The World is in Great Turmoil: A Smorgasbord of Events
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - March 31, 2022
We have the Russian-Ukraine conflict. We have the never-ending story of more Covid variants, more vaccinations, and more boosters. Then, we have the Willy-Chris fiasco that is said to be delighting 60% of the people in the USA alone.
All this, sprinkled with volcanic eruptions, floods, riots, deaths, entertainments, community sharing, and many more.
My concern is not Russia and Ukraine; so many nations are into it already. I’m not concerned about the Covid pandemic; there are already so many concerned medical doctors and sympathetic pharmaceutical laboratories involved in it.
My concern is not about the Chris-Willy outbursts of violence; they made their public apologies already. Neither is my concern about natural calamities; our respective governments are already taking care of them.
My concern is about my Patria Adorada, known internationally as the Region del Sol Querida because of its rich natural resources, which includes not only gold, but also platinum and palladium.
Palladium is the metal of the future that is 30 times rarer than gold. It is much more expensive than gold and platinum because of its many uses like cleaning up emissions of cars. It is second only to anti-matter that blew up in the skies above St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome in the movie Da Vinci Code.
My concern is about giant multinational corporations and power holders exploiting our talents and expertise to the detriment of our economy.
All nations are laying their hands on us to get a share of our wealth and manpower resources. I’m afraid the Philippines will be the next center stage of turmoil and violence, especially because the enemies are within the country, not outside. It is already the center of attraction when it comes to corruption.
My main concern is the immediate: the ongoing national electoral race. And my specific concerns are not to tell the people:
1. To go out and vote
2. Not to sell their vote
3. Not to vote those who are corrupt
4. To be guided by the Pope’s Laudato Si , other papal encyclicals, or Christian Social Teachings
So many Institutions—religious or not—are doing this already reminding the people in their pulpits and in social media.
In order to have real transformative value and measurable effects, I need to prepare a list of my candidates from the national down to the village level, guided naturally by my conscience and moral standards.
But unity votes on a collective level are stronger and more effective for transforming our member communities than individual votes.
It’s worthwhile encouraging civil societies to have a mock election this month and see what the results are.
After one month, to conduct another mock election and see if we’re successful in disseminating our moral and ethical standards to our member communities all over the archipelago.
If the people still vote for those considered corrupt by us, then, to them, they might not be perhaps that corrupt after all as we think they are. Or if they are, then, who amongst us is not? Let them cast the first stone! (John 8:7).
Or if the people are not heeding to the pleas of Pope Francis, the Laudato si, climate change, papal encyclicals, and other Christian Social Teachings, then, we are not effective enough in influencing even our member communities to heed to these moral standards. We maybe in fact contributing largely to the diminishing influence of the Catholic Church’s social teachings even on a predominantly Christian country like the Philippines.
I know this is almost impossible to conduct this two-tiered level of mock elections to our member communities and constituents. Because divisiveness is already systemic in our organizations as they are in our society. The fear of exposing this in public is just intolerable. It’s always preferable to project an image of unity.
Nevertheless, let’s try listening to the pleas and wisdom of our people and constituents if only this time of the electoral race. Let’s try Blaise Pascal’s wager argument.
Or perhaps listen to Swami Vivekananda’s admonition that our religious beliefs and practices ought not to be taken as doctrines or dogmas that are to be imposed on others.
In any case, maybe this is sending us a strong message that we still need a stronger hand to free us from the mess we’re still mired in today. Charism inspires devotion. Combined with strength, it can more likely insure real transformation on the majority of our member communities.
This could mean Team or Shared leadership. Servant leadership can be easily manipulated and exploited by many internal and external factors. Besides, if there’s a servant, there’s a master.
Given the above considerations, this now narrows down our list of names for President and Vice President. I see at least five combinations.
1. Ferdinand E. Marcos, Jr. and Sarah Duterte
2. Leni Robredo and Kiko Pangilinan
3. Norberto Gonzalez and Carlos Serapio
4. Leni Robredo and Sarah Duterte
5. Norberto Gonzalez and Sarah Duterte
The list changes if we vote not by party affiliation and if we allow other presidential and vice presidential candidates to appear in our list. So many possible combinations indeed that you can list down.
Getting Out of this Corrupt State and Deteriorating World
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - March 8, 2022
We had been grumbling, complaining, and blaming our leaders, regardless of who is in control and in power. Yet, we're like our ancient prophets crying in the wilderness, with no-one hearing our voices. Others near us even ignore our pleas.
Our voices are still in a sense like "a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal" whose sounds are hollow and empty? (1 Corinthians 13:1).
The only change we experience is a change of administration and leadership. Our Constitutions and laws sometimes change with them for their own advantage, all ultimately benefitting the rich and powerful.
Many of us who are poor remain minimum-wage earners, jobless, illiterate, badly in need of health-care services, and have even no home to call our own.
We cannot graduate to become middle-class citizens. We remain stuck at the bottom of the economic ladder. Thanks to the coronavirus. A growing number of entrepreneurs among us is emerging, if only to sustain their survival mode.
Still we are being controlled and manipulated. The prices of our raw materials are regulated by the law of supply and demand. The higher is our demand, the higher they raise the level of the price, with the supply remaining constant or even decreased because of the manipulation of some unscrupulous suppliers and hoarders.
Nonetheless, we are not losing our hope. We continue to complain, resist, and expose corruptive practices in social media and in the streets. As the philosophers would say, we are political animals.
As such, we are able to react to stimuli, reproduce, grow, and fight even in harshest times and conditions. All this we do, guided by our conscience and consciousness.
This is our saving grace. We fight following the rules of engagement. Call these rules Christian, Hindu, Chinese, Russian, Buddhist, Islam, Jewish, etc. We're not soulless soldiers and warriors.
Let’s get out of our corruptible electoral system. Let’s not sell our votes. Resist vote buying. Invoke transparency. Let’s vote according to our religious beliefs and conscience.
Yet, as Christians we're still divided. We don't have a Christian vote in spite of the fact that many of those running into office are Christians. That’s why we remain unable to exert great influence on running our government, much less in transforming the moral fiber of our society’s leadership and governance.
Elections after all are not based on religious grounds. They are primarily business and investment endeavors designed to further enhance the prestige of power holders and amass profits for their sponsors.
Our country is on the verge of imploding from within. I feel we need somebody like Archimedes to bring the Earth from its tilt to its balance. But to be successful, Archimedes has to stand and hold the lever millions of lightyears away.
I might as well be referring to Jesus then whose second coming every Catholic is eagerly expecting. He could indeed do much for us. But pending his return, there must be another way.
As the song goes: “The world still astounds us each time we look at a star,” complement of the Beatles in their I’m a Dreamer.
Yes, I might as well dream and look at the stars to remind me that we’re all children of the same universe, the same Cosmos that impregnated us, like the Blessed Mother Mary, in the wombs of virgin stars billions of years ago.
But science, I must tell you, is reassuring me that this is not a dream borne out of hallucinations and fantasies. Dreams are not illusions either. They are as real as what we see and do during the day. The world at night is as real as the world of the day.
Yes, getting out of our corrupt state and degenerating conditions can only be resolved if we transcend religion and by not relying solely on some man-made hieroglyphs that are given imprimatur as written under the guidance of some enlightened species, not humans.
Is there such a thing as a solid Catholic vote?
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. - March 30, 2022
Unlike the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), there is none. But in cases of smaller societies like LSSAJ, XVDs, youth movements, women’s groups, labor federations, indigenous peoples, senior citizens, disabled, or ACA partner communities, unity, in terms of voting the same list of candidates from the national down to the village level, could be possible.
The only hindrance that stands in the way of solid voting is whether or not this is advisable, given our diverse philosophical and theological standards.
This is a sensitive issue. But if we’re not able to achieve this kind of strategy, then, we really deserve disunity within and among our society’s leadership and governance since we were in the first place divided in our votes. And we have elected into public office those who are already fiercely divided among themselves.
It’s high time to reflect on the most quoted motto: “In diversity, there’s unity” (In pluribus, unum).
No! There can be no unity when there’s diversity. The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are one triune God precisely because there’s no diversity in their actions.
They are diverse, three persons, yes, but united as one in all things. “Unity in diversity” (e pluribus unum). There can be no diversity when there’s unity.
A divided society will continue to be divided geometrically, especially because of our archipelagic landscape and regionalistic culture.
That’s one viewpoint. Another one is even more organic.
We live in a world of duality. The good and the bad are in each of us. We screen our list of candidates based on our personal preferences and beliefs.
These beliefs can be religious, cultural, social, political, medical, ecological, or technological. To us, it is the right thing to do. It is not fake, it is not false, it is not untrue.
But it is good to be reminded also that while our list may be true and accurate, it is not completely true and accurate either. For our perception of what is true and correct can be clouded by our senses just like the proverbial seven blind men.
Our understanding of the world is but subjective and phenomenological. We know our candidates based on our own interests and idiosyncrasies. We can also be carried by what sociologists and psychologists refer to as band-wagon mentality.
Unlike the seven blind men, it would be likely more productive for us and our member communities if we compare our list of voters and come up with a common list of names. In this manner, we are able to ensure the likelihood of increasing the benefits and advantages that go to the common good of our member communities.
The cliché “To each his own” has long been proven to be more damaging and disastrous to us. This is what has been happening nowadays under too much unbridled capitalism, extreme socialism, and too much populism under the guise of liberal democracy, which is no different from totalitarianism, authoritarianism, and fanaticism.
Again, to wait for the government might be too late. To act as individuals might be too little. But to act as communities might just be enough, given our resources and limitations.
What Can We Do?
Paul J. Dejillas, Ph.D. – May 2, 2021
Let's go to battle like David to save our people, but this time without the sling. David went to battle in the valley of Elah in the north of ancient Palestine, with his slingshot, to fight against Goliath with his sword that could instantly wipe out an infantry in one sweep.
The temptation to repeat this biblical scene now on a global scale is great, considering the situation we had been experiencing the past two years.
Today, Goliath has multiplied himself a hundredfold and their sword-bearing attire are everywhere. They can just shut off electricity, telephone lines, water supplies, and many other things we are so dependent and accustomed to, anytime they want, under the guise of national security.
The David of today, however, has become armless. I don’t even have a slingshot. Only the hope and faith that, like him, we can save some souls who are suffering because of today's ruthless Goliaths.
But I cannot conscientiously believe that violence can bring about peace, harmony, and justice. Peace can't be achieved by means of arms, weapons, and other killing machines.
The Google dictionary defined violence as the "behavior involving physical force intended to hurt, damage, or kill someone or something." Today, there can only be two alternatives. It's either violence or nonviolence. There are only levels of intensity, but no in-between.
I personally believe in nonviolence. Peace and harmony can only be realized through compassion, openness, and mutual understanding. And there are many ways this can be done.
Holding community pantries is best as an immediate solution to hunger and poverty It’s good to share our abundance to our neighbors and the needy, while we still can.
But sooner or later, the issues of vaccinations, spywares, nuclear threats, climate change, water, food, jobs, electricity, and Internet will affect each one of us real hard and this can be crippling.
Let's muster our resources to solve this persistent interruptions, which are done at will by a few elite to further their own interests. I just want to be prepared once these situations come again and I suspect they will come more often than not.
While we still have the resources, try securing a place that already offers fruit-bearing trees, food, water, and free electricity.
If you have one already, you’re lucky. Then, you can continue your community pantries, providing soup kitchens for the children, as well as other essential provisions for the women and the elderly in your neighborhood.
For those who don’t have the financial resources yet, let's look for sponsors from our loved ones and like-minded friends.
I can only say "good luck" to you for now for we are in this same boat together. Nevertheless, let’s continue to enjoy all the kinds of pandemics that seek to inundate us today, for they didn't happen by coincidence of fate.
There must be a reason why these are sent to us. Whatever that reason is, my hope and faith for the future is what's keeping me alive and always moving forward.
As the Green Berets of the US Army would say: "No retreat, no surrender", for the Air Force: "No guts, no glory", and for the Marines: "Always Faithful". And we sing: "Onward, Christian soldiers! Marching as to war, with the cross of Jesus going on before!"
Though uncertain of what it will be, there's always a future as long as we are alive and the kind of future we will have depends on what we are doing now. This makes life so magical and mystical.