Post for Sept 18-24 2016

 

TaN: As another rejoinder to a series of previous arguments regarding intelligence (and stupidity).  All people are intelligent.  There are several reasons why some people are considered “unintelligent or stupid” when it is actually an incorrect description.

One reason is due to preference.  A good lawyer may not make a good physician simply because his/her heart is not into medicine but rather into law.  It does not mean that s/he would not make a good physician.  Had his/her heart or preference been in medicine, s/he would probably be a good physician.

Another reason is due the ill-use or non-utility of the intellect.  There is such a thing as common sense and it is called such because every person has it — hence the descriptor “common”.  However, the reason why some people may “appear” to have no common sense is because of ill- or non-use.  It is said that having a common sense and using it are two entirely different things.  If one does not use his/her common sense, it is as good as or as if s/he does not have it at all.  This is the basis of my argument that there are no dumb people but only people with different preferences.

But there are stupid people.  These are people who do not or cannot learn.

With the exception of mental disorder or sickness, one’s inability to learn is usually intentional.  This means that the inability comes from one’s deliberate and conscious decision not to learn rather than for any other reason.  It is unthinkable that there is such a person who cannot learn.  If lower forms of intelligence can learn, there is no (justifiable) reason for any person not to learn.  Learning is usually a voluntary act, although there are many cases that are involuntary but this is more of accidental or unintentional — there are times when one just happens to learn without consciously wanting to learn.

It is sad that there are people who just refuse to learn.  This could be due to some previous psychological trauma or some kind of behavioral engineering — i.e., society has a way of “pre-programming” an individual’s behavior to conform to the norm.  A case in point is aptly discussed by a Sir Ken Robinson in a TED talk where he explained that (modern) formal education has somehow “indoctrinated” students out of (their) creativity by stigmatizing mistakes.  Unlike young children who will try anything, unless their elders have done damage to their children’s natural creative instincts, and even go to the point of making mistakes.  Adults are afraid of making mistakes for fear of being ridiculed, taunted, branded, or otherwise be punished.  As a result, we no longer are willing to take the risk of exploring possibilities that may lead to innovative ideas or solutions just because of that fear.

And making mistakes is a natural part of learning.  There are only two ways by which we learn: by making mistakes (as we try different solutions) or by watching and observing and reading about the mistakes of others (which saves us the embarrassment of making the mistakes ourselves).  In any case, learning cannot be achieved without making some mistakes along the way — much like the old adage, One cannot make an omelet without breaking some eggs.

In conclusion, it is this fear of making mistakes — the stigma associated with committing errors — that is hindering a more rapid progress.  That and our penchant for patents and intellectual property rights, driven by greed and not wanting to share freely, but this will be for another TaN (although it has already been brought up in earlier TaNs).

TaN: In this 44th anniversary of the declaration of Philippine martial law by the late strongman Ferdinand E Marcos, the headlines in my broadsheet — at least most of them, especially in the front page — are hypocritical and overkill.  “Ridiculous” because that is what contemporary diplomacy and global “economic inter-dependence” has deteriorated into and “overkill” because of how much time, resources, and effort is being used by Mr Duterte’s regime to squash Ms De Lima.

This is indeed the Age of the Two-Face.

It would appear that Mr Duterte’s henchmen, lackeys, and lap dogs are trying to upstage one another to impress and curry favor from Mr Duterte in trying to grind Ms De Lima into the ground.

Moreover, it really escapes me that Mr Duterte, with all his educational background and professional and political experience, still cannot — or is he refusing to — see and admit that the rampant killings not only by the police but by private individuals and groups are a direct result of his pronouncements.  He just cannot do a Pontius Pilate by claiming that he has never outrightly sanctioned the wanton and indiscriminate executions and killings of his countrymen, regardless of whether the victims are really guilty or not.

He claims not to give any direct orders (which is technically true) but fails to see and understand that his mere public statements and pronouncements that encourage or even just alluding or suggesting for people to “take the law into their own hands” then giving them (i.e., the police) almost a “license to kill” or an absolution from any “wrongdoing” that may be committed.  It comes across as a blanket authority to commit acts of impunity against even mere suspects — who have not yet been proven to be guilty in any competent court or forum.

This is no different from the bombing of the Davao night market which caused Mr Duterte to declare a state of lawlessness.  What or where is the difference?  When the innocent get hurt (instead of the guilty)?  But are we supposed to follow the rule of law and isn’t it the rule of law that a person is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty?  How was it proven?  By just any individual who accuses another?  What if the accusation was mere fabrication and the accuser is just out to exact vengeance or, worse, to cover-up or tie up loose ends which may lead the guilt trail back to him/her?  Or, just as bad, it could just be a case of mistaken identity or any other kind of mistake, much like what happened and Mr Duterte made a public admission on the errors (in the narco list).

In conclusion, it would appear that Mr Duterte, Mr Putin, Mr Marcos have many things in common, the primary being the propensity for acting as judge, jury, and executioner and the insistence on practicing the letter instead of the spirit of the law.  And his (Mr Duterte’s) boast of willingness to take full accountability and go to prison is an empty pledge or commitment as he has already mentioned several times in public that convicted felons who are at least 70 years of age will no longer be put behind bars — as mentioned in “Duterte says his old age can help him avoid jail” dated August 5, 2016 by Alexis Romero (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2016/08/05/1610601/duterte-says-his-old-age-can-help-him-avoid-jail).  Therefore, his willingness is hollow.

Moreover, there is a catch — the 70-years-old or older provision is applicable only on the condition that the said inmate’s “…continued imprisonment is inimical to their health as recommended by a physician of the Bureau of Corrections Hospital and certified under oath by a physician designated by the Department of Health”.  In addition, I read somewhere that the eligibility to be exempt or released from imprisonment has a further requisite which is that the inmate or convicted felon must not be (deemed as) a habitual offender.  Now, I do not know as to how to interpret the “habitual” because it could be that someone who has repeatedly displayed or exhibited or publicly admitted that s/he “encourages” or even advocated wrongdoings towards others may be considered habitual.

TaN: An article today regarding the crappy Microsoft operating system suddenly made me epiphanize that in order for the desired message to be properly received and interpreted by the recipient, the proper language must be employed.  This means that the language and the recipient’s mind must be in tune or attuned.  And this leads me to realize that the reason why many Filipinos misunderstand Mr Duterte is because the latter’s use of (not just gutter but) crappy language is not in tune with many Filipinos and that those who understand Mr Duterte must have the same crappy mind — a mind full of crap.

It is said that “Birds of the same featherare the same birds.”  People of like mind will naturally understand each other; they communicate on the same “wavelength”.

It is in this light that Mr Duterte must understand and deeply imbibe the reason for the “undesired” reaction from the international and Western community — leaders and human rights advocacy groups and the UN.  Unlike the typical Filipino — unfortunate to say but must reluctantly and possibly arguably be admitted that — the average Juan dela Cruz is not a sophisticated and mature individual.  The ordinary Filipino, even those who received or have acquired advanced academic degrees (i.e., post graduate studies), have not matured and become responsible human beings — although there are a whole lot of people in supposedly advanced and “civilized” countries who are not much better (in the grown up department).

The proof is in how the common Juan reacts and behaves whenever there is a pro-boxing event, most especially the Pacquiao fights (more like juvenile and rowdy exhibitions of man’s devolution; there is no art in it…just plain savagery).  Most everyone act like modernized Neanderthals; as if professional boxing is some sort of an achievement or evolutionary breakthrough in technology, intellect, morality, or civilization.

Well, I guess it is expected because of the Second Law of Thermodynamics, Things go from orderly to chaos (or Things break down).  This gives a pooh-pooh to the belief that as time goes by, humanity and things improve.  And this reminds me of a phrase I heard many, many moons ago: Progress is the ever-changing process of making things as good as They USED TO BE!

And this merely reinforces the prophecy in the Holy Scriptures, that everything will eventually go to pot before the Almighty decides it is time to choose those that are worth saving and incinerate the rest to start over.

TaN: In his press statement released today, Sept 23, Mr Duterte explains (and I paraphrase) that his marching orders to law enforcers is not to kill their suspects but that they will be justified in killing only on the condition that the suspects resists arrest, reacts violently, and poses imminent danger to the lives of law enforcers.

At first glance, it would appear that Mr Duterte is correct in his orders.  However, upon closer consideration and remembering the proper rules of engagement towards suspects by arresting law enforcers, it must be realized that there are varying degrees of (proper) responses…

Do not kill if you can maim or injure.  There is such a thing as the use of unnecessary superior force.  It is unjustifiable to kill a suspect, even if caught red-handed, if the said suspect can be subdued.  After all, isn’t it that law enforcers have regular (refresher) sessions in the firing range, therefore they should be able to capably disarm or shoot to injure or disable a suspect without killing him, especially at close quarters?

It is unfortunate that Mr Duterte has such a draconian attitude towards many of the problems plaguing the country…an attitude that does not sit well with advocates against violence and all forms and manner of physical and corporeal abuse or punishment.  In this day and age, we should already have evolved and developed into a society where people no longer resort to physical and barbaric means to achieve noble and idyllic goals and objectives.

I guess there are still (elderly) adults who have not yet grown up — giving credence to the old adage, It is mandatory to grow old but optional to grow up.  Only the immature, especially among children and juveniles, to resort to physical violence to solve problems.

Moreover, this is a very dangerous and unsustainable solution to many problems because: (1) we do not have the right to take another’s life due to the fact that we were never given that right and it is not a natural or inherent right — most of all by God, for He only gave us free will and time and nothing else; (2) taking a person’s life runs the risk of depriving the world of a possible future descendant who may become a great leader, inventor/innovator, healer, peace-maker, etc; and, (3) it must be remembered — and it has been repeatedly proven — that it is the certainty of punishment rather than the fear of death (or capital punishment) that is the true deterrent of crimes.
(1) It can be argued that this world (and everything in it…living or not, sentient or not, conscious or not) have an inherent right to exist even though it is a (cruel but stark) fact that only life can sustain life so it is necessary to take another life in order to continue surviving.  However, this does not mean that we can now freely and indiscriminately  This would be both unsustainable and irresponsible — which is what we are all experiencing now, what with all the extreme weather, extreme poverty (and wealth gap), extreme violence and crimes, and so on.
(2) Killing someone will prevent a future descendant from being born, a descendant who might have been “destined” to do great and beneficial things.  Moreover, killing someone who is perceived to be evil now may prevent him/her from repenting and being good in later life, much like that of the “good” thief who made a complete 180-degree turnaround and “defended” Jesus at the crucifixion and was then promised a place in Heaven.  Killing someone now robs or deprives that person from that opportunity.  Who are we to “play God” and pre-judge someone else to forever be evil just because s/he is doing and/or has done some evil or criminal act, regardless of how despicable it was or is, with no hope of repentance or reformation.  How dare we!
(3) It has probably been reiterated ad nauseum that it has been proven repeatedly and consistently that it is the certainty of punishment and not the fear of death that is the true deterrent to wrongdoings and evil acts.  Moreover, it is the consistency of punishment and not selective justice — where the wealthy can somehow delay or even elude punishment — that will truly bring about a more law-abiding (rather than law-avoiding) citizen.

And in connection with this, it is best that laws should be crafted with as few or no exemptions whatsoever for it is the exemption that breeds corruption, especially when the implementor or enforcer of the law — police, prosecution, and judicial segments of the criminal justice system — has the discretion and does not possess a strong moral fiber.  Frequently, these corrupt officials of justice will find (creative) ways by which the wealthy can circumvent the punishment and take advantage of the exemption/s, whereas the poor must (oftentimes) suffer and endure the full force of the law.

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