Sunday, April 05, 2020

In Search of Lessons: A Deep Introspection

In my previous article, I explicated how this pandemic would bring out the best and worst of people. Although my point purported to focus on the objectivity of it, I knew that the classification was probably more on the perspective of subjectivity rather than objectivity.

This Sunday, I am gifting myself with deep retrospection in search of lessons amidst chaos, suffering, and desensitized hearts.

Politics divide. The very nature is explicitly defined as, “the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power.”

One of the most significant time in shaping my political principle started in college when I was chosen as a member of the Debate Team. It was an honor and also a huge responsibility. In hindsight, that was a defining moment learning how to build a strong proposition using substance of truth and evidence as the foundation of argument. The process was very structured and we were taught sensibly on how to use authoritative sources versus general understanding. Then I was elected as President of the Debate Society which further shaped my belief. Writing the Articles of Organization and By Laws often reminded me how we were bound by rules of law or else we would be transported back to the primitive world where the sword decided the law.

What cemented my principles on politics happened during my days as a student of Doctor of Jurisprudence. It could be summed up as upholding what’s true, just and fair based on the fundamentals of the laws of the land.

Politics is not always true, just and fair but its existence is governed by laws, no matter how ill-timed sometimes. Look at the division it caused to friends and families around the world. Social media is toxic because it was not designed for politics but for personal connection. Nobody acts as interlocutor and helps people lay argument which is based on logical consistency and factual accuracy. Everything is an opinion which makes it a perfect breeding ground for expression of ‘general understanding’ based on fake news, propaganda, and malicious intent. The result? Character attack when the other side could not engage in an intellectual discourse.

I came from a family with 11 children. When we were all studying, life was hard. My father was clear about it, “I have nothing to leave you as a legacy except education.” The words were deeply embedded that I made sure to toil day and night to finish my studies. My Master’s Degree in Education is not a chip in my shoulder that I carry but an honor that I treasure. It is the fruit of hard work and personal sacrifices of my parents and older siblings.

One of the slums in Metro Manila depicting helplessness amidst poverty. 

In one of the documentaries I watched, poverty is convenient for politics. I am not going to delve on this further (you may watch the videos here), except to say that where I came from, quality education is a privilege not a right. The effect is seen with the abundance of propagation of ignorance and chaos.

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Politics gives you power. The sad thing about this, politics is based on a very old system. If you like watching the Game of Thrones, it is a mirror that reflects the true nature of politics and power. Idealists comes in with high hopes and promises only to be corrupted later on. Those who come out with unscathed principles are rare.

Yesterday, I was attacked personally and cursed for engaging on a post which I thought was a logical discourse. The comment embellished with hatred capitalized on the fact that; I commented in English, and I live in United States. I guess, if you are a Filipino and you speak in English AND you live in United States, you should be ashamed of it? The logic is incomprehensible. I was asked, “Who the ‘f (obscene word) are you?’ and, “You are dumb.” I could have opted to tell him that I have almost 300 awards on my name, educated kids around the world and taught them critical thinking skills and comprehension, and enumerate my educational qualifications. But, I chose not to reply.

My silence is not a sign of lack of knowledge but of wisdom to know when to speak. It was a humble time to remind myself that spreading positivity is a choice. My reply might be full of logical truth and substance of facts but by feeding his hatred, I would be forgetting the most essential thing in life and that is to spread positivity. The world is chaotic enough and the spirit of positivity is the best choice that I could embrace. It is a good thing to remember that, “Silence at the proper season is wisdom, and better than any speech.”

Politics divide. Power corrupts. Poverty is (usually) convenient for politics. However, it is imperative to remember, there’s power in positivity amidst the poverty of sound spirit and mind. Kindness is free. Compassion is a choice. 


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