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Friday, January 6, 2012

Is Modernity the Solution?

Professor Randolf S. David
Sociology Professor at the University of the Philippines
Philippine Daily Inquirer Columnist
A Filipino Intellectual 
A Reaction Paper on
Rizal Lecture Series: Rizal, Modernity, and the Filipinos
Professor Randolf S. David

Things have been extraordinarily tough for the Philippines. Although we have spent several decades trying to save what good we have from our wealthy past, we still are in the same boat that is sinking and is ready to hit the deep, dark ocean floor anytime soon if things keep failing for us. Our country undeniably fails in both local and global economies, in its social, educational, health, social security, and political systems, and in other related institutions. We have been fighting against corruption, crime and violence, poverty, health issues, natural catastrophes, and even social disorder, but nothing seemed to have changed for the better; in fact, things seem to have reached their lowest points and have become worst instead.

Meanwhile, Prof. Randy David in his lecture presented a proposition. He had a clear exposition of the interstices among the concepts Rizal, Modernity, and Filipinos and used it in devising a sort of a solution to this now chaotic society. I have been his fan from the time I heard his name and his genius and I must say that sir Randy David did not fail my expectations this time. His points and arguments were all bold, precise, and clear. In the following paragraph, I shall lay out the points in his lecture, my side comments included of course.

Our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal was a modern Filipino. In fact he was a humanist, democrat, cosmopolitan, and free intellectual; and according to Prof. Randy David himself, he things that Rizal would be preaching modernity than nationalism. Moreover, he thinks that modernity is the solution to complexity. I find the previous statement quite challenging since all along I actually thought that modernity is complexity. However, our lecturer was crystal clear in his point. Modernity is new and inevitable, something we cannot escape from thus these two concepts of society: social modernity and traditional society. He firmly stated that the Philippines is still in transition from a traditional society to a modern one but it is not going to be fast and easy. Of course we would not just accept these assumptions, but I think they are more than that. So Prof. David expounded further on these two concepts. He provided us with their basic features, the main problems of our country, conditions and solutions, and other related topics. True indeed, a modern society would probably do us good. I cannot foresee the more complex and larger picture of this kind of set-up since society is far more complicated than it is but if asked to make a stand, I too am pro modernity now. Why?

Globalization is such a big word that is an absolute product of modernity. And we absolutely cannot escape from it too, not even in our imagination. We cannot do away with the United Nations (UN), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), European Union (EU), and other global organizations because nowadays, everything is interrelated and interconnected in so many ways. Every nation or country is part of something. Effects and influences come in huge waves and we certainly cannot defy them. So we go with the flow. To remain in the shadows of our past is to handicap ourselves. There is no other way for globalization but to surge forward. We must too.

*Initially submitted as a requirement in my History class. 

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