Post for Dec 25-31 2011 (Tidbits and Nuggets)

TaN: “Subconscious words” reveal our real meaning, our real intentions, our real person.  “Subconscious words” are those that “escape or slip by our conscious mind’s effort to masquerade our true meanings”.  These are those words that reflect the true meaning or our real intentions that, if readers do not read or listeners do not hear “between the lines”, will escape notice.  These are the subtle meanings that usually “go undetected” unless one is specifically and deliberately “watching out” for them.

A good example would be the alleged – because this was only made known to me by a friend, therefore it is hearsay – “innocent” change of a single word in the Anti-Poverty campaign of the United Nations, from “eradication” to “alleviation” of poverty.  This seemingly “innocent and subtle” change has a tremendous implication on the strategy of the entire campaign.

“Eradication” means total removal or obliteration, whereas “alleviation” means reduction or mitigation.  On the one hand, applying this to the anti-poverty campaign, eradication would mean that poverty can be eliminated, that it is not essential, that the world can be rid of poverty and no one will be poor.  On the other hand, replacing “eradication” with “alleviation” means that it is being accepted that poverty is a “necessary evil” and that it is an unediable part of reality and that it can only be reduced but not annihilated.

The change in the terminology was not apparent but I would surmise that it was intentional, to veil or cover-up the realization that: (1) there was a time that there was only labor, there was no capital; (2) during those times, there was no wealth and so there was no poverty; (3) (since there was a time where there was no poverty) poverty had a beginning; (4) (logic or common sense tells us) anything that has a beginning must have an end; (5) wealth and poverty are relative, i.e., there is wealth only because there is poverty to provide contrast or a comparison; (6) like “where there are no masters, there are no slaves”, where there is no wealth, there will be no poverty; and, (7) if everyone is wealthy, then no one is wealthy – and the same goes for poverty.

Just given the above-mentioned premises, the logical conclusion will be: the only way to eradicate poverty is to eliminate wealth (or to wipe out poverty is to “wipe out” wealth).  To put this realization into “people” terms, this translates to “the only way to eliminate the poor, it can only be accomplished is to eliminate the rich”.  And, the rich are not ready to be “eliminated” – and it is doubtful that they will ever be “ready”.

But, going back to subtle or “subconscious” words, our choice of words give away our true intentions.  This is why it is important for people to use the correct words and to avoid idiomatic expressions – especially when people of different cultures and backgrounds will be recipients of these idiomatic expressions.  Not only will these expressions be sources of misunderstandings – and even of preventable conflicts and disagreements – but they may even be used to “hide” agendas and provide “loopholes” for unscrupulous parties to elude or escape negative or undesired consequences or “wom out” of duties and responsibilities (one, of which, is the aforementioned in this “TaN”).

TaN: The (relatively) recent expression of “Pay It Forward” traces its origins through numerous previous (re)incarnations – the very essence can be expressed in “An Act of Kindness is its own reward”.

It has been the predominant practice of “repaying” a good deed by reciprocating to the Good Samaritan the act of kindness generously given.  This concept and practice, in itself, is good.  However, it limits the acts of (random) kindness to only between the benefactor and the recipient; it seldom extends beyond them.

The recent rehash of “paying something forward” is intended to extend beyond the two parties and involve others, creating a ripple effect to all of humanity.  By “turning around” and doing something good to others – other than the benefactor-initiator of the (random) act – the benefits of the initial act of kindness spreads to others and starts a chain reaction to reach all mankind.  This way, the first act of kindness extends all the way to perpetuity.

Moreover, the original act of kindness is even given greater honor when the act of kindness is “passed on” to another “beneficiary” who deserves the act – instead of being “returned” to the benefactor.  Just as evil is contagious, so is good.  And, just like it takes more effort to frown than to smile, it takes more effort to do evil than to do good – not to mention that the reward is much greater.  [Remember: As in the principle of Karma, what goes around comes around.]

TaN: Tis the season for many of the more unethical and inconsiderate practices (in the Philippines) – e.g., abrupt and sporadic local street celebrations.  Here and at this time of the year, it is not uncommon for the streets to be used as a private (as birthdays and as wakes) – even public, as in by the local barangay – venues for various celebrations.  Although it is understandable that the less fortunate in life also has the right to happiness and to access to public services and facilities, the right does not include – much less extend to – obstructing the public’s right of way in a public thoroughfare.

I know I am risking a backlash and deluge of “hate reactions” and even anticipating threats of being excommunicated and ostracized but I really must object to the holding of Christmas parties and masses on the streets.  It is one thing to exercise one’s – individual or collective – rights of worship and of equal access to public service and facilities, but it should not be at the expense of another’s rights, even if the “another” is a single person against those of many.  This “habit” of Filipinos of occupying public space without regard to the inconvenience and the violation of other’s rights cannot and should never be condoned.  It not only borders on but even constitutes outright tyranny of the majority.

It is understood that the rights of the many outweigh that of the few but it does not mean or exempt the many, in their practice or exercise of their rights and their privileges, from respecting the rights of the few and ensuring that fairness and justice to all is observed.

In conclusion, people should always be considerate of others (and ot their rights) in the exercise of one’s right for it is inevitable that in the exercise of one’s rights, there will be conflicts with other people’s rights.  In the case of the street masses, I would think that God will not be pleased if we were, in the process of worshipping Him, cause inconvenience to and “trespass into” the rights of others who may not share the same faith or the same sentiments.

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