[another last-minute insertion] TaN: In today’s (Aug 28) news in The Philippine STAR (titled “Teachers asked to wear politically neutral shirts“, by Roel Pareño), I do not know if I should feel insulted or not. All this politically-sensitive and -neutral and -correct bovine ordure is really getting to the point of absurdity. It has revived racism and racial disparity, promotes discrimination, and encourages people to be prejudiced and be suspicious of others.
It is insulting to think that I am being regarded as someone who possesses no ability for discernment and who cannot or do not have any mind of my own. So what if other people have a preference for a specific candidate who happens to be different from mine. This is a clear case of an attempt to suppress freedom of expression.
Just because I am an academician does not necessarily mean that my choice or preference is correct and that people will be so easily swayed into my candidate. You are entitled to your pick and so am I to mine.
Moreover, what makes academicians so special that they have to be singled out to “remind” them to be politically neutral. Does being an academician automatically mean that one gives up or cedes one’s right to express one’s opinion? It is only an opinion. Others can take it or leave. Expression of a personal choice does not compel others to give up theirs.
Or are they afraid that when people are permitted and even encouraged to express their opinions that the certain (potential) candidates will get wise to the sentiment of the (voting) population and may engage in scheming nefarious plots this early to ensure victory at the polls (next year)? And while we are on this line of argument, at what point does expression of one’s choice become a “threat” — if it can be considered a threat at all?
[last-minute insertion] TaN: In the recent financial (market) crisis, mainly in China and the United States of America, I reiterate that it is foolish to continue to believe in the fallacy of unlimited or perpetual economic growth. In a world where things are finite, it is illogical and insane to believe that economies — i.e., the way conventional economists and financial experts wrongly and stubbornly cling to — will continue to grow and expand forever. The most recent proof is China. Its rapid growth is bound to slow down and eventually and inevitably grind to a halt.
Moreover, all this is largely because capitalists and Big Business arrogantly insist and persist in arguing and arrogantly maintaining the belief that “infinite goods and commodities can come from finite resources”. They fail — deliberately or not — to understand (or better still, comprehend) this simple and fundamental truth or reality. Referring once again to the China model, economies cannot be expected — because it would simply be foolish — to expand and grow. Instead, economies should be sustainable…and I mean the true definition or concept of sustainable and not the rubbish and twisted kind that most capitalist economists and globalists are stubbornly pushing.
True sustainable economies are based on producing goods and commodities responsibly. This means that the raw materials and natural resources should be from (unconditionally) renewable sources and production should be just slightly above what can be consumed, with the least possible waste generated — in terms of waste during the gathering of raw materials, to production, and all the way to consumption and terminal disposal — and any excess or unsold or unconsumed goods can and will (only then) be “exported” or shared with those outside of the community.
Producing goods and commodities primarily for export or sale to outside the (local or domestic) community is a major cause of environmental degradation and is unsustainable. It is likewise the reason for extreme climate and responsible for our misery and poverty. It is immoral to produce goods for others because it deprives the local community the opportunity to enjoy its benefits and consumption. Let them produce their own. We should share only what is in excess.
Moreover, deliberately overproducing with the intention of ensuring that there will be (plenty of) excess for sharing with others, especially something as trivial as profit (read: export) is unconscionable and unforgivable and unjustifiable (in terms of damage to the environment and natural resources).
Finally, it is sad that people just never seem to learn (from past lessons) — or perhaps they refuse to, for as they say: “None are as blind as those who refuse to see” and “The most difficult to wake are those pretending to be asleep“. And in conclusion, it is never truer that “Those who forget (or refuse to acknowledge) the past are doomed to repeat it (or become victims).”
TaN: The SETI (Search for Extra Terrestial Intelligence) project of NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) is a utopic project that will never see realization. Scientists over-simplified the conditions surrounding the “emergence” of life and failed to take into consideration all the factors that significantly contribute to and produce life — even just the simplest, let alone something as complex and sophisticated as man and most of all life forms “more evolved” than us.
It must be realized and understood that it is not just a matter of having the right atmosphere and being in the “Goldilocks zone”. There are other overlooked but equally or even more critical and essential factors like the specific age and composition of the sun, presence in the same place and time the correct proteins and organic compounds that must come together (at the same or precise moment and under the ideal conditions) — to form life, and so much more.
I read once that it takes over a hundred different proteins to come together at the precise moment to form life and these proteins do not “willingly” come together, let alone be in the right place at the right time. In other words, there should be a deliberate force or cause to bring all the various essential proteins together otherwise they will not do so under natural conditions. This debunks the argument (or theory) that life began spontaneously, just as the Big Bang Theory is not logical as it violates several of the fundamental laws of physics (such as the Second Law of Thermodynamics or the Law on Entropy, where it states that things begin from an organized state and degrades or breaks down into chaos and never the other way around).
If it is argued that the universe started from a single infinitesimal particle that exploded and created everything, there must have been cause, something that triggered the explosion.
The only benefit we got out of space programs are the advancements in materials science and electronics technology and everything else we enjoy today, except what the space program is intended to achieve or accomplish. Even with the so-called “cosmic urban legends” — like evidence of aliens or their former presence — it is, at best, still all subject to careful scrutiny and unwise to just believe everything just because there is so-called “evidence” to the contrary regarding the existence of aliens.
For one thing, there is mention of “aliens” in the Holy Scriptures, in the First Book (Genesis), where it is written that (Genesis 6:2), where the sons of God saw the daughters of man were fair and took them for their wives. In this sense, the aliens (and their technology) were (fallen) angels because angels could be (adopted) sons just like man is. Other than this, I doubt if there is any credibility to the need to search for life outside of our planet.
TaN: True wealth cannot be misplaced or lost, be stolen, cannot be devalued nor replaced, cannot fade nor age, but it can be shared and, when shared, will not be diminished. Like knowledge and (true) love, true wealth can only grow and become more as it is shared (freely).
True wealth are friendship, love, humility, kindness, and all the other virtues and qualities that make a person good. Once we have these, it stays with us forever. Of course, this is in contrast pseudo wealth — like friendships of convenience or fair-weather friends — where it has been said: Champagne to my true friends and true pain to my sham friends.
It is important that, as we go through our lives, we gather and share true wealth along the way. It will make for a better world.
And if others take advantage of our kindness, they will someday…somewhere…encounter someone who will do the same to them — called it karma, justice, or whatever. It is not our place to dispense justice when we do not know or are unaware of the full extent of the (extenuating) circumstances that people (who wrong us) do such things.
TaN: Much of today’s poverty is neither due to the unequal distribution of wealth, nor to the lack of opportunities, nor to the lop-sided (capitalist-democratic) system in place, nor even to whatever reasons and excuses being paraded and pounded daily into us, but rather either to the incapacity or inability to or incorrect use of money (by most “poor” people) or to restrictive and oppressive abuse of power and authority by the privileged or wealthy (where laws and policies are enacted and implemented that favor the wealthy and stacked against the rest of us).
One (and probably the most significant) reason for poverty is either the inability or the unpreparedness to use money. We either use money or money uses us. When we cannot make ends meet even when the income is adequate, money is using us. How?
If we prioritize the purchase of non-essentials (or mistakingly regard non-essentials as essentials) over the essentials, then money is using us. Take the case of arguing that cigarettes, (pre-paid) cellular/mobile phone loads, junk food (including worthless sugary sports and health drinks — read the ingredients list — and fast food), vices, and gossip tabloids and fashion magazines, to name a few. And there is also riding when it is near enough to walk (even when using a private car) and buying lunch when there is neither company or establishment prohibition nor non-availability of food (like you may be out in the boondocks).
In the case of unpreparedness, believe it or not, there are (plenty of) people who are not ready to have and use money. And what they do is simply squander them away on needless and even harmful purchases. Take the case of a mountain tribe where an ex-clergy took “pity” on them and taught them how to cultivate and market coffee. After selling their coffee and getting money, since they had never had any use of money and were not prepared for it, they spent it on gambling and alcohol. So they ended up worse off than before. This is a case of “the best of intentions…”.
Another reason is mainly psychological. Perhaps you have heard someone utter: I (am the kind of person who) cannot sleep or feel ill at ease if I have money in my pocket. Or, I have to spend it or I will go crazy. Or, I have so-and-so-much money burning a hole in my pocket. Or (a common favorite colloquially), “galit sa pera” (literally translation: angry/mad at money).
These people have some kind of psychological syndrome — from mild to extreme — that they are compelled to spend money as if it is going out of style. It is pitiful that these people cannot reason out or resist the “temptation” and give in so easily. They have no one else to blame except themselves in their financial dire straits. They no excuse to complain and gripe about not having enough to make ends meet.
Still another are so-called “shopaholics” (probably related to the above) and people with low self-esteem who are easily or readily swayed by clever marketing schemes and sales or who cannot distinguish between the disadvantage of the “Buy 1 Take 1” (which, if logically analyzed, is not really a sale) versus the “50% discount” — the former is advantageous to management as it speeds up inventory or slow-moving items but the buyer need only 1 while the latter is advantageous to the buyer.
These are people who have been (pre-)conditioned into a behavior of consumerism and have little or no self-control and those with “herd mentality” (who readily and easily are swayed or caught in the bandwagon effect where they feel they have to conform or give in to (corporate-created and orchestrated) social pressures in order to belong, to be IN, to be up-to-date, to not be part of the “old school”, to be part of the “sophisticated or techno-savvy or can-afford”, to “keep up with the Jones/Kardashians”). They are easy targets of pyramid and other get-rich-quick-without-exerting-effort scams. They have inadequacy issues and think or feel that spending money is a means of appearing to be “in with the times”, to show people they are “not poor and can afford”, or that they can afford to spend on frivolous things so they will not appear pitiful.
This behavior or attitude is understandable when we consider that there are bullys who delight in looking down and abasing or demeaning those who are not as fortunate in life, in terms of financial status. Instead, it is such people — i.e., the bullies — are so pitiful. But then again there are likewise such people — probably masochists — who take upon themselves to pity themselves when no one is actually treating them such.
And yet another is perceived poverty where people are convinced that they are impoverished just because they have few or limited physical belongings or symbols of wealth, totally oblivious to the truth that it is not the physical possession that truly define poverty but the state of mind. It is an ingeniously devilish way for capitalists and non-moral corporations to goad consumers into looking down on themselves and goading people to prioritize the purchase of non-essentials.
In the wise words of Uruguay’s former President José Mujica, in an interview regarding his reputation as “world’s poorest president”, commented that he is not poor because he, though lives humbly in a small farm with only an old car and a tractor and a trusty dog and does his own laundry and house chores and till his land, already has everything he wants. He does not desire for anything more; he is contented with his possessions, meager or modest as they are. Instead, he argues that it is those who continue to want more and more even when they already have more than most other people that are the ones who are poor because they are not yet satisfied.
Moreover, one is poor only when one thinks and accepts that one is. The ethnic people in the remote tribes in the hinterlands and isolated mountain tops do not feel nor think they are poor, despite having meager to no worldly possessions (having mostly only whatever they wear, their family, hunting and food gathering implements, and no even a roof over their heads), whereas the slum dwellers and urban poor, with their little shanties and television sets and electric fans and mobile phones and change of clothes and so many other amenities that their jungle-dwelling counterparts do not even dream of, would not hesitate to claim that they are poor.
So who are the ones who are really poor? Is it only in our minds that we believe we are poor, despite our worldly possessions? Are we so easily duped into accepting the garbage shoved into our faces that we are poor because we do not have or earn enough to spend on worthless consumer disposable-and-harmful products? To describe ourselves as retarded, idiots, or fools would be an insult to the intelligence of these people.