Ignorance: a fundamental force in Pinoy society

Fellow GRP writer Arche wrote a few days ago about Miriam Defensor Santiago (MDS), and he likened her to a modern day Pilosopo Tasyo. She is obsessed with the law, and probably knows it better than most other lawmakers currently in the Philippines. One can be forgiven for saying that her obsession with the law borders on fanaticism. However her brutally frank delivery, high-pitched accent and voice, and her not-so understated lack of patience for stupid people are a put-off to quite a few. Well, tough luck. MDS is not only the bitter pill to swallow for imbeciles like members of the prosecution team, but also for balat-sibuyas, mayabang, and stupid Pinoys who prefer to stay ignorant about things, and scoop up by the balde everything that mainstream media feeds them. Too bad she’s about to leave soon for the International Criminal Court (ICC); it’s less fun in the Philippines whenever there’s one less person reminding us Pinoys just how stupid we can get.

For this write-up, let’s explore the other side of the spectrum. Senator Santiago represents one extreme end, one who has, as mentioned above, an obsession and respect for the law bordering on fanaticism. This being the Philippines, we will also find among the senators one of them who represents the other extreme: someone who admitted he/she has totally no knowledge of it. In other words, this senator represents the ultimate in ignorance of the law – “ang kasukdulan ng kamangmangan sa batas“. This someone claimed to be humble and voted with conscience. This someone supposedly represents millions of other Filipinos who are similar to him/her. It is no surprise then that Filipinos were applauding his/her speech. This senator is none other than Lito Lapid.

In particle physics, there are what are called fundamental interactions between elementary particles. Basically there are four types: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetic force, and gravitational force.

In the Philippines, we will be able to find a fifth fundamental force. As stated in the title, it is called ignorance.

Ignorance sort of behaves like gravity here in the Philippines. Whenever there is a large mass of ignorant people, they suddenly have a lot of weight in society. It attracts from an infinite range. Ignorance cannot be absorbed, is difficult to transform, and is something that cannot be shielded against. Ignorance is also responsible for keeping unwitting people in orbit around a “sun” whose sole aim is to exploit the “planets” for whatever they’re worth. Unlike gravity though, it can be repelled, but it would be extremely difficult, and yes, painful. The question is, are Filipinos up to the task of overcoming it?

I could not help but wince during the speech Lito Lapid gave before handing out his vote in the Corona impeachment trial. Many people considered it heartfelt, honest, and humble. Yet he did the one thing nobody raised a stink about: he basically laid bare his ignorance of the law for the whole Philippines to see. And he stressed it over and over as if it was something to brag about. If you ask me, the fact that Lito Lapid and other showbiz celebrities are even among the senators is a clear indication that the profession of law-making has been cheapened to a primp-and-preen fashion show. Ever since Pinoys discovered voting in elections, we’ve been voting dominantly by name recognition, instead of by platform. That we prefer to stay ignorant about what the people we put into office stand for, if any, says volumes about our propensity as a people.

What makes ignorance such a powerful force in Pinoy society? To be fair, everyone is born knowing very little. However, is our society one that is inherently unjust? There seems to be a cycle happening all over again. In the past, the friars did not want the indios to learn the Spanish language, for fear that they would eventually learn how to rise up against them. Similarly today, the oligarchs are depriving many Filipinos of better-quality media by producing opium-like matter that keeps them “illiterate” and addicted to trash. Are they afraid that their bottom line will be affected if the masa suddenly asks for more? Are they afraid that if they need to step up their quality, they can’t meet the demand? It is ironic that the few in whom the power to shape society lies prefers not to do anything about it. For both the masa and the oligarchs, ignorance is bliss.

Lito Lapid claimed to be voting with his conscience. He didn’t make the claim to base his decision on any existing law. And that’s where the problem lies. If your conscience, or intuition, is not informed, then you run the risk of being influenced, or being swayed, by external factors that ultimately amount to noise. While this remains circumstantial evidence at best as to why Lapid voted guilty, surely crossing his employer ABS-CBN, who happened to be one of the influential forces against the defendant, and wanting to keep a probe by the Ombudsman into his wealth from blowing up, would have some effect on swaying him. So much for informed intuition there; if you know what’s good for you, you will do as the powers that be say.

Ignorance fits like a glove in Philippine society. It meshes well with the ever-present mentalities of mediocrity (pwede-na-yan syndrome) and fatalism (bahala-na syndrome). But the world is changing rapidly, and ignorance of how to keep up with the times is not in our best interest. Unless Pinoys and Filipinos learn how to resist this fundamental force, we will forever remain Asia’s basketcase and sick man.

The good news is, ignorance can be resisted. The first step is recognizing that the problem exists. The second step is to question what is doubtful to you in society. Just because something has been done the same way for a long time does not mean it is the best way. Definitely, popularity does not equate to being right.

Ignorance pins us down, and keeps us forever in a political, social, and economic cocoon. And we don’t want to forever remain that way, do we?

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About FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

Post Author: FallenAngel

А вы, друзья, как ни садитесь, все в музыканты не годитесь. - But you, my friends, however you sit, not all as musicians fit.

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92 Comments on "Ignorance: a fundamental force in Pinoy society"

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Doomed Nation
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The truly ignorant will reply:What ignorance are you talking about? The Filipino is truly world-class and unbeatable. Lito Lapid is a hero to us all. There is no ignorance happening in our country.

That’s the sad reality of it. The ignorant is ignorant of his ignorance.

ChinoF
Member

Enrile even praised Lapid’s speech. But that’s not surprising. Enrile is a Liberal party member after all.

Der Fuhrer
Guest
The state of being in ignorance indicates lack of knowledge, education and/or awareness. Ignorance is a close relative of the gullible. Is the following statement true? The ignorant and the gullible will believe anything fed to them by the mass media. Thus gossip, deliberate misrepresentation, black propaganda, grey propaganda and even representations made by ignorant, bombastic politicians are swallowed hook, line and sinker. But is ignorance and gullibility the real cause of our country not progressing and moving forward as it should? Common sense is present in many Filipinos. I do not believe that all of our people are ignorant… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

I maintain that ignorance is not a fundamental force in pinoy society. It is rather a tool of exploitation used by ruthless opportunists who would not hesitate to control and condition the hearts and minds of those unfortunates who lack knowledge, awareness and wisdom. When wisdom finally rules the country, everything will change for the better.

ChinoF
Member

The thing about ignorance is that it is often mixed with being poor, and being poor is often glamorized in this country as being good, even if a poor person actually commits a crime. So an intelligent or rich person tends to be demonized, because being any of these are seen as bad in the Philippines. While the ignorant or poor, or both, are seen as good. Which really sucks.

maria pilar m. ladioray
Guest
maria pilar m. ladioray

one big problem is that the ignorant are not aware of their problem, are quick to make decisions based on bits and pieces of (mis)information instead of waiting for the whole picture, and make the loudest noise! sad! sad! sad!

Hyden Toro
Guest
Sen. Defensor Santiago is brutally frank. She speaks, what is in her mind. She is knowledgeable of the law. The ICC Court in The Hague, Neatherland knows it better, than anybody of us, to accept her as Judge. Lito Lapid is a high school graduate, who impeached a Supreme Court Justice. I am sure, he does not know : Due Process of law, Bill of Rights, etc…all he did was acting infront of a camera. This gained his popularity to be elected in Public Office. Ignorance was the tool the Spaniards used to control us. Same way, that ignorance is… Read more »
Der Fuhrer
Guest

The feigned ignorance of the informal dictatorship. Does BS know what democracy is all about?

http://www.tribuneonline.org/commentary/20120613com1.html

Der Fuhrer
Guest

The OPM is not ignorant of the fact that the informal dictatorship controls congress. This BS Aquino ouster movement is preparing to file impeachment against the informal dictator despite the odds. Call it an expose of his sleeping with the enemies of the state and his penchant to destroy democracy…

http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=816709&publicationSubCategoryId=63

jojo del rosario
Guest

That’s why I don’t allow my children to watch television. The local media is so biased today!

sanjo
Member

But Lito Lapid was only one of 20 who voted for conviction. And why was she being compared to Miriam Defensor Santiago when he’s not a lawyer?

brianitus
Guest

“Lito Lapid claimed to be voting with his conscience. He didn’t make the claim to base his decision on any existing law. And that’s where the problem lies. If your conscience, or intuition, is not informed, then you run the risk of being influenced, or being swayed, by external factors that ultimately amount to noise. ”

If you remember Lapid’s closer/deliberation, I think he based his decision entirely on what Rudy Farinas said during the closing arguments of the impeachment. I think he even cited Farinas.

Gogs
Member
Fishball/ Kris- so in your world making sense and explaining a process is “bullying”? You interpret “humility and honesty”. I interpret Lapid’s message as ” You don’t need to know anything to get my position and once you get it , you don’t have to develop your critical reasoning skills nor should you even be paying attention to facts being presented by both sides. Emotion is what you go by”. Sounds like a recipe for flawed logic and a flawed system. But then again that is how our president your kuya was elected right? Your mother dies therefore Kuya Noy… Read more »
trish
Guest

i would like to thank all of the people behind GRP for letting me know na hindi rin nmn pala lahat ng pilipino ay ignoraNte.. i hope others would see this and somehow open their minds for the betterment of the country.. change is always hard but i guess doom is upon us until we use our minds, not some emotion crap. ignorant people makes me sick and tired of reading their nonsense posts. FISHBALL = IGNORAMOUS

ItchyBB
Guest

Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs – Bill Gates

Here in the Philippines we try everything to be a drama show

Gogs
Member
I blame the families behind ABIAS CBN and Phil Daily Inquirer for somehow equating the yellow movement to patriotism. Last I looked patriotism had to do with actions that lead to results. Noynoy was glorified for having done nothing concrete in his years as an elected public servant. The Lopezes imposed their views on who should win and abused their broadcasting privileges. Keep this in mind the airwaves are publicly owned. Therefore the KBP ideally is there to prevent any overt agenda on public airwaves. The kuya of Fishball , Noynoy benefited from ABS CBN’s revisionist history which in the… Read more »
sanjo
Member
“A nation whose engine is fueled by ignorance”? I see that statement as a product of a mind that resents the current administration. It does not really speaks the truth. It speaks of the hurt and pain of the writer to see somebody other than his favored person occupying Malacanang. When you say ‘ignorance’ you have to be clear and concrete about it because you are categorizing a group of people, the Filipinos, in a bad light, short of insulting them outright. Compared to you, the Filipinos are ignorant? Why and how? That is the question begging for an answer.
Der Fuhrer
Guest

It was not about “reasoning based on conscience.” The real truth is the base reality of political expediency and political opportunism. When one sells his soul to the devil there is only a chosen path. No reasoning and no conscience.

Gogs
Member

Fallen Angel, I used the exact lemmings picture in my Youtube video “It’s Noy or Never” Released campaign time over two years ago.

sanjo
Member
For the record, I have never voted for Lito Lapid for senator. The same with Noynoy. I even voiced out my opposition to Noynoy running for president in some discussion forums that I write in. Obviously, I’m on the minority because both Lapid and Noynoy won. But I don’t hold any rancor in my heart. For me, the people has spoken. We must respect it. I don’t take it personally, that is why I’m a bit amused of how some people who comments on this thread seems to have been unable to move on after the election of people like… Read more »