It was beyond my imagination that things have gone this way. All I ran after was to teach in the most effective manner I can, so that by the time you get launched into the larger, more dangerous landscape that’s the University of Man, you are equipped with sufficient knowledge and skills to survive the socio-politico-cultural challenges ahead of you. For you, to complement my goal: to learn in such a way that you will aspire more to become catalysts of social change than to become just skilled workers answering the imperialist call of globalization. At the end of each class, we go on separate ways; after all, I myself am rounding up my academic coursework, I have a social circle to update, I possess a love life to help transform my unexciting fashion of seeing the world. I figure that some of you have part-time jobs to attend to, most have families to tend, all have personal demons—unrequited love, identity crisis, economic hardships, spiritual barrenness, among others—to struggle against.
But we are all humans, no matter how modern living has significantly decreased our capacity to feel and to make real connections. The class meetings have spawned more lessons than lazy teachers and resentful students care to know, so perhaps the regular face-to-face interactions brought so much familiarity that you are no longer statistical data to me, and I no longer the teacher who makes you grow white hairs over the complex relationship between literature and various ideologies. You amaze me when you take the lessons seriously even when I told you never to be blinded by certain philosophies; I cannot begin to think how many of you abandoned your ambitions of putting up businesses when I made it clear that literature will hopefully not turn you into cold-blooded capitalists, or of working abroad when I pointed out that literature has recorded how diasporic people in search of greener pastures got victimized by the first-class citizens of their country of transplantation, or of succeeding in romantic relationships when I told you that literature reflects men’s historical violence against women, or of becoming mestizos and mestizas when I argued that literature continues to present colonial people’s plight of seeing themselves inferior to the white colonizers. Thank you for appreciating literature and its related arts, but more than this, please recognize and realize its social commitment of providing insights into life in order for all of us to pursue ideals like beauty, justice, love, truth and goodness. We need to humanize ourselves in order to make this world a truly livable place for all of us.
And that did it in, that humanizing process which makes us see our relationships as filial, agape, spiritual. Our lives have become forever intertwined such that you will never come across a certain text by a certain author, a particular style or an operating hegemony without associating this to that time a specific piece of literature had been taken in class. We may be torn asunder by geographical distance, but we have been changed in this way: a part of you exists in me, a part of myself exists in you, so that we cannot fully claim being all our own because a part of someone lives and grows and transcends in everybody.
Some chapters of our lives end whether we like it or not and no matter how hard we try to prolong these. It may be unfair, but like what seems an ordinary chance encounter at life’s crossroads, it is all a part of a grand design. We have met one another not so much as your getting a 1.00 from my class as a fulfillment of destiny’s nobler purpose. We have met because we have something to pass on to one another, and this may come in the form of friendship, a dream of nation-building, inner peace or conventional wisdom. We may lose touch soon, either in normal ways or in that final stroke to our mortality, but always remember that something in your wholeness glows similar to that light found in everyone else. Stoke it, nurture it, because it is a luminosity that shall perpetually remind you of me.
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