Thursday, 27 October 2011

Rizal's "Idealism" is the Filipino Everydayman's Realism

Rizal's "Idealism" is the Filipino Everydayman's Realism

"Each one writes history according to his convenience."

These are the words Jose Rizal said to Ferdinand Blumentritt during his sojourn in Europe in 1886.At first we think of it as true since most of us are making our own fate that made us "convenient" especially to those who tend to escape from everything disastrous in pursuit of something that is "peace and quiet." However,  These words somehow also made Rizal think how people creates its own fate same as its own society, and it somehow corresponds to a Chinese quote and it said, 'The Masses Are the Makers of History'; yes, for it is the masses who endure repression, not just the ones who initiated are the ones who started the clamor for radical change.

But then, every quote being said so are likely to be reduced into a mere sentiment or an idea being bannered upon to by such individuals and calling it as "idealism" or a "figment of an imagination." If so, then how come every event corresponds to what Rizal hath said in his books?

This writer may not been against "Idealists" so to speak, but then most of them tend to act like Jose Rizal in order to negate the rising tide of radical change coming from the laboring people. They may've used Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo just to justify favoring "Reform" over "Revolution", of Ibarra over Simoun, but then how come there are still Elias and Cabesang Tales around us? Like Cervantes, Rizal may've been taking time focusing on books and artwork; like Don Quixote searching for an "Impossible Dreamand its fans wasting time on his works and emulating his way of self-gratification guised as knowledge, yet the vast majority end up in pain in their back and out of it, willing to take revenge than getting contented to it as possible.

His longing for Leonor Rivera for example, this so-called "obsession", despite Rivera married the British Kipping made him not to seriously gave way to other women whom he met and perhaps loved with, like Boustead, Jacoby or O Sei San; all except for the Irish Josephine Bracken whom he seriously being with as a "permanent substitute", or should say in a Tagalog parlance a "Panakit butas" in his barren heart. How come Rizal can't move on until he met Bracken? Was Rivera really correspond to the Philippines in the form of Maria Clara? Whose beauty, charm and submission, contentment embodies the psyche of a Filipina? Yet on the other hand praised the Spartan women whom likely to take arms and fight for their and others' lives as what Josephine Bracken did? Which of the two really corresponds to the Filipina then?

Well, back to the main topic (sorry for tackling Rizal's love life) Perhaps his consumption of hashish as an experiment made his mind having "colour" in it. Sorry to say so again in regards to that, but like his, we tend to experiment ourselves out of our realities, of our senses. That also became an infuence in our later works and to others as basis for our "ideals", but then Rizal's experiences aren't really idealism; Americans simply codified it as his "idealism" but in fact products of his very own realities as scenes from Noli me Tangere and El Filibusterismo continues to linger even in an era of Cellphones, Internet and other sorts of wholesale westernization. This writer may have disagreed Rizal's passivism yet he still acknowledge him as a hero-he may not carried weaponry nor lead directly as what Bonifacio did, for he preferred acting as a scapegoat, a nitrogycerin bomb in Simoun's hand triggering a change that is left unfinished.

But then, despite all these, everyone rather sought a distorted picture of Rizal and his fellow heroes and noble countrymen. ‘We are brainwashed to glorify traitors and enemies of the Revolution and the Motherland’ as according to Domingo de Guzman, that despite unearthing everything about his and other's lives, we kept on thinking that Rizal was merely an idealist who dissuade people from advancing armed struggle in favor of reforms that deemed impossible; not noticing that Rizal also became an inspiration by those who insist so as well as he himself offered Antonio Luna for the revolution whilst keeping himself aloof in it. Yes, he favored education over revolution but why not he joined in and head the education department of the Katipunan?

Anyways, as Rizal said to Blumentritt:

"We want the happiness of the Philippines, but we want to obtain it through noble and just means. If I have to commit villainy to make her happy, I would refuse to do so, because I am sure that what is built on sand sooner or later would tumble down."

Good to read this kind of quote Rizal hath said, especially that he urged Filipinos to traverse the long and winding road to self determination and prosperity by means beneficial to them. But to others, especially those who took his words as detrimental to the tide of popular change it meant reducing things to mere sentiment-like reducing struggles to lobbying and negotiations for example; Rizal perhaps wanted everything "by all means" especially in the latter days as a patriot although he still wanted to give reforms, education a chance over Bonifacio as well as others who chose taking up arms, but still how come Filipinos rally over the one who endures than the one who sees? Especially to those whose reason was land and bread rather than "National independence" alone? Yes, Rizal may have wrote Noli and El Fili, but compare to the one who endure forced labor which is worth fighting for? Anyway, it unveils himself as "the spirit of contradiction; a soul that dreads the revolution, although deep down desires it." according to Unamuno, and it was shown by his actions contradicting his works, or rather say his idealism that contradicts his realities.

This writer personally made this work not to misjudge him, but rather to think that Rizal himself is a realist rather than an idealist as others may've seen of him. Aguinaldo, and later the Americans made him a hero due to his works and ideals, whilst his words and actions are being reduced to mere sentiment as we suspect of it; not noticing how come El Filibusterismo still had an open ending and one by one willing to write an unfinished part or another book to continue in it. Hernandez somehow did it with his Ibong Mandaragit, that involved both education and organization as tools for self determination as most people ought to see and take, but then we tend to look at the perspective of those trying to dissuade people from the very meaning of change. Of substituting sheeps for wolves, of tamed slaves than a noble savage.

Sorry to say so but that's fit enough to be called "true", we expect people tend to "just" codify his thought and be dubbed thee as "idealism" not noticing that his words aren't just sprout from his mind but rather out of realities he've sought or experienced as an individual-as during his time everything, even morals are tied to the economic structure such as feudalism; that superstition and overtly literal interpretation of Christian faith justified corvĂ©e labor and massive accumulation of wealth by the vested gentry; and Rizal wanted these to "break" down whilst keeping the productive and positivistic ones as he himself wanted a major overhaul in the society  in pursuit of the advancing times. That justifying self-desire for total greed is one of the narrowest of all justifications, tell it to the massed ranks of hungry, destitute peoples crying for land, peace, bread, justice and they will respond with direct fists and kicks, aggro over the wretched parasites who steal wealth from those who create in it like what Bonifacio or earlier leaders of spontaneous revolts insisted. And somehow these meant what Filipino ought and how to struggle for self-determination, he may still insist education like Crisostomo Ibarra, but more and more Simouns will be its results. As what one writeup said:

"In his first novel "Noli Me Tangere", Rizal did not endorse a bloody revolution, instead, he introduced the possibility of reformation. In his second novel "El FIlibusterismo", Rizal showed how the abuse and maltreatment of the Spanish system would lead the Filipinos to revolt against them."

But despite these, the system still clings to the desperate "idealism" just as what America tries to codify Rizal's thought, but instead of Ibarras and Simouns, we'll expect more and more Basio Macunats and Senor Pastas out of it. Or as what Constantino thinks of: Veneration without understanding.