NOTE: The author designed it as an essay to the environment depicted one of the books he is currently writing, Eminencio Magnifico.
INDOLENCE OF THE FILIPINOS IN THE 21ST CENTURY – 2nd Chapter
By: Joshua Alvarez
It is strenuous to determine whether the deterioration of the body due to a long deep-seated malady was because of the malady itself or because of the bad medications that was being prescribed. The bewildered physician, who may be attributing his poor skill and judgment to the poor constitution of his patient, his environment, his lifestyle and whatever handy was to blame, other than himself, bickers to his patient instead of attending to further the medications. I beseech the readers to keep the compassion towards the groaning patient at bay and proceed in grubbing into the mysteries of the malady.
It is already proven that the tendencies to indolence are very natural. We cannot alter natural laws and without it, things would not have been as they were. It is proven in time and again that man is not a brute nor a machine. Man does not simply exist to reproduce and produce. The brown skin we possessed does not obligate us to work harder than those who feel superior by the dictates of their skin color and of their race. Man does not exist to please senseless cravings of another man. With all the chaos in this world, with all the hardships of life being tossed at them in bundles, and with abomination lurking in every corner, they seek happiness for themselves and their kind by taking the path, of progress and to perfection.
It is the tendencies to indolence that is natural, not indolence itself. Even though man is not a machine, he is required to work to ensure his survival, just like his predecessor did. He must endure the hot climate in order to find sustenance to survive. He must always resist the tendencies to indolence to make full of the land that was far better and richer than that of the temperate region, if he wanted to pursue progress for himself and for his kind towards an end full of euphoria. It is the amount of work that was dedicated that dictated the supremacy of human beings over other species. The nature does not nurture the superior. The superior reaped its rewards as they established their superiority. The tendencies to indolence are therefore manifestations of the process of natural selection. Those who resisted it survived.
Filipinos, even intellectuals, reduced Indolence as mere accusation of the foreigners. Racial pride does not permit to accept this simplification for it means acknowledgment of the Filipinos’ lack of capacity to understand political experiences. Because for them, accepting or even taking into consideration of these accusations would mean embracing the racial inferiority, people became adamant into looking for themselves if they were showing signs of the alleged illness. They would point their fingers to those working overseas as an evidence against these accusations. However, those people were living in different physical and political conditions. They adapt to a new climate therefore proving that man can adapt into any climate. Analysis to these kinds of patients would yield different results from the analysis of the patients in their “normal” conditions. Indolence is also like a virus, that like a human being, adapts to the change of the climate. On colder climate, like the virus, indolence remains dormant, as the colder climate inhibits the individual to hard work, or else he will freeze to death because of his inactivity. Nature knew this and in order to serve justice, it devises that while colder climate makes work easier, it brings destruction and uncertainty to its lands and while hotter climate makes work unfavorable, in turn, it brings fertility and resources to its lands. If man seeks for progress in the hotter climates, he must overcome the unfavorable conditions for work and the higher tendencies to indolence that the hotter climate had brought in order to make full use of the rich lands it bestows.
The real evil behind indolence is that it is fostered and magnified. The culture of indolence has long been intertwined with the culture of the Filipinos. Indolence in the Philippines is a chronic malady but not a hereditary one, said Dr. Rizal. However, these were only applicable to the natives of the land that were not yet affected by the external influences. As natural inhabitants to these kinds of hotter climate, they would treat indolence as a mere fever whose virus was helpless against the vanquishing that was being executed by the white corpuscles which constitute the body’s immune system, on which they finish within hours, attesting the native’s resistance against the malady, which is indolence. However, the body had to take on a more virulent disease. To remedy the shortage of resources due to the blight of their lands, the Europeans invaded the other lands. Under the subterfuge of “Christianizing” these lands, they pillaged their riches. They began annihilating native values. The white corpuscles, upon the presence of alien invaders in the body, responded to repel these invaders, however the fighting took toll on the other organs, injuring them, and the body, in the state of panic, finally yielded to these invaders. Just like the encounter to the natives and the natives’ contraction of the European diseases, the disease, on which the European body treated as harmless, found more adverse effects on the natives’ body which was unaccustomed to it and was encountering for the first time. And the disaster brought by the colonization on these lands were terrifying: towns were depopulated, their inhabitants vulnerable to external harm, skilled people diminished, and the farmlands abandoned. The disease brought by colonialism caused the weakening of the fibers and the debility of the organs. The inhabitants lost track of their past. The desolation forced them to seek survival over preservation. With the former social values gone and memories of the glorious past vanished into thin air, the cells that constitute a body reverted to its stem cell form. With no sense of culture, the stem cells remold themselves into the cells that dominate its environment which lamentably are the infected cells that fostered and accommodated the virus and the malady. The Spaniard at that time, according to Dr. Rizal, were the most indolent of the Europeans, and also the most stagnant. They were the ones that were most susceptible to the malady of indolence. And as a virus it is, the malady is a contagious one also and it made its way to the poor weakened body of the native. Unlike the Spaniards who were in better physical conditions than the native, the native was helpless as the virus made its way to its reproductive cells. The virus encoded its genes to these cells and now, the malady became hereditary!
Other than being fostered, indolence, throughout history since its outbreak, was magnified. Since it became hereditary, indolence was magnified one generation after another. It is like introducing a poison into a lake. Smaller species take little amounts while bigger species take larger amounts. The natives initially were less affected than the colonizers. Then came the biomagnification and bioaccumulation. The miniscule exhibiting of indolence to the natives who were serving their colonial masters would in turn bring a larger urge for indolence to those masters as the larger predators accumulate more poison as they consume their prey. And speaking of generations, as generations come after another, the inhabitants’ deterioration due to indolence increases like the biomagnification of the poison that happened as the level on the food pyramid increases. The indolence here in the Philippines, as Dr. Rizal admitted, was of a snowball type.
The dosage of indolence and its effects increased in time. Assertion made by Dr. Rizal and his colleagues once proved that that indolence was the product of misgovernment and backwardness. However, in the present where political conditions were much different than that with the past and Filipinos were no longer bounded, bound and chained by their slaver, that may no longer be the case with the evidence of indolence persisting at the present time, surviving the prescribed remedies, becoming more evasive in the public eye. Therefore, we should now treat indolence not as an effect of backwardness nor as a cause of backwardness, but as both its cause and effect.
Education has long been served as what Dr. Rizal had suggested as a solution against indolence. But indolence is still present.
Upon prescription of the medicine by the physician, the patient frantically purchased that medicine. The physician’s job was limited to prescribing the medicine only. Administering the medicine was another person’s job. The patient, being sick with his malady, could not further ask the physician how the medicine would work and and the physician, having no experience nor past accounts on how the medicine worked on the patients of the past, could not follow-up with the prescription on how the medicine should be taken. Indeed, the education was the remedy of indolence. It became the flame that gave light to the thought of various Filipinos who became the illustrados and eventually ignited the revolutions that lead to independence. In 1890, Dr. Rizal prescribed in his Indolence of the Filipinos two solutions: education and freedom of the press. However, he failed to present a set of action to be taken to bring the things he aspired to fruition as a solution, contrary to the gradual transition he envisioned in his other works. There was random partiality. He was riddled with personal problems that preoccupied him: his hometown Calamba, his family, his love, and his banishment to Dapitan. He could not see nor predict anymore the political atmosphere in order to analyze further to specify the solutions he wanted to be implemented.
As witnesses to the miracles and cures of Jesus Christ, Filipinos, who were dominantly Christians, expected cures to take effect in an instant. Just like the miracles that they were praying to happen for centuries, they expected to recuperate almost instantly once the medicine was administered.
Further on, just like believing on how much prayer were done was proportional to the amount, intensity or frequency of miracles to be received in return, the patient took more amounts of medicine than what was initially prescribed. Complications followed.
The bitterness of the medicine delivered unwanted impulses to the body which in turn, out of its reflexes vomits the medicine out of its system. The acceptance of the reality was too much for some: that they have to adapt into a culture of art and knowledge while abandoning the culture of labor and hard work that they were so accustomed of. The bitterness of the reality and the stubbornness of some rejected the change and eventually, education.
If the body endured the bitterness of the medicine and accepted it to its system, there is still high chance that the doses of the medicine would be too much to handle, delivering shock to the body. The white corpuscles and their fellow antibodies upon sensing the shock that the medicine brought to the body and its organs, would mistake the medicine as a graver threat than the malady itself. The antibodies would then act to repel the medicine and its effects. Upon introducing education in a higher level of discourse already according to those who were having difficulties on catching up to its standards would eventually give up. Some may even despise education. Thus the medicine lost its’ worth!
If the medicine somehow managed to pass the antibodies’ screening, the patient would be then expecting relief from the symptoms of the malady. Like the typical episodes of headaches being relieved upon consumption of the medicine, the patient expected immediate relief. But not all medicines give immediate effects to the patients. After the episodes of miseries brought by the war for independence, the Filipinos thought of the propositions of education reform and reorientation of the civil order as immediate salvation from these miseries. But just like the mysteries of placebo and nocebo where the mind can sometimes will the body into either curing itself or degrading it, the mindset and the psychological wellness of the patient can affect the body, and also the medication. That was how the works of placebo effect were mistaken as miracles and the performer mistaken as a disciple of Christ. But just like the nocebo effect and its nullification to the medication, the mind, which was discouraged after not seeing immediate effect and wellness from the medicine, can alter and lamentably nullify the effects of education. Those who envisioned gradual transition, the likes of Dr. Rizal, never lived to witness the tragedy of the reception of the sudden reforms on education.
Education was not appreciated, except for a few. Most Filipinos failed to see education as a long-term investment. Indolence has reduced them into limiting themselves to pursuing short-term goals only. They were driven by money then eventually succumbed to greed. They saw money as the salvation from the miseries of life. That was why Filipinos have a culture of gambling as discussed in the fourth chapter of the predecessor of this text, the Indolence of the Filipinos of Dr. Rizal.
Having taken example of the industrious Chinese who luckily amassed a fortune even without the means of education, the individual became indolent to inquire to be able to see the other side of the coin. These Chinese enlisted their sons and daughters to prestigious schools. These people valued education as means to preserve what they worked hard for. They conceded to the fact that education is the key for their progress.
Education was depreciated! The indolent students of the past would soon become the indolent teachers of the future. Teaching was treated at the same level as the other professions alone, without commitment: a mean to amass fortune. Driven by money and indolence, the teachers did what they thought was enough: enough to survive but not enough to progress; when enough really was that they have to succeed in imparting knowledge to the students. As indolent as they were, they avoided discourse. Their indolence, perceived by the students as the new “normal”, was passed down to these students who then became teachers of the new generation. In the end, the indolent would compose the majority. Then, indolence would become a culture!
Depreciation of education came with another complication: preoccupation, towards other things. Devaluation of education shuffled the priorities of a person. Other things won over education. There were the wonders of technology. There come the media and the easy access to the entertainment industry! It is not a sin to wonder and value those preoccupations, but to value it over education? Technology has reduced man’s exertions and effort as means of hastening the progress he was pursuing not as means to be indolent!
What are the evidences? Let’s look and ponder upon now on the effect of weather on indolence. Now, it is not only the hot climate the inhibits the Filipino to rest, but the rainy climate also inhibits the same behavior!