Post for Dec 18-24 2014

TaN: It would appear that Mr Duterte is both a boon and bane to the Philippines.  His bane is the obvious brutal and barbaric style of dealing with problems while his boon is that his style is likewise instilling fear among (the average or CDE crowd of) Filipinos into becoming less corrupt, less dishonest, and more law-abiding (or moral) — although it is “inspiring” those Duterte idolizers to become more violent and ruthless (as in the extrajudicial killings).

Instilling fear in others, specifically the wrongdoers, may be effective but is detrimental in the long-term.  For one thing, it must be remembered that there is a saying, Morality cannot be legislated.  There is a reason for it.  It means that one cannot force or superimpose goodness into man.  Man must want to be good on his own free will.  It is precisely for this reason that God does not impose His Will upon us.  We must want to be good on our own.  This is what makes us worthy of Him.

Moreover, it is known and generally accepted that no one’s morality or values is superior to another.  Therefore, one cannot rightfully and morally justify the imposition of one’s morality and values onto another.  But this is what is happening in the Philippines under the Duterte regime and there appears to be no sign of abatement nor regret nor remorse over the suffering that has been wrought on the populace…regardless of whether the victims are criminals or suspected criminals or collateral victims.

Furthermore, just as I have discussed in earlier TaNs, everybody deserves a second chance.  Even God does not pass judgment until judgment day or upon our death.  In addition, as mentioned earlier likewise and quoted from the Holy Scriptures (in Matthew 18:21-22): “(21) Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? (22) Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.”

So it would seem that my argument of every person deserving a second chance is even too strict because, if we are to observe and obey the Holy Scriptures, we have to forgive “seventy times seven” times.

As to the boon, many have been frightened into repentance and mending their ways.  I just hope it is or will become permanent, as well as a true repentance and not just a misguided understanding of what is supposed to be ethical and moral ways.

It is difficult to ensure or even speculate as to whether the change is or will be for the better since it came about through coercion and threat and not voluntarily and sincerely from deep within.  Superficial change — frequently due to force of circumstances — are rarely lasting and authentic.  Many instances of involuntary changes, even if for the betterment of the self, are disguised or reluctantly made in order to cope or hurdle the present situation but will soon backslide or revert to the old ways at the first opportunity or once the threat or danger is deemed lapsed or passed.  This is the reality of the Duterte putsch of war on drugs.

It has been our experience that forced changes in people’s behavior is never permanent.  It was done by many in different countries and, in the Philippines, notably by the late strongman Ferdinand Marcos (through his failed attempt of the KBL or Kilusang Bagong Lipunan movement).  The problem is that we seem to never learn from past mistakes.  And so it is very likely to fail in this (revised) attempt by Mr Duterte.

TaN: It was interesting (and disturbingly intriguing) to realize that the DNA (deoxyribose nucleic acid) of all cells in a particular organism is identical to all the rest.  This fact, therefore, shoots holes into the theory of science that a complete (and functional) organism may be cloned merely by using the DNA.

If each cell has exactly the same DNA, what makes a skin cell behave and function differently and uniquely from a liver cell, a heart cell, a neuron, or a bone cell.  Moreover, why is it that, if all cells have the same set of DNA, how does a cell “know” where it is located and, thus, have to perform in a certain manner.  Why does a muscle cell not function as a stomach cell?

One possible explanation would be that the DNA may contain all the information regarding all the vital functions and processes in the body but the functions and processes are not performed simultaneously because there are ON and OFF states for the gene sequences and proteins and only one set of gene sequence is ON at any given moment.  So, if the gene sequence for heart function is in the ON state, the cells performs cardiac functions.

Aside from gene sequences that control and determine what functions and duties a cell will carry out, it is possible that there are numerous other independent gene sequences that are for supportive and miscellaneous duties — like apoptosis or cell death, which is the suspected reason behind the appearance and proliferation of cancer.

TaN: It is a bit late (because I heard it more than a year ago) but I absolutely and unequivocally agree with the late Joan Rivers when she said in a television interview about what she said to her daughter some time ago (and I paraphrase, because I cannot remember it verbatim anymore): If you sleep with a man and you do not wear his ring, you are a whore.  Yes, no bones about it.  It does not matter what the reason may be, no matter how valid, sensible, practical, or even cockamamie it is, you are a whore — consenting adult or whatever crap you may use to try to justify it.

One principal problem is the maliciously-motivated but subtle change in our value system.  It has, just like in Sodom and Gomorrah, become “fashionable” to be what is detestable and unsightly for God.  Our values have either been subverted or were twisted.

A case in point is debt of gratitude — where it is a sense of indebtedness one feels when a good deed or favor has been done without having to ask for it.  It is how one feels when s/he has been done a favor without having to ask for it and the doer of the deed did it out of the kindness of his/her heart and not for anything else — there is no expectation of reciprocity or a return deed (any time in the future).  It ceases to be a debt of gratitude if and whenever there is any one of the following: (1) expectation of a return favor or reciprocity, (2) no intentional keeping tabs on the frequency of favors done but suddenly calls in favors as “payment” for previous favors and good deeds, and (3) return favor is immoral or a wrongful deed.

Today, debt of gratitude (or “utang na loob“) has been misunderstood into thinking that reciprocity is mandatory and/or that it can be imposed on another.  Furthermore, many take advantage of it by reminding of past favors and making the debtor do wrongful or unethical deeds even if the said deeds are minor and may not be significant enough as to be considered illegal or felonious.

Another case is loyalty or fidelity — where is and remains true to another (in whatever circumstance or situation).  However, this obedience to another, like all other values, are conditional.  Its negative form has a different terminology — blind loyalty.  It is only loyalty for as long as right and good are involved.  It ceases to be loyalty when it goes into the realm of the wrong and immorality.

There is a mistaken concept or understanding or appreciation of loyalty when it comes to conspiracy.  It is commonly but erroneously thought that loyalty is or should be extended even to circumstances involving conspiracy — i.e., when one has to connive with others for wrongful purposes, such as covering up the truth, especially those wherein the public is concerned and should know about, regardless of whether for public safety or national security.  In the two latter instances, there can be a temporary suppression of the emergence of the truth but must eventually, and within a reasonable span of time, be revealed.  Moreover, reasonable requests for partial revelation through freedom of information may and should be permitted for as long as the requesting or petitioning party is responsible and the purpose is clearly stated and contains no apparent trace of malicious intent.  The loyalty should always be either for the greater (like the public) or the higher (like morality) good.  As it was once attributed to the late President Manuel Luis Quezon: “My loyalty to my party ends where my loyalty to my country begins.”

Still another case is word of honor — which is a solemn or sacred promise.  It ensures or guarantees another regarding the fulfillment of a deed or decision or an agreement.  Just like all the aforementioned, it is restricted only to what is good and right.  Promising on one’s word of honor does not extend to wrongful acts.

Despite giving one’s word of honor, there is no obligation or meaning or compulsion when wrong or immorality is involved, especially after realizing that one has been tricked into giving one’s word of honor.  In many cases, word of honor is tied to family honor, when the name or honor of the family is at stake.  To break the word is to bring shame and dishonor or ill-repute to the family.  It portrays an image that all family members cannot be trusted to fulfill what has been agreed upon, that any promise or agreement made carries no value.

There are much much more but I cannot go on indefinitely so I merely opted for some of the more socially and currently significant ones.

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