Wednesday, September 17, 2008

When Irrationality Should Become Reason Itself

(DISCLAIMER: This is my attempt at doing a normative reflection, which obviously I have not dared to do so since time immemorial save the senseless rantings and flood of words which will not have the least merit in the sewers of the academe. I do not presume the following will make utmost sense despite the fact that we have included citations in CMS format. This is a post intended to generate reactions, whether big, small, relevant or just plain bashing.)


One might be tempted to follow the notion of being realistic when one is confronted by the corruption that man has fallen into. In the many ways that we as created beings have fallen short of our capacities and expectations since the fall of man, there is always the feeling that there is no more possibility for us to redefine ourselves and reclaim our dignity. It might be that this stems from our constant feeling of insecurity in the advent of the postmodern world, wherein everything, even the concept of reason which once questioned the irrationality and danger of "blind faith," has been put into the hot-seat itself. As we have witnessed, time and again, the space of the world is rapidly and horrendously becoming what Thomas Hobbes has described in his Leviathan:

Whatsoever therefore is consequent to a time of war, where every man is enemy to every man, the same consequent to the time wherein men live without other security than what their own strength and their own invention shall furnish them withal. In such condition there is no place for industry, because the fruit thereof is uncertain: and consequently no culture of the earth; no navigation, nor use of the commodities that may be imported by sea; no commodious building; no instruments of moving and removing such things as require much force; no knowledge of the face of the earth; no account of time; no arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death; and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short. [1].

The tedious and time-honored process of deliberation and pragmatism, however we might applaud the many commendable and monumental achievements it has given to the world, nevertheless brings to mind the innumerable cases of slavery and crimes to the dignity of man it has brought upon us. We need not look far from our childhood indoctrination. Exodus is and will always be the main and primal text on the experience of slavery and why we have been taught to fight for freedom. In any undertaking by man which involved and required superhuman efforts, there will always be men who shall be willing to sacrifice their fellow in the name of convenience and superiority. The jeweller Simoun has voiced it out so accurately:

…only in this way are great enterprises carried out with small means. Thus were constructed the Pyramids, Lake Moeris, and the Colosseum in Rome. Entire provinces came in from the desert, bringing their tubers to feed on. Old men, youths, and boys labored in transporting stones, hewing them, and carrying them on their shoulders under the direction of the official lash, and afterwards, the survivors returned to their homes or perished [9] in the sands of the desert. Then came other provinces, then others, succeeding one another in the work during years. Thus the task was finished, and now we admire them, we travel, we go to Egypt and to Home, we extol the Pharaohs and the Antonines. Don’t fool yourself—the dead remain dead, and might only is considered right by posterity. [2].

It is then a challenge for us to voice out our beliefs, aspirations and statements about freedom and truth. There is a need for us to become philosophers and rebels, for one may philosophize but may not be magnanimous nor daring enough to be able to come out of the cave. As an anonymous political detainee was once quoted saying: Ang payapang pampang ay para lang sa mga pangahas na sasalunga sa alimpuyo ng mga alon sa panahon ng unos. The courage to die, yet having the will to live, is essential.

We have been caught in all the imaginable webs, storms and traps machinated by the enemies of our state and are aware of our misgivings. We have been duped like running dogs for our insistence to confront people in their known terrain. Is it not time that we bring them to our terrain? They say we cannot compete with them in reason. Then why not engage them in the battlefield of irrationality? In a world which values rationality above the dignity of humanity, the only way out is the reassurance that we have been grounded on things not of this world. The only morality in an unjust and corrupt world can only be chance. We say Fortuna has never smiled on us. But have we engaged her well enough to prefer us over them? Have we become fulvo enough to ask this? Is it not true that the self-transformation Fr. Florentino has prayed for so long until the day he died has not arrived yet? How presumptuous of us to ask these, we quivering fesos! How dare we do these, unpatriotic leeches! One who claims to leave the country for it has not given him something to be proud of does not deserve a country, nor does a country to deserve even a citizen like him. The most wretched peasant is better off than him.


[1] Thomas Hobbes, “Leviathan,” in Princeton Readings in Political Thought: essential texts since Plato. Ed. Mitchell Cohen and Nicole Fermon. (Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, c1996), 208.

[2] Rizal, Jose. The Reign of Greed: A Complete English Version of El Filibusterismo from the Spanish. Translated by Charles Derbyshire. (Manila: Philippine Education Company, 1912), 8-9.

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