Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds ~ Franklin Roosevelt
A couple more of days and the Da Pinoy nation will be in the fight of its “life”. For the more morbid goths- a fight for its death. To the emo – a fight for its destiny aka tadhana/kapalaran/kaugmaon. I know enough to vehemently disagree that the battle is between good and evil. Rather, it is a battle between men who are prisoners of their own mind and men who are out to tear the prisons down – or build bigger ones that feel less like a prison but more like home. Cement walled prisons are easy to identify, maybe hard to break in to and out of. That doesn’t mean it will be easy but it’s not impossible – even Alcatraz was not immune to escape. Still upon escaping the concrete walls and steel bars of Alcatraz, one encounters a bigger prison.
A prison which at the onset is something that we cannot touch, feel, taste, or smell – but which can be seen. It is a prison from which the only escape is death – old age, illness, disaster, starvation, war. We are all breaking out of this prison one way or another. But before the ultimate break-out, there is the prison of life – with all its constraints – raise the global climate a li’l bit and we can have the ultimate species extinction event – cockroaches and weeds overrun our cities (as if it wasn’t already overran in the first place).
“Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
Clearly, it is only after the primal conversion of thought into action has taken place that we are able to get into the actual steps which involve touching, feeling, smelling, and tasting.
I felt hungry. I used my sense of sight to look for food. I used my sense of touch and sight to open the pantry or the refrigerator. I used my sense of taste to savor the food. My choice of food however was a conscious choice. A daily choice which if done long enough can trap me in obesity, cardiac disease, renal failure – or the prime of health. Am I really destined to be obese or ill? Or can I create a destiny of health and ripe old age based on the choices of food that I eat?
Is the Philippines destined for mediocrity? Is it destined to be ruled by an uncaring wealthy class – of domestic oligarchs that rule with machiavellian compulsion, impunity, and sheer heights of mental depravity that make Joseph Goebbelsproud.
It’s choice – not chance – that determines your destiny. Jean Nidetch
The toughest prison is not made of walls of concrete and bars of steel. Rather, the toughest prisons are the ones we build for ourselves. It is within the confines of the mental jail which we have allocated for ourselves. We even have a name for it – it’s called our “comfort zone”. Within this comfort zone we find our past, our memories of the good old days. It contains the knowledge base of all our experiences, the wisdom, the prejudices, the summa total of our beliefs, principles, frameworks – our world view. Our Camelot..
Someone can come in to push our buttons using appeals to our comfort zone, and that’s fine. We cannot control our external stimuli – but we can control our response to external stimuli. Based on the choices we make on the ballot we create more opportunities for happiness and the permanent good OR we can amble on as we always have, stuck in our comfort zones – in prisons of our own making. The discourse that pervades our nation is akin to junk food, sure we can live on it, but at great peril to our health.
We have already been in this prison built by the oligarchs far too long. We can choose Aquino, an oligarch, beholden to more oligarchs like the owners of ABS-CBN, MAYNILAD, MERALCO, GLOBE, BAYANTEL, PLDT, SM, BPI, AYALA, PHILIPPINE AIRLINES, RFM, MAGNOLIA. We will cruise along in a propeller-driven plane, while the rest of the world passes us by in a jetliner – Ignorance is bliss.
Or, we can choose to redefine our boundaries not based on the limitations set by the oligarchs but ones that we set for ourselves. But to do this we have to step out of our comfort zone – imbibe new knowledge, new points of view, new ways of doing things, new frameworks, new points of view – if we are to change our external realities, our destiny to a more equitable and prosperous one. Knowledge is scary because it is painful. We might not like the truth, specially if it applies to us. Inasmuch as knowledge provides pain, it also provides treatments, a path to complete healing, and the ability to overcome our obstacles and fears.
My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny. – Elaine Maxwell
Gordon takes a lot of getting used to, a lot of getting out of our comfort zones. But so did the people of Subic. Why couldn’t Filipinos do it, too? After all If Subic can do it why can’t the rest of the Filipinos step out of their comfort zone and for once, define success or failure, based on their capacity to dream and follow through, just like the Filipinos in Subic, Marikina, Davao, Cebu?
Sure the Philippines will go on with Noynoy, but it can go higher, achieve more, become an epitome of governance – but it asks people to step out of their comfort zones and go for Sen. Richard Gordon.
Why waste this moment by going for a lazy dishonest oligarch?
Why not use this moment to tell the oligarchs – SOBRA NA, TAMA NA, enough with the zarzuela, enough with wowowee, enough with lousy DSL, enough with contractual employment, enough with union busting, enough of cronies, enough of vested interests.
Why not use your vote and rage against the oligarch machinery – WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH AND WE ARE PUSHING BACK!
Dynamic Equilibrium – A Collective “Destiny”
While it is true that one world view is no better than mine and vice versa. The difference perhaps is that someone’s prison is smaller than mine – or I have a larger prison just the same. Or that I am willing to step out of my comfort zone and broaden it. However, your worldview causes a change in reality which is totally different from the change in reality that takes place if my world view were in play. The world views of several people interacting in time and space may be in harmony or in disharmony or moving from one state to another.
This interaction of world views results in a dynamic equilibrium point – which can be high or low subject to a reference point or an index. Many indices can be used – GINI, GDP, etc to capture a snapshot of the state of equilbrium at any given time. Thus, a country in political turmoil is like a person with a fever. A country hit by sytemic corruption is like a person with cancer. For each of these circumstances, the internal mechanisms of the system will interact differently but all with one purpose – to keep the organism alive.
In the natural sciences – these interactions are referred to as homeostasis – a state of dynamic equilibrium. As defined by Encyclopedia Britannica, homeostasis is:
Any self-regulating process by which a biological or mechanical system maintains stability while adjusting to changing conditions. Systems in dynamic equilibrium reach a balance in which internal change continuously compensates for external change in a feedback control process to keep conditions relatively uniform. An example is temperature regulation — mechanically in a room by a thermostat or biologically in the body by a complex system controlled by the hypothalamus, which adjusts breathing and metabolic rates, blood-vessel dilation, and blood-sugar level in response to changes caused by factors including ambient temperature, hormones, and disease.
This self-regulating mechanism is in play in unicellular organisms, in multi-cellular creatures, in ecosystems, and if I may wager, including nations and states and their system of checks and balances. Some interactions are more sophisticated, diverse and have higher indices. Some interactions are a tad more primitive and have lower indices. It is precisely this indices that show the relative differences in absolute terms.
In human beings, homeostasis refers to
“the body’s ability to physiologically regulate its inner environment to ensure its stability in response to fluctuations in the outside environment and the weather. The liver, the kidneys, and the brain (hypothalamus, the autonomic nervous system and the endocrine system help maintain homeostasis. The liver is responsible for metabolizing toxic substances and maintaining carbohydrate metabolism. The kidneys are responsible for regulating blood water levels, re-absorption of substances into the blood, maintenance of salt and ion levels in the blood, regulation of blood pH, and excretion of urea and other wastes.
An inability to maintain homeostasis may lead to death or a disease, a condition known as homeostatic imbalance. For instance, heart failure may occur when negative feedback mechanisms become overwhelmed and destructive positive feedback mechanisms take over. Other diseases which result from a homeostatic imbalance include diabetes, dehydration, hypoglycemia, hyperglycemia, gout and any disease caused by the presence of a toxin in the bloodstream. Medical intervention can help restore homeostasis and possibly prevent permanent damage to the organs.
For short, let us not kid ourselves that while we are going through the motions of democracy, if we don’t watch it – we can wind up defeating the essence of why we have a democracy – we can send this country back to the Intensive Care Unit – in more ways than one. For example, Noynoy’s presumptuous agitation that if he does not win, he must have been cheated – is quite dangerous (anyone heard of the Bradley effect?)
The Bradley effect theorizes that the inaccurate polls were skewed by the phenomenon of social desirability bias. Members of the public may feel under pressure to provide an answer that is deemed to be more publicly acceptable, or ‘politically correct’. The reluctance to give accurate polling answers has sometimes extended to post-election exit polls as well.
As individuals, as a community, as a nation – we are presented with more or less the same scenarios – albeit in different clothing. Yesterday’s Erap is today’s Noynoy. Yesterday’s Cory is today’s Noynoy. Money-wise, Villar could be another Erap, if he isn’t one yet. I have no objections against wealth – it’s the ethical side of getting wealth that bugs me about Villar. What this also means is that we have the opportunity to see for ourselves, what these people have actually done for the public. How exactly did they serve their respective constituencies? The proof of the pudding is there for all to see, these are interactions which give rise to diverse equilibria operating in Tarlac, San Juan, Las Piñas, and Subic. These varying external realities are very much present in the Philippines. Each of these realities can become more widespread throughout the country, based on the candidates we choose come May 10, 2010.
A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it. – Jean de la Fontaine
In each of these candidates, we find archetypes, people, whom we think represent our “higher selves”. I find it rather unfortunate that a large portion of our countrymen see Noynoy as an embodiment of their higher selves – utterly lacking in achievement, absolutely lacking in honesty and integrity.
It is also sad that our countrymen are willing to compromise our sense of ethics for a shot at wealth, like Villar. Or that we take arrogance in our ignorance like Erap. In all these choices – Erap, Aquino, Villar – we aim for the lowest common denominators instead of aspiring for a more holistic integration of the higher values which make us excel us a nation – candidness, a go-getter attitude, an ethics of responsibility integrity and ability exhibited by Sen. Richard Gordon.
Why settle for one attribute in one candidate when you have an well-rounded candidate who has all the qualities in other candidates sans the baggage?
In avoiding Gordon, we meet our destiny — in the trash heap.
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved. – William Jennings Bryan
If I am to live in a prison of my own choosing, I would rather have one with all the conveniences. 😆
I reject the negativity, the dishonesty, the passivity of Noynoy Aquino. I reject Villar’s ethical bearings inasmuch as I reject Erap’s ability to run an efficiently functioning government.
I choose the higher values of humanity, I choose the candidate which represents the summa total of those primal values – integrity, passion, ability, credibility, vision. The sort of values which lead to a brighter destiny – Sen. Richard Gordon.
I will not settle for a Gitmo or a Camp Crame or a medieval dungeon when I can have Club Med! 😛
Destiny is the invention of the cowardly, and the resigned. – Ignazio Silone