Is it possible for Filipinos to improve the quality of their thinking?


Filipinos really do seem to be missing a chip in their brains. The extent to which they are conditioned to think only what they are told to think is astounding. It is such that when they actually do attempt to challenge authority, they do so from a weak position of argumentation.

Indeed, the EDSA “people power” revolution, it seems, is what set the precedent for three decades spent getting comfy with arguing from a weak position. The EDSA “revolution” was a triumph of popular sentiment that conditioned Filipinos to rely on what is popular to determine what is “right”. This, plus the fact that the Catholic Church played a lead role in anointing the “victors” of this “revolution” (and got a Catholic “shrine” built on prime real estate for their trouble) pretty much imprisoned the Philippine National “Debate” in a perpetual state of argumentum ad verecundiam, also known as Appeal to Authority.

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Somebody I look up to said so, therefore it is true.

The close cousin of this fallacy is argumentum ad populum. People who fall for this fallacy claim that something is true just because it is the popular position “many” people take. This is the sort of thinking that lends vast power to celebrities and is the active ingredient in their ability to command millions of dollars in product endorsement fees. In fact, it is on this pillar that the entire advertising industry is built, and even democracy itself.

Indeed, the irony that flies above the pointed heads of the multitude of Fake News Crybabies that now infest social media chatter is that it is this very predisposition to believe things on the back of these two fallacious thinking processes that is behind the spread of “fake news” itself. An example is how many Filipinos continue to refer to a list of “fake news” sites issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP). They even challenge people to “disprove” the list even if there is no basis for such an exercise considering that these “bishops” don’t see themselves or anything they say as subject to modern debate.

Debate is only possible when two parties agree to uphold similar rules of logic. People who merely believe are, by their very nature, not open to intelligent discourse for the simple reason that belief is a subjective state of mind which cannot be reduced to component parts that can be evaluated critically using a coherent and systematic process of arriving at sound conclusions.

Thus, it is hardly surprising that nothing ever gets resolved in the Philippines — because the intellectual tools required to support an intelligent public “debate” are completely missing in Philippine society at a collective level. For one thing, Filipinos may be able to speak English as a second language but they are nowhere near fully grasping the intellectual depth of the language. It does not help that their native languages and dialects are far inferior as far as being able to support truly intelligent discussion.

Perhaps this is what is behind the baffling observation that despite all the technology accessible to Filipinos today, no discernible uplift in the quality of the “debate” can be observed. Indeed, if we are to believe the shrill laments of the Fake News Crybabies, the quality of the debate had even regressed. It seems that technology had merely amplified flawed Filipino thinking rather than “cure” it.

An even more disturbing possibility is that there is no cure to the chronic intellectual bankruptcy of the Philippines. If track records are a good measure, this is actually a plausible scenario. Look no further than the whole debate around the future of public transport. Filipinos cannot seem to think the issues through beyond the inconsequential questions around the future of jeepneys, Uber, and Grab in the country. All the energy so far expended in “debating” these amount to no more than a monumental quibble that totally misses the more important point of a proper mass transit infrastructure that is designed to serve all Filipinos without prejudice.

Another example is the slogan “Never Again” which has come to be associated with cliques of “activists” who remain fixated on sustaining a climate of fear for anything to do with “Martial Law”. They are quick to imagine what the Philippines should never again be. But asked what they envision the Philippines can be, and you will likely get no more than the sound of heads being scratched. It is an epic failure of imagination at a national scale.

Ultimately, it seems to come down to how Filipinos are raised and educated. Indeed, one of the creepier things that recently came to light was how Filipino school books have been peppered with the partisan propaganda of parties that happen to be in power at the time of print. Because Filipinos are taught what to think and not how to think, they go through life with minds tragically framed by a small square outside of which they are conditioned to fear to tread.

14 Replies to “Is it possible for Filipinos to improve the quality of their thinking?”

  1. Question: Is it possible for Filipinos to improve the quality of their thinking?

    Answer: both yes & no. No, it is impossible for us to improve our quality of our thinking is because of these 8 bad habits.

    And finally, yes we could do that if we could avoid these 8 bad habits that I mentioned it above & how we could do that? Simple, by education and creating a strict laws that could discipline the Filipinos and become a modern & civilized people just like in Singapore.

  2. Filipinos cannot “think out of the box”…they box their mindsets, and remain in their idiotic thinking, taught by their idiotic leaders.

    Martial Law fears; “Never Again” slogans; and other political tools, the Aquino Cojuangco political axis used to imprison the minds of people.

    I believe, that , we cannot still get out from the ” religious mindsets”, the Spanish Colonizers, had inculcated in our minds…the idiocy of this mindset is: the Roman Catholic Church, and other Churches have taken over the roles of Spanish Colonizer Friars, who had controlled our minds…

    Filipinos still look at these religious leaders, as their sources of truth ; their words ans teachings are “Holy”…

    Unfortunately, some self serving politicians, know the “imprisoned mindsets” of Filipinos. So, they used religions, as a tool, to be elected in office. Ever heard of the Block Voting of the Iglesia Ni Kristo religion , as decided by their Supreme Bishop ? If they go against the decision…they will be “tiwalag”…and will spend their eternity in Hell !

    What an idiotic thinking. It is the same thinking, as the Islamic Radical Suicide Bomber…with 72 virgins reward in Paradise !

    I now believe that the Planet Earth, is the Mental Institution Planet of the Universe …

  3. All humans can change (although I suppose not necessarily IMPROVE) their thinking. To suggest that Filipinos can’t change is to imply that they’re not human. I refuse to accept this, as do most right-thinking people.

    Filipinos are criticized and ridiculed by outsiders because they’re being held up to a common standard for human behavior. The Filipino has a thousand different excuses for holding himself to some lower standard, but in doing so he implicitly lowers his status to something less than human: he disrespects himself, while the rest of the world, in fact, is simply recognizing him as an equal member of the human race, with the same inherent potential but CHOOSING not to be anything more than he is.

    Obviously, then, the answer is yes, the Filipino can change his thinking. But as I’ve said before, I don’t think he can change it himself. The name Lee Kuan Yew gets mentioned a lot on this blog. But LKY was ethnically Chinese, and culturally British. He was raised and educated from an early age with the upper-class English, and adopted those values. Cultural cross-pollination is the key to most development: it’s a common feature of every success story. If the Filipino can put aside his pride, stop pretending he knows everything, and import some wisdom from abroad, his children might be able to change their thinking. As long as those children are listening to Filipino teachers filling their heads with nonsense, they won’t.

    1. Marius,
      nice thinking. But what I read here (GRP commenters) as the common sentiment is: “we will solve our own problems. We dont need you ( = foreigners) to tell us how to live and how to think”
      That attitude makes them to invent the wheel again (while already done many centuries ago by others).

      Who and what do I blame? The PH culture, PH laws, PH educational system and the PH people themselves. They refuse to be critical at themselves; they refuse to raise the bar (mediocraty is THE standard. Although sometimes, I think it is even lower than mediocraty) and all they can talk and think about is “ethics” and “morals”.
      Even a once GRP author committed to that crime. I am not sure about his name anymore but he advocated women to dress modestly and “abused” raped women as example to get his idea across. What a male chauvinistic pig. And he is allowed a stage to write on. I always thought that GRP had some class and style but that GRP author really destroyed it.

      1. And what do you comment on immigrants to your country, Netherlands, allowing for same mentality of women to thrive in there? Wasn’t one of the artists there killed more than a decade ago for expressing his criticism on said religion (the one related to Van Gogh)?

        1. Bunny hunter,
          I dont comment on immigrants coming to “my” country or those who are already here. The day they came here, they were already part of the new lowest social class and big time losers. So commenting on losers, is a waste of time. They bring in a retarded culture and they bring in a retarded religion.

          Its very simple. If I am – for whatever reason – not welcome in my own country (say for instance that I am gay and gays are not accepted in “my” country) then I will be searching for the nearest country that is far more lenient towards gays and also speaking the language of that country. Blending in will be very easy then. Now wether it is anti-gayism or a war, I will always be looking for the nearest country (Belgium, France, Germany or England) for “shelter”.

        2. Bunty,
          to add,

          If/when I dont speak the language and if I am low or non-educated I am making my own life miserable in that new country. When I speak the language and when I am highly educated the likelier the chance I will get accepted and will get a job more easily. I dont think that that is rocket science. But common knowledge and common sense.

    1. Robert,

      If I may ask, what is the current situation of Syrian and other refugees in the Netherlands compared to Germany and France? Are they assimilating well? Are they causing trouble? Are the people happy with it? Most foreign students discourage other non-EU students not to study in Europe because of strict immigration laws after finishing their degree. This I understand given the economic climate right now in the continent. I have no ideas about the status of refugees. Most Europeans–mainly Brits and Germans–I’ve spoken to aren’t very happy with their government’s policies.

      1. interxavier01,
        First of all – in my country – we have the freedom of religion (which stands at the same level as freedom of speech).
        At last and finally, the EU and the Netherlands are focusing on war-refugees only. All others dont get a ‘refugee’-status. One is not accepted when a person comes from a safe country, like Nigeria (no, not a typo). More and more Africans try to cross the Mediterannean sea. Some also tell – during official interviews with visa-agency (IND; that he is gay. I dont know how the IND-interviewer can establish that you are gay and under grave danger in Syria bec of your sexual orientation. Fake or the typical exception?

        Are they assimilitating? No. How can they? They dont speak the language, they dont know the Dutch culture. But hey a few decades ago, we signed a treaty (I think it is called the Dublin treaty) so within the EU we have to accept them.

        There is a group of Dutch people who is not happy with the refugees. How big/large that group is, I really cant tell bec I dont have the numbers. But I guess, it will be those people who are afraid of losing their jobs to refugees. This is a fear that is NOT realistic. You lose your job bec it will be automated or even robotized.

        Foreign students
        My country is flooded with foreign students from all continents but only at university level. I used the word flooded but dont translate that as a negative word. It seems that the Netherlands is a popular countrry to study for a foreign student. I am sure that a PH university will have a department especially for exchange students or international students where you can apply to go abroad and study at a foreign university of your choice.

        I hope this answers your questions. If not , pls dont hesitate to ask further.

  4. Do I have a chance of banging The Black Widow? There’s your answer in the form of a rhetorical question.

    1. @Robert

      Lol at the “gay” part.

      Thanks. I had to ask because I was considering the Netherlands to do my masters in engineering and I’m starting to get into Van Gogh. No, I don’t plan on migrating there given the strict immigration laws and limited job prospects for non-EU nationals. Dutch is not easy language either. I’m interested in doing my master’s there because programs are not as expensive compared to North American universities. As I’m interested in doing a PhD in the US where funding is readily available, I need to do a master’s with thesis first but the limited amount of funding hinders me from doing it there so I turned to Europe as an alternative. Why not I just do a master’s in the Philippines? It’s in my options but being my adventurous young self makes me want to do it in Europe and North America. As far as respecting Dutch laws and culture are concerned, I have no problems with the more liberal culture–as a matter of fact, it’s the reason why I’m drawn to it. My only concern is racism and safety which are often exaggerated by CNN and BBC.

  5. interxavier01,
    Racism is everywhere, I guess. If ‘it’ does happen, I would translate it more as bullying (no, not less painfull as racism). But since the Netherlands has many people with as many religions, it also has many people coming from different nationalities/countries/”race”. If I were in your shoes, I would and will not worry too much about it. Maybe in some provincial towns and villages you may be seen as an alien from outer space but thats about it.

    The chance that I get killed in any road/traffic/car accident is much bigger than you you need to worry about your safety.

    If your still interested in studying somewhere in Europe (including the Netherlands) , each university has its own website and will most likely you provide enough info how to apply and the cost/tuition.

    I do remember GRP once had a – female – writer/author/blogger, who studied her in the Netherlands. So it is possible. I only forgot her name.

    PS: Otherwise just tell them you are gay and that Duterte is making a witch hunt on you and that your life is in grave danger. šŸ˜‰

  6. Filipino’s think mostly the same. The logic of assuming something, making an inane point and them applying it as a truth to an irrelevant matter in supportiing it as a truth. I have seen it done here on GRP and it is idiotic logic at its most idiotic. I see it everywhere I go in the Philippines and it is seemingly regarded as some sort of ‘CRITICL THINKING’ but , trust, it is surely idiotic.

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