In my approximately three years in this university, I have inculcated reasonable amount of its ideologies, philosophies, principles, values, and way of life. Some I obliquely resisted, while some I instantaneously embraced. Critical thinking, which is the very essence of this university, also came its way naturally to me and so with every student. But in effect, the more I learn new ideologies, the more I am exposed to the truth, or to put it simply, the more I think, the more I become cynical. The world cannot afford too many cynical people like me, which is why I must say that I am very lucky for the rare and inimitable opportunity of juggling strong opinions, viewpoints, and critiques out of critical thinking which definitely not everybody can enjoy. It’s just not the way the world goes.
Facing the truth and reality is one of the most heartbreaking things one has to ever deal with. It is so ugly that it would blow your mind off. Some can escape from it, but those who cannot simply have to live with it. So I learned that the real thing that runs the world is really capitalism and we are its mere puppets. We think our era is superior among others because of today’s drastic technological and ideological advances but we fail to see how these billionaires manipulate and mislead us all the time. Some women think that an empowered woman should enjoy what the opposite sex also enjoy so they involve themselves into sexual activities and swim into the pool of vices like drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes. We also have become very open and welcoming of the post-modern or post-colonial attitude and behavior so that we easily tolerate deconstruction, subversions, and ironies of the past. We are so much into globalization, liberation, and radicalization that we are truly a different people now.
The modern day society is a highly complex one that seems to be easily penetrated by any forms of influences both local and foreign. Global trends are contagious and inevitable; these advances tag along with them issues which when are out of hands could be so challenging due to the fact that some of the foundations of our societies have gone out of our reach that coming up with solutions have become pretty challenging as well. Thus I present Mahatma Gandhi.
I have never encountered ideas as simple as Gandhi’s. Even more, I am totally awed by the fact that his ideas also seem so realistic and at the same time idealistic. Unlike the teachings of the Catholic Church or other institutions, Gandhi’s teachings are clear and not vague, honest and not fictitious, and most importantly, realistic and not naïve.
Allow me to cite the things that struck me most in Gandhi’s teachings:
- No one has the monopoly on truth.
Absolutely. I feel like cursing whenever some institutions, books, organizations, or even certain individuals claim that they hold the truth for everything. It is definitely one big fat lie. Right now I can picture the years I spent in a Catholic elementary school wherein my grade six religion teacher was a nun and was also our principal. I was our class’ best pupil back then. I almost memorized all the books and stories in the bible, always lead the praying of the rosary, was a commentator and reader in the church, and was president of a church organization. But you know what’s actually worst? We were taught or at least I thought because this is what they taught us, that those who did not believe in our religion are outcasts. As I think of it now, I cannot believe it even for just one second. But they did teach us to respect other religions though.
- Politics, divorced from religion, has absolutely no meaning.
When the Spaniards came to colonize the Philippines, their primary agenda was anchored on political grounds but to clean off their hands, they tampered our minds with the hopes and promises of a new and better religion―a kind of salvation. Politics is but a burning hell of people with selfish and greedy ambitions. What was the point of coining the word ‘politics’ anyway? People tried to make laws, but these laws have always been under the influence of moral standards born out of religion. Separation of the state and of religion is unachievable.
- Ahimsa (non-violence): The use of violence can only temporarily suppress evil at the cost of having it arise later with redoubled vigor.
Nothing good comes out from an action initiated by a bad or wrong action. Confucius said, “Do not do unto others what you do not want others do unto you.”
- “Gandhi was opposed to modern western civilization and industrialism. He had an aversion to machinery and preferred goods produced by hand. He looked forward not to a material but a spiritual civilization. He thought competition, on which modern western economies are based, to be a tragic waste. He believed that social ills such as alcoholism and prostitution are the inevitable result of materialistic values. His goal was a revitalized rural India, not a westernized one. He favored decentralization.”
I am not naïve enough to think that this proposition or idea is simple. I am aware that there are a lot of things to consider also and that especially nowadays, things are more complicated as how they seem to be. Nonetheless, I would just like to express my strong affirmation of the idea of decentralization.
- The consumption of goods made in one’s country (Swadeshi)
This is exactly what we Filipinos should aim for, well not totally, but balance between patronizing western commodities and ours would be acceptable.
[This composition was originally submitted in my Asian History class during the previous semester. When I got my paper back recently (checked, commented on, and all), my professor left me with words of encouragement to put this composition on my blog. I know my paper is not as outstanding as whoever's paper, but I believe it's a good way to take-off or I never will.]