Monthly Archives: March 2015
“Despite the Supreme Court deciding en banc to adjust the passing rate from 75 to 73 percent, the 2014 bar exams posted the second lowest passing rate, 18.82 percent, since the year 2000.
This was the third consecutive year that the high court had to adjust the passing rate: it was lowered to 70 percent in 2012, when only 949 out of 5,343 takers or 17.76 percent passed, and in 2013, when only 22.18 percent of 5,292 examinees made it despite the lowered 73 percent passing rate.”
Phil Daily Inquirer, March 29, 2015
Every time an announcement was given on the schedule of Bar Exams, I was excited to the point of jubilation. I was a picture of confidence. I had completed my legal education in 1990 and passing the Bar was the penultimate reward for the 4-year rigorous study. Finally in my parochial mind, I would be able to proudly repay the hopes and aspirations of my father who wanted me to be a lawyer like him.
But as soon as I was gearing to take the Bar Exam the year I graduated, I was promoted in the Prison bureaucracy as Penal Superintendent IV, the highest rank in the security division of the agency. I had to show my mettle first.
And so I prepared for the succeeding year. But what was challenging in the review was the effort in reading and understanding the new laws. At that time, the constitution had been replaced already. Rules of criminal procedures were also changed. A lot of jurisprudence came into view as the Supreme Court would issue landmark cases, one after another, never before resolved during the silent years of Martial Law. I must study law as if I was a neophyte once again.
As I was about to get my papers and clearances done, I asked my supervisor for a study leave to prepare for the Bar. As if it was a threatening proposal, I was sent to Davao Penal Colony. A year passed without having to challenge the gods of luck in the legal profession. I struggled to adjust and was able to check out the Law Review Center of Ateneo de Davao. As I was about to enter my first day of the review class surreptiously, I received an order to proceed to San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm in Zamboanga City. Accodingly, I had to indulge and engage the polticians in the area who proposed to abolish the oldest prison in the country if only to give way to a pier near the politician’s farm. It was a technical struggle I had to mount with the legal battalion of the business community. Another round of adjustment, another bar exam passed by.
At soon as I was able to explain my institutional policies in just a few days, I hastily went to check the fabled Ateneo de Zamboanga for my law review. After paying the fees, I received another marching order to proceed to Iwahig Penal Colony. My stint in Zamboanga could have been considered the shortest term ever—6 months only. I could not ascertain whether it had something to do with my taking my review classes but nonetheless, as a good soldier, I reported at Puerto Princesa City where Iwahig is situated. I learned that Palawan University then had no law review since their law school could only reach up to second year.
I virtually dropped the idea of taking the bar exams. I had read a lot of changes already and I could no longer cope with the demands of review. I merely gathered my materials, books and notes and went into a self imposed review. My room in my officers quarters was transformed into a law library. And then, as if on cue, when as I was about to write my school for clearance to take the bar, I was sent back to Muntinlupa, in New Bilibid Prison.
At that time, NBP was already at the cross hair of media sensationalism. It was also period when death penalty was about to be carried out. It was likewise the time when I was directed to assist in the execution of condemned men through lethal injection. I got my 15 minute fame alright but I had forgotten that I have finished law.
And then I was sent back again to Davao Penal Colony and shortly thereafter reassigned back at NBP once again. After an un-ceremonial term of 6 months, I was asked to handle Public Information Office and deal with media.
Again, for a while I was a darling in media with my correctional pronouncements on prison programs, explaining the dynamics of incarceration and egging legislators for updated laws on prisons. I thought that it would be nice to straddle back to UP Law Center for another crack at review and return to my office routinely. It would not be a simple case of time management though.
As I was about to get my first file of review materials, insurgents raided Davao Penal Colony. Its armory was emptied and a couple of personnel held hostage. I was immediately sent to Davao Penal Colony to deal with the problem. On my way to the area, I thought of pasting the whole shebang and using the thick review files I had as my improvised bullet proof vest! There was no way I could review for the Bar if my intention was to engage the break away faction of NPA, they who raided Dapecol, for a tit-for-tat.
From then on, I merely contented myself to check the internet, whenever the Bar exams results had been released dreaming that even as a matter of accident, someone with a similar name as I had, would pass the Bar!
I have reached the point of no return. Here I am with a credential of having completed my legal education but for the life of me, I have never tasted the triumph or defeat of taking the most difficult exam government has ever imposed on its eligible members.
Here I am right now engaging lawyers in debate, using the language of the court of law in communicating, counseling people on their rights, assisting those with legal problems understand the remedial courses available but ironically, I have nothing to show as proof that I have qualified to practice. Several times I even submitted myself to be my own defender in the courts of law and in various quasi-judicial bodies but would be frustrated when disallowed. I tried hard and every time a situation was called out, things fizzled out in the blue.
There is something sinister whenever I would pursue my plan to take the Bar. I am tempted to change my tact because there might something eerie or strange whenever I would aim my sight to it. What if instead of taking the Bar, I would just walk into a government sponsored exam and take instead a licensure test for MIDWIFERY?!!!
“As a child, I used to sleep with all my stuffed animals so none of them would be jealous.”
I was born in 1954 at Sampaloc, Manila (St. Jude Hospital) but I was raised in Naranhita Street, Project 2, then referred to as Homesite, Quirino District. It was a neighbourhood for government workers and my playmates were all scion of government officers. I had as my buddy, Elmer Moreno (now an artist and USA resident married to a Korean) and his brother, Butch (a designer/ artist too in USA). Across our house was another older playmate, Lando Gatela (presently a good mechanic and car merchandiser in CA, USA). Adjacent Lando’s place was Bert Velasco (a security officer in USA) and Fidel Monasterial (both are in USA). I was virtually left by my childhood playmates to fend on my own in the country.
Our house is third from the main road Anonas, Zone B , left side. The first house is where Bobot and Olitog (I forgot their surname already) resided. Bobot now the chief accountant of an Ayala firm and is a resident of Ayala, Alabang. I think Olitog, the younger brother is in their province. They were my favourite basketball buddies until their father whacked them to study and abhor the streets. Near their house was a store of Intsik, the youngest child was Jun Dee, another trying hard basketball player. (He died of heart attack 10 years ago). There was Ador Jaballas,(son of Atty Jaballas) the fellow who would teach me the art of laughter, a professional drummer in a band and an architect. He spent a lot of years in Uganda but returned back to the country almost traumatized by the poverty of Africa. And then, there were the Andaya brothers, Sergio and Elpidio. And there was the irrepressible Rene “Ite” Cambal. He was the torch bearer. The most rugged and the most active. His presence can illuminate a gathering. There was also a stand out neighbour, Boy Santos and Henry who were boys of substance. Boy was a good designer (based in USA) and taught by his father to play the violin while Henry was an intrepid listener. Boy Santos had a smaller frame than me but boy oh boy! he can really punch. And there were the Escobar brothers (all of them are in USA too.)
I have never braved moving to the farther side of Naranhita at that time (60s) because there was stand-out fellow at the middle of the street who virtually stood above everyone else. He was Boy Gulla. He was fondly called “Gely.” For me, he represented guts, leadership and strength. Whatever seasons there was, be it violent or gamesmanship, Gely was the name. Whenever he would grab the ball to play three-some in our half-court basketball yard, no body would get into the groove. He jumped higher than anyone and his musculature body could push any pretending cager around. He was a complete story by himself. (Years later when I saw him in the agency (NAPOLCOM) where he works, I thought that I have seen a celebrity already. At that time, I was requested by his boss as consultant in police and corrections affair. Despite my rank, despite the superiority I have as prison official, I still have that impression and feeling of awe whenever I would be with a childhood icon, and Boy Gulla was such a personality.)
Of course, there were boys from the farther side of Naranhita who would play ball with us. There was the Sarmiento brothers, all mestizos and good looking hunks. Also, the Berses brothers, very rough but kind, children of an elementary teacher. There were also the Maglalangs, Diazes, Cerdenias,etc.
But I am more familiar with my peers in the elementary. There was Alfredo “Boy” Tabayoyong from Pajo (now based in USA). Boy can be mean and he can challenge anyone, armed or not. On the other side of Pajo, we have Edmundo Rabagay (based in USA). In Marang street, where I always would frequent, there were Sonny Miranda (deceased), Dan Hernandez (retired already) and Boy Jacob (disabled by accident). On the other side of Marang, there was Elmo Abad (practising lawyer). Over at Lanzones street were the Samonte brothers. (Jose Samonte, the elder, very conservative went ahead everyone else after passing CPA to be the chief accountant of a brokerage firm. We fledging playmates of Jose were lost in the running game for recognition. However, we could not ascertain his whereabouts today.) Further on, along Chico street, there was Elmer Gloria, Nestor Concepcion . Nestor was the fellow who taught me to play the guitar while giving me an earful of praises and would tire me out with his love intent on his secret crush, our classmate Belen Maglalang.
Most of my peers in Project 2 left for abroad in the 80s. Just like the Beatle song, In My Life, “some are dead and some are living.” Most of them believed probably that our country will never take off and sustain their ambition. For most Filipinos, life abroad means a greener pasture. Accordingly, there is future in another country especially USA. Never mind if discrimination is the order of the day in those places. It was at its height during the time they all travelled but since Asians are known for their work ethic, they easily assimilated in a different culture. Filipinos are like bamboos, they can be flexible and accommodating to a fault.
There are those who remained in the country. And there are those who contemplate in remaining afar. For those from a distance, there is technology, like internet that could easily connect them anywhere. For those who intend to come back, it would surely be a homecoming. But for those who remained steadfast in the country, it is an accomplishment worth every second.
It has been said of our simian cousins from way, way back our evolution days, that they are a pack or an individual which cannot be restrained. More so, they cannot be educated or highly trained, they remain greedy, glutinous and covetous. That is their nature, an instinct which made them survived and virtually untouched notwithstanding changes in environment and human intervention.
In other words, monkeys are monkeys, even if they are at times a spit away from human biology and outlook. Monkeys are playful to the point of destroying everything it encounters in its path. While its ravenous nature may have preserved its race it is also its curse. You can easily catch a monkey using its very nature. Try to make a small hole in a raw coconut fruit enough for a monkey’s palm to squeeze through, drain the nuts of its fluid and insert several nuts. Once a monkey peeps and sees the morsel, he would slot in his hands into the fissure and grab the nut. Mind you, it would never let go of the nut even if its arm is trapped!
Although monkeys are more hygienic than their human counterparts (they abhor slime and anything with foul odor), you cannot withstand their performance if you intend to make things serious. Everything for them smacks of playfulness to the point of danger. They are even more at ease in challenging, if not irking everything around them. The only serious response from them is when, like any other animals, their territories are disturbed. But once your area has been included in theirs, that is the end of your peace.
Man acts accordingly. He can be civilized depending on his environment or could also be a monkey. That is where the idiom comes in: “If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.” Pay a good worker a measly consideration and in no time will that worker assume a stingy performance. Computer language has a term for that: garbage in, garbage out. Only a rare breed of human beings, at times called principled or heroics, who are never afflicted with this idiomatic theorem but on the whole, it seems like it is a truism for ordinary run of men. Treat them cheaply and everything cheap will come your way.
In the organized world where human intelligence rule, “monkeying” is never allowed to manifest. The so called “monkey business” or that which is conducted half heartedly is even frowned at and almost deemed criminal. But there are instances when environment allows the situation to bear and push its recurrence to the forefront. This is when management treat its warm bodies the way a zoo keeper treat his pets. When peanuts are thrown, naturally the taker acts accordingly. In the mechanized world, a gasoline engine will never run if fed by diesel. In culinary science, a roast beef will never taste as it is if chicken is substituted.
In the highly competitive field of business, there will be competence and loyalty, commitment and skill when materially compensated. Forget idealism, monkeys call it instinct.
“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
Quality of life is measured from the way a person works. He works less, he receives little compensation. He works greater, he receives better pay. Or, if the person is in commerce, the more he performs and thinks, the better for him, he earns bigger. Such is the equation in any situation. Work is equal to living. No work, no pay. No money, no honey.
For those who succeeded in life, that is, has earned and saved so much, it meant not only working but working hard. For a prosperous few, life is pure hard work. But only a few would rather preoccupy themselves with this thought. Ordinarily, the perception is skewed for the majority. Accordingly, life is to be enjoyed, more adventure, less work; more relaxation, less stress; notwithstanding debts and taxes.
Of course, it depends on the interest. One plays basketball as a game, another plays it for pay. The professional hoopster enjoys his work, it is his adventure, it is for him a form of relaxation and on top of that he earns more! Work along this line is more fulfilling, more pleasurable and more revenues. It is in the interest a person endows on what he does that spells the difference.
Work therefore is an expression of intent. The more a person offers to it, the better for him and his craft, the better the remuneration too. When that happens, the better for his quality of life too. It is only when there is a major shift that things would turn out unfortunate for him. Only accident, crime and yes, disinterest that would make him sullen and miserable.
And work is not limited to what his environment would offer. It is rather what he can do that makes the difference. Opportunities are never prayed for, it is created. Opportunities are never expected, it is made. Opportunities are never offered, it is sought. Work is not demanded, it is to be conducted. Opportunities are not for opportunists, it is only there for those ready to grab it.
A worker easily tires if his interest lies elsewhere. He tires greater when he finds no inspiration in what he is performing. He is easily distracted and his concentration goes haywire. This is where accidents happen, this is where crime becomes imminent. Work for this person becomes a baggage, an obstacle in engaging the fulfilment of his being. As a consequence, he becomes despondent, he becomes lazy, he becomes a face of misery. He would virtually evade everything.
And this is where government comes in. Government requires a worker to contribute to Social Security. The more contribution the better. The problem however with “more” is that the worker’s take home pay is reduced. He would rather contribute little or evade as much as possible. If government is lenient, then for a while the worker enjoys his here-and-now. Once he retires, that is the time when, with little contribution, he eventually lives a marginal existence. Instead of enjoying a second wind, he becomes desperate. This is a period when he realizes that work was meant for his pleasure and not a preface for his extinction. And here is a time when one can see a Jurassic figure engaging the gods of fortune to beckon once again on his fledging anatomy. And when this happens, it is as if he never worked at all.
Hence, love your work, whatever it is. And save.
When the Beatles captured the airwaves, a lot of seniors during the 60s were scandalized. Here was a group who defied conservatism, shouting and giggling in their songs then literally making their hair down and it ushered an age where the boys had their hair almost as long as that of girls.
The music accompanied a stretch of liberalism. It promoted metallic and decibel bursting sound from every conceivable musical instrument. The lyrics would have nothing to do with poetry. Cadence would even skip and stride. It would be a theme that encouraged abuse and violence. Matt Monroe’s ballads suddenly became a baby sitter melody. Elvis Presley, Toni Bennet and company would be reduced as cry babies.
Every youth, at that time, experimented on booze, even abused their limits to the point of addiction, changing their lifestyle and introducing marijuana as standard smoke and drugs of varying hues and effects. There was LSD or “acid” a hallucigenic capsule which many believed could have inspired a musical piece of the Beatles “Lucy in the Skies with Diamond.” There were numerous versions of opiates predominating the youth market which eventually led to crack and then cocaine.
The fab four naturally would deny any drug use. Nonetheless, drugs permeated into the mainstream of youth consciousness and became an iconic drug culture. Even the lowly cough syrup would have its hayday among the psychedelic generation.
And it would be through music that it would find a ready mantra for extreme liberalism. The musical event, the outdoor rock festival “Woodstock” would cement this situation and would usher a period of crass open-mindedness among a cross section of the youth in the civilized world. It was a time for the socalled “flower-people” , the unforgettable hippies. It was their three-day week end (August 15-18, 1969) which featured a ton of great music from 30 great artists in the era. It was a statement of peace and music, a great story in itself.
There was the WHO which rendered “My Generation” featuring the guitar heroics of Pete Townsend. Followed by the band Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young with their Suite: Judy Blue Eyes”. And there was Sly and the Family Stone with their nerve wracking hit “I want to Take you Higher.”, Joe Cocker’s compleat mannerisms in “With a Little Help from my Friends.” And the great Jimi Hendrix.
And who will not forget Santana’s flawless instrumental “Soul Sacrifice. They prefaced the 70s quest for a generation that would define the succeeding ones.
Their immediate descendants were the music of Jim Morrison of DOORS, Terry Keith of Chicago, Mick Jagger of Rolling Stones and Frank Kappa of Led Zeppelin. Their music can only be appreciated when the mind is altered by substances.
It’s a pity that I was clueless during the period. My peers were in everything they could hold on. They had everything, well, almost, and they have felt everything wonderful. I was merely reduced into an observer. I would just be a recorder of what they had gone through. I could not, for the life of me, connect the dots.
There was a situation where my friends would get into substance abuse and were happy about it, if only to complain of headaches later. I thought that I would never get into it since I hate headaches. There was a situation when my peers would even cry after touching through their minds the unfolding of several colors as soon as they have ingested mind blowing drugs. I skipped those moments because I hate crying.
On the whole, I could only appreciate the time from the prism on how my colleagues would collectively undergo the whole shebang. And I was happy for them.
For the boys during my time, music bent the mind, reformed our will, made us creative, principled and heroic. It was an era, a specific situation which idealists would call as an ideal period. That generation made the succeeding ones pulsate with intelligence never before heard in the past.
And I was lucky though, like most of those in their senior years, to have come from its woodwork.
For those in search of wealth and power, listen to this. “Health is wealth; Knowledge is power.”
Health is within reach if you are physically fit, if you are outdoor bound, adventurous and cautious of your diet. You simply eat when hungry and never eat to be full.
On the other side, knowledge is secured this way: when your mood requires you to contemplate, just stay indoor and read books. That way, once informed and grounded on facts, your reflex is more on thinking. As you gain insight, you become reasonable and meditative, signs of being powerful already.
One need not be a King to be wealthy and powerful. One needs an open air and a book to feel like one. Of course, there is a need for prayers in between.
When I was a kid, I asked my father if we are wealthy. My father smiled and said “ Yes, my dear child, we really are.” But I protested, “If we are wealthy how come you never buy me a bike.”
“Come with me and I will show you what wealthy means.” My father patiently said.
We dressed up and went to the hospital. We went to the top floor and there, the most modern medical facility unfolded. I was awed at the sight of various gadgets, the apparatus, the lighting, the works. And then, father took my fledging arms and peeped at the adjoining door where a patient lay unconscious. My father read the name at the door and said, “My son, the patient over there is the owner of this hospital.”
“Ohhh. He owns this place? Looks like he must be terribly sick too!” I answered.
“Now, who do you think is better, the man in that room or me?”
I held myself from laughing because my father was hale and healthy at that time. There was no point of comparison. “Of course father, you are better!”
“Everyone strives to be rich, to be wealthy someday. But the struggle need not be that stressful. If one is healthy, that is the way to achieve wealth, the wholesome feeling and to be in good shape. You see my son, health is wealth.” said father.
I was never athletic but I indulge in sports to remain healthy. My father was correct, health is wealth. Since then, decades later up until I reached my senior years, I have never been hospitalized yet for any sickness. I have remained, well, “wealthy” to borrow my father’s understanding.
And it goes through as far as power is concerned. One need not be a leader of an army or a firebrand of a community to be authoritative. Becoming knowledgeable is already becoming powerful. And there is even no struggle on this concern today unlike in the past. One merely clicks Google and he gets knowledge instantly. Power is just a visit in the internet cafe.
My mother used to counsel me whenever she would notice that I was feeling low, “My son, if you think that you are limited in your view of things, look at the horizon to appreciate its vastness. If you cannot move any further, get a book and read it. Remember if you are a book ahead of anyone, you are greater and more powerful than him.”
Her words never left me. I read three books a week for almost five decades. My library where my books are is even threatening to evict me from my personal space in my house! Nonetheless, I feel powerful than anyone else. But as I gain knowledge, I could feel the truth in the popular saying, “Ears of rice bow deeply as they ripen.” The more I gain knowledge therefore, the more humble I become.
The more I wanted to retreat. And it is the way to achieve happiness, more so if one is healthy and prayerful.
There was no internet then and if at all there were shades of technology like cellphones and internet, it belonged to the realm of fiction and sci fi movies only. For a while, there were glimpses of things to come via James Bond films but on the whole everything was conducted manually. We have to content ourselves in films where Superman looked more splaying on the floor feigning like he was flying.
It was the age of innocence and exploration. Games were all physical. Everyone had a choice to be a bully. And there were no privileges except for those who were street smart. Those who cannot cope to stay late would rather confine themselves to lead a sheltered life.
In Project 2, Quezon City during the 60s and 70s everybody was fair game. There were no natives there. It was a neighborhood where families came from different areas, had converged conveniently and became pioneers. Mostly were government workers who found the area worth settling. The children were brought up according to norms which they would fashion out based on their new found surroundings and a splatter of tradition from their original place. The school—Quirino Elementary School—, whatever it would represent, would be their foundation.
Reminiscing for me was easier if the music of the time would serve as theme. This was the 60s. I remember Petula Clark’s upbeat song “Downtown” when I was in grade one. During grade two and three, it was Matt Monroe’s ballads (Before You Go) which made my days. I was in grade four, five and six when the Beatles (In My Life), Monkees (Shades of Gray), Herman Hermits (Mrs. Brown), Gary and Pacemakers (Don’t Let the Sun Catch You Crying), Gary Lewis (Diamond Ring), Dave Clark 5 (Because) and Holies (Bus Stop) were all over the airwaves. The hit album of Chicago (Transit Authority) (2506), Cascades (Shy Girl) and Beach Boys (Don’t Worry Baby) were memorable when I was in my first and second year high school. On my way towards the end of secondary education, the songs of Spiral Staircase (More Today than Yesterday) and Jackson 5 (Daddy’s Home) inspired my adolescent years. Life was pure “flower power,” of advocating peace, of pursuing love in its pristine form.
It was a liberating experience, of marked freedom, of expansive creativity. While a number of my peers went all out, I merely observed them as they underwent experiments in booze, drugs, deliquency and activism. At that time, I was deep into Arts that I got lost in the abyss of artistic vision.
In college in the 70s, the band of America (Ventura Highway), Carpenters (We’ve Only Just Began), James Taylor (You’ve Got a Friend) and OPM Manila sound (Manila, Manila) virtually accompanied my dreary and unimaginative days. They continued to give me melodious period even after I graduated and had my first employment as contractual instructor at UP’s Sped department. Thereupon, I moved to Mead Johnson and eventually after a highly educational exposure in the private sector, I got employment in public service at the Bureau of Prisons. All these time, the music of Cinderella (Bato sa Buhangin fame), John Denver (Country Road), Barry Manilow (Sandra) , Bee Gees (Staying Alive), ABBA (Chiquitita) and Stevie Wonder (My Cherie Amour) were my constant theme.
Of course, I was never alone. I have an entire generation humming to the beat of what has been referred today as Retro Music. And it is the sound of the soul, the hymn of a beautiful period we all agreed to call as the Age of Reminiscence or the exclusive batch of Baby Boomers.
I had this opportunity to watch a movie “Lucy” (starring Morgan Freeman) this weekend in the comfort of my library. And it made me contemplate on certain feasible things about life. Specifically, on the real nature of how man’s brain works and its mysterious powers, if at all it has.
It came about as I was watching a film about an ordinary person who became extraordinary. And the story pulsates around a woman who got an employment as courier. The numerous difficulties she had undergone, underscored the fact that the job was not an ordinary one. She was to transport a chemical which has far reaching effect on man. It was a drug like no other. And it has as yet to achieve a certain degree of acceptance and permission from government. In other words, it is still prohibitive and illegal. Even in the way the drug is to be transported, the process is not done or conducted through ordinary bags or smuggled through secret crevices in a luggage. It is to be placed within the body of the transporters themselves through surgical means.
Of course, the movie is pure fiction. But it tells a lot about man’s inherent capacity to overcome all odds, attain perfection and even achieve immortality. The illegal drug, the controversial item on which account the entire plot revolves holds the key for the fulfilment of what the brain is capable of. In the story, the woman who was made a mule to transport the drug to another country was detained and while in captivity was mauled. The drug inside her tummy burst and got into her bloodstream. The saga of the simple woman began. With the accidental introduction of drugs in her system, she became superhuman. She sought an explanation from scientists to explain her situation.
She learned as she was told that man’s brain is seldom used more than 10% of its capability. According to one scientist, he hypothesized that if at all man may be able to transcend the 10% and achieve 20% of his brain power, that in itself would unlock so much that which would virtually improve humanity, improperly though, it could destroy mankind. The woman who ingested so many drugs into her system, propelled by drug to use her brain up to more than 50% of its power, became a superhuman. She could wilfully operate her mind using electrical impulses everywhere. In the story, she could even perform telekinetic wonders and subdue the villains physically. Of course, this is for purposes of action and suspense.
The insight in the film is quite reflective. Accordingly, the use of the brain makes man a notch higher than everything in the entire scheme of creation. The way he employs his brain further makes him smarter than the rest of humanity. It is, after all, only in man where geniuses are to be found. And as he thinks, his environment improves and the quality of his life increases in leaps and bounds. His diet or drugs can trigger intellectual explosion.
While early man survived through improvised tools, today, while he remains biologically the same, he has virtually reinvented himself through technological wonders. These were all brought about through the use of his brain.
Unfortunately, only a few would realize such a condition. Majority of them never exercise the full potential of their brain. They would merely rely on others. They seldom think, seldom appreciate reason and occasionally would explore thought processes.
There is however a message which the film “Lucy” tried to come across. Once a person increases the use of his brain power, that is more than 20% of its capability, his desires lessen, his appetite becomes dull and he treats everything that surrounds him whether painful or pitiful, enjoyable or satisfactory, as too mundane and too simple to appreciate. While man is given that power to rule the universe through his brain, he may eventually be an alien if he assumes to use its power.
Well, it is better to be common, to be ordinary. There are two major trends which man will have to choose, the path to immortality or the way towards reproduction.
Man has always been given the choice.
That is my favourite expression. It may be crude, a bit tribal but come to think about it, a person would do just about anything if it would please him. Normally, anyone will never do anything that will hurt him unless the person subscribes to idiocy as a way of life. I would presume that no person would even dream of becoming one like that. And so, we all act and do in a manner that we like best.
Sometime ago, my son visited me in my office and in return, took him out to the nearest mall for coffee. On our way, we had this scene.
I was driving along a traffic infested road together with my son when we were stranded by a defective stop light. A lot of vehicles and freight trucks ground to a halt .Suddenly an old man appeared beside our car. I waved my hands indicating that I am not interested. Thereafter, I flashed a question to my son, “Have you noticed the old man whom I dismissed, the one who approached us?”
“Yes, I saw him.” my son responded.
“What is your impression?” I asked.
“Well, firstly, you tried to ignore him. Secondly, you looked peeved. And thirdly, your heart is a stone.” my son offered. Then he gave me a malicious wink.
I explained to him, “Actually, I appreciated his appearance. You see, he was about my age. Secondly, I was intrigued because he was sad when he should not be. Thirdly, these thoughts came out. Your see, when I was struggling hard to get my education, the fellow must have been out of school enjoying life to the fullest, running around and conducting every mischief everywhere. Later in life, finding no fortune for being unskilled and uneducated, having struggled to keep his skin and bones together, he would beg for mercy. That he liked and even had his time to be better but chose to be happily unschooled. He should be approaching me with a smile instead because he had it coming. I am too old to be fooled by such pretensions.”
“He must have encountered difficulties, a series of unlucky events, bad lucks, bad calls, you know, everyone once in a while are in shit and shit happens all the time.” My son reasoned out.
“You are correct there my son. That is why one must study, must go to school, no matter how humble and miserable one is. Only education would make one strong in the face of all challenges and bad lucks. Education teaches values not necessarily academic skills. It is also in school where one would meet friends who would become prosperous later and whom he could tap if the going gets tough. In school, he encounters lessons in order to learn. In the street, he learns first and it served as a lesson. So it’s more expensive to get a lesson in the street. One must realize that it is more tiresome and costly on the street than entering a school.”
“So, everything I do, I must be happy therefore. What if an accident happens not to my liking or something takes place but I have no control?
“Education prepares a person for any eventuality. If you have studied automotive and your car broke down, you know already what to do. Without education, you are at the bottom of the food chain. Without education, you are at the mercy of the elements. What separates a happy person and the sad one is education.”
“So I should not ignore the call of the academe.”
“But of course my dear child, so that when confronted with a choice, you already know what to do. You gain the proper training. And if through daring you wanted to do something out of the loop, you are also prepared on how to conduct yourself. You will be aware that if you choose the extreme, you know the effect would be extreme also. And the beauty there is that if you will be trapped, you know how to wiggle out.”
“Thanks Pa, I thought you have a heart of stone.”
“Well, actually, education turned me into a rock!”