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 – 3rd Chapter
By: Joshua Alvarez
Liberties and access to education were already granted to the once enslaved nation. These were the recommendations of Dr. Rizal that were proven to be instrumental into liberating ourselves from our colonizers who stood as hindrances into enjoying our full liberties and achieving our destiny. But looking to our current situation, being stuck in the same mud still, makes us question whether things turned out to be better. Did we really have too much liberty? Did we have too much education? Or is it just that Filipinos failed to understand and unknowingly overlooked or misinterpreted those concepts?
What was the actual intent of education? Is it just to impart knowledge? Is knowledge enough to understand and make way through political experiences? An individual needs to learn to have the avenue to pursue happiness and progress. How much do we have to learn? Is our perception on education enough to be able to engross ourselves into learning what was needed?
Learning comes in four stages. The first stage is obtaining facts – an action done thru observation by the means of collecting information using our five senses. The second stage is processing facts and placing them in the framework of knowledge. In the present set-up of our education system, people settle with the first two stages. Most of the educational practices have been reduced into mere memorization exercises. Indolence creeps its way into the system of the very cure that was being administered to remedy its effects: education.
Critical thinking, because of indolence, was discouraged. The lack of critical thinking and effort make an individual so gullible into believing anything, even the predatory ones that lure people into believing lies. The individual, lacking effort, will not look through the appeasing surface and just take everything for granted. Just like the children who find what their eyes find interesting important, they accept these, no matter how absurd they were. And just like a poisonous mushroom which fooled animals into consuming it based on an attractive appearance, it will lead the individual towards deterioration, and eventually, demise.
The lack of critical thinking will hinder the individual into advancing to the next stage of the learning process, which is the development of insight. Insight, in its sense, was the ability to deduce the end that is meant to be met, albeit the apparent distance from the current situation. The next and final stage is developing wisdom: the ability to devise a mean – a path using the obtained knowledge – towards meeting that end. Critical thinking is crucial into developing wisdom for the mind must see through all the options, while not limiting itself within its comfort zone.
Education is there to make an individual appreciate the diversity of people, of thoughts, of ideologies, of minds, of viewpoints, and of political experiences, in order to broaden one’s views and consideration and expand one’s list of choices. Indolence, on the other hand, does the opposite, and strips the individual of most of his choices. Indolence urges individuals to disregard what they cannot comprehend but also to just simply define them through their personal filters. They try to devise their own definitions to the things that they cannot comprehend over and over, in order to protect their own identity, ego, and pride, hence the hasty generalizations and false dichotomies.
In the first place, these logical fallacies are themselves illusion. Bending reality into one’s stubborn dualism is already a criticism of the self. This behavior creates standards with vague definitions, such as maturity, masculinity and femininity, for people to blindly follow and pursue. It compels individuals to only recognize reality and the acceptance through their self-imposed filters, impaired by their vanity and self-righteousness. With that, they could not escape and would be trapped in the constraints and limitations of their uncanny existence which limits them from perceiving things outside of their personal realm, thus failing to acquire what was needed on the final stage of learning. Education has lost most of its value after many missed the mark of capturing its essence.
What was that self-imposed filter?
The Filipinos were raised by the stories on which the protagonists were glorified and the antagonists petrified. They were told of the good characteristics of the protagonists alone as if they were immaculate and free of stains of sin and doubt, while at the same time got away from the responsibilities brought by their actions. We were never told of those stains, which were hidden from view, or we were just not keen to notice them. We were never told of the complications that may arise from having such characters.
They idealized the environment of their stories so that the actions of the protagonists would never cause the strings of the conscience being plucked and disturbed as the destructive ripples of their actions disappear in the backdrop. They, the protagonists, were made for a reason of inspiration, however, that inspiration took its roots from fantasy. They, the people inspired by those stories, were made blind to the realities of life. Many people were fooled by the illusion of always being the protagonists of their stories, of their lives, and of their destinies. They would always find petty reasoning rooted from their false sense of morality which was molded by their selfish preferences and filters: them being the center of everything and the thought of everything in the world revolving around them.
It is with that that they have never considered themselves of being the antagonists of others, even if in reality, they were actually the ones hindering progress and happiness. It takes courage and effort to have the individual snap out of his illusions. Indolence ensnares the individual with those illusions, hence comes stubbornness, selfish pragmatism, vanity, and narcissism, which are the hindering factors into achieving the progress of the human race, for these prevent collective and progressive actions.
As the body rejected the medicine, unwarranted effects were to be expected to the body. The antibodies may malign into removing vital cells that actually maintain the wellness of the body, mistaking it as the medicine or the virus itself for it exhibits a similar constitution. It will no longer be the education alone that would be depreciated.
A society is founded by some fundamental notions which serve as its foundation. If one of those notions were suddenly discarded or had lost its function, the remaining would carry the burden that it was initially supporting. If the society was designed to cater the current set-up, any form of instability would lead to failure. During the Filipino enlightenment in the 1800’s, a nation was conceived. But did we have a birth of a nation during our struggle for freedom? Or was our nation miscarried along the way? Everything was so messed up yet all still hang on a balance by a thin thread. Each of the fundamental aspects which serve as the foundation of society has a burden to carry. Remove one of them, the burden will be passed on to the rest. That would be the final push that will lead to the reign of chaos. An individual would not fathom a life without education.
What is the purpose of education in the first place? Why was it vital? A man seeks the purpose first before committing into something as a way of assurance that his efforts would not be vain. Paradox befalls to the individual as he inquires on the means of his enlightenment if that enlightenment brings the man to raise that question. Needless argumentation within the self will lead the individual to nowhere, therefore a universal resolution of finding the answer after commitment has become the essence of life. Indolence ensnares the individual to be stuck on that polemic, resulting to ineptitude.
The individual has to move forward. Although perfection is the one that is chased after, it was never the ideal. The higher order of things knew that perfection will lead to stagnation since the individual has already reached the ceiling or the pinnacle of life. The individual who achieved perfection no longer needs to move, stopping and putting an end to the creation and the intention of the Prime Mover. A question regarding the Existence of the Supreme Being cannot be raised if we ourselves cannot find the answer behind our very own existence, much more was finding the answer in the question of motives behind the movement of everything. That was how the living separated themselves from the non-living. Pursuit of perfection compels the individual to move forward to progress. Nature is not kind to those who fall behind. Humans are the current pinnacle of the marvels of evolution. Natural selection discards whatever was inferior, using the forces of nature.
Obtaining knowledge has been man’s way of coping with the forces of nature. To ensure his survival, the man seeks to know all the secrets of nature, so that he would not be caught unprepared on what it unleashes. The Christians thought of obtaining all knowledge as a way of fully knowing God and His intentions. The Muslims thought it as a way of fully extending the gratitude to Allah by making full of His creation. It is almost a sin to disregard knowledge and to live ignorant, from being part of the driven cattle, from being a burden to others, and from being a fool to everything.
Education extends its hand to the individual to lift him up and be on his feet. The individual, in turn, needs to reach its extended hand in order to reap its rewards, thus it is a two-way effort. As long as effort was given, education paves way for the individual to maximize and fulfill his potentials, to find the direction to his preferred happiness, to have the skills to pursue and contribute to progress, to recognize and respect the institutions which are fundamental to society, and to be true to our founding fathers who were indebted to education as it delivered the spring to our consciousness, thawing the frozen spirit of our nationalism which led to the conception of our nation.
With education terribly depreciated, ignorance became the common thing. Anything became anything. Pyrite became gold. The sun was believed to have risen from the west. Disorientation impairs the individual’s perception. Unsound traditions became the culture. The sins of the past were falsely glorified. Indolence was magnified generations after another. Ignorance, backed by indolence, can just pick on any fundamental institution where absurdity brought by ignorance turns that institution upside-down. The institution that took the full brunt of the fall of education and intellectualism was the one serving as the vanguard to others, the institution that kept things in order: the law.
Understanding the law was not encouraged, because it gave way into forming a profession which delivers huge profits. The should be understood in order to be accessed. Education assists the individual into understanding the law. However, with the depreciation of education, the feat becomes selective. The individual’s moral compass which can be easily impaired by the filters which was mentioned earlier became blinded by self-righteousness. Thinking and believing that it was beneficial to the self, the individual let self-righteousness fill the gap in place of the law itself. It then became the status quo as ego was satisfied with this kind of setting.
The law was further taken away from access, hidden from easy view and fenced around by perils. Vanity was incorporated to the law enforcers and lawyers, and now they see themselves as the law itself. They channeled the law’s goodwill into a tool of oppression.