Friday, July 4, 2014

Politics, religion, education and oligarchy

“The history of constitution making in our country was the preserve of the ilustrado, the elite because, as the reasoning goes, they are the experts. We now know it is not true. They may be good in grammar, how to articulate lofty thoughts, make laws – all – but little of what really matters to make society with varying interests work. We see all the traces today of the mistake of relying solely on experts.” [FROM A DISTANCE, Carmen N. Pedrosa, The Philippine Star, 29th June 2014]

The “ilustrado” – they were supposed to bring us prosperity? Hierarchy's unwritten rule, unfortunately, says: “see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil”? In short, politicians, the church, educators and oligarchy make up the elite class . . . and all of us that are part of the network – and together we’ve been running the country? The exception being Juan de la Cruz – and he had to suffer the folly?

“A prominent personality who built a reputation for integrity, only to sell to the highest bidder in his twilight years, reportedly said he had to make sure he would leave enough to ensure that his children would live in comfort when he's no longer around. I'm sure that attitude is not rare in this country. Such “public servants” are helped along by the weakness of our judicial system, which not only moves slowly but is also extremely vulnerable to political influence because, let's face it, members of the judiciary owe their appointments and promotions to the political establishment.” [Ana Marie Pamintuan, Remember ZTE (?), Sketches, The Philippine Star, 2nd July 2014]

Sadly, instead of stepping up to the plate of reality, we believe more of the same would turn the big ship that is PHL around? It is not about politics but good governance. It is not about religion but faith. It is not about education per se but producing citizens that are able to perform the tasks of a nation. It is not about oligarchy and our cacique masters but an egalitarian ethos that engenders creativity in the pursuit of the common good.

We are a failed nation not because this blog says so but it’s out in the open – i.e., we’re a witness to the collective outcome that our institutions have churned out? And it is not for lack of ideas; our “kuro-kuro” culture generates tons of them – except that we keep crying over spilt milk? “It’s not about the hand but how we play it.”

In other words, we have to grow up? “[T]here is a darker side to adolescence that, until now, was poorly understood: a surge during teenage years in anxiety and fearfulness. Largely because of a quirk of brain development, adolescents, on average, experience more anxiety and fear and have a harder time learning how not to be afraid than either children or adults. Different regions and circuits of the brain mature at very different rates. It turns out that the brain circuit for processing fear — the amygdala — is precocious and develops way ahead of the prefrontal cortex, the seat of reasoning and executive control. This means that adolescents have a brain that is wired with an enhanced capacity for fear and anxiety, but is relatively underdeveloped when it comes to calm reasoning.” [Why teenagers act crazy, Richard A. Friedman, The New York Times, 28th June 2014]

Why do we seem to be frozen in time? Is it because of too much religion and very little faith? Not surprisingly, Cardinal Tagle is calling us to examine our culture – as in misunderstanding our faith and what family is about? Neither time nor the world is at a standstill – and so even once invaders like Japan can be our friends? Indeed there are no rules, only principles? If former enemies can be friends why can’t we live the principle – that is, to look at the future instead of the past? Is it because of too much religion that we seem to live in the past – that progress or science is bad, for example? And we wonder why beyond the jeepney we have nothing to show? And why were the Jews told to toss 300 tenets and embrace The Great Commandment? 

Translation: We are adolescents because we haven’t learned to prioritize beyond family – aka “crab mentality”? The evidence: we can’t put up a modern airport; we can’t put up such basics as power and roads and bridges – etcetera – yet we haven’t managed land use either while abusing the environment and denuding our forests? What more of industry which takes more doing? In short, we haven't prioritized and erected the building blocks of an economy and a nation! But we proudly ensured that our children would live in comfort? See above re “public servants.”

And yet because of our fatalism we believe we are today’s Asia’s economic miracle? We are amongst the least developed nations in the region that investors are looking at us. But that doesn’t mean they will bet on us. The PHL ecosystem cannot handle heavy investments, if we can attract them in the first place – the collective outcome that our institutions have churned out? When there are “no tracks, bullet trains are inutile.” Even in the US northeast where they considered a bullet-train system between Washington DC and Boston, they couldn’t do it because the tracks were primitive.

Until our institutions reboot or reset PHL, we shall be confined in the cellar – left in the dark ages?

No comments:

Post a Comment