TaN: It is commendable that people in conflict can put aside their differences and animosities and come together – united – during disasters and calamities (insurgents and government forces). My question now is, why does it have to take calamities and disasters for people to become concerned, compassionate, empathic, altruistic and philanthropic, self-sacrificing, and involved? Why can we not be that way every day?
It is sad that people must first suffer before others will bring forth or show their goodness and kindness. It is incomprehensibly disheartening why misery and calamities must be pre-requisites for people to be compassionate.
Furthermore, what is most confounding is countless people in the Typhoon Haiyan-devastated areas so elated that their boxer won the latest match and are not a bit worried nor show some concern over their plight and of their neighbors.
This only shows the degree of maturity of people which will only show during and under extreme conditions where one’s principles and values are truly tested. It is really inconceivable that people were more concerned whether their boxer wins his match than their misery and the devastation. It makes me hesitate whether they are worth helping at all but my beliefs and values dictate that I must overlook their moment of weakness for they are but products or victims of weak or incorrect upbringing and a society terribly gone wrong.
TaN: The richest in the world – at least according to news reports and releases – can only offer condolences, compassion, prayers, and $150,000? (source: http://www.mb.com.ph/vatican-donates-150000-to-yolanda-victims/; by Leslie Ann Aquino, dated Nov 12, 2013). Moreover, it is reported (in: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/336395/news/world/papal-mass-on-sunday-to-take-up-2nd-collection-for-yolanda-victims; dated Nov 21, 2013) that there will be a second collection in a Vatican mass and that “…Pope Francis himself may decide how the donations will be distributed for the benefit of the Filipino people“.
I can be wrong in my perception but I believe that the Vatican (or the Catholic Church) is the richest entity since forever – remembering to consider the priceless paintings, art and historical objects, global properties, and the tax-exemptions on numerous properties and items. And they are even asking people to donate. It is not as if they have very little money or they give the donated sum in the names of the true donors.
I would like to clarify that I am not singling out the Catholic Church because many so-called foundations of mega corporations who are doing exactly the same thing – using the donations of good people as if the money came from foundations when in truth they are but conduits but the beneficiaries will have the mis-impression that the aid came from the foundations.
Please, if we really and sincerely want to help, don’t impose pre-conditions or requirements – JUST GIVE! (Of course, the only exception would be if the donor would require anonymity.)
TaN: Being an opportunist is not (necessarily) a bad thing. In the strictest sense of the definition, all living things are opportunists – we take advantage of what is available, all in the name of the two basic or prime directives of life: survival/self-preservation or continued existence and survival of the species or procreation.
Like what has been explained in the previous posts, only man can be good or bad and nothing else – because only man has been given the precious gift of free will. It is how we take advantage of the opportunity that will determine whether it is a good or a bad thing – what did we do with that opportunity.
Another thing about opportunity is many do not know how to recognize it. Many do not realize that opportunities come in many a forms – the most common of which is a crisis. Many look upon crisis as an omen of retribution, as an ordeal, as a sign of the revenge of karma. In truth and on a positivist point of view, a crisis presents itself as an opportunity for us to change, adapt and adopt, learn through actual experience what life is throwing at us.
Opportunity should be considered as a chance provided by life for us to change the course of our “destiny”, to get out of the “rut” we have been going through. With some slight tweaking, we can apply the wise advice, Carpe Diem (Seize the day).
TaN: We only remember those – things, events, ideas, memories – that we like or those that are traumatic. Even though the brain has the (incredibly unbelievable and mind-staggering) capacity to record and store every moment of our lives (visual, aural, tactile, olfactory, and gustatory), its nature is to “remember” only the significant ones. It “defines” significant as either frequently recurring (ergo, it must be important) or traumatic (either happy or tragic times).
The remarkable capacity of the brain to record everything can be deduced from instances such as when someone suffering from (congenital) hydrocephalus and, after the water has been drained after birth and even with a tiny fraction of the brain remaining in the cranial cavity (because its growth was stunted by the presence of water) still exhibits astounding prowess. Such individuals go through life as if nothing happened, capable to living normal lives and do everything any person is capable of – notwithstanding contracting some kind of illness that will incapacitate one’s capabilities.
The brain regard anything frequently recurring as important (by its very nature of being repetitive) and this is the basis for advertisements being short bursts but repetitive – to ensure that people remember them. As for traumatic moments, it is obvious why the brain considers them important (by their nature of having a great impact). These usually either impart important lessons or bring joy by their recollection.
Because it would be impractical and a great burden for the brain to retrieve each and every moment it has recorded so it “archives” most of it – especially the bad and mediocre memories – and keeps the ones that will make it feel good or be useful in a “current” storage for easy and fast retrieval. This is partially the reason why we are selective in our memory recall. When new “feel good” or traumatic events come in, it makes room by relegating some of the “less often recurring” or resolved traumatic events to “deep storage”.
However, it is said that one’s whole life will flash before one’s eyes upon death so this would suggest that the brain “unlocks” all memory stores and “dumps” or unravels them for “inventory and assessment” and accounting of one’s life. At this point, every moment of our lives will be recalled and we shall be made to account for each moment – not only the ones that we (selectively) “remember”. Until then, our brains continue to filter moments in our lives that it “values” so as to create an atmosphere of coherence that is consistent to what it feels is beneficial to the self.