Sunday, July 28, 2019

Non-Fictionalized Fiction: Virtue Personified (Superiority in Every Sense)

By most standards Xenophon, the Greek philosopher, would be held in the same regard as Plato, and Aristotle, or Socrates.  But most of us have not even heard of him.  Even his name, the first 2 syllables in Greek means, foreign or alien.

Anyway, in one of his works, he personified Virtue and Evil as 2 women.  How kindly to use female, rather than the traditionally dominant, male.

Traditionally, the exemplar of strength, power, and virtue has largely been portrayed as male.  Most of our superheroes have been male.  The gods of old and mythology have dominantly been male.  It is almost like an accommodation or afterthought that females have been used to share the honor and adulation.

First it had been Superman, Batman, Captain Marvel, before we had Supergirl, Batgirl, Mary Marvel, and of course, Wonder Woman.  Even fatherland, before motherland?

It is typically my own personal experiences that get highlighted in my blog entries, real and factual narratives culled from the ether of my memory.  Memory that threatens to dissipate as age catches up with me.  So with committed hands I lend words to the truant slivers of memories before they fade away.  Using as much color and substance as I can muster I cobble tales with appropriate words that many times grudgingly escape my attention, and at times I admit invariably flamboyance is allowed to make appearances in my narratives.  So imploring pardon for the shortcomings

Anyway, so my blog initiated more than 15 years ago, is inhabited with stories that are recalled and recorded to posterity.  But there is a part of one’s consciousness that is not grounded in reality, but in the ethereal world of fantasy.  Though for many of us just as relevant as the other, it is congested with the many escapist fantasies that litter consciousness and yes, even in reverie.  Depicting the kind of person that we have always longed for and prayed to be in every respect, however surreal one could get

Narratives existing only in a kind of preternatural sphere and not subject to the constricting world of realities.  And thus in this border-less world we allow our minds to bolt to distant places beyond the strictures of our mundane world.  But which by many is considered just as vivid and impactful as the stories of childhood and beyond.

I wonder if it is a story one wants to unravel and disclose.  Like a third-person pseudo-autobiography given life and told like non-fiction.

Throwing caution to the winds, I will shamelessly attempt to piece together the many details and events that to this day have slyly remained in the dark labyrinths of my psyche.

Following then will be  the evolving serialized story of an  ambivalent alter-ego, a series while so real to me is equally fanciful and interwoven with unbelievable details.


Thursday, July 25, 2019

Xavier University - Ateneo de Cagayan: Development Plans

Amid all the bright smiles and implied nods we see, we participate here not only as a small voice, but also as a vestige of a past long gone and maybe forgotten.  We like to add  puny whispers to the thunderous ones that we have heard from avowed stalwarts of the community.  Weighty voices coming from leaders whose reputation and renown have preceded them, giving them more sway and weight to validate their oral judgments. From the beaming captains of local businesses and industries, to the esteemed leaders of local government, to the revered spokespersons of our educational, religious, and social institutions.

 And we see that to a large extent there has been unanimity in thought regarding the very ambitious and drastic development plans the university has deigned to follow.  But we aim to tease and coax from them information about the time and efforts expended by their honored selves in arriving at their conclusions.  Because our small voice only has questions to be asked, rather than more grandiose suggestions to add to the plans so elaborately laid out.

Given the warm reception given the development plans, we are confident that these leaders believe that the city is not only in good hands but in a good place and thus fit and ready to accommodate more developments of the sort we already witness locally.  More tall buildings and malls for mixed uses and by consequence, more traffic.  And we are confident further that these leaders are of this mind because of the results of their actions in their respective fields in this regard.  If this be so, we then proceed with our obviously loaded questions.

Do all this and the results they will necessarily engender address the many factors of the “livability” index that a city or community ought to pay deference to?  Let us count the ways, and begin with the general.

How does all this affect the overall livelihood of the community, especially those already less privileged and in penury?  To business/industry leaders and local government, what has been done in the meantime to address and mitigate the poverty levels under your own specific purview?  Many believe the city has been remiss because of the increasing levels of privation we witness around the city. And many have observed not only here locally but most everywhere else that where developments of this sort are initiated, that one unintended consequence has been that they are exclusionary and thus discriminatory to the less privileged, with regard to where they live and work, and their corresponding access to the new opportunities to be opened.

Has the chaotic traffic and parking situation improved enough to accommodate more?  What about flooding?  Is the general situation getting any better so that we can say that more can be safely added?

What about plans or implementation of zoning of different sectors of the community?  Is local government paying attention to how in general development is moving along?  How to spread development to take advantage of the big size of the city.  The city has the size of almost 450 sq.kms and development is centered on a very small area. A question was once asked if there was a master zoning plan of the city. Is there one and is it being implemented?

Are all these even relevant to a modern age where traditional normalcy has been upended?  Maybe, disregard for all these concerns is the new normal?

Anyway, only the future is the final arbiter of whatever decisions are made in the present.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

The Call of Prayer

Being physically alone does not necessarily equal to loneliness.

Many people are at their busiest when alone, attending to a myriad of overlapping chores that run the gamut from physical to mental.

One would even venture to declare that it is when people are constrained to choose to be alone when they are in the thickest of crowds, leaving them little time for their own personal struggles.

In the same way that one could be in the middle of a thicket of people and things when one feels so solitary and loneliest.

Because as the holy books say, you are where your mind is and not necessarily where your physical being finds itself at the moment.

While the hustle and bustle of urban living makes difficult the urge to concentrate on one specific thing, it is by no means inevitable or insurmountable.  It requires focus and practice. And the recourse to a methodical approach to arrive at a calm solitude in the midst of overwhelming distractions we daily find ourselves.

The method or process goes by many names, but it resides in our very nature and will respond to all when called upon.  Many of us call it the pre-destined call of prayer, the lifting up of our hearts and mind to eternity, amidst the tumult of this world.

A method once familiarized and standardized can be reliably called upon to bring calm and focus however seemingly formidable the unavoidable vicissitudes of life may buffet and unnerve us.


Tuesday, July 09, 2019

Resiliency and Adaptability

I admit I have never seen the flooding problem of the city under the lens of the two concepts above.  This now appears to be the main focus of the efforts of local government and its cadre of private and governmental agencies, gathered together to address this irritatingly  perennial problem.

We learn in the bio-sciences that humanity though fragile and comparatively weak has been the undisputed champion of adaptability to its overall environment.  That is why it has survived all these years.

Thus, rather than taming Nature, let us instead allow Nature to tame us, or at least tame us half-way, or on a partial basis.  That appears to be the prevailing mantra in this age. Said in a different way, let us liken ourselves to a fragile balloon being threatened to obliteration by a greater and stronger force.  To survive, the balloon either side-steps or changes its shape and location to blunt the stronger force in the collision.

On the other hand, humanity has survived and prospered largely because it has used its skills and intelligence to “tame” Nature.  Thus we have skyscrapers, fast planes and cars, technologies, etc.

Thus in a real way resiliency which is synonymous somewhat with adaptability is an acknowledgment and resignation to the forces of Nature. Though in resiliency the goal is to try to seamlessly get back to a previous state, adaptability goes a step beyond since it allows and aims to change our ways to adjust to the vagaries of Nature.

How do we attain or strike a balance between the two forces, one side is man with his intelligence and skills and on the other, the all-powerful Nature?

We certainly cannot be defeatist in attitude and thus just nod our heads to what Nature dictates.  We always try to find ways to harness for our own good and uses the forces and inevitabilities of Nature.

I suppose that is where the problem lies.

Affluent communities can harness and marshal tremendous resources to mitigate their situation.  What about a developing country like the Philippines, how far can it go to challenge Nature?

Monday, July 08, 2019

The Case For Same-Sex Marriage

In June of 2015, the US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, with a 5-4 decision, essentially delineating that gay marriage enjoys equal status with traditional marriage between man and woman.

This issue is so loaded with heavy paradoxes, one wonders how it continues to float.

Many supporters of the ruling were beaming with almost unexplained bliss and pride, like heaven had been opened to them. No problem there. Man is known to welcome temporal bounty like there Is no tomorrow, or like it is the be-all and end-all of existence.

Yet the cause of happiness can be explained in such a manner as to show the resultant over-celebration as undeserved because the decision was far from convincing, though still historic. Far from being unanimous, a 9-man court of the US all appointed for life by the US president, religiously divided into 6 Catholics and 3 Jews, voted 5-4 to grant equal status to gay marriages with traditional marriages the latter strongly espoused and supported by all major religions, like Catholicism and Judaism. And if I may add, equal only with regard to enjoyment of benefits dispensed by the Federal bureaucracy. They could not have ruled about its cultural, religious, and yes, even biological ramifications, because after all that would be obviously beyond the purview of that court.

Anyway, the hairline decision came because 2 Catholic court members decided to break away from traditional teaching of their religion. Kennedy many say was simply being true to form, taking sides away from traditional or classical truths espoused by the citizenry. The other, Sotomayor, most likely because she is most liberal having been appointed by the Obama administration, to represent two minorities, women and Hispanic.

The more impactful thing here is that because of the role of the US in the world, this will open the floodgates for the rest of the world with regard to this issue. A paradox indeed, germinated by an unconvincing decision riddled with dissension not only from the court’s own members, but also the citizenry. Although the recent trends as reflected by survey polls now show majorities of people around the world favoring gay marriages, not only in the US but in other parts of the world.

As a species we continue to be an enigma.

Sunday, July 07, 2019

In The World Of Comic Books

                                 Who Is Superman
(Please click on the link above) 

These modern self-proclaimed experts and pundits of comic books characters are confusing and in a way shooing us comic book lovers aside by making complicated and convoluted the characters and personalities of our funny pages iconic heroes.

Comic books were and should still be intended for kids and those who are children at heart at times.  Allow them free rein in their fantasy and escapist world. We regard and honor these heroes as they were originally introduced to us during their nascent times.  Invested with the kind of unequivocal clarity and cut-and-dried qualities that kids understood and adhered to.  Truth, Justice, and Honor.  Law and order.  And yes, they  are all American ways.

But these usurping writers and artists have co-opted these characters and their qualities and fleshed them out with details that depict these heroes as possessing dark and sinister persona, gravely conflicted and agonized, and at times even misguided in the superhuman pursuit of their noblest aims.

Please leave them as they were.  But yes, do keep improving the artwork, artwork that glorifies the beauty and goodness of their characters and again the beauty and perfection of their physical beings.   With dark and foreboding artwork we now find in pages of their works, one may be prompted to assume that many readers/viewers are harboring ideas that our heroes are now villains because of how they are drawn.

Comic books are works of fiction.  Leave dark facts and unseemly realities to works of non-fiction.