Saturday, October 12, 2013

“Willful blindness”

That’s from Margaret Heffernan’s latest book, “Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril.” [] “She argues that the biggest threats and dangers we face are the ones we don't see – not because they're secret or invisible, but because we're willfully blind. She examines the phenomenon . . . and asks: What makes us prefer ignorance? What are we so afraid of? And how can we change? Examining examples of willful blindness in the Catholic Church . . . Nazi Germany . . . and the dog-eat-dog world of subprime mortgage lenders, the book demonstrates how failing to see—or admit to ourselves . . . the issues and problems in plain sight can ruin . . . and bring down [institutions.]”
Indeed, how can we change? How can we change when our knee-jerk is: "wala tayong magagawa; ganyan talaga”? Not surprisingly, Rizal had to turn to the Filipino youth. To the Philippine Youth: Hold high the brow serene, O youth, where now you stand; Let the bright sheen Of your grace be seen, Fair hope of my fatherland!
Fast-forward to today. Francis hasn’t stopped airing his views about change: Pope, in New Interview, Vows to Change Vatican Mentality, The New York Times, 1st Oct 2013. “Pope Francis has promised to do everything in his power to change the Vatican's mentality, saying in an interview published on Tuesday that it was too focused on its own interests . . . In the long interview with the atheist editor of the left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper, he said too many previous popes in the Church's long history had been "narcissists" who let themselves been flattered by their "courtier" aides.”
"The (papal) court is the leprosy of the papacy," said Francis, who has brought a new style of openness, consultation and simplicity to the papacy. The interview, conducted last week in the pope's spartan residence in a Vatican guest house, appeared as he began a three-day, closed-door meeting with eight cardinals from around the world to help him reform the Vatican's troubled administration, known as the Curia.”
“There are some "courtiers" among the Curia's administrators, he said, but its main defect is that it is too inward-looking. “It looks after the interests of the Vatican, which are still, in large part temporal interests. This Vatican-centric vision neglects the world around it and I will do everything to change it," he said. . . . Francis said the eight cardinals he had chosen to make up his advisory board did not have selfish motives. “They are not courtiers but wise people who are inspired by my same feelings. This is the start of a Church with an organization that is not only vertical but also horizontal," he said.”
“Speaking of his personal faith, Francis said: "A Catholic God does not exist... "I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my master and my pastor, but God, the father ... is the light and the creator. This is my being . . . In the interview, the Argentine pope said that on the night fellow cardinals elected him in the Sistine Chapel on March 13, before formally accepting, he had asked to go to an adjoining room to be alone. "My head was completely empty and a great anxiety came over me. To make it go away and relax I closed my eyes and every thought went away, even that of not accepting, which the liturgical procedures permitted," he said . . . On September 19, Jesuit journals published a landmark interview with Francis in which he said the Catholic Church must shake off an obsession with teachings on abortion, contraception and homosexuality and become more merciful.”
Is Juan de la Cruz willfully blind or is he capable of change – especially when the elite class is calling the shots? How does he learn to be outward-looking? And how does he learn about a horizontal as opposed to a hierarchical system and structure? At every level of society we are expected to define patriotism – and even a booming economy – with deference to our cacique masters? And then we turn around to champion “inclusive growth” via our favorite CSR programs and/or charity efforts? Every high school kid, from Economics 101, knows that investment is fundamental; and we lag in investments especially compared to our neighbors – by design to protect our cacique masters? How and where will inclusive growth come from – more so that we are perpetuating subservience? Reads a Philippine Daily Inquirer (2nd Oct) article about our tycoons: "If only the government would show them back some love." And compare that to an ABC (2nd Oct) news item: "Major Microsoft investors want Bill Gates out as Chairman." And Gates is more than the wealthiest American, he is behind the office/business-productivity revolution that defied even quantum leap and in more ways than one generated wealth across continents and reduced poverty worldwide? What about our tycoons – they preserved, protected and defended oligarchy that turned us into investment and economic laggards? And we are all in bed with them?

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