[last-minute insertion] TaN: In an interview aired on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares, it would appear that the government is more interested in ensuring it achieve its target collection rather than the welfare of the taxpayers. It does not bode well for the President that his appointee regards financial income for the government as more important than the people’s welfare — even if she is the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue, agency tasked with generating income for the government.
And to think that her background is economics (I think), she should realize that having the law implemented just in time for the 13th-month pay is a win-win situation. Where the deferrment of the passing of the law ensures that the government (supposedly) meets its collection target, an implementation of the law not only benefits the working — rather, toiling — masses, the tax collected (i.e., VAT, etc) will still mean income for the government. Besides, the good Commissioner seems to forget that the government does not exist to “compete” with business in generating income but instead to ensure that the playing field is level for all players.
I understand that the government needs funds to function, but it should not be the end-all, after all government exists to serve the people and not make their lives more miserable. It is that time of the year where the less affluent relies on their 13th-month pay to have some semblance of a life worth living and the good Commissioner will put government before them — they whom the greatest part of government revenue comes from.
TaN: As another rejoinder to an earlier TaN blog, I further realized just recently that not only are we hypocrites in pledge or attestation to belief or faith in God during meal times but it should extend to encompass everything we do or think. Earlier, I said that when we say grace (or pray before meals) expressing our gratitude to what have been given — i.e., the food laid before — us, it dawned on me that the food is but one little aspect of what was given so generously and selflessly to us by the Creator.
When we express our gratitude to a benefactor for a gift, we best show it by our actions and not mere lip service — the latter is insulting and an utter deception. Treasuring — which includes taking good care of and appreciating — what was given is the only sign of gratitude and not the words “Thank you”. “Thank you” merely acknowledges receipt of the gift and does not even imply that the gift was received in good condition.
In the case with God, He (literally) gave us everything — all that we need and more. And He is not asking for anything in return. And how do we should our gratitude? We pollute the land, air, and waters. We mow down the forests and clear vast tracts of lands — to satisfy our greed (for wealth). We dig up the ground for things that was kept away from us because of the potential harm they can cause us — but are essential to the equilibrium of all creation. We squander the precious finite resources (as if they are boundless) and create (literally) mountains of waste — and not just simple biodegradable ones, but those that not only cause havoc of the environment and the ecosystem but a myriad of long-lasting non-biodegrable poisons.
Moreover, God gave us each other and we should our gratitude by exploiting others, subjugating and enslaving them, abusing and molesting them, debasing and insulting them, alienating and discriminating against them, dehumanizing and maltreating them, taking advantage of others’ innocence or ignorance, robbing and deceiving and cheating and defrauding them, and experimenting on others — to name but a few.
The present sorry state of the environment — the epidemics, environmental destruction and degradation, and climate change — is testament to how much we mean the words we pray to God in gratitude for all He has given us. Do not limit our manifestation of our gratitude to the Lord for all He has done and given us to the miniscule act of giving thanks during mealtime — and often do not even really mean them by leaving so much good food wasted. Our thanks should extend beyond the dinner table and should permeate all acts we do.
TaN: Yet another rejoinder to earlier TaNs — the original intent of engaging in business has given way and been hijacked by what has been foretold and warned in 1 Timothy 6:0 [KJV]…beware “For the love of money is the root of all evil…”. In the past, many centuries ago, business produced goods to provide comfort and a better life of others and the compensation is but a token of appreciation for the concern and labor. Innocation and improvement are what fuels competition and consumers are the beneficiaries. Products became better and better — if the business wanted to survive and prosper.
Today, competition in business no longer bring about better products. Instead and in fact, the products become worse — which reminds me of a profound and painfully truthful epiphany that was intended to be a joke, Progress is the continuing process of making things As Good As They USED TO BE. Competition in business in modern times is principally (and often based solely) on ingeniously clever and deceptive marketing campaigns and advertising. The quality (or necessity) of the product is no longer of importance. In fact, some products are downright narcissistic. Instead, it is all about media hype or how well the product can be pushed onto the unthinking and gullible consuming public using the latest and most sophisticated human psychological techniques and findings.
Remember the recently-revealed and -admitted that certain online social media giants have — wittingly or not, with their full cooperation or otherwise — participated in and in cooperation with some USA intelligence agency an experiment. The experiment was to determine how well and much can netizens of social media can be manipulated using fabricated and actual news. It was intended to find out how the sentiments, opinions, and behavior of people can be manipulated towards a desired end.
This is a primary reason behind the confusion regarding conflicting results when people continue to do what they used to do but are getting different results. This is exactly exact business currently is relying on to profit. Some exemplary cases in point are coffee, yogurt, and personal vanity products.
Coffee: Studies have repeatedly shown that coffee is healthful — with all its antioxidants. Using this, business markets instant (powdered) coffee — which are devoid of antioxidants — and value-added combined coffee products (such as 3-in-1, 4-in-1, 5-in-1, 6-in-1,and even 7-in-1). Consumers fail to understand that it is only coffee that is healthful and not coffee with so many toxic and unhealthy ingredients added. As to the plain instant coffee, it is not coffee anymore but powdered coffee. The two are not the same so do not expect to get the same health benefits. Coffee, to be healthy, must not only be raised or grown the way nature does but should also be consumed in the manner it was first consumed.
Yogurt: Studies have (likewise) repeatedly shown that yogurt are healthful — with all its active living enzymes, vitamins, minerals, good bacteria, and many other healthful nutrient contents. However, business — to “spice up” and add value — comes up with flavored yogurt. Now, flavored yogurt is not bad, especially if the added ingredient/s are also healthful, but the flavoring are all artificial, which are not only unjealthy but frequently outright carcinigenic. Moreover, since yogurt has a short shelf-life, business adds artificial (not even natural) preservatives to ensure and delay degradation. Yogurt is healthful only if made fresh — and from fresh raw milk. Processed milk will have lost most, if not all, of its healthful nutritive contents. In fact, processed milk is the main, if not a very significant contributory, cause of the global epidemic of obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and many other lesser known lifestyle diseases. But, like coffee, it guarantees (modern) business a lot of profits.
Personal vanity products (like hair care and skin care): These are pure vanity and should not have any place in our lives. They provide no substantial (but mere superficial and shallow) benefits and are a complete waste of attention — even for those who claim to gain psychological benefits. Vanity products do not confer any benefit but mere momentary (because the consumer must repeatedly purchase the product to maintain and sustain the “benefit”), self-deceptive (because the consumer can only obtain the “benefits” through self-deception or convincing oneself that there are benefits), and hazardous (because the chemicals are often toxic and even carcinogenic as well as mutagenic). Most vanity problems are rooted in emotional insecurities and immaturities that were not adequately provided during the growing years and it is these that must be addressed — and not some flimsy, cockamame product that business is pushing.
Truly, business nowadays is completely and absolutely different and opposite of what it was originally. In fact, the so-called “business” in these times have absolutely no right to make such a claim — it is not business and has no business referring to itself as business. True business has (genuine) CRS or corporate social responsibility not only ingrained but is at the very foundation of its existence — to serve man and work with (NOT AGAINST) nature or the environment.
TaN: More and more never-before seen and discovered life forms are appearing but this does not mean that they never existed before. In truth, most, if not all, of man’s so-called biochemical and chemical “creations” have long been existing in nature even before man first appeared on this planet.
Take the case of plastics, which was supposed to have been (accidentally) “discovered”. Did you know that plastics — the ones that we claim to have (accidentlally) “created” — can be found naturally in nature (and are created and de-created consistently and constantly somewhere every moment). The only problem is that they are just not that abundant and for good reason. As can be evidenced by the environmental headache/s and crises currently experienced (almost) everywhere (when plastics are involved), especially in the industrialized and the “industrializing” nations — in terms of disposal and health impacts — it makes very good sense that God made sure that plastics are not that easy “to come by” naturally.
Another case are trans fats, which are supposed to be a recent “creation” and discovery by health and nutrition experts and authorities but soon after it was revealed that there are natural trans fats and man-made ones. Why is this significant? According to authorities and experts, natural trans fats are not unhealthy but man-made ones are. Again, it would appear that it has something to do with and could be explained by chiral or stereochemistry — where mirror molecules are when substances are identical chemically but the properties exhibited can be worlds apart, like carbon in coal and diamonds.
If you consider the age of the universe (according to science) and factor in the permutations of chemical reactions throughout the millennia, what do you think are the chances that the particular combination required to produce plastics would have occured? Before man has even an inkling of what to invent or “create” chemically, nature has done it countless of times even before man appeared, so let us not be so pre-sumptious and smug as to claim that we created anything at all. And, in relation to this, where now is the validity or credibility of patents and intellectual property rights?
TaN: Vox populi, vox Dei — the voice of the people is the voice of God — is true only in ideal settings. Though it may be true that the sentiments of the people are what God (may) want, it is becoming debatable, especially in the light of the recent developments in social media, in business and marketing, in contemporary and predominant politics, in (USA) global intelligence and security — the NSA (National Security Agency), the GCHQ (Goverment Communications HeadQuarters), the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency), the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation)…
In social media, there are the recent revelations that certain dominant Internet technology and social media giants have covertly trying to conduct studies on how people can be influenced by manipulating and controlling what they receive from the Net. There have been several attempts to determine how people’s sentiments and behavior can be changed or “herded” towards a desired outcome (please refer to: http://naturalnews.com/z045892_Facebook_mind_games_social_experiments.html and http://naturalnews.com/z045911_Facebook_mind_control_research_experiments.html and http://naturalnews.com/z043827_Facebook_artificial_intelligence_surveillance_technology.html).
In business and marketing, it is incumbent today that business should find ways to “encourage and persuade” consumers to patronize and purchase their products and services, regardless of how useless, worthless, and harmful they may be — to themselves, to society, to the environment. You see this all around you. Everywhere business is trying to make as much profit as possible and often using whatever it takes, especially those managed by people with no or pretend to have ethics.
In contemporary and predominant politics, through corruption of the people (like offering bribes under the guise of public service, incentives, celebrations, etc), the people’s sentiments can be manipulated and toyed with towards a personal agenda. This is often seen during elections, especially in immature societies and people with poor or misplaced values, like mistaking complicity or conspiracy with camaraderie or friendship.
In (USA) global intelligence and security, public perception and opinion can be manipulated in many ways, among them is orchestrating a terrorist act so as to have a reason to deprive or lessen rights (like creating a fake attack or even a series of “failed/foiled” bomb attacks in order that the public will accept checkpoints and otherwise uncalled for searches). To-date, there have been no significant (terror) attack in the United States of America and yet all the “precautions” are still in place, like airport body scanners and random searches, which are clear signs of violations of an individual’s right to privacy and against scrutiny.
So many things are being done today in the name of public safety and security and yet terrorism and violence only seem to escalate, with no relief or end in sight. So much for Vox populi, vox Dei.
TaN: Just as written in the Holy Scriptures, that aside from the sin of commission is the sin of omission, we are born into this reality for a specific purpose — and it is up to us to discover what it is. The first and foremost is, of course, to serve and obey God, whereas the second is to serve each other — but the first and second are actually the same because to serve each other is to serve God and to serve God is to serve each other. For it is wirten that Jesus taught us that: What we do the least among us, we do to Him. So, to serve each other is to serve God. And serving God is to serve man because it is what He commanded and required of us — to be worthy of Him.
To serve each other — and by extension we are serving the Lord — we achieve this in two ways: direct and indirect. Direct service is when our actions directly impact others, such as tending to the sick and physical assistance to people in need (like helping them up, carrying things for or with them, etc). Indirect service is through innovations and inventions — by coming up with ways and devices that can uplift the quality of life of and for others (and not expecting reciprocity or gaining anything in return). Selfless acts of kindness and generosity is the stuff of philanthropic and altruistic deeds.
Because many of us do not want to be a burden to others, most of our service to others are indirect. We try not to be a burden to others and, instead, try to provide some kind of service or assistance to alleviate or provide relief to society in general and not to any specific individual.
In our service there are two cardinal or primary directives we have been tasked to continuously and consistently achieve or perform are (1) not to do bad/evil and (2) must do good as well. Between the two, normally not doing evil is more important than doing good — i.e., to return to health, it is better to avoid eating the wrong foods than to eat the right foods because the good will simply be negated by the bad, whereas not eating the wrong foods without eating the right foods permits the body to begin the healing process (because our bodies have the innate ability to recover if it is given the chance). Another case in point is when a patch of land that has been damaged by human activities (like deforestation or lake poisoning) will return to its former state if man leaves it alone for time and nature do their work.
However, in our case, it is not enough to just avoid doing evil. For it is written in the Holy Scriptures that belief without works are empty. In truth, belief is enough but it depends on our definition. Most people define belief as just thoughts and words and that action is an entirely separate animal.
In God’s definition — which is the true definition — belief implies and should be accompanied by action to reinforce and exhibit or support the assertion of belief. After all, how can one say one believes if one does not likewise act.
In summary, our existence in this world is likened to a screening phase where we prove to God that we are worthy to be with Him in His Kingdom. To achieve this, we not only avoid evil but likewise do good deeds.
TaN: In the recent spate of political circuses of accusing and counter-accusing in the public forum as to the corruption of so-and-so and to the wrongdoings of whoever, it is expected that every accused will cry politics. It is easy to get involved and carried away with all the emotions but one must always remember that, regardless of whether politics is involved or if there is malice, the important question is: Are the allegations true?
Moreover, even if it is true that the timing of the accusations and allegations are highly suspicious, the question remains the same. Are the accusations and allegations true? If you do not want to be the target of demolition jobs, do not do anything that gives your detractors “ammunition” against you. Lead a righteous life.