TaN: This being the Catholic Holy Week, it would be appropriate to discuss something about religious rites and practices that are or have become questionable in the passage of time. Among them are: Christmas and Epiphany or Feast of the Three Kings.
Christmas is a joke. If you do not know this by now, there is nothing that can be done for you anymore. From the onset, the date set for Christmas has already been wrong. It was set to “compete” with the Roman pagan religious rite of the Feast of the Unconquered Sun or Saturnalia (please see: http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/Christmas_TheRealStory.htm or http://www.historytoday.com/matt-salusbury/did-romans-invent-christmas or http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/calendar/saturnalia.html or any other source regarding Saturnalia). The Catholic Church “hijacked” the pagan rite for their own as the significance of the occasion apparently coincides with what the former values or wants to achieve or celebrate and continued the practices as if they were their own — the visiting of friends, the giving of gifts, the merrymaking, etc. In short, Christmas was invented by the ancient Romans, adopted by the Catholic Church, and “disguised” as an original holiday.
Feast of the Three Kings, on the other hand, (to some extent) used to make some sense. After a certain period of time has elapsed, three wise men from the East stumbled upon the Christ Child and paid homage. It was believed to be 12 days after the birth (which is the main reason behind the Christmas carol “12 Days of Christmas“) — i.e., from December 26 to January 6 — which is the Feast of the Epiphany or enlightened inspiration or realization. It was already wrong to assume that Jesus Christ was born in the winter because the Holy Scriptures described the scene with shepherds tending their flocks at night, which does not make sense if it were wintertime.
To make matters worse and stupid, the Feast of the Epiphany has now been changed into a movable feast, ending in the first Saturday of the new year. This would mean that the duration between Christmas and Epiphany varies through the years and this, in turn, implies that the journey of the wise men is not constant or consistent — sometimes they arrive sooner while others they arrive later. What kind of nonsense is this? Even a fool would realize and understand and question why the time duration between the birth of the Christ Child and the arrival and visitation of the wise men changes from year to year. Do you?
TaN: Totalitarianism or dictatorship, as a system, is not only the most efficient system of government but it is the system in Heaven. Totalitarianism is getting a bad reputation because of all the atrocities, abuses, corruption, and human rights violations committed by dictators. However, that is precisely the argument for and against totalitarianism as a form of government.
With a bad leader, totalitarianism is “hell on earth”, but with a good (benevolent) leader, totalitarianism can propel a society/country to the heights of utopia where people behave maturely and responsibly and all working together for the common good, surmounting all the odds that nature and the future can hurl against them.
The epitome of this would be Heaven, where God reigns supreme and His word is law. What He says goes, for there is no democracy in Heaven. No one gets to vote. Nothing is put to the vote in Heaven. There is no rule of the majority for God is the Majority. It is when there is a bad leader that totalitarianism brings out the worst in everything.
Just as shocking for most people to hear and learn, Jesus Christ is the first and only true communist and God is the best dictator.
So, do not go blaming systems for what are the follies and foibles and failures of man. Yes, that is man’s fault. We find it difficult to admit and accept our faults and failures. As has been written in the Holy Scriptures (in Matthew 7:3 or Luke 6:41 [KJV]): And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? One our most deadly sins: Pride.
TaN: Last week, there was a news article titled “Non-smoking is new norm worldwide — WHO” (dated Mar 25, 2015, by Sheila Crisostomo of The Philippine STAR). Though I have already maintained that there “ain’t no such animal” as “new norm”, let us — for argument’s sake — grant that there such a thing.
Now, this article is another vindication of what I have always maintained: That there are no people who are more intelligent than others — only less intelligent or really dumb — and that rich people are not wealthy because they are smarter but because their consumers are less intelligent or really dumb or stupid people.
My case in point for the first argument: no one is more intelligent. Since no person can know everything, there is bound to be many things other people know that we do not. Therefore, how is one to determine who is more intelligent. A person is more intelligent than another only in relative terms — i.e., relative to the specific field or sphere of knowledge that is being used as a measurement of the volume of knowledge and wisdom or expertise. Only in this sense that one can somehow “claim” to be more intelligent, but this is deceiving and self-serving and self-aggrandizement — mere one man’s folly, one’s futile and shameful attempt of self-importance where there is none.
The other case in point for the other argument: rich people are not smarter. People become wealthy (i.e., through engaging in commerce or business) only because people/consumers “give them money”. Like in my previous TaNs, people (should) pay for one of two reasons only: laziness and stupidity (or ignorance, though they are not the same).
There should be no other reason for profiting from others. If one does not know how or the methodology by which something is made, done, or otherwise came about, then one must “pay” for that knowledge, enlightenment, or service. This is the ignorant case. Then, after it has been demonstrated or revealed, one can go about it on their own the next time around.
However, if one is knowledgeable or capable but is just lazy, then one can pay for others to do it for them. This is the laziness case.
Finally, in the case of stupidity, after it has been revealed or demonstrated or taught and one is still incapable, then one must resign to having to pay repeatedly for something to be done for them. You pay for your stupidity or inability to comprehend and learn in order to be able to avoid keep paying repeatedly for it — unless, of course, if you have no intention of repeating it.
Now, how does this connect to the earlier or initial statement? Well, in the industrialized and more progressive countries, more and more people are quitting smoking — actually, as the saying goes: It is the cigarette that smokes, you are only the SUCKER! — the cigarette manufacturers have trained their sights on:
– the younger generation (because they are either usually not as informed or do not believe and think they are “indestructible or immune” or simply do not want to be told, as expected from a stereotypical teen-ager or kid),
– the poor (especially those who deny their economic status or are desperately (and mistakenly) trying to ape or mimic wealthy people), and
– those are still ignorant of the truth (because they are either not into what has happened in the last decade or so, do not have the means or opportunity or determination to avail of developments, or just plain mis-informed because they choose to believe the lies and trash propaganda still being shoved into their faces).
Big Tobacco is shifting to target non-traditional markets as well as to countries that are not so advanced or have not been “reached” by the latest in the dangers in smoking. These are good examples of instances where people exhibit less intelligence (because they are not being discerning enough) and who play right into the hands of unscrupulous Big Business and make them richer.
TaN: Backlogs in the judiciary system is a sign or reflection of incompetency in the people in the system — not the system — as well as the maturity and type of society or the community. Backlogs only mean that the justice system either cannot keep up with the volume of cases being filed, volume of cases resolved, and/or both.
In a mature and responsible society, backlogs in the judiciary does not happen. In the first place, the people in the judiciary would be competent and efficient, resolving and rendering verdict justly and speedily. Moreover, since people would be mature and responsible, cases or issues may not even reach the courts and, instead, be settled out of court — thereby mitigating or avoiding filing of cases and causing backlogs.
A society where the courts are “drowning” in (pending or unresolved) cases reflect and only show that people are so immature and irresponsible that they do not know or want to settle conflicts and disagreements amicably and mutually to the benefit of all. There are just too many people who are so stubborn and adamant on winning that they lose sight of what is important and precious — peace and harmonious relationship for all.
They will insist on nothing less than winning over the other party in the conflict. They fail to understand and appreciate the impermanence of the world around us, that all these will pass away and be forgotten. In the end, all the effort and time wasted on disagreements and conflicts will be for naught. All a futile effort for a moment of glory or triumph whose meaning is lost in eternity.
All these disagreements and conflicts only benefit those who depend on them for their own glory and self-interest — adding to their wealth and fame because they have won so-and-so many cases. All of them in vain for they will fade away, all is fleeting.
In the words of the late and eminent Dr Carl Sagan, in the video “A Pale Blue Dot“, 1994 (please read URL: http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/earth/pale-blue-dot.html), hopefully with permission and I quote:
“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there — on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.
The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that, in glory and triumph, they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner, how frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds.
Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the Universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.
The Earth is the only world known so far to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment the Earth is where we make our stand.
It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.” — Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994