Category Archives: Philosophy

To My Brothers and Sisters

This article is a break from my usual political ramblings and is directed at my fellow Atlanteans struggling in this world, but is still looking for their true home.

The message is simple. Do not lose hope.

I recently went thru the job hunt and selection process and was hit with so many overqualified judgments that I considered changing my resume to mask my true abilities. Of course my mind rebelled against that thought almost immediately. Why should I hide my talents from those who are afraid of it?

I sat alone and ruminated. I began to accept the truth that the world desires mediocrity now and nothing more than that. Why else would they hire people half as capable as me? Why else would they hire people who really just have a basic understanding on how to do the current project instead of someone who could implement plans and stratagems which will make them more efficient?

I thought a little bit more and had an epiphany; I realized that I may have been approaching the problem wrong. Why should those companies hire me based on things that I know I can accomplish for them? When all they require is some mediocre monstrosity to fill the void now?

Like Quentin Daniels I must have faith in my own abilities. I know my own worth. I know I will be successful so why should I ask them to take the risk on my mind? When the person who should take the biggest risk of all should be me? I will take the lowest job possible in the company of my choice then once inside I will show them how to improve. If they are a company worth my time then they will see my worth and reward me accordingly. If not then I will leave and move on to my next choice. After all any ideas I give them will be of no benefit if they do not know the overall plan for them. I realized that the time for heroes may not be over yet. We just need to shine more brightly. If I fail and cannot come up with something of benefit, then I may have overestimated my abilities and deserve to be nothing more than a second assistant bookkeeper.

Before I end I would like to leave you with the words of another fellow Atlantean who I know has introduced plenty of us to our true homeland. “Do not let the fire of your mind die out, ember by irreplaceable ember. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration at the world you deserve but did not get. The world you desire can be won, It exists, It is real, It is possible, It is yours.”

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Filed under Philosophy, rants

Covey is Wrong

I usually like to write articles on political issues. However this time I want to write about something philosophical for the blog.

Steven Covey, author of the seven habits of highly effective people, is wrong. At least in far as his lessons on his two circle theory goes. If you have not read it yet Covey says that should imagine your concerns to fit into two concentric circles, one smaller than the other. The smaller circle is your circle of influence. Here you place issues ad things in your life that you can affect directly and efficiently. Such as your family, friends, lifestyle, and whatever else you can affect easily. The bigger circle is your circle of concern. Things which you cannot or only tangentially affect. Global warming, war, national debt, and other issues of that nature. He tells you to focus on the circle of influence instead of the circle of concern and you will be a more effective person.

His ideas focus on being proactive and taking responsibility for your actions. Realizing that nothing will change unless you take a hand in it. Which is quite right. It is actually sad that one of the basic premises of his code is flawed. The circle of influence and circle of concern are one and the same! They both concern the same issues. The only difference is in the circle of influence you act to change things while in concern you whine about the state of affairs. The end effect is that the classic idea of the circle of influence and concern dis-empowers you instead of empowering you as it was designed. Even the diagram of the circle shows you that there are just some things you cannot affect and therefore outside your power.

Let me make one thing clear. There is nothing in the world that you cannot affect. Nothing. Whether it is an event on a global scale, a natural disaster, an accident, war, whatever. There is always something you can do. Whether it be preparing for the disaster beforehand or your reaction to the disaster. Understand the previous statements and what it implies. You have power. No one can tell you to give up because it is impossible or to continue on despite the issues unimportance to you. I will not lie. It may be tougher to affect certain things, but the power is there. All that remains is in how you use it.

Do you want to get back with your lover? Go court her again. Do you want to stop the coalition war against Libya? Volunteer to join an anti-war organization or speak out against it yourself. Do you want to help Japan? Give them your time or money. If you think about it hard enough a way to impact problems will always appear.

Ideas have power. If everyone thought the way Mr. Covey suggests, what would happen to us? Yes, we would have a more efficient life. We would be able to affect our work, family, and other things more. How about the rest of the world? Of the country? Of the community? If our country thought this way during the time of the dictator Marcos, would we have been able to oust him? Or would we have labeled the corruption as an issue for the circle of concern? After all as private citizens it is an issue that we have little control over. How would we change our country? How would we complain to the government if they do something wrong? How would we argue over unjust wars? How would we discipline corrupt individuals?

This is my main peeve with the idea. It basically teaches you to be efficient by picking your battles. Equating being efficient with being effective and achieving that by only taking on activities that give you the maximum rate of return. It does sound very reasonable does it not? But it requires you to give up on things that you really care about for the sole reason that it is not the most efficient use of your time. Covey’s approach makes you give up on issues you care about preemptively, because well they are basically too hard.

An effective person is more than that. It is having a goal. Choosing which issues in your life you care about. Then setting out to impact them whatever they are. You can be very efficient at everything you do, but still be unable to reach your goal because you have none. While you can be inefficient but still make progress toward your desired end. Nothing is more ineffective than giving up without trying.

Both his creed and my modification to it have being proactive and responsible as central tenets. The frustrating is that for all the good it does a hint of pessimism and surrender creeps into his. This is all you can do and you should not attempt anything beyond it for that would fall into your circle of concern. Ultimately his creed is actually harmful you. It leaves you defenseless against powerful people exploiting you as they would be something you cannot do anything about. While mine is based on optimism and power. You can impact anything around you as long as you work towards it. The initial crusaders for or against any issue always face daunting odds. Yet they don’t give up and say that it is in their circle of concern. Instead they realize that both are one and the same and begin.

I hesitate to say it but the two circle theory actually reminds me of one of Homer Simpsons statements. “You tried and you failed, the lesson is don’t try”. Except in this case you never even bother to try in the first place.

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Filed under foreign, Philosophy

Cartman!!!!!

Watch this video first!

I will not live my life as a goddamn minority.  I will not LIVE my LIFE as a GODDAMN minority! I WILL NOT LIVE MY LIFE AS A GODDAMN MINORITY! This is probably one of the most racist comments in South Park, a show which already has a high level of race related comedy. Yet somehow this single statement from Cartman resonated with me and gave me a eureka moment. Yea Cartman is right!

Now for the obligatory political correctness: I am not a racist. I couldn’t care less for the color of one’s skin. No, I have not been involved in any hate crimes. Yes, I will make fun of everyone equally. American, Filipino, Jew, Black, White, Ginger. The statement struck a chord with me because of the attitude it showed. Not one of racism which, judging by south park’s brand of humor was a joke, but by the confidence and entitlement it shouted. The confidence that says “no, my group will not be at the bottom”. Why? Not because of any inherent qualities in gingers. Cartman could care less. It’s because he is in the group and he has the self-confidence and arrogance to believe that any group he was leading would go to the top. More importantly the context of the sentence showed that he was willing to work and give his all to achieve this. When Cartman shouted this I immediately thought: “I will not live my life in a poor, backward, third world- country”.

I promised in my last article that I would tell you why I love this country. Let me begin. I don’t love this country because of Rizal, Cory, or any of our other heroes. I don’t love this country because of People Power 2, our valiant defense during WW2, or any other event in our history. I certainly don’t love this country because of the people in it. A majority of whom I have never even met nor spoken to. The heroes and events in our past are certainly noteworthy. I’m sure if I met most of my countrymen I would like a lot of them. However there is only one reason I love this country. I love this country because I am in it. I love this country because I love myself.

I love this country because I love myself. So simple, so selfish, so conceited, so arrogant. Yet there it is. For better or for worse the cosmic lottery dictated that I be born here. Which means this is my team. I wasn’t drafted for this team, nor was I scouted to join, but it’s still my team. And I just have too much pride and self- confidence to let my team remain second best. Who wants to let their team remain as the kings if they could transform them to be the Lakers right? I’m sure other people have had this thought before. Everyone you ask will probably say they want to make the country a better place to live in. The difference, I think, is that I am egotistical and arrogant enough to believe that I can make a difference. I believe that I deserve to be in the best country and I am willing to work to achieve that. In fact I believe in myself so much that I take it as a failure every time our nation sinks deeper.

The obvious question is why not switch teams? After all there was no voluntary choice on my part to be a citizen here. I’m sure if I believe in myself this much then I should certainly believe that other nations would offer me citizenship. Why not join an already successful nation? The answer lies in that very same belief. The confidence I have in myself makes me think that leaving to join another nation is an admission of defeat, one of surrender. I am essentially saying that it is beyond my capabilities to help bring our country to the top and therefore I will leave. Sadly, I’m just too egotistical to do that.

By now you are probably saying “Wow what an arrogant asshole. What can you do by yourself.” Yes, you might be right. There may be nothing I can do and I may just be setting myself up for disappointment. God forbid the day ever comes where reality crushes my spirit and compel me to leave. However until that day comes, while I am still young and full of spirit I will try and make our team the best one.

What can one person do though? Honestly? Nothing by himself. It could be that my contribution would be this blog. Hopefully I can reach some like-minded countrymen out there and gather more people to enact change. Maybe someone reading my words will have a paradigm shift and be offended at the thought that they deserve to live in a third world country. Maybe it will be outside of the internet, through the people I interact with. I just know that every time I see our latest blunder I think we could do so much better and I think and make plans about how to do that. I hope I reach a point in my life where I can more meaningfully affect our direction. One thing is for sure though. I am not going to give up and will try to find ways to make this place better.

Well that’s it. I do hope I reach someone with this post. Out of every article I’ve made I think this one shows everyone the most about my character. Whenever you look at our country and see the corrupt, the laziness, the lawless. Remember that they don’t matter. Our country could be filled with the worst people but we should still have enough confidence in ourselves to change it. Remember: I love this country because I love myself.

 

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Filed under Philosophy, Politics

What Would Jesus Do?

So I was flipping thru channels the other day and came upon an old-ish movie: “I Now Pronounce you Chuck and Larry”; a comedy by Adam Sandler (who I must say is one of the best comedians out there). It revolves around two straight guys getting a same-sex marriage to attain the rights of a conventional marriage. And that’s when I began to think. Why is it we don’t let gay people marry? I mean, aren’t they people too? Why should marriage just be between a man and a woman, why not between two men or even 2 women (which my male brain finds extremely hot)?

There are plenty of reasons why we ban same-sex marriage but the main one is that the church says its wrong. Its in the bible somewhere that man should only be married with women. That makes it wrong for the church and therefore makes it automatically banal, period; which is why many countries have never adopted it.

As I watched Chuck and Larry living together, I thought to myself: “doesn’t it go against the very grain of Christianity though, to have a law against same-sex marriage?” I can already hear the angry mob sharpening pitchforks and preparing burning torches but hear me out first.

If you accept the bible at face value you will see that Jesus was an all-powerful being, able to change reality at a whim. He was able to travel across terrain, feed thousands at a moment’s notice, rise from the dead…basically anything Superman could do. And then some.

Now with all that power what does Jesus do? In the numerous instances he is confronted with evildoers; people who want to stone a prostitute, pharisees who try to trap him, even disciples who end up betraying him, does he ever go: “Wait, you guys want to stone the girl?” *snap* “Now ya don’t.” “Whoa! Pharisees want to kill me?” *wiggle nose* “Now you all love me!”

He doesn’t.

What does he do instead? He TELLS people they are wrong. He convinces them that the things they are doing are not according to what his father’s wishes are and explains the consequences of following the wrong path (i.e. Hell). Yes there is a threat, a very heavy one; eternal damnation BUT there is never a blanket ban of “NO you cannot sin”. The threat doesn’t even apply in this life, it’s carried out after you die.

Placing a ban on same-sex marriage is like forcing people to OBEY the bible. Sinners should they so choose, should be free to keep sinning. Preach all you want, tell them why they are wrong, but don’t force them to obey. Even Jesus didn’t do that. Of course we shouldn’t force churches to accept them either as clergy should also have the freedom to accept the values they want to embrace; and if it would be up to anyone it should be up to the government to recognize same sex marriage.

I can hear you already. “Well since we can’t force people to be good and follow the bible, why should we penalize other biblical sins like say, murder? Let’s have everyone free to be a sinner!”. The important thing to remember when comparing something like murder to same-sex marriage is that murder is an exercise of free will that ends up universally hurting somebody else. This applies to stealing and other similar crimes, which is why we have laws about them to live safely. We ban them in order to live peaceful, productive lives; not because a holy book tells us to do so.

The next question people commonly ask is “but doesn’t same sex marriage hurt society’s moral fiber?”. Well the answer to that is. Maybe. I know that many people genuinely believe same sex marriage hurts other people as much as murder or stealing does and those people do deserve to make their case but the the decision on the types of marriages we allow should be based on this “it-hurts-society” debate, not on the dictates of a holy book.

Well, I hope this article quelled the angry mob somewhat though remnants are probably still forming up right as I type (luckily I live in a condo so they still have a ways to climb up). So before  base jump to safety out the window let me leave you with some final words. What would Jesus do? The next time the issue of banning same-sex marriage is brought up at least ask yourself. WWJD. What. Would. Jesus. Do?

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Filed under foreign, Philosophy, Policy, Politics, Religion