February 24, 2015
Your stuck with it so you might as well defend it. That’s the sort of loser attitude that’s at work in a lot of the apologism we see nowadays. I’m fat. Deal with it. I’m poor. Deal with it. I’m a Catholic. Deal with it. I can’t speak English. Deal with it. I voted for BS Aquino. Deal with it. We’re dealing with it alright. It’s called Human Nature. Once a belief or a group affiliation has been ingrained in our psyches, we defend it to the death.
Only a special breed of people possessing a rare level of self-awareness can see past the quaint cognitive constructs that imprison their minds. And even those ones will have undergone a hell of a journey to get to that level of thinking ability. Indeed, the latest trending buzzword we see a lot of today is “mindfulness”. The term gets bandied around quite a lot nowadays, but I doubt many people really understand what being really mindful entails.
A truly mindful person possesses the ability to step outside of themselves and see the world as it really is, unencumbered by the biases they normally see it through. Some people call that having the right perspective. When we are able to frame an issue from the proper perspective we stand a better chance of thinking things through a lot more clearly. It takes a lot of smarts to do that — because emotions, impulses, instincts, and reflexes are very powerful motivators that higher thinking constantly battles (and often loses to).
Imagine yourself walking on a foot-wide girder at the 100th story of a building under construction. You’d probably be paralysed with fear seeing the fall beneath you. But our ability to effortlessly skip across a floor while keeping within a foot-wide row of tiles proves that there really is very little to fear about walking across that 100-story-high girder. That is, of course, an extreme case. But there are many other more moderate examples in our day-to-day lives that illustrate the way our intellectual faculties are held hostage by irrational ideas.
Within the Philippine setting, alone, excellent examples abound of how an entire society can be imprisoned by old, flawed, but sticky ideas. Government “peace” negitiators, for instance, who have been schmoozing for years with the terrorist Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are now feared to be suffering from a bizarre form of Stockholm syndrome. They are now seen to be negotiating on behalf of the MILF rather than from the side of the Filipino people who employ them. Desperate groups and movements that were legacies of the days when “people power” and its Yellow-branded ideology “inspired” nationalistic fervour in “reform”-minded Filipinos continue to hang on to the tired old songs and slogans despite an avalanche of evidence that that era has come to an end thanks to an abject failure of the Second Aquino Administration to live up to the lofty ideals it espoused.
The path to enlightenment has become an easy hop out from inside the little square that frames typical Pinoy thinking. It is as easy as snapping out of the delusion that things will be “ok” just because old relics of 1980s thinking remain in power. Yet people continue to be afraid of what, to them, is the big unknown that lies outside that little square that imprisons the popular sentiment in Filipino society.
What happens when we abandon the dysfunctional “peace deal” our government has supposedly “worked hard” negotiating with terrorists to cobble together? What happens when we simply all turn our backs on a president who has evidently failed to step up to world-class standards of what it means to be a true leader?
Filipinos are afraid to consider alternatives?
And that is why the Philippines will never change. It will never be a different but bettter nation because Filipinos would rather do the same things over and over again.
Filipinos fail to see the stupidity of remaining in bed with terrorists despite losing 44 good men to their treachery. Filipinos fail to see the idiocy of continuing to apologise for an administration that counts only evading accountability as its governance skill. Filipinos fail to appreciate the moronism of continuing to vote for people who promise everything then go on to deliver nothing for years.
The solutions are obvious.
It was not colonialism nor authoritarianism that enslaved Filipinos. No. It was their own adolescent emotionalism that turned Filipinos into slaves. An entire society that dances to the same silly tune for decades can’t ever be seen to be a promising one.
Perhaps one thing Filipinos can do differently this time is to allow modern thinking to prevail over emotionalism for a change — by being more mindful and less sheep-like.