Saturday, 20 June 2015

Indolence, Foolishness, and a trying hard to be good

Indolence, Foolishness, and a trying hard to be good

(a writeup made both as post-Independence day message 
and in commemoration of Rizal's birth)

In this month full of patriotically-induced commemorations, emphasis is given to the present day issue of Indolence, Foolishness, and trying hard to be good when it comes to dealing with one's self and the society. Obviously the latter task is quite difficult for a typical Filipino, knowing that changing of character would also meant breaking away from the nonsensical cycle being used to content with in favour of a clean slate and a new persona. And speaking of this month full of commemorations, June had celebrated both a nation's Independence and the day of it's hero's birth, known for his genius, patriotism, and an inflexible character.

That obviously somehow loved to be parroted by the two-faced system towards its subjects. As time goes by, people may have tried its best to be good, or least trying to lessen its foolishness on one's self and towards others, in favour of being "upright" in the eyes of the law and of the norm. And one message would be like those of former President Quirino last December 29 1950, in which he was trying to put more emphasis in Character Education to have his subjects like those of Jose Rizal as well as others whom had brought consciousness to a still young nation:

"For we need and shall always need men and women of character, strong and invincible, to withstand the wild winds of temptation that break down the weak. We need citizens of firm character, ready to make sacrifices at any time and even lay down their lives for the progress, peace, preservation, and happiness of the Motherland."

Although his message was made in commemoration of Rizal's death, it also somehow would even reiterate that same old word in this month of his birth besides adding terms of the present like "transparency" and "accountability", knowing that Rizal means Idealism, Character, Incorruptible, Patriotic. But ironically, Quirino was known to be infamous for his golden orinola that made he corrupt, and like his predecessors and his successors, an American stooge that fails to heed his people in favour of his overlords. His message can be right so to speak calling for a people of character, but will there be a people of character in a corrupt social order? Maybe yes but the more may cost the system itself knowing that the system had let the corrupt do its "deed" at the expense of the people's aspirations. Be it peace, land, bread, justice, anything what these people demanded for generations.

Just like what Quirino did, particularly on those commemorative occasions, there are a series of messages condemning materialism and favoring those of idealism (as in "mind over matter", that independence is made out of well known men bond by a common cause (as in independence and no other cause besides that), that uncritical cooperation including those of the oppressing classes as a key to prosperity and peace (knowing that these oppressing classes brought development), or even accepting the judgement of being poor simply because of indolence (the typical cause according to the "hard working bourgeois"). Yet what they didn't notice is a reality full of crisis and instability, and it's not because of countless protest and opposition, but from those whom rather keeping the system as it is in the past in a way they benefited from the existing poverty and the hardship of its subjects, that life was all but supply and demand for them least the important is "not to end in the rubbish heap".
And since this writeup also said the term materialism, it is obvious that the "materialism" people knew and for sure abhor about (especially those of the conservative) is consumerism, yet do they really abhor it? With all their minds modified by the system to suit in an überindividualist fantasy of earn, buy, and consume, it is obviously much accurate than what the people of old feared about what Democritus, Hegel, Marx, or Lenin stated of; the west produced much products for individualist fantasies ranging from Packingtown's food to Ford's cheap automobiles while the ones abhorred are trying to turn conditions into opportunities the way trying to resolve problems be it as temporary as the "New Economic Policy" or as strongly ordered like the "First 'Five-Year' Plans". People did not notice that materialism is more than just matter to be grasped, but also the conditions of their surroundings that compels people to strive for changes, especially those of a socio-economic one. And to use Marx's passage in Das Kapital: "Conscientious, painstaking research was required, instead of philosophical speculation and unwarranted, sweeping generalisations." The surroundings and conditions compel mankind to ask and deal prior to formulate solutions that somehow different from the observations people think of such as simply driven by their ideas. 
That somehow made others think of as "idealism" thinking that these are products of their own mind rather than brought out of existing condition. Of what was the Revolution if not for the actually existing repression and disenfranchisement instead of a series of tracts?

Anyways, those who rallied behind reform and revolution are by products of awareness, of realities, not just books and romanticism of a glorious past. Rizal and Bonifacio did make "Research" from books and "Investigation" from their surroundings prior to their actions, its successors, however, rather romanticise it so much that involves a series of philosophical speculations. But the present generation,  driven by their escapism from realities and exaggerated self-fulfillment rather chose less or none to think about this.
And speaking of Rizal and the gang, although earlier posts in this page may stated that Rizal ought to be praised for his contributions, does not mean he should condone disregarding calls for a bloody revolution based on actually existing conditions of repression and injustice in favour of meaningless "idealism" with emphasis on a "just" changing of attitudes and conduct as if a requirement for independence (he missed the opportunity of joing the Katipunan and have himself laid the program, of discipline, of educating Indios for Struggle). Yet regardless of his stand, his works that actually open ended for future chapters (such as Hernandez's) did became catalyst for a renewed struggle, particularly on the side of the brown skinned toilers willing to take the flag from the majority of half-breeds whom initially preferring to remain silent and enjoying their fantasies than facing death as it once was like Novales and La Madrid.

But, in this age of high-tech gadgets, instant food, and unbridled capitalism both domestic and international, comes a realisation of what Spaniards and outsiders described as "indolence, foolishness, and apathy" amongst Filipinos, be it from the Bourgeois or the Proletarian, or even the Lumpens people love to equate those from the slums. And regardless of denials coming from above, it its obvious that the system created that monster people abhorred about, yet instead of the system people chose to blame others for being contented in being less, of redescribing as indolent or apathetic when it comes to the issues; true that there are really indolents and apathetics out in the society, thanks to that goddamn media that downplays critical thinking in favour of idiocy.
And for sure most would dare to say the desire for changing the attitude, the conduct, the behaviour, and this is not a very easy or a very pleasant task. For at first, it is difficult to be honest with ourselves as individuals whether we contribute or not; but both "fortunately" and "unfortunately", Filipinos can afford to say this and that (whether to enlighten or to brag), such as deriving words of encouragement and inspiration from heroes like Rizal, who actually never hesitated to criticise his countrymen with a view to reform and progress, true that it is to Rizal, Bonifacio, and others that people should turn for guidance when it comes to examine our national character the way he insists changing of conduct and doing good deeds, or let's just say harnessing one's persona to a good path.

But regardless of the denials, most rather treat Rizal and others as mere rhetorics to appease large masses of people, an appeal to patriotic fervor, an appeal to the youth that promised progress and development as well as social change. Yet at the same time, as goes by, indolence has become natural as the system had benefited from it, especially in a world that creates anything "in an instant" favours those who can disregard the societal matter, of facing the wind and rain in favour of its own comforts and "fantasies" that one can make the world upside down. But what kind of indolent is that person talking about? Is it the individual or the entire nation exploited by the system and be sedated by instant fantasies to become as indolent as what Spaniards described of? Ironically, they cried for Unity and Awareness, but at the same time they cultivated individualism and apathy greater than what they cried for, they would babble boycotts on goods coming from China out of an issue related to the contested Scarborough and Spratlys, yet on the other hand crying for foreign investments including those of the Chinese instead of flexing its own muscle to break free from its indolent dependency.

And since they babble Rizal, are they willing to raise the nitroglycerin-filled lamps and sacrifice in pursuit of a greater goal as Simoun intended? ¡No! Instead they will babble the "idealism" of Ibarra, the passions of Basilio and Isagani, the beauty of Maria Clara, or for accuracy and actually exiting relevance: the trying hard Extravagance of Doña Victorina, and the reluctance of Señor Pasta. They will doubt the radicalisms of Elias, the willingness of Salome, the attempts to overthrow the order in which the system greatly enjoys no matter how they intentionally created idiots, savages, barbarians, or semicivilised humans "least they profited alot from it."

But despite all the shit the system tends to cultivate, particularly those of injustice and reluctance to remolding, the idea of changing conduct in pursuit of building the new society has its relevance particularly those of breaking free from indolence, foolishness, and apathy. Remember, when Mao Zedong had told about a foolish old man who dismantle the mountains, he said that the old and his children did trying to dismantle the mountains despite chided by a scholar so that they could see the rising sun, working until god find their hardships and brought angels to take it away; that somehow means that in order to realise profound goals has to go beyond the parameters including those what the order imposes. 
But, that said action cannot be carried enough by a clique of few good individuals, but also a call for a collective action for the willing many in pursuit of realising such profound goals as what the story tells about. Such actions, obviously, involves ceaseless remolding, of cultivating what is better and omitting worse, of forging that is new, rather than worshiping the ashes of old. Of what is action and its realisation without remolding? Conditions brought them the urge of to go beyond the parameters much more the breaking away from their past misdeeds in favour of a new persona what Rizal wanted to see.

Yes, it is a difficult task to forge both for the new society and for a new persona, but to take it seriously along with others helps in its realisation. As said earlier, conditions are worth compelling to engage, and it is more than what others call as idealism.

Least it counters the system and its created Indolence, and rekindling the spirit that is Independence.