TaN: Father’s Day (this weekend) reminds me of Mother’s Day last month, which made me realize how shameless and without the slightest tinge of dignity Big Business (in the form of Marketing) hijacked and commandeered the noble and beautiful notion and commercialized it — turning it/them into the deplorable for-profit events. Instead of giving appropriate and sincere honor and appreciation to the selflessness of our parents, we have permitted Big Business to dictate unto us how we are to celebrate, show gratitude, and give thanks to them. We have given in to consumerism — that if we did not spend on some products and services being unabashedly peddled, we somehow (and according to the standards established by Big Business on how we express our “sincere” love and gratitude) do not love our parents, that we can only show our love and gratitude through purchasing (their) products and services.
And I am not confining it to these two occasions but to all good-intentioned and well-meaning dates — such as Christmas Day (must buy gifts), New Year’s Eve (must buy fireworks and round fruits), birthday (will give free or extra or discount on something for a party of so-and-so many people, birthday cakes), day of the dead (in most Asian countries, must buy flowers, candles, incenses, paper money, tomb buntings, etc), and St Valentine’s Day (must buy flowers, chocolates or sweets, jewelry and/or eat out), just to name a few.
All these dates of significance are founded on good intentions: to honor and show appreciation and gratitude to our parents, to our Creator, to our friends, to our loved one/s, to welcome the beginning of a new cycle. But they have been “commercialized” and offered up to the altar of the god of Big Business — greed. And we, wittingly or unwittingly, permit ourselves to be offered up in sacrifice by indulging ourselves, by giving in to the dictates of Big Business — i.e., to purchase and consume irresponsibly and unsustainably, to discard after a single use (many a times, not even maximizing the utility or consumption of whatever we purchased), to mindlessly mistake or accept our wants as our needs (in order that profits flow in/to Big Business).
Whatever we get or experience from obeying the dictates of Big Business — which is often not good or beneficial to us — is of our own making, our conscious decision, with our consent. We deserve everything we get, as a consequence.
TaN: No person’s dearh is untimely. As it has been said, Our time of death is pre-set at the moment of our birth. It is not true that we can affect our date with death — for only God can extend or shorten one’s life. The only thing we can do is determine how we want to go — when it is our time to go.
No one meets an untimely death. This can be evidenced from the numerous and varied accounts of both people “escaping from death’s deadly embrace” or has been cut short (by some unforseen and unfortunate “twist of fate”).
We have heard instances of parachutes failing to open as the parachutist plunges from hundreds of feet up in the air, of people who are sole survivors from a vehicle that careened off a steep and sharp curve on a mountain road, or even of the oft-cited miracle of the Philippine Herald journalist Nestor Mata (who was the only survivor of the March 16, 1957 airplane crash that took everybody else’s life who rode with the late, much-loved and admired President Ramon Magsaysay).
And, on the other extreme and even as today, we constantly hear and read about people we know or well-known personalities who passed on unexpectedly — as in the case of celebrities such as Michael Jackson (King of Pop), Keith Ledger (Joker of Batman), Whitney Houston (of The Bodyguard and singer), Princess Diana (UK monarchy), Francis Magalona (Philippine rap singer), Rudy Fernandez (Philippine movie actor), Rico Yan (Philippine rising actor), the children in the ill-fated Korean ferry, the passengers of the “doomed” Malaysian airliner MH370, and even the victims of mass shootings. Most view them as people who were “too young” to die, yet how are we to know whether their time has already come to leave us and this temporal world.
Or, as in the celebrated story regarding Edgar “the sleeping prophet” Cayce and the elevator incident. He was at the head of a line about to get on the elevator that was going down and stopped at their floor; he stepped in and backed out immediately, causing the people behind him to bunch up and bump into him from the back. He let the elevator closed and the cab plunged all the occupants to their death. When the people asked what happened and, because he said he knew the elevator was going to crash and kill all inside it, why he did not warn the people inside, he was said to explain, There is nothing I could do to prevent their death because what I saw were just empty bodies, their souls have left their bodies, the elevator dropping to kill them was only a formality.
So, given these instances, one cannot really say that the death of someone whom we did not expect to die and especially when they are still young and at the prime of their life that their death was untimely. It was their time.
TaN: Free is not free — at least not in today’s commercialiized consumerism society. The common understanding of “free” is that it costs nothing or anyone and everyone can avail without prejudice or encumbrance. This is misleading, especially when you look at the terminology of the definition.
To take a closer and more untainted look, today’s definition of “free” is most often taken in the context of money, that anything not having monetary value or cannot be measured or expressed in terms of money is deemed to be free. In truth, free means there are no obligation or mandate; no requirement for an exchange or reciprocity of any sort, to give back for what was received or taken “freely”.
To be literal about it, nothing is truly free. There is always something to be given up as “payment” for what was received or taken. When we take a fruit from a tree somewhere in a forest in public land, the fruit is not free although we did not pay for it. The payment is to disperse the seeds (as we discard them aliong the wayside) so the tree’s “offsprings” will spread. When we take a breath of oxygen, we give back carbon dioxide. We cannot take in oxygen without giving out something in exchange.
Therefore, there is give and take everywhere and in everything we do. Even as we live, someone or something else must die. As we eat to sustain our life, we take the life of another — except for fruits, we kill animals and plants (leafy vegetables) for food.
TaN: If (according to the Fundamental Law of Physics & Thermodynamics) matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed — but just transformed — then the universe should only be moving (or expanding and transforming) but not growing, as in creating new and more matter and energy. All matter and energy today (and before) will be the same in the future. There will not be more matter or less matter, more energy or less energy, only “re-arranged or re-formulated” celestial bodies and cosmic energies.
It has often been said that new stars are constantly being created while old stars are constantly dying but this is not quite accurate. It gives a mistaken impression that stars are constantly coming into existence and disappearing into nothing constantly, which implies that new matter is created and old matter are destroyed. If this were literally true, it would be contradicting the fundamental law of matter and energy.
Therefore, it is more correct to say that new stars are constantly being re-arranged and re-formed from matter dispersed into the “emptiness” of cosmic space by exploding stars, novas, and “white” holes.
In addition, another problem posed by an ever-expanding universe — restricted by the law on conservation of matter and energy — is what is pushing or driving the expansion? If it is assumed that the force or energy from the Big Bang is powering the expansion and considering all the time elapsed since the event, there seems to be no sign of slowing down. On the contrary, it is said that the rate of expansion is even increasing.
This would mean that either the universe has not yet reached its “intended” radius (so it is still accelerating) or the so-called dark matter or dark energy (which is believed and accepted to make up almost all of the “empty space” between celestial bodies) offers almost no resistance or may even provided propulsion to (which would mean the expansion would continue indefinitely).
Finally, in the case of the latter (i.e., the dark matter or dark energy), it would also imply that dark matter or dark energy would be constantly increasing — i.e., “being created”. And this would run counter to the fundamental law of conservation of matter and energy unless the law applies only to the “positive” and the “negative” (i.e., dark matter and dark energy) are exempt.