the gapanese invasion is nigh!

"pinakamaganda ka nga sa buong kapuluan, pero latina na naman ang magwawagi ng korona at sash sa miss world! racism ba ito? lupasay!"

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

inaasahan ng diyos

Posibleng inaasahan din tayo ng Diyos kung tunay tayong nauugnay sa Kanya dahil hindi man natin maaarok ang misteryo ng Diyos o mauunawaan ang mga dahilan ng mga pagkilos Niya, umaasa Siyang may pakikisangkot tayo sa pag-ibig Niya. Pag-ibig ang dahilan ng Diyos para likhain Niya tayo at inaasahan Niyang mananampalataya tayo sa Kanya dahil Siya ang lumikha sa atin at pagtataksil o pagtalikod o hindi katapatan ang hindi natin pagbabalik ng pag-ibig na ito. Sa pagbibigay Niya ng kalayaan sa ating pumili, inaasahan Niya tayong pipiliin natin Siya alang-alang sa Kanya bilang Diyos. Pinili man nating talikuran Siya ngunit patuloy pa rin ang pagkakaloob ng walang kondisyong pag-ibig Niya. Kung ang pag-ibig ng tao sa tao ay maaaring magpausbong at magpaunlad, bakit hindi ang sa Diyos? Kaya nating tayain ang kapwa tao ngunit kung marupok ang tinataya, mabibigo dito. Matataya rin ang sarili kung makasasakit dahil mahina rin bilang tao. Ngunit iba ang kaso sa Diyos: alam Niyang tao lamang tayo ngunit kaya nga Siya naging Diyos na pinagsasampalatayanan ay upang subuking umunlad sa pagganap ng pagiging likha Niya. Magiging posible lamang ito kung tutuparin natin ang pakikisangkot sa Diyos na makikita sa ugnayan ng pag-asa alang-alang sa Kanya. Sa paglikha sa atin, kinikilala ng Diyos na mahalaga tayo kaya nga sa pagkilala naman natin ng kahalagahan Niya, kumikilos tayo sa pag-asa Niya sa atin. Ibig sabihin ng inaasahan tayo ng Diyos ay binibihag Niya tayo para maniwala sa Kanya anuman ang mangyari, na kikilos tayo higit sa itatakda ng diwa at katwiran, na kung tunay tayong nauugnay sa Diyos, may inaasahan Siya sa ating pagganap nang higit sa ating pagkatao upang matupad ang pag-asa Niya gaya ng mga sakripisyo, pagtalikod sa kasalanan, pagsunod sa mga utos Niya, pananampalataya sa Kanya at pag-ibig. Malaya man tayo sa relasyon sa Diyos dangan at bawat relasyon ay may kalayaan, mas malaki ang pag-asa Niya na hindi natin maaatim na tumanggi o humindi dahil sisikapin nating ganapin ang pakikisangkot sa kaugnayan sa Diyos.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


(photo originally posted by direk)

"...they were armored by the same impermeability of affection." - Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

I perceive the sun as dying in the horizon
Whereas you witness the sea awash with its flames
The night seems to me a moon-eating dragon
While you look at the sky as a lady’s bejeweled mane.
We are unique, envied by some
For the gift of transfiguration:
No less than words and images
Orgiastically populate our minds and senses.
Even with this oneness,
We do not see eye-to-eye
On certain things;
Despite the same potent imagination,
We are devoid of mutual understanding.
I wish it were easy to picture
Your frame of thought,
Your point of view,
Your line of vision,
But your lens contrasts my pen
In its manner of construction.
So this is what is said
As the indivisibility of creation and destruction:
We engender the unintelligible universe
But the price does not come free:
We must sacrifice to endure, forever,
The curse of seeing the world differently.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

men in love?: homosociality in d. h. lawrence’ women in love

The spectacle of Gerald Crich and Rupert Birkin wrestling on the library carpet in Women in Love’s “Gladiatorial” episode calls to mind a campy imagery, but doing so stripped naked and sweating already breaks the ground for a queer reading. This and other such incidents and statements make up the homosocial interpretation of the relationship between the Brangwen sisters’ lovers in D. H. Lawrence’ controversial novel.
Women in Love juxtaposes the love relationship between Rupert and Ursula Brangwen with that between Ursula’s artistic sister Gudrun and industrialist Gerald. For the purpose of this paper, that other romantic exploration in the novel—the hint of homosexual attraction between Rupert and Gerald—will be the focus. This reading of homosociality between Ursula’s and Gudrun’s lovers will be anchored in Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick’s notion on “male homosocial desire” in Between Men.
It cannot be denied that Rupert’s and Gerald’s is a very intimate friendship, but Rupert’s yearning for male love brings this relationship into an altogether different, symbolic level. On the first hand of this male communion is the refusal to see no more than nonsexual, physical (in the case of the legendary wrestling scene) ties. It may be viewed as a simple male bonding from the heterosexual perspective, justifying the characters’ motives as being borne out of masculine fraternity. On the other hand, this very gladiatorial scene discloses the climax of homosexual desire between the two. In the interest of Sedgwick’s “male homosocial desire,” the relationship between Rupert and Gerald will be seen as being wedged between the contrasting intimate brotherhood and socially repressed romantic affair. Through the lens of this label, the characters’ behavior toward each other may be best explained.
In the beginning chapter of her book, Sedgwick elaborates the fundamental idea behind the erotic triangle that involves two rivals, often male, pursuing a common object, often female. The erotic gets invoked when it is realized that the ties of rivalry and love are equal and powerful. Likewise, Sedgwick throws in the familiar Freudian perspective on the Oedipal triangle. These two elements erupt into a crisis between desire and hostility. The tie between rivals is viewed as vigorous in a power struggle, like the quest for the third member. Thus, the ties may be viewed as either sexual (toward the third member) or nonsexual (toward the rival). However, Sedgwick argues that the third member is used only as a detour from the true partner that is the rival, citing feminist Luce Irigaray that “Male homosexuality is the law that regulates the sociocultural order. Heterosexuality amounts to the assignment of roles in the economy,” with homosexuality used to mean the grounding of patriarchal power in society. The real dynamics, then, of gender and class within the society in which women’s role and femininity are considered, points to homosexuality as a taboo condition. The regular male’s desire for the other, instead of being motivated by sexual satisfaction, is being motivated by homosocial gratification.
The abovementioned may be seen in the kind of relationship being maintained by Gerald and Rupert. The first instance happens in the novel’s second chapter wherein a friendly argument sees Rupert accusing Gerald of the Freudian desire to slit everyone’s throat and then of fearing being slayed. The built-in violence of the talk is obvious, but the psychological and emotional atmosphere in which the two relate tells more:
There was a pause of strange enmity between the two men, that was very near to love. It was always the same between them; always their talk brought them into a deadly nearness of contact, a strange, perilous intimacy which was either hate or love, or both....They burned with each other, inwardly. This they would never admit. They intended to keep their relationship a casual free-and-easy friendship, they were not going to be so unmanly and unnatural as to allow any heart-burning between them. They had not the faintest belief in deep relationship between man and man, and their disbelief prevented any development of their powerful but suppressed friendliness.
The initial sentence’ paradox and the recurrence of hostile descriptions mirror the abovementioned erotic triangle. As the discussion suggests, their tie has touches of rivalry apart from the hostile overtures. Rupert and Gerald are contestants; nonetheless, in their argument, they compete over no specific woman but over female herself. While one represents masculinity and mechanization, the other embodies nature and spirituality. The consummation of the triangle is seen with their relation with Ursula and Gudrun, who form the apex to complement the competitors’ base.
Other features of Sedgwick’s first chapter manifest in Lawrence’s background paragraph. The description shows the suppression of the characters’ actual relationship. They realize that they “burn” for each other; they may not “admit” it but they do not fail to know it. In addition, their motives include a “free-and-easy relationship” when what they actually yearn for is the opposite. As the rest of the sentence discloses, this type of bonding is devoid of the “heart-burning” they carry toward each other. Toward the end of the sentence, a justification for their repressed relationship is revealed: they feel required to prevent being “unmanly and unnatural,” suggesting their longing for intimacy and probably sodomy. Furthermore, they are merely incredulous over the plausibility of a “deep” tie between two men. Through negation, nevertheless, entertaining the very idea means the men consider the possibility. The suppression comes into play in consideration of Sedgwick’s argument about the dichotomy separating simple male bonding and homosexuality. Thus, Gerald and Rupert must avoid nurturing their relationship due to homophobia. Their milieu foists their fears upon them, opposing what they truly desire within.
Regarding this relationship, the major revelation is in the suggestively entitled chapter “Man to Man.” The drama unfolds when Gerald “looked at Birkin with penetrating eyes.” The suggestive adjective implies Gerald’s yearning for a sodomitic intimacy. More importantly, the word choice provides a shift into each man’s respective emotion toward the other. Gerald seems more repressive of the true nature of his relationship with Rupert. He surprisingly discloses mistrust and insecurity, seeming frightened to involve himself in a deep affair since “[h]e knew Birkin could do without him—could forget and not suffer.” Whereas this is the depiction of the manner in which Gerald treats his female lovers, the reversal of roles renders him the victim with the resistance to be treated in like manner. Meanwhile, Rupert contemplates on how to invigorate their tie and to address the “problem of love and eternal conjunction between two men.” He knowledgeably confesses his love and his eventual rejection of it. His resolution in the form of blood union suggests on one hand, a ritualistic strengthening of fraternity and on the other, of marriage, something that gets consummated in the homoerotic chapter entitled “Gladiatorial.” The tension between the desire for brotherhood and that for romantic realization may be addressed by Sedgwick’s concept of homosocial desire. Again, the character’s hesitation bars the attainment of their mutual feelings. Rupert invokes the idea of the blood but disregards the physical feature just as rapidly: “No wounds, that is obsolete.—But we ought to swear to love each other, you and I, implicitly and perfectly, finally, without any possibility of going back on it.” In spite of the “luminous pleasure” in Gerald’s countenance, he can just respond reservedly, caressing Rupert “as if withheld and afraid.” He wishes to “leave it till [he] understand[s] it better.” Due to society’s take in the spectrum along which companionship and homosexuality run, Gerald hesitates to jump into a fulfilled commitment. Probably he is frightened of his very desires, or possibly his abovementioned insecurity gets the better of him. Whatever the case, the absence of commitment implies their consequent and disastrous separation. Only when their relationships with the Brangwen sisters get strengthened will the two males be able to get intertwined, if only physically.
Nonetheless, Rupert advocates for the nobility of male love against Gerald’s reluctance. Gerald sees such a bonding as having “no basis in nature” when Rupert insists his desire to fulfill an ultimate commitment from Gerald and proposes the psychological requirement of an enduring male-male relationship. Rupert asserts for an “additional perfect relationship between man and man—additional to marriage,” although Gerald argues that he falls short of feeling adequate passion for it: “Surely there can never be anything as strong between man and man as sex love is between man and woman. Nature doesn't provide the basis.” Rupert responds “Well, of course, I think she does” and proceeds against the exclusivity of marital union: “And you've got to admit the unadmitted love of man for man. It makes for a greater freedom for everybody.” Hence, Rupert imposes his philosophy against Gerald’s reservation that male-male bonding lacks “basis in nature” and in Women in Love, he maintains his relationship with Gerald that is comparable in focus as that with Ursula. This is an indubitable pursuit of a realized homosocial love between the male characters.
Rupert and Gerald decline to drink before the actual tussling in “Gladiatorial,” suggesting that they refuse to lessen further their inhibition which is already reduced with their stripping nude for their engagement in physical contact. Their nakedness binds them homosocially, although the inevitable eroticism proceeds here:
So the two men entwined and wrestled with each other, working nearer and nearer...He seemed to penetrate into Gerald’s more solid, more diffuse bulk, to interfuse his body through the body of the other, as if to bring it subtly into subjection, always seizing with some rapid necromantic foreknowledge every motion of the other flesh, converting it and counteracting it, playing upon the limbs and trunk of Gerald like some hard wind. It was as if Birkin’s whole physical intelligence interpenetrated into Gerald’s body, as if his fine sublimated energy entered into the flesh of the fuller man, like some potency, casting a fine net, a prison, through the muscles into the very depths of Gerald’s physical being.
The author reechoes the concepts of flesh and penetration in the physical battle. Rupert and Gerald violently melt into each other due to their struggle to mix their contrasting compositions. On the one side, the wrestling can be taken for a physical but not necessarily sexual companionship. One the other side, it can be considered a consummate homosexual act, with the post-wrestling collapse into each other’s arms reminiscent of sexual gratification and the thematic violence seen in wrestling instead of in sodomy. The opposing ideas may be wedded yet again in the male homosocial desire principle. Via the masculine action in wrestling, Rupert and Gerald commit a non-genital love as engendered by homophobia. With their commitment in this male bonding, they solidify their heterosexuality while achieving their homosocial pursuits. They marry physically without engaging in behavior they know to be exclusive for heterosexual affairs. Finally, in the hope of avoiding the “clutching” ties of Ursula and of submitting to a non-genital, homosocial state of companionship with Gerald, Rupert states after the unrestrained man-to-man flesh contact that “[l]ife has all kinds of things…There isn’t only one road.” This assertion during a discussion with his lady partner suggests the probability of an escape from the normalized compulsion of heterosexual engagement.
While D.H. Lawrence toys with the theme of homosexuality, he allows for a reading of a higher message about unadulterated love. Initially, Rupert’s romantic confession to Ursula of love for the late Gerald is tinged with homosexual overtones:
“He should have loved me,” he said. “I offered him.”
She, afraid, white, with mute lips answered:
“What difference would it have made!”
“It would!” he said. “It would.”
Rupert’s reply expresses positive attitude about this love gathering more force. There is a persuasion that a union between Rupert and Gerald would transcend not only the melancholic events about Gerald’s death but also the interaction of heterosexual affairs. Meanwhile, for Lawrence, to push for a homosexual love to justify his lifestyle would have been too easy. The higher stake that is about nobler love becomes visible when Rupert asserts, “To make it complete, really happy, I wanted eternal union with a man too: another kind of love.” In this text, homosexuality plays second fiddle to the idea of another kind of love. There is already a level at which homosocial nobility is being declared by Rupert. Lawrence must mean that Rupert loves Gerald beyond his physical form, as may be hinted by the naked wrestling, that this love is essentially greater, possibly spiritual, in such a way that lying with another man to make love with him in a non-platonic manner does not bear so much significance.
To be able to grasp the suggestions of the characters’ homosocial acts, it is imperative to look into how Lawrence views homosexuality. In the “Prologue” to the novel, most of the chapter is spent depicting Rupert’s love and longing for men in the most direct and extensive way. For example:
He could never acquiesce to his own feelings, to his own passion. He could never grant that it should be so, that is was well for him to feel this keen desire to have and to possess the bodies of such men, the passion to bathe in the very substance of such men, the substance of living, eternal light, like eternal snow, and the flux of heavy, rank-smelling darkness.
Whereas other portions determine a more physically intimate, homosexual desire, this part permits a homosocial interpretation. Notwithstanding the apparent sexual overtones of the chapter, Rupert’s indicative yearning for sodomy, Rupert’s desire may actually go beyond the sexual. He wishes to “bathe in the very substance” of men, to “possess” them, to be one of their kind. The sex act cannot quite explain the spiritual longing that he feels. What he wishes is to transform into a consummate male who can control bodies and minds apart from his own, to become one in their homosocial aspect, far from women and the heterosexual strictures of society. His hesitation to give in to and his own fear of his desire stem from his homophobia, acquired through the link of such desire to the homosexual taboo. From this viewpoint, the physical contact, the blood union, his perpetual desire to carry a real relationship with a man, may be read in a homosocial framework, one sustained by desire that is non-genital and non-homosexual in aspect.
Therefore, the attraction between Gerald and Rupert should not be hinted outright as homosexual, since their real intimate desire does not rest in the physical fulfillment of their relationship. Regarding this, Lawrence had to say, “The psychoanalysts, driving us back to the sexual consummation always, do us infinite damage. We have to break away, back to the great unison of manhood in some passionate purpose. Now this is not like sex.” In here, the author exerts an effort to differentiate the higher “purpose” to be achieved among males and the libidinal act, owing to their vast distinction in value and meaning. This summon to engage to a homosocial setup is bereft of sex itself although it permits passion, such as that of Rupert’s.
More facets of the homosocial commitment between Rupert and Gerald beg to be examined from the attendant misogyny to the destiny that their respective erotic triangles are tragically heading. All the same, the issue of male homosocial desire serves as the foundation of their affair. Owing to the woman’s role in society, Rupert and Gerald’s relationship meets a calamitous ending, with their commitment unattained. As Ursula would have it, “You cannot have two kinds of love…because it is false, impossible.” Due to this dominant perspective, the homophobia foisted upon Gerald and Rupert brought about the reluctance and demise of their resisting masculinity. Nevertheless, Lawrence uses Rupert—with the latter’s retort “I don’t believe that”—as an instrument in reviving the hope for a homosocial setting liberated from the demands of heterosexuality.

Works Cited:
Lawrence, D. H. Women in Love. New York: Modern Library Edition.
Oates, Joyce Carol. “Lawrence’s Götterdämmerung: The Apocalyptic Vision of Women in Love.” In Critical Essays on D. H. Lawrence. Dennis Jackson and Fleda Brown Jackson, eds. Boston: G. K. Hall and Co., 1988.
Sedgwick, Eve Kosofsky. Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. New York: Columbia University Press, 1985.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

mall rat

Let me carry you
Where honking coffins hurtle past
And zombie feet zoom away.
Stay alive;
Listen to Lazarus’ heartbeats
Pounding consciously
At the whirling cemetery’s sojourn
At our animated timidity.
Open your eyes
As the buried is risen
Right where the funeral lights are cast
Where mourning strays about
Bags of commodified dust.
Shed your last liquid grief
And awaken your belief
That this dispirited mall
May not be the wettest graveyard
After all.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

of lives and fire: an ethical dilemma

Morality may be approved or condemned depending on the motives or action as motivated. Benevolent acts create moral approval, since these acts have the best consequences. Basically, benevolent acts must be approved universally, and this motive has the greatest happiness for the greatest number—the morally best act is one which fulfills this utilitarianism—as goal. Morality, then, focuses on virtue and vice fundamentally, and acts derivatively. As it is, neither actions not consequences in themselves have merits, only motive or intentional trait of character has, the acts to which it leads become meritorious only depending on the virtuous intention causing such acts. In short, virtuous benevolence may be approved of even if the acts it generates do not have the best consequences.
In this case, a man whose intention is to save people from the fire but ended up killing five as a consequence of acting upon his good intention is a good one. Taking into account his principle of action, he realizes his goodness by pursuing a moral motive. His virtue of saving life is foremost to him and his act of saving is good in relation to his virtuous motive, which upon contemplation is approvable universally. The motive of saving lives is virtuous because this generates approbation upon reflection, without any consideration of the consequence.
Meanwhile, the merit of the act of a burglar is bad in relation to his motive, independent of the consequence of saving five people as a result of his looting. Condemnable morality is attached to an evil motive and character, and burglary or looting is an act motivated by immoral intention. It is bad because upon contemplation, it does not intrinsically produce approbation. We cannot judge the looter’s action without considering whether his motive is morally condemning or approving. He immoral quality of his act is not completely independent of the distinctive moral goodness that only the motives of a moral person can possess.
On the other hand, ethics that deal with the rightness or wrongness of the acts is indicated by the nature of the very acts involved, independent of the motive or of consequences. This means certain acts are right and wrong in consideration of their intrinsic nature. The moral quality of an action is assessed whether the action is parallel with moral law, and by whether the action is conducted on behalf of that moral law. Good act is viewed then as an end in itself rather than as merely a means to generating good moral action.
Hence, the person who intended to save people has a good motive that took form in the act of braving the fire. It is only as his motive becomes an act that there is moral action. His act is the embodiment of his motive of doing good for his fellow people. It is independent of the bad consequence that happened as he enacted his intention of saving people from the fire. His action is moral since intrinsically, his motive is moral.
Meanwhile, the act of looting is the execution of the immoral action of the burglar. It completes his motive by acting upon it. His immoral act embodies his evil motive and in the action of looting, he actualizes his immoral action. Goodness is not simply a form of pleasure or the satisfaction of desire but is the full realization of humankind’s moral capacity. In the case of the looter who receives an accidental pleasure of saving people, his goodness is questionable owing to the wrongness in realizing this through immoral action.
Ultimately, consequentialist ethics claims that the rightness of the acts is indicated by the goodness of their outcomes. Meanwhile, deontological ethics claims that the rightness or wrongness of acts depends on the situation: an act can be right even when the result comes out bad, and an act can be wrong even when the result comes out good. The standard determining an act’s rightness is the long-time happiness it will produce. No action can be appraised of its morality completely independent f its consequences.
In the case of the well-meaning person who accidentally killed five people in the fire, his motive did not harmonize with the consequence of his motivated action by virtue of the resulting death. The quality of his action produced pain instead of the intended pleasure, hence his action has an immoral quality due to the negative consequence. The outworking of his act had a disastrous impact in other lives, causing these very lives’ end.
In the case of the ill-meaning person who accidentally saved five people from the fire, the consequence may not have harmonized with his intention but it yielded a good result in effect. His action is moral if only to judge his action which produced pleasure. The good consequence of his action and not his evil motive determines the moral quality of his action.
In general, moral actions can never happen in a vacuum. Motive works in both the act and the consequence. Therefore, all three ethical factors in moral action must be appraised together. The act must be grounded on its motive and on its consequence. The motive must be assessed in consideration of the act itself, and back of that through its motive. No one of the three stands independently, for each contributes to the whole moral action. All of them make the entire moral action good or bad, so moral action is impossible when it lacks all three factors.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

banyagang pilipina: mga katangiang di-katutubo nina donya consolacion at victorina

Sa sulat ni Jose Rizal sa kababaihan ng Malolos, binanggit niya ang ilang katangian ng mga Filipina matapos papurihan ang sigasig na maisulong ang pantay na karapatang makapag-aral at simulating peminismo ng mga babae ng bayang iyon sa Bulacan. Ilan sa mga ito ay pagkamasunurin sa tama, karunungan, tibay ng loob, at iba pang katangian.
Ipinakita ni Rizal ang mga ito sa mga babaeng tauhang nilikha niya sa kanyang mga nobelang Noli Me Tangere at El Filibusterismo, mapabuti man o masama ang katangian. Ilan sa nagtaglay ng mga ‘di-kagandahang katangiang ito ay sina Sisa na martir bilang asawa at Maria Clara bilang mahina. Magkagayunman, kina Donya Victorina at Donya Consolacion makikita ang pinakamasasamang katangiang hindi dapat tularan ng mga Filipina, partikular na rito ang pag-astang animo ay hindi mga katutubong babae.
Mahalagang talakayin ang paksa ng pagkabanyaga sapagkat isa sa pinakamahalagang aspekto ng pagkatao ang pagkakakilanlan. Dahil sa identidad, nalalaman ng tao kung ano ang kanyang pinagmulan, na sanhi ng kanyang kasalukuyan at tulay sa kanyang kinabukasan. Sa paghulagpos sa pagkakakilanlan, matatawag ang tao na nawawala sa kanyang sarili. Mas masahol pa sa pagkabanyaga sa sariling bayan ang pagiging banyaga sa sarili. Sa pagpapakitang hindi mabuti ang ganitong kalagayan, ninanais iparating ng papel na ito na hindi dapat tularan ang masasamang halimbawa ng mga katutubong kung umasta ay tila ba hindi Filipino. Sa konteksto ng Pilipinas ngayon, masasabing maraming ganitong uri ng mga taong naapektuhan na ng kolonyal na pag-iisip at kontaminado na ng mga banyagang kultura. Kaya nga, mahalagang panggising ang paksa sa mga taong ni hindi mulat sa katotohanang banyaga sila sa kani-kanilang sarili.
Sa mga nobela ng pambansang bayani, dalawa sa mga kakaibang nilalang sina Donya Victorina at Donya Consolacion. Kakaiba si Donya Victorina sapagkat katutubo siya ngunit nagkukunwaring mestisang Kastila sa pamamagitan ng paglalagay ng makapal na kolorete sa mukha at mali-maling pagsasalita ng Kastila. Halimbawa ng pagpapanggap niya ang paglalagay ng dobleng “de” sa kanyang pangalan upang hindi makalagpas sa pandinig o paningin ng mga tao na apelyidong Kastila ang kanyang dinadala. Kahit husto na ang isang “de” para sa ordinaryong Kastila, ang pag-uulit nito sa pangalan niya ay patunay ng pagpupumilit niyang maging Kastila. Ang paglalapat naman ng kulay sa mukha ay paraan ng donya na takpan ang kayumanggi niyang balat. Sa paraang ito, sa pisikal na anyo ay magmumukha siyang mestisa. Ayaw niyang mapagkamalang katutubo kaya dinadaan niya sa kolorete ang pagtatakip ng kanyang kayumangging kulay. Sinesegundahan niya ang koloreteng pangmestisa ng damit Europeo na sa pagkamagarbo ay daig pa ang tunay na babaeng Kastila. Pinakamatindi sa pagpapanggap ni Donya Victorina ang paggamit ng wikang Kastila upang masabing hindi siya katutubo. Kahit mali-mali ang pangangastila niya, hindi niya alintana basta masabing makapagsalita ng wikang katutubo sa mga taga-Espanya.
Samantala, kakaiba si Donya Consolacion sapagkat ang asawang ito ng alperes ay mapagpahirap ng kapwa Filipino sa pamamagitan ng kanyang magaspang na pananalita at pag-uugali kahit dati naman siyang hamak na labandera. Gaya ni Donya Victorina, nagpapanggap din siyang Europea. Pinili man niyang maging pipi upang huwag nang makapagsalita ng wikang Espanyol (hirap siya, halimbawa, na banggitin ang salitang “Filipinas”), dinaan naman niya ito sa pagdadamit Europeo nang higit pa sa tunay na babaeng Kastila. Ngunit pinakatinding pagkadayuhan sa donyang ito ang pagpapahirap sa kapwa niya katutubo gaya ng pagmamalupit sa mga guwardiya sibil na kasa-kasama niya sa kuwartel na pinamumunuan ng kanyang asawa. Maningning ding ipinakita ito sa kabanata kung saan pinakanta at pinasayaw niya ang baliw na si Sisa na nakuha sa pananakot na hahagupitin ng buntot-pagi. Sa halip na maging simpatetiko sa kalagayan ng kanyang kapwa katutubo, pinapahirapan pa sila ng donya.
Ipinakita sa mga nabanggit kung paano nakaimpluwensiya ang kolonyalismo sa kamalayan ng mga katutubo sa katauhan nina Donya Victorina at Donya Consolacion. Sa pag-uutak kolonyal, mas minahalaga nila ang hiram na kultura sa halip na mahalin ang dinudustang kulturang katutubo. Ginawa nila ito hindi lamang sa pisikal na paraan—pagdadamit Europea at pangongolorete ng kulay upang mapagtakpan ang kayumangging balat—kundi pati na rin sa kultural na paraan mula sa pagpupumilit na magsalita ng Kastila kahit mali-mali, ang kaugnay na pagkalimot sa pananalitang katutubo at ang mababang pagtingin sa kapwa katutubo. Sa tingin nila, mas may pribilehiyo ang maging Kastila sapagkat pangalawang mamamayan lamang ang mga katutubo sa kolonyang Pilipinas. Kaya nga upang hindi matulad sa mga karaniwang mamamayang pinahihirapan ng kanilang tadhanang maging kolonyal, minabuti nilang magpanggap na banyaga kahit litaw na litaw ang pagkukunwari nila.
Kahit magmukhang katawa-tawa o kagalit-galit ang mga pagkukunwaring ito, pinangatawanan ito ng dalawang donya sapagkat sa isang lipunang pinahihirapan ng marahas na karanasan ng kolonisasyon, mahirap ang kalagayan ng maging iba. Lamang, sa ginagawa nilang ito, lalo lamang silang nagiging kakaiba sapagkat anumang pagtatakip sa tunay na loob ng isang tao, lalabas at lalabas pa rin ang totoo. Hindi makukuha sa abut-abot na pangongolorete o pagdadamit o pagsasalita o pag-iisip ang pagpapalit ng kalooban dahil lumilitaw lamang lalo ang motibong pagpupumilit. Hindi mabubura nang ganun-ganoon lamang ang pagiging katutubo dahil ilang panahon ang nagdaan upang buuin ang nagpatung-patong na katutubong katangian. Maaaring magkaroon ng kontaminasyon lalo na sa karanasang kolonyal ngunit ang katotohanan, mahirap burahin ang tunay na kalooban. Habang lalong nagmamalabis sa pagsisikap na maging iba sa iba, lalo lamang nakikitang hindi ito tunay na iba ng iba kundi kawangis sa hitsura, sa isip, sa salita, at sa gawa.

De Vera, Estrella, et al. Obra Maestra: El Filibusterismo. Manila: Rex, 2006.
Rizal, Jose. “Message to the Young Women of Malolos.” Nasa Jose Rizal, Political and Historical Writings. Manila: National Historical Institute, 1972.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


Isipin mo kung paanong mula sa abaka
Ay nabubuo ang kapirasong parihabang papel na ito,
Kahel ang kulay at mukha ng bayani ng wikang Tagalog
Ang nakabalatay sa harap,
Samantalang palasyo ng mga pangulo ng bayan
At buhay na Ilog Pasig ang nasa likod.
Pambayad ito sa paglilingkod
Ng mga uring manggagawang nililimusan
Ng tip ng mga burgis
Na nagpiyesta sa mga pagkain sa resto
At nagpabantay ng bagung-bagong Revo.
Panukli ito ng kahera
Sa mga Nanay na nagsibili ng groserya
Gamit ang suweldo sa ATM ng kani-kanilang asawa,
Baryang panlimos ng matrona
Sa mga pulubing nakatanghod sa kapilya.
Isipin mo kung paanong sa Payatas, isang pamilya
Ang makakaraos sa isang kainan
Mula sa bente pesos na instant mami
At kalahating kilong bigas,
Kung paanong isang propesyonal
Ang mag-aabot sa FX driver ng bente pesos
Patungo sa destinasyong supermall,
Kung paanong matatanggal sa pambihirang listahan
Ang milyonaryong hindi bilyonaryo
Dahil 99,999,980 lamang
Ang perang nakaimbak sa bangko.
Isipin mo kung paanong sa pamamagitan ng bente—
Dalawang sampu, apat na limang barya
O buong papel na dalawampu—
Napag-uugnay ang masa at elitista
Sa isang paraang demokratiko.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

happy egghunting, easter bunny!

after a slow, dry holy week steeped in suggestive words like pagpapako, pagtitika, pag-iwas sa karne and the like, don't you feel the urgent need to catch up on the lost, forbidden time?:)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

pananampalataya, pag-ibig, pag-asa

Hindi mapaghihiwalay ang pananampalataya, pag-asa at pag-ibig dahil pare-pareho silang umiiral sa konteksto ng relasyon. Sa pananampalataya, may paniniwala sa isang bagay, isang paniniwala ng isa sa isa pa. May malalim na pagmumuni ang pananampalataya dahil may pagkilos sa desisyong manatili sa paniniwala anuman ang mangyari. Samakatuwid, paniniwala ito sa isang misteryoso at nagbabagong reyalidad. Sa paglalagay ng pananampalataya sa reyalidad na ito, umaasa na mababago ng nagbabagong reyalidad na ito ang nananampalataya. Samantala, kaugnay ng pananampalataya ang pag-asa dahil sa pakikisangkot ng isa sa isa pa, ang gawain ng pagkilos mula sa diwa, paglagpas sa katwiran at pagdaan sa ugnayan ay ginaganap ang pag-asa nang may pananampalataya. Dahil walang metodo ang pag-asa, walang balangkas kung kaya panahon lang ang makapagsasabi (sa madaling sabi, misteryo) kung ano ang kahihinatnan ng pag-asa. Samakatuwid, nananampalataya lamang ang isa sa isa na tutuparin ang inaasahan alang-alang sa kanya. Hindi madali ang pagpasya kaya sa pagganap ng pag-asa, naglalaaan ng pananampalataya. Samantala, kaugnay ng dalawang nauna ang pag-ibig dahil may pinagmumulan at may pinatutungkulan ang pag-ibig. Tinutulay ng pag-ibig ang isa sa isa pa at nakasalalay din ang paglago ng pag-ibig sa pananampalataya at pag-asa. Sa nananampalatayang umiibig, nagdedesisyong manatili sa kondisyong maniwala sa pag-ibig mangyari man ang inaasahan o hindi. Misteryo ng nagbabagong reyalidad ng pag-ibig ang nagbibigay-pag-asa sa isa upang patuloy na maniwala na babaguhin ang buong sarili ng umiibig. Sa umaasang umiibig, nabibihag ng pakikisangkot ng isa sa isa upang ganapin ang pagpapahalaga na siyang kakiitaan ng pag-ibig. Dahil tinataya ang tao, kinikilala ang kanyang kahalagahan ngunit upang matupad ang pag-asa, hinihigitan ng umiibig ang pakikisangkot hindi lamang sa antas ng “umaasa ako” o “inaasahan kita “ kundi sa “inaasahan kita alang-alang sa amin.”

Thursday, April 09, 2009

the postcolonial in midnight's children's magic realism

Many postcolonial writers have resorted to magic realism as a way of promoting national identity since it embodies practical reality of bygone and contemporary events while simultaneously creating desires to upturn the flow of occurrences. Realism renders nations’ appearances astoundingly the same, whereas the unrealistic features of magic realism can render them unique by manifesting yearnings in distinctive ways. With magic realism, postcolonial authors get to challenge what otherwise appears like realistic narrative by experimenting with a non-mainstream literary technique—fantasy—purposed at presenting an alternative reality in longing subversion of western (read: colonial) ways of constructing reality. To paraphrase Linda Hutcheon in “Circling the Downspout of Empire,” the postmodern technique of magic realism is linked to postcolonialism in that they both deal with the similar oppressive force of colonial history in relation to the past.
One such postcolonial writer is Salman Rushdie, who used magic realism in Midnight’s Children extensively. His fusion of fantasy and reality looks typically Indian because the characters strewn in present social and political disorder likewise own the power of epic heroes. As a novelist from a country with a colonial legacy, Rushdie is also concerned and involved with the concept of nation in his magic realist writing, which was motivated by (1) the necessity to cast away what Coleridge called the film of recent past’ familiarity through the use of fabulation and (2) the dilemma of presenting impossible events. As it is, magic realism is “a reflection of the ‘cultural heterogeneity’ of Latin America—a simultaneity caused by historical sedimentation due to colonialism (i.e., several cultures existing at the same place and time.” If the usual definition of a nation is the same people living in the same place or in different places, the postcolonial idea of national identity as depicted in Midnight’s Children is different: Indians are different people living in the same place. Most importantly, in interspersing fantasy in his supposedly realistic story, Rushdie responds to the stubborn construction of colonial peoples as the west’s Other through the supplanted prevailing ideology represented by the prefix “post”—after—in postcolonialism. India, like other postcolonial countries, may have yet to see the complete erasure of British colonialism pending its struggle to be formally independent while simultaneously staying culturally and economically dependent to the mother colonizer, but postcolonial literatures like the magic realist Midnight’s Children interrogate colonial paradigms so that the alternative construction of the Other may give India as well as similarly situated postcolonial nations a decolonized identity, that is, an identity bereft of Eurocentric or universalist images and ideas.
The novel’s opening sentence illustrates the postcolonial in magic realism: the I narrator, Saleem, tells, “I was born in the city of Bombay…once upon a time.” The initial part of his statement reflects 19th century social realism while the latter part employs the traditional English fairy tale formula to indicate the forthcoming fantasy. Saleem requires these two techniques to achieve his purpose of creating a significant identity in an anarchic and vicious world. He is afflicted with the Indian penchant of obsessing to summarize entire realities, as may be gleaned from the Indian encapsulation of long literary works like Rig Veda, Bhagavad-Gita, Mahabharata and Ramayana. In this obsession, myths permeate history while history turns mythic. Rushdie’s view of the “unchanging twoness of things, the duality of up against down, good against evil” finds parallel in the term magic realism. The search for the whole, evident in Saleem’s compression of the entire Indian cultural history, catapults him past realism or fantasy alone. This quest can be acknowledged as finding what will make up his identity, a central concern in postcolonialism.
The author’s subject is identity, both national and personal. Saleem and the newborn state of India correspond symbolically. Both are born at midnight on August 15, 1947 with one thousand other children in the first hour of India’s independence from British rule. They prove to possess extraordinary powers, with Saleem’s being the most amazing, getting and losing the ability to link their minds through telepathy. After his failure of one power, he acquires another, for his prominent nose becomes capable of distinguishing scents beyond normal limits like being able to smell feelings and motives. However, the series of personal mutilations does not stop, from his pulled tuft of hair to his cut middle finger to his lost memory due to a bomb-blast injury. These misfortunes are indicative of the disfigurement of the protagonist’s identity for most of his life, a depiction of the enduring crisis of any individual in the cruel modern world. However, Saleem’s magic realist physical fracturing may also be a critique of the colonial predicament of identity fragmentation which results from the contamination of foreign culture in the native’s corpus. It becomes a steady pursuit, then, for postcolonial beings to attempt to reconstruct their identities despite or precisely because of this very contagion.
Midnight’s Children is a constant and understated exploration of the connections among order, reality and fantasy. The protagonist continuously links his life to that of the country’s. Saleem was born, enhanced and destroyed along with India’s birth, development and destruction and, essentially, his major characteristic has been ignorance of the direction where events are heading. As a reflective narrator, he can already realize all the relations, and his story ties India’s disastrous faltering into a design in which the country’s bizarre chaos shrinks to order via fantasy. The nation is metaphorically and comically imagined as disagreeing gifted children refusing cooperation, leading to their castration and deprivation of their impressive talents during Indira Gandhi’s Emergency of 1976, when free India gets reduced into a despotic state. In Midnight’s Children, the characters appear to traipse through the leaves of history, stumbling into crucial times in India’s growth apparently by chance. Hence, Saleem’s grandfather is down on his knees after a vigorous sneeze when Brigadier Dyers’ machine-gunners fired shots in the 1919 Amritsar Massacre, Saleem tumbled into this world at the same time India did, and just about all his life’s important happenings, ultimately reaching the obliteration of midnight’s children concurrently with India’s destructive Emergency, coincide with the growth of the young nation. Both Saleem and India must cope with ancestral uncertainty as they struggle to establish their identities. Saleem’s genealogy rejects the classifications that the contemporary political condition permits. His grandfather labels himself Kashmiri, Muslim and Indian, but when a riot between India and Pakistan erupted over Kashmir in 1947, the combination confused Muslims. When Saleem confesses to his family his remarkable gift of hearing voices, his father smashes him in the ear. His “stupid cracks” turn into literally physical cracks. The “crack” in the body politic parallels the “cracks” in Saleem, who feels that he is crumbling into pieces. This translation of metaphors into occurrences is another kind of magic in Midnight’s Children. Therefore, magic realism is a means of manifesting reality more vividly with the use of different magical metaphors. The author moves up and down metaphorical substitution. This technique works well in conjunction with identity-related postcolonial strategies as may be viewed in the abovementioned examples.
In the specific context of the novel, the Indian culture of the past and its current amalgamation of cultures are bound by magic realism. This is what Stephen Slemon pointed as “a battle between two oppositional systems…, each working toward the creation of a fictional world from the other.” The world of fantasy and that of reality exist in the novel, the former being readily discernible and through which the latter becomes more salient. The thousand and one children parallel the fantasy and number of Arabian Nights as well as the author’s estimation of the Indian birth rate per hour. Also, the talent of telepathy must be considered a magical counterpart of the objective reality of present Indian society: there are so many people in India that one’s life is so intermingled with another’s that it cannot be anymore secret, unlike in the West where solitude can be either a luxury or a curse. In the author’s own words, the “polyglot frenzy” comprising “the inner monologues of all the teeming millions” is signified through the concurrently magical and realistic device that’s Saleem’s “All India Radio” telepathy. In a postcolonial magic realist work like Midnight’s Children, the actual social relations of postcolonial cultures are present—the different classes, ethnic groups and races coexisting in the case of India—something that Kumkum Sangari labels as cultural simultaneity.
As a magic realist text, Midnight’s Children captures a space for resistance because it is recovered from its colonial realist limits. Likewise, this resistance space is necessarily postcolonial because it is not shut down into order; instead, it is open to magical possibility. The potency of this containment of the colonial metanarrative cannot be undermined because the postcolonial magic realist novel’s subversion of the ordered space is a force that questions the equilibrium, which hopefully paves the way to new experiences. Instead of dismissing Midnight’s Children as feeding on a complicit relationship to imperialist ideology with its author’s exoticization of India or as falling short of the political goal of potentially redeeming the reader from the unethical reinforcement of the continuing spectacle of an Othered empire, it should be perceived otherwise. Rushdie portrays in his novel how the spectacle of the empire operates in Raj’s colonial design of India and the independence movement’s nationalist design of the country. The conflicting imagery of imperialist and nationalist spectacles shows how Saleem’s life reflects the narrative of modern Indian history. The protagonist obviously counters reality via propagandistic historical constructions. Midnight’s Children criticizes the chauvinistic spectacle of British cultural supremacy which the Raj instilled upon Indian history and culture during its conquest. The novel also parodies the manner wherein these paradigms were embraced and perpetuated by the country’s very nationalist movement.
Beyond the novel’s magic realist strategy to upturn conventional realism lies the opportunity to contest colonial models and this is to read magic realism as a postcolonial device. As a political position, the postcolonial provides a space for resistance toward the limiting realism of the west. The metaphors and allegories in which the novel is steeped facilitate a politicized resistance against western paradigmatic inconsistencies like its historical discourse of order which is not only false but also derogatory from a postcolonial perspective. For instance, Saleem’s “destinies [are] indissolubly chained to those of [his] country” by the strange fact that both were born on the same day. The magical connection in the two not only metaphorizes the narrator’s life as a microcosm of the nation but also sees it as an alternative to the grand narrative in which the history of India is written by its western conquerors. The postcolonial culture of India, with its combination of the Western and the Oriental conceals the violent nature of political and historical happenings, in effect laying difficulties in the establishment of and interrogates the achievement of a consummate Indian identity that is liberated from external contaminations temporally, spatially and culturally. In fairytale-ish fantasy, identities like Saleem’s can be created easily: the novel showcases India as a nation in its infancy stage which, like Saleem, relishes an incredible story and views the elements of the marvelous as everpresent.
Magic realism as inherent part of the novel, from the grandfather’s tears of diamond and ruby nosebleed through Ahmed’s vanishing skin to Narlikar’s luminous ashes, shows the significance with which the ordinary context gets blurred by miraculous events. First, it permits the plausibility in which characters like Saleem portray epic roles in Indian history. Second, it metaphorizes the cultural amalgam in everyday Indian society. Third, the fantastic events in Indian history actually happened, notwithstanding if Saleem himself admits that these occurrences are too marvelous to be believed. Necessarily, the fantasy becomes a tool with which to relate and remark on Indian history, politics and culture. Finally, magic realism helps define the identity of the Indian people with its offering of an alternative history: a counter-memory.
The magic realism in Midnight’s Children stresses the sustained struggle to come at peace with identity within the postcolonial scheme. Not only are the midnight’s children magical beings, but also are they the children of the times—“the last throw of everything…the true hope of freedom…”—in acknowledgment of their midnight nativity. While Saleem’s generation did not succeed in realizing the possibilities built within the dynamics of independence, a possibility is present in every generation of midnight children to construct a complete identity despite the increasing difficulty of formulating so in the contemporary context. In the ambiguous final sentence of the novel which says, “it is the privilege of midnight’s children to be both master and victims of their times, to forsake privacy and be sucked into the annihilating whirlpool of the multitudes, and be unable to live or die in peace,” a similar thread weaves not only the marvelous with the real, but also the colonial with the self-asserting postcolonial individual. The reflection of political and historical problem in magic realism renders it as a legitimate critique of colonialism and its attendant ideologies. In upholding the identity of the Other in the novel, the postcolonial challenges the imperialistic movement that champions centrality despite the simultaneous recognition of the power of the center in the privileging of the margin. Through this, a rising society’s necessity to renew its self-description and to erode constructed Orientalism by the West may be responded. The reinscription of the marginalized magic realism and the celebration of identity in postcolonialism are means through which said centrality and, by extension, universality, may be questioned.

Works Cited:
Hidalgo, Cristina Pantoja. Sharing Our Story: Philippine Literature in English. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Open University, 2006.
Hutcheon, Linda. “Circling the Downspout of Empire.” In The Postcolonial Studies Reader. Ashcroft, Bill et al, eds. London: Routledge, 1995.
Legasto, Priscelina. Philippine Postcolonial Studies. Quezon City: University of the Philippines Department of English and Comparative Literature, 1993.
Loomba, Ania. Colonialism/Postcolonialism. London: Routledge, 1998.
Purushotham, K. “Rushdie’s Images of Bharateeya Nari in Midnight’s Children.” In Indian Fiction in English. Rao, P. Mallikarjuna and M. Rajeshwar, eds. New Delhi: Atlantic, 1999.
Rushdie, Salman. Midnight’s Children. New York: Avon/Bard, 1982.
Slemon, Stephen. “Magic Realism as Post-Colonial Discourse.” In Canadian Literature 116, 1988.

Monday, April 06, 2009

rising to shine in braveheart

Mel Gibson’s Braveheart (Paramount Pictures, 1995) is the epic that showcases one hero’s fight against foreign invaders for his homeland’s freedom. Before the turn of the 1300s, the character William Wallace (Mel Gibson) journeys back to his native Scotland after many years of exile. Scotland’s king having died without a descendant to inherit the throne, the cruel pagan king of neighboring England is bent on conquering the orphaned kingdom. Wallace leads a brave army out to drive away the stronger English army. Ironic twists of events put England into hot water as the city of York gets into conflict with Wallace’s fleet.
Seeing the film despite its historical inaccuracy taught me that regardless of one’s heritage of smallness—something we Filipinos have in abundance with our tiny country and small economy—one can always rise out of obscurity. It takes a brave heart indeed to fight against a greater enemy. It calls to mind the works of miracles, but it can happen. It really depends on the determination to win that one can triumph over difficulties. As the film has shown, the small army was even able to have an upper hand over their battle against the English—so the small nation that we are can realize winning against our odds, be they economic, political or cultural. The film has taught me that ultimately, nothing is impossible.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

ang tunay na pag-asa

Lagpas sa optimismo, pesismismo at istowisismo ang kilos ng tunay na pag-asa. Tinatawag na optimista ang isang taong matibay ang paniniwala na maaayos din ang mga bagay-bagay. Tinatawag namang pesismista ang kabaliktaran nito kung saan nagmumula sa pagmamarunong ang paniniwalang hindi nakatakdang maayos ang mga bagay-bagay. Tinatawag namang istowiko ang taong sumusuko sa pagharap sa kalagayan ngunit inuubos ang lakas upang hindi maapektuhan kung para lamang mapanatili ang dignidad kahit sigurado ang pagkawasak ng sarili sa huli. Hindi alinman sa mga ito ang tunay na pag-asa, dahil tunay na pakikisangkot ang tugong ito. Hindi maaabot ang tunay na kaligayahan dahil hindi makalusot ni makaalpas ngunit dito lumilitaw ang tunay na pagkilos na nagmumula sa diwa ng tao, dumaraan sa katwiran at lumalagpas dito, at nakakawala sa pagkabihag ng mala-pag-asang atitud na optimismo, pesimismo at istowisismo kahit hindi naman tunay na pag-asa. Kaya nga makikita ang proseso na tinatahak ang landas mula sa “umaasa ako na” patungo sa “inaasahan kita” na humahantong sa “inaasahan kita alang-alang sa amin.” Sa unang antas, bawal ang “umaasa ako na” dahil may pagtatakdang nauuwi sa aba-ako. Sa turing na “inaasahan ko na,” itinataboy ang pag-asa dahil ginagawang magpasawalang-hanggan ang tinatakda sa sarili. Sa ikalawang antas naman, bawal ang “inaasahan kita” dahil may binibigay sa kapwa na kapangyarihang mangwasak o mambigo kung ituturing ang “wala na akong inaasahan sa iyo.” Subalit sa ikatlong antas, ang inaasahan kita alang-alang sa amin ay hindi maaaring magtakda ng kundisyon ng pag-asa. Sa turing na “iniibig kita,” pinaganap ang pagtataya sa isang tao na kinikilala ang kahalagahan niya na maaari ring asahan sa ibang tao. Sabihin mang mahina pa rin ang mga tao, dapat higit sa tao ang ipaganap upang matupad ang pag-asa. Sa bawat relasyon, kinikilala ang kalayaan na maaaring tumanggi o humindi. Ganito kasi ang pag-ibig: kusang ipinagkakaloob nang hindi humihingi ng pagsunod sa kondisyon. Anu't anuman, ang pag-asa sa tunay na konteksto ng relasyon ay ang ganap na anyo ng pag-asa na may pakikisangkot alang-alang sa kapwa-tao.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

footnote to a midnight talk at the family corporation

In the age of modernization and globalization, you may find it surprising that classical philosophy may still be found fresh and relevant in your personal context. Thus, let me leave this challenge to you, so that you may discover a major conquest which you might have not imagined ever before.
You think global, but soon realize that the entire world is up against you. You eye one position that places you on top of the world, but being the most coveted spot on earth, it is a spot that everybody else is clamoring for. You need to abandon your global conquest.
You think national, and while this is considerably a smaller conquest than the whole world you had previously desired, it occurs to you that this time, an entire nation is trying to conquer it, too. Your fellow citizens run after this one special spot, and you feel the requirement to let go.
You think local, and it seems the competition has significantly decreased, but you understand that like your previous attempts, this local area is most wanted by others, too. You watch them claw and scamper and worm their way to reach their goal, so relinquishing the conquest is all you feel like doing now.
And it is here that an ancient philosophy from the Orient thrusts itself out for your enlightenment: the world, the nation, the local community are all too enormous for you, so why not conquer yourself first of all? Fears, sorrows, insecurities and the like lurk inside you, so go try weeding these out in order to deem yourself fit for external battles. In short, the biggest challenge that you are up to is personal conquest, because only when you achieve self-redemption that you eventually find it less difficult and daunting to seek colonization of the community, of the country, or of the world. Colossal conquests paradoxically start small-time, and in your case, it starts within you.