Sideways

We’re a country of people going sideways, or so it seems.

It would have been great if Noynoy Aquino truly represented the straight (and narrow) path because his rise to the presidency could perhaps be taken as some sign that a significant number of Filipinos have actually wised up.

Thing is, neither Noynoy nor most of the people who voted for him actually know what the straight (and narrow) path is.

If I’ve learned anything from my friend JP, I should be correct in saying that the “straight and narrow path” is a reference to Mathew 7:13 – 14 where it says, “Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

While most people can presume that the “straight and narrow path” means following rules and laws that leads to the realization of some ideal, most people don’t know why the wide and broad gate leads to destruction.

broad and wide gate

JP, in one of our long and rambling chats, told me that the broad, wide gate can be of such magnitude that you may no longer have any reference to where you are or where you are going.

For all you know, you may be walking around in a circle for your entire life… that is how broad and wide that gate may be — if at all it is still a gate.

But, just a hunch as to why the broad and wide gate could lead to destruction, I think it means that one could actually find themselves in the middle of a desert. Without food and water, that’ll surely mean death.

For a path to be straight and narrow, you pretty much have to define things clearly and stick to those definitions during the course of whatever you are trying to achieve.

Unless, of course, circumstances warrant a change in those definitions with the objective of staying true to the essence of what is trying to be achieved.

A favorite funny example of how things can go terribly (and perversely) wrong with mistaken definitions is in a College Humor skit called “Sexually Confused Ninja”.

In the skit, the ninja’s father is mortally wounded and his father asks him to avenge his death. The punchline happens when the ninja discovers that “avenge” doesn’t mean fellatio.

Thing is, you’d be surprised at how many people have no idea at all that they’re living their lives according to erroneous definitions.

The more dangerous thing about all this is that most people think they have the right definition of certain things and they’ll stick to their definition for no other reason than they’re emotionally invested in that definition.

So, it’s hilarious when I see people on Facebook posting “my life, my rules” and find them making up the rules as they stumble along.

Not even when everything around them is signaling that they’re headed the wrong way will they stop in their tracks and listen to the people telling them that they’re about to make a fatal mistake.

Can’t help people unless they realize that they’re in trouble and usually that’s also the time when it’s already too difficult to get them out of the jam they’ve gotten themselves into.

The least disastrous thing that can happen to the so-called “my life, my rules/YOLO” type of people is that, well, nothing will happen to them. They all basically just grow old having gotten nowhere while making sure they are a burden to the people around them.

If people really want this country to finally achieve some progress, each one of us has to get serious about defining what progress is on a personal level — as it applies to ourselves. And after that, just go balls out trying to achieve personal progress.

Does personal progress mean an increase in income? Does it mean possessing a higher level of expertise or skill? Does it mean a higher level of fitness, physically or emotionally?

What will it take to get there? What are the steps that you should take to achieve that idea of progress?

If we all orient ourselves towards achieving progress in our personal lives, it is almost guaranteed that the country (being composed of progress oriented people) will achieve progress.

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5 Comments on “Sideways”

  1. ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’ came out in the early 70s by Robert Pirsig who made it to the Guinness Book of Records for most number of rejections by a publisher – 121 – before success came in a big way for a book on, of all things, philosophy.
    He was looking for that elusive ‘quality’ that beckoned him on, what others might call ‘virtue’ or ‘the good life’ or as Jesus Christ put it, that He was ‘the way, the truth, and the life.’
    It’s about the examined life, or a life lived in accord with an informed conscience, while most everyone else would seem to be living a superficial life beset and besieged by distraction so that discernment and mindfulness play no part.
    I’ll stick with the ‘Imitation of Christ’ – it’s a guide that’s tried and true.

    1. “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” is about the inherent relativity and quality of this universe, this planet, and every living and non-living things on it—regardless of our orientation with them. In other words everything in this universe already possess their inherent nature even before we became aware of them, and there is nothing we can do to change any of them.

  2. Progress without proper/right thinking and mindset is no progress, at all. Anybody can become a Politician, feed on the Pork Barrel, like Hacienda Luisita Swines. Thus, of course, you progressed financially. You have also power.

    What Jesus Christ, stated in his parable, as the “narrow road” that leads to life; is life in which you follow his teachings (Christian morals and values)…The “wide road” represents the road full of mistakes/evilness, which leads to your destruction.

    In this world, it is really a struggle to be a “good” human being…it is easy to fall into evilness.

    While all these are relative to your beliefs: I believe , in order to be human…we must be humane.

    1. Absolutely.The Failippine government habitually lies to the world that the country is moving forward towards political reform and economic development; yet, when you look around you and get the pulse of the nation, you get a totally different story. That is when you realize thta something is wrong.

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