong with fulfilling your own dream (or your parents’ dream), and to be quite honest, I like what I’m doing right now. So far, I don’t have major regrets in life with regards to the path I chose to take, but, it’s just that looking back, I think I already lost the person inside me that wanted to become a pianist, a dancer, and a car racer. And true enough, I might have lost a part of me in the process.

“Now there’s nothing wrong with mastering skills, with wanting to do your best and to be the best. What’s wrong is what the system leaves out: which is to say, everything else. I don’t mean that by choosing to excel in math, say, you are failing to develop your verbal abilities to their fullest extent, or that in addition to focusing on geology, you should also focus on political science, or that while you’re learning the piano, you should also be working on the flute. It is the nature of specialization, after all, to be specialized. No, the problem with specialization is that it narrows your attention to the point where all you know about and all you want to know about, and, indeed, all you can know about, is your specialty… The problem with specialization is that it makes you into a specialist. It cuts you off, not only from everything else in the world, but also from everything else in yourself. ” – W. Deresiewicz

                Suppose at age 40, I have already established myself a good name and a good reputation as a lawyer, I’ve already earned enough money to support my family and send my kids to good school. Suppose at age 40, I’ve already reached the prime of my life and I’ve exceeded everybody’s expectations.

                And then, what now? After spending my whole life specializing in one thing, what else is there? After achieving all my goals, regardless whether I chose this particular specialization or not, I fear to wake up one day with the realization that I’m still seeking for something more. After trying so hard to narrow down my perspective into such a way that my specialization is the only thing that I can think about and needless to say, I’ll be lost without it, I am suddenly faced by a dead end. After giving up on so many things that aren’t in line with my path, what else is left? And most importantly, does being a lawyer define who I really am? And if someone were to write my epitaph or to deliver a speech in my funeral, would I want to be remembered as a lawyer who fought and won cases or as a human being who lived her life to the fullest?

                At this point we sense the discomfort brought about being stuck in our comfort zones. I always feel the sense that there’s always more to life than just sitting behind the study desk and waiting for the results of an exam. We become tired yet we cannot bring ourselves to change the cycle.

                Seinsvergessenheit – Forgetfulness of being, taking things for granted, which in turn leads to self-estrangement. I might be using the term loosely but case in point example. At one point of my college life, and I speak true to the heart, I have enjoyed Philosophy as well as History. I seriously have admired the way how we reflect on things (if I were to describe studying Philosophy in simplest terms) and studying the reasons why the society is today. But I have never really considered them directly in line with my chosen path. And I think that’s where the conflict is. The more I follow a certain path – and by this I don’t mean Heidegger’s philosophical path – the path that I selectively took given the things that were taught to me, the more I “forget” the person I once were.

                There’s nothing wrong with setting and meeting goals. What wounds us is the way we build walls around us, being like trained horses with blinders, in order not to get lost. And if ever we were allowed to look at another direction in which we are most certainly free to veer in, we find it hard to deviate from our path…because it’s where we are accustomed and comfortable with…and most especially because we were already trained to walk this path.

                 And to veer away is to be selfish, to be self-indulgent, and to be prone to mistakes.

                 But what if someone tells you that you are to die tomorrow? The 40-year old lawyer me wouldn’t want to spend her last day on Earth in court, trying to defend a client who I only have a professional relationship with. Humans have an average life expectancy of 80 years, and it still depends on what side of the world you live in. And most of the time, they spend ¾ of it earning money, practicing their specialization, and doing what it is that they are accustomed to do. In the movie, “The Bucket List”, Carter and Edward were told that they only have 6 months to live, so they try to come up with a bucket list of the things they want to do but they haven’t done in the span of their lifetime. It’s like their whole life flashes back before their very eyes and they get this realization that despite all the achievements and goals met, what would make them feel human are actually the things that they overlooked or failed to do. Carter, despite having the intelligence and knowledge about things, realized that he has wasted away his whole life being a car mechanic when he could’ve been so much more. Edward, despite having everything that he wanted, realized that he still do not understand what it really means to live. It’s like only in the face of death do we finally allow ourselves to be stupid and make mistakes. I find it really unfortunate that in some instances, we only begin reflecting over our lives and if we have lived a worthwhile one when they’re about to end.

                Here is where openness to mystery begins.

                Even if we still aren’t faced by death (or should I say we aren’t lucky enough to know when will we die because death, for some people, comes like a thief in the night), we still have a chance to live our life to the fullest. And here is where philosophy comes in. Philosophy gives us the opportunity to live life, to exercise our human capability to think and appreciate the things that we have been taking for granted. It gives us the chance to ponder what is it that we have been missing and allow us to regain the vast imagination of a child. It requires us to have an open mind and an open heart for change and the courage to do it. By clearing our minds and seeing things that we tend to overlook, we make our own values, define our own success, resist accepting what’s readily available, blindly accepting what is handed, and in turn, we learn how to embrace our own freedom. It does not necessarily mean that we have to quit our jobs and abandon our responsibilities; it asks us to be open to the possibility of losing the material things we have worked hard for and to make revisions if needed. We most certainly do not need to wait for Death in order to understand and start life. By philosophizing, by deeply reflecting on our lives and trying to find meaning in it, we become free from all inhibitions and fears. It’s not about persuading people to become dancers and singers, it’s about making them realize that they have the freedom to do so. That even if some people will deem them crazy for even thinking that it could work, for even thinking of trying, they do not have the right to control your thinking. Choose something that someone hasn’t thought of before and don’t be afraid to do so.

“Moral imagination is hard, and it’s hard in a completely different way than the hard things you’re used to doing. And not only that, it’s not enough. If you’re going to invent your own life, if you’re going to be truly autonomous, you also need courage: moral courage. The courage to act on your values in the face of what everyone’s going to say and do to try to make you change your mind. Because they’re not going to like it… And most of all, don’t play it safe. Resist the seductions of the cowardly values our society has come to prize so highly: comfort, convenience, security, predictability, control. These, too, are nets. Above all, resist the fear of failure. Yes, you will make mistakes. But they will be your mistakes, not someone else’s. And you will survive them, and you will know yourself better for having made them, and you will be a fuller and a stronger person… don’t shy away from the challenging parts of yourself. Don’t deny the desires and curiosities, the doubts and dissatisfactions, the joy and the darkness, that might knock you off the path that you have set for yourself… Open yourself to the possibilities they represent. The world is much larger than you can imagine right now. Which means, you are much larger than you can imagine.” – W. Deresiewicz

            After all, what’s wrong with being labeled as self-indulgent when actually it’s just a term some people use when you pursue something that do not generate income, yet would make you more in touch with yourself? Would it be self-indulgent if I one day, throw away my Ateneo diploma and decide to be a fashion designer? I might regret it at one point and I might hate myself for it, but these very mistakes, if ever they are, help us grow and mature. It is by no means an encouragement to constantly make mistakes but it is the openness to make one that is required.

          But then does it mean that we can do anything we want, anytime we want, even at the expense of the other’s well-being? This is where the responsibility of the being comes in. In the movie, Carter tells Edward about a story of how the gods filter those who will go to heaven or who will go to hell. They ask two possible questions and the decision where the person will go to will depend on his answer. These are:

         Have you brought joy to your life? Has your life brought joy to others? Life is a gift, but living it is a choice, and it is up to you if you choose to deduce the meaning of your being human to the amount of awards you get and the grades you have achieved. In that case then, you have missed the chance to be one. I presume that only by answering yes on both will you be able to say that you have indeed understood how it is to be human.

          I will end then by disagreeing with the quote “Life begins at 40”. To some extent, it might be true. But regardless of the age, life begins simply when one starts to live and be free. (Like Philo, one defines Philo as soon as he starts philosophizing.) So that when the time comes that we have to face the greatest unknown which is death, we will be able to die with our eyes close but with our hearts open and know that we have lived a life worth examining.


Philosophy 102 final oral examination | April 14, 2012 | Fielle Ignacio