Facing Society’s Demons: The Many Evils in Our Country

To be truly honest, I’m not really big on organized religion. I have doubts that any one person or group of persons can represent a Being that created the Universe and is thought to be even greater than the Cosmos They created. I believe that religion should be a personal pursuit and that it should be strictly between you and God only. No one can really mediate for you and the best that people can do is give you advice about your life choices but, at the end of the day, when you go to face God in all Their glory, you will be alone and naked.

metro_manilaSo no, I’m not an atheist. However, I’m not really here to preach so I’ll try to keep this article as secular as possible. To our non-religious readers out there, I invite you to read anyway because, if you try not to think about the more supernatural implications about this article, perhaps you can still gain a good understanding of human nature, especially that of the Filipinos, and the evils that are somehow ingrained into them. I’m not judging anyone after all, I’m just pointing out some of the things that I commonly see that serve to waylay the progress of the Filipino people.

Let’s begin with an inter-faith discussion. Something that even I didn’t really expect. This was quite a while back when I was very depressed and was seriously considering suicide at the time. I was at a gym’s locker room, thinking about how much pain I would actually experience if I threw myself at a speeding vehicle before I died when a friend of mine walked in and saw me.

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Take note, my friend is actually a Muslim. He told me that he is originally from Morocco and that he has a family living somewhere in England. He is a bank manager and often comes to the Philippines for a vacation. He rarely, if ever, talks about his religion. He didn’t want people to get the wrong idea about him just because he is an Arab Muslim. However, when he saw the way I looked at the time, he decided to open up and tell me at least a little bit about himself and his views on religion proper.

At first we talked about movies and video games. He was an avid movie-goer and gamer as well. He was a big fan of James Bond films and he also frequently played FPS games like Spec-Ops and the F.E.A.R. series. I thought at first that he was just distracting me with idle talk until we reached the topic of horror films.

He said that, as a Muslim, he found Christian-based religious horror films utterly hilarious. Of course, he said they were at least not devoid of good entertainment value but that he really didn’t think he could take them seriously. He found movies like End of Days and The Exorcist as “exciting” but very misleading.

He told me that demons don’t need to look like big, horned dinosaurs like Diablo to ruin your day and they don’t need to do anything physical to make your life a living hell. All they really need, according to him, is a vulnerable and distraught mind they can whisper their lies to. And no, while their simple act of whispering lies to mortals might not seem much compared to spinning heads, what they can do is far more terrifying than any horror movie.

Take note, he said, that even a mere stray thought, misheard word or misunderstanding can lead to the deterioration of relationships, bar brawls or full-blown wars. Saying or thinking the wrong thing at the wrong time is all it really takes to make a situation pear-shaped in rapid succession. For instance, if you hear the words “I saw your girlfriend/boyfriend with someone a while ago” and don’t pay attention to the rest of it, your mind will likely jump to conclusions and may eventually lead to a fight with your significant other. Seeing people laugh together in a corner and one of them glances at you might make you think that they’re talking about you and making fun of you even though that might not be the case. The list goes on.

Now, he went on to say that demons aren’t the only ones to blame for the bad things that happen in our world. It is we, humans, that do most of the bad things after all. However, he notes that one can probably compare them to the cheerleaders, or more likely hooligans, in a sporting event. Sure, what they do or shout might not really seem to affect the game all that much but, if they say something at the right moment at the right player, things might suddenly change.

As an example, he cited to me a time when he accompanied his son to a soccer game. He and his son found their seats near the goalkeeper. Not far from the goalkeeper was a group of what were probably hooligans. Whatever the case, they taunted and jeered at the goalkeeper who, at first at least, managed to ignore them and keep his attention on the game. Halfway through the goalkeeper’s time in the game though, one of the hooligans managed to shout a personal insult against the goalkeeper and from there, his performance faltered until he was swapped for another goalkeeper who did a better job at ignoring the hooligans.

While he respects the Christian notion of the devil being like a lion, he notes that his experiences have taught him otherwise. Instead, he sees demons as something similar to poisonous snakes with a painless bite. They strike at you, unseen and it is only when it is too late that you realize that you have been bitten at all. He tells me that unless you pay close attention to what you think and say to yourself and others, they’ll probably find some profound way of messing up your day or the rest of your life if you’re not careful.

He made mention of the terrorists of the Philippines and he told me that, considering the kind of government we have, they probably have some reason of doing what they do. Nonetheless, what they are doing is still wrong, plain and simple and cannot be excused by any kind of lawful reasoning. While they clamor for new laws that are supposedly “just”, they’re willingness to kill even wounded and defeated men is sign enough of how “law-abiding” they are, according to him. He cited that there are actually quite a number of things that they could still do but they choose to do what is wrong anyway because of misguided ideas or because it is easy or convenient.

My friend noted that emotional people, especially those who are in the throes of a particularly powerful emotion like anger, sorrow or even love, can be easy to manipulate if one knows how to track a person’s emotion. Any word said to an angry person can seem like an insult after all and a deeply depressed person is almost impossible to reason with due to the numbness of our senses.

So he told me that the next time I think about taking my own life, I should really consider what alternatives I have instead of the pain I was experiencing at the time. Later on, we decided to have dinner at a local branch of KFC with some other friends and discussed other matters completely unrelated to religion. One such topic was who came up with the idea of combining Clover chips with fried chicken and what kind of narcotics had the said person been taking to come up with such an idea…

Anyway, I mentioned in a previous article that I once played a major role in a loose adaptation of Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis. I also recommend reading the book because it has proven to be quite a fun read even for non-Christians. Some of the points I can point out from the book that can apply almost succinctly with the Filipino mindset are the following:

  1. Apathy: Filipinos probably aren’t the most attentive of people. Most of them simply don’t care as long as they get by on a day-to-day business. What’s more painful is that I know a lot of people can sense the wrongness in our society but choose not to act anyway because it is “useless” or “inconvenient”. However, while it’s true that everyone has needs, there is always the idea that: “Evil prevails where good men fail to act.” So the mere act of not caring can be considered evil in and of itself. Unless we, the Filipino people can be proactive and make advances to improving ourselves instead of just relying on our leaders to do our work for us, then we, as a people, are utterly doomed.
  2. Insane Troll Logic: Another reason we never seem to get anywhere in our country is because people are often dead-set in their ways even if there is a considerable amount of evidence to support their stupidity. These are people who simply see what they want to see, hear what they want to hear and believe what they want to believe according to what they deem is convenient. Take for instance that so many people these days like to quote the Bible but take them out of context and use them for their own purposes. I see Kris Aquino and her fans use a lot of Bible quotes but do not clearly understand them and simply ignore the fact that they could just be as easily the people the quote was meant to deride in the first place.
  3. Over-Emotionalism: Emotions, as mentioned above, are good and are what ultimately makes us human beings. But letting them cloud our reasoning is one way we can truly get ourselves into predicaments we might no longer be able to get ourselves out of. And, as my friend and I discussed, words and actions taken at the height of ones emotions are seldom correct or well-planned. Remember that when you’re angry, it’s very hard to focus on what the person you’re angry at is actually saying. Also, when you’re in love, it’s almost impossible to hear anything anyone else is telling you. As Pinoys seem to be drama addicts, is it any surprise at all that we stay as dumb people even after all that’s happened to us?

17 Replies to “Facing Society’s Demons: The Many Evils in Our Country”

  1. Interesting article. Unfortunately, Filipinos are the type who won’t listen to criticism. Any slightest attempt to educate them has them stomping on it just like pearls before swine, while saying, “Ang dami mong alam, tol!”

    Best choice? Do the same thing the Oligarch media. Have them get addicted to new media that actually provokes them into questioning their reality. Give them a new way of thinking. Be the change instead of reciting “the change song”.

  2. It really goes beyond my comprehension why you use so many capital letters (not only in the title of the article but also in the article/blog).
    Furthermore, that goalkeeper is really a pussy and a wimp.
    “….when you go to face god in all their glory, you will be alone and naked.” It seems you are really doing the opposite here in the article.

    1. Robert, a title should always start with capital letters. I do not see anything wrong with the article -capslock or otherwise- except for one misspelled word that could have been a typo error.

      Your point is?

      1. Facing society’s demons: The many evils in our country.

        To be truly honest, I’m not really big on organized religion. I have doubts that any one person or group of persons can represent a being that created the universe and is thought to be even greater than the cosmos they created. I believe that religion should be a personal pursuit and that it should be strictly between you and God only. No one can really mediate for you and the best that people can do is give you advice about your life choices but, at the end of the day, when you go to face God in all their glory, you will be alone and naked.
        My above version reads calmer and more peaceful. The capitol words in my version do not distract from the actual point(s). Its less chaotic. Period. And I would even prefer writing the word God with a lowercase letter.

  3. I like the viewpoint that yes there are people who are aware and would want to make change and differences.

    Much like what you and most writers have discussed in the past is how can we influence our kabababayan since most have the weird set of ethics.

    You can say the common mindset is like this
    1. Apathy – This applies KKK system (Kaibigan, kapamilya and kabarkada)
    2. Insane Troll Logic – Mostly from warped local media and sometimes translated foreign shows
    3. Over Emotionalism – Quite common but our kind sometimes blown this out of proportion.

    If I like to add there is also a variation of point 1:
    Mediocrity – Most of them rather accept na ‘okay lang pasado’ attitude
    Victimization – most would rather be a victim and blame someone else.

  4. Grimwald, you were in the state of Depression; when you were thinking of killing yourself. Next time, when you think of killing yourself; consult a good Psychiatrist and Psychoanalyst. Anti Depressant pills can prevent suicides on depressive people. The Chemicals: Serotonin and other chemicals in your brain and stomach were not balanced. Listening to music can help a depressive person. Helping others and not focus on yourself, can be of help. Good religious belief can help. I do not recommend a religion that teaches people to murder non believers, in order to get to Paradise, and have Sex with 72 Virgins…

    “The Devil made me do it”…a statement not accepted in Courts; if you slit somebody’s throat.

    Do they Devil really exist? Yes, they personify our Rotten Politicians…our corrupt leaders…and other Thieves in the government. The Devil is Evil itself, in our midst…Greed, corruption, graft,murders,covetousness, false/radical religious beliefs and other crimes.

  5. Christians often remember this verse: “For the devil masquerades as an angel of light.” (2 Cor 11:14) Secularists may state is as: what seems good may actually bad. For example for the life of me, I can’t understand why people oppose anti-bullying laws. Bullying is obviously a bad thing; yet there are some people who don’t want it punishable. They may think it’s good. It obviously and will always be bad, because bullying is abuse. And of course, people rushing into pleasurable things, like drinking all night, because it feels good. Then they wake up to a hangover and they spew out all they ate. There’s more bad disguised as good than the other way around.

    That’s why Ilda’s slogan under her profile is, things are not always what they seem.

  6. The Filipino is a really screwed up nation. The way they think defies logic of most Western thinking and yet is not really Asian in its origin.Take for example the Filipino who wants water to come out of a hose twice as fast and so cuts the hose in half. Makes sense to the Filipino but in all practicality it is an exercise in idiocy, much like the entire society.

  7. I have to hand it to you all at GRP for hanging in there, for trying to make a difference, you’ve stayed the course, have been open minded,positive, hopeful.The big problem is you are outnumbered, because unfortunately the overwhelming majority of people in this country just don’t think the same as you, if they are even thinking at all.We can think of a thousand reasons why this is so, cultural, political, environmental, the day to day struggles the filipino faces, whatever it is, it is something that is hard to get your hands on, to wrap your mind around.If only this, if only that….lots of potential solutions have been offered to no avail.Im sad to admit that it probably won’t ever change here, and for me personally, even though Im not a filipino, I feel as if I’ve suffered a blow.I dont like losing, and I never have, and always cheer for the underdog. I don’t like throwing in the towel on this country, because I’ve always been a problem solver,entrepreneur, and always believed in the
    power of the human spirit to overcome any obstacle ….Im not so sure about this place anymore,, it feels like the Titanic just before
    It hit the iceberg, only thing is, there are alot of icebergs out there.My suggestion is to get out if you can while you can, and if you cant do that, get a bunch of liked minded people together, go off to a remote area, and start an intentional community, and live as simply as possible.There is plenty of info online how to do this.Think of what this country will be like 10 or 20 yrs.down the road….Another 50 to 100 million people ??..come on…. Im not going to mention all the other issues, you know what they are.This place is on an unsustainable course, not game over, but getting close.You all have done a helluva job, it’s obvious that you care.Maybe start caring for yourselves, and plan your exit strategy, while you still can.Maybe take your own advice and “Get Real”.

    1. We have to light a “candle”, rather than curse the darkness. Soon many “candles” will be lighted, and the darkness will fade away…

    2. You have a point that everyone is too mired in their own problems to see the bigger picture. However, what we’re doing here is providing an alternative view to those who have waken up from the stupor. A place where alternative ideas where it will get condemned by the very country we live in can at least prosper. A place where we can say what we think about the country without being hammered down by the oligarch media.

      This site is a great reminder that not everyone buys into the Philippines that it pretends to be but to see it as it really is.

    3. I’m not really known for being an optimist but here’s what I think…

      You know those guys on the Titanic, the crewmen who stayed to make sure all the passengers got away safely? Well, you can think of us at GRP here something like them. I, for one, see it as an obligation to help people out of this ship of stupidity before it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.

      Also, my only disagreement with your statement is that it is less like the Titanic and more like that passenger ship from Deep Rising (if you know that film). Icebergs don’t actively attack shipping, sea monsters DO. Monsters like China and ISIS.

      1. China is not interested in attacking the Philippines,no.They are just going to take whatever they want to take and no one is going to stop them.As a matter of fact, the USA/UK is going to get their corporate masters a piece of the action as well. China needs some of the deep-sea technology that they have and so they will get a cut and do not forget the greedy ass Filipino politicians ,they will see a tiny percentage, but even that li’l bit will be considerable when it is divided amongst so few people/families/dynasties.

        It is sad really, after all the decades of thieving, had it NOT happened? The RP could have had a respected military instead of a laughingstock for armed forces.

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