Filipinos need to be taught how to think and not to simply believe

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Filipinos need to learn how to think. It is imperative that they do because many things about the 21st Century demand an uplift in thinking. We can see how important this is in the recent events that have plunged Western-style democracy into crisis. It had become evident that men working with machines could turn human intuition against humanity.

Social media has put even more power in the hands of people who are skillful in the art and science of persuasion. Whereas, in the past, people in the business of persuasion (advertisers, marketers, public relations consultants, propagandists, etc.) only had TV, radio, and print as tools of their trade, today social media provides an unprecedented feedback mechanism that enables these professionals to progressively hone their message and more precisely target these messages. As a result, people who perceive themselves as “victims” of this new and insidious (these victims claim) form of persuasion are on a warpath.

What is dominating the discourse surrounding the “weaponisation” of social media is whether or not governments should step in to regulate it. Considering the increasingly evident addictiveness of social media, it won’t be surprising if efforts to regulate it will take the form of measures similar to the control of addictive substances like narcotics, alcohol, and tobacco. If so, then we should also consider the education that goes hand-in-hand with the regulation of addictive substances. In most schools today kids are taught about cigarettes, alcohol, and drugs and are educated on the consequences of the abuse of these substances. The policy and educational infrastructure applied to the mitigation of the effects on society of conventional substance abuse is such that many of the tenets of these initiatives have become household slogans — “Don’t drink and drive”, “No hope in dope”, and “Be smart, don’t start”.

The 21st Century, however, is the information age. As such, many of society’s deadly opiates today come in the form of addictive information. Much like the way drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes dull the senses, information opiates dull the mind. This truism is specially relevant in the Philippines as there seems to be an increasingly compelling correlation between national intellect and the sorts of topics that “trend” amongst its Netizens. Recently it had come to the attention of some that average IQ in the Philippines ranks below that of other southeast Asian countries. And when we look at “trending topics” on, say, Twitter, we find that topics on showbiz overwhelmingly dominate the Philippine list compared, say, to Singapore’s and Malaysia’s which have more diverse lists.

A deluge of information made possible by today’s technology demands that ordinary people sharpen their minds.
It’s a chicken-and-egg question. Do trending showbiz topics make Filipinos dumb or do dumb Filipinos make showbiz topics trend? To be fair, correlation does not necessarily indicate causation. So, how strong the causal link between dumb Filipinos and tending showbiz topics (and vice versa) is will have to be determined in a more scientific study. Nonetheless, there is enough anecdotal evidence to warrant enough pause to consider the serious educational and cognitive deficits in Philippine society.

The degree to which the political discourse is polarised in the Philippines is a disturbing indicator of how much Filipinos remain beholden to beliefs and personal loyalties at the expense of sound reasoning on the basis of facts and logic. Most issues of national consequence are not as cut-and-dry as Filipinos’ loyalties. Reproductive health, for example, is an issue politicians and partisans in both camps share many common positions on. The same can be said about many other important concerns like economic development, education, poverty alleviation, modernisation of the armed forces, and even crime and control of drug abuse and trafficking. As such, there is more opportunity to work together than work against one another. Yet, Filipinos’ primitive approach to the practice of democracy is not consistent with this reality.

An important thing to consider is the participation of the Philippines’ Roman Catholic Church in partisan politics. Whereas ordinary lay Filipinos, regardless of their individual political affiliations, have much in common with one another in their views on national issues, the Catholic Church takes unequivocal and non-negotiable positions on many of these that clearly cause divisions in society. The Church is categorically opposed to birth control, gender equality, diversity in sexual orientation, and freedom of expression. Worse, the Catholic Church provides disproportionate backing to a single political clique — the Liberal Party, a.k.a. the Yellowtards as evident in the disproportionate number of Yellowtard events that feature Catholic masses and other Catholic rituals and are graced by Roman Catholic officials.

The Roman Catholic Church causes divisiveness by selectively lending its ‘blessings’ to favoured political parties.
What is the common denominator amongst the Church, personality-based politics, and showbiz? That’s easy — it is the way of thinking at work. These three opiates of Philippine society don’t require thinking based on sound and complete information. People whose minds are occupied by the Church, political personalities, and showbiz habitually and, as a matter of routine, take the ultimate cognitive shortcut — belief and faith. Belief and faith do not require much information input. They only require minds that are comfortable with skipping thinking altogether. The Church, in fact, teaches the most dangerous dogma of all — that one must believe unconditionally.

Thus the only really baffling thing today is why we continue to be baffled by the spread of “fake news”. The reason for this is really quite obvious. Filipinos do not know how to think and, as a result, often skip that step altogether when forming opinions and conclusions. Indeed, the latter is an oxymoron in that context. Conclusions formed in the absence of an input of reliable information and sound thinking are actually not conclusions but mere beliefs.

The first step to re-educating Filipinos is an obvious one. Filipinos need to be taught how to think and not simply to believe. Then Filipinos need to be trained to think habitually and as a matter of routine. There’s yet another obvious solution right there. As with most problems that the Philippines face in its aspirations to develop into a modern and prosperous society, much of the solutions are obvious.

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19 Comments on “Filipinos need to be taught how to think and not to simply believe”

  1. It is amazing how us filipinos still believe in that holy book as though it was a mcmuster catalogue with all the right tools we need. The book is fictional and was copied from a zoroastrian text, an ancient religion a thousand years before the bible was concieved in the council of nice some time in 800AD. It was a literary work and the gospels that occupies a quarter of the book are fake, just like that book written during the medieval period by a self appointed prophet.

  2. Correct. How can a virgin gave birth, a lightning bolt writes on a stone, two sons of adam and eve and the one found a wife, an activist convicted of treason became son of god and now god, the book spreads fake news.

  3. You have been thinking all the time that Roman Catholic does not encourage thinking. That is false. It does not discourage anyone to get good education wherever he/she wanted. In fact, it encourages everyone to excel whatever talent or skill they have and make good use of it. It also does not deter anyone to become professionals like becoming a doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, etc. They don’t persecute the rich either, they make them humble themselves in fact by sharing the good things they have to those who need the most. Though it will encourage you to be generous but won’t force you if you don’t. Many believers and church-goers in the Philippines are actually real professionals and rich and they know well where to put their critical minds without affecting their faith or belief.

    The Catholic teaches spiritual and moral values that would guide Filipinos to become discipline lot from their thoughts, words to their actions. It finds comforting that Filipino people will have to make above anything else the values of love, compassion, kindness and generosity in the community because these are the necessary elements to have good citizens in a country aside from earning a living that is faithfully and honestly done.

    1. Common-Tao,

      Where do you find this Utopia, where you can have your cake and eat it too? I sometimes dream of an imaginary world, where I can have everything I want, without having to step on anyone’s toes or deprive them of the resources needed to survive, because I want more than what I need to live?

      Aeta

  4. We have been brainwashed by the Roman Catholic Church, for many centuries. The Roman Catholic religion was inculcated to us by the Spanish colonizers, to tie us, and made us their colony for more than 300 years. Then, radio and TV came. They gave us, ShowBiz personalities. The Aquino era came, and ShowBiz and political personalities, were introduced to us. Kris Aquino, the whore, was the darling of the Show Biz…she had the political clout…Ignorant and uneducated actors, comedians, media people, etc…became politicians, and were voted into office. The Filipinos cannot distinguish, what is Real, and what is Fantasy on the movie/TV screen.

    The Filipinos, inability to use their brain, is their own fault. They simply are too LAZY to think. Was this the , “Indolence of the Filipinos”, that the Spanish colonizers observed, and wrote about ? Our National Hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, defended us on our indolence issue.

    This is the reason, we have Web Blog Sites , Web Bloggers, social media, and other tools of the Information Technology. To make the Filipinos think; choose the right choices of their lives and for the country, as a whole. I know most Bloggers want to inform their fellow Filipinos. I know also some Bloggers are paid hacks of politicians , for their political agendas.

    And by the way, let us cross our fingers and hope for the best. That everything will work out good for most of us.

    1. But you believe in god, right? And here you say, you are brainwashed. Which is which? The very first person(s) that brainwashed you, were the people who raised you. They indoctrinated and brainwashed you. And only later you entered a church. That is the right order.

      1. Robert Haighton:

        Believing is God is one thing. Using the belief in God, to subjugate people is another thing.

        My parent did not brainwash me. There are many things, we still cannot understand. There are creations that are too much complicated. My question is: who designed and created these things ? This rest my belief in God.

        We have to respect our own belief. I respect your being Atheist. Respect also my being Theist.

        1. You dont have to respect your own believe. All it takes is ask critical questions. Which you dont dare to do. You will refuse to challenge everything that is mentioned in the bible. You swallow it like you eat rice three times a day.

          I never asked you to respect me being an atheist. And I even dont believe you if/when you do – respect me as an atheist – because you hate, loathe atheism.
          I cant and dont respect people who will follow ‘something’ without being critical while at the same time using foul words on anything you dont like about PH politics (who is a whore?). You really live inside your own bubble. But hey thats okay. The world is not complete if it was any different.

        2. @Robert Haighton:

          If I worship my carabao or pig; it is my own damn business. I do it on my own free will. You may laugh at me, but , it is what I want. Let us take a “Dutch Trip” on our own beliefs. You being an Atheist. Me, being a believer.

        3. For all I care, you can marry your carabao. And I will still NOT laugh at you. I pity and feel sorry for the carabao. Go and multiply. Have fun.

          BTW: atheism is not a religion. At least, I dont regard it as a religion. Atheists dont have a building (church), dont have a book (bible), dont worship non-existing (nor existing) things or persons and dont have 20 commandments.

        4. @Robert Haighton:

          It seems you lost your marbles,

          Let us take a “Dutch Treat”, on our beliefs. I am happy to be a believer. You are happy to be an Atheist.

      2. Believing in God is a form of brainwashing. Why would you believe in someone you have not seen, heard, nor touched, just because someone of authority said He exist, and we were created in His likeness, and all the things in this world were His creation? This is “The Geatest Story [tale] Ever Told” (just like the title of the movie) by every generation, that keeps Christians and Jews deluded in the idea that they’re design for something great in this world and beyond; the same goes for the Muslims and their belief in Allah. You put all those factors together, and take in account the zillions of people who had lived on this planet that were fed the same delusion, and you’ll have a clear explanation why this world is screwed up.

  5. The TITLE of this article is NOT necessarily TRUE. If you do NOT BELIEVE in something, you will FALL FOR ANYTHING. What people should not do is HAVE FAITH WITHOUT WORKS, that shit is a dead-end.

  6. Filipinos only “believe” in advancing their own personal interests, and use religion as a prop to justify their attitude and behavior for pursuing their objectives. So in spite of the many religion in the Philippines, and the devoutness Filipinos practice them, it hasn’t made a hell of a difference in compelling the people to get along, and live as one nation.

  7. The funniest thing of all is that the problem of the Filipino is not his belief or a lack of thinking. I’ve lived long enough to realize that intelligence is the most overrated aspect of many people. Many use their supposed intelligence to push for the nonsense that you oppose, after all. Let’s not forget that many Yellows still masturbate to their supposed intelligence because of some propaganda studies claiming that Liberals are smarter than so-called conservatives.

    Conversely, the issue of belief is not in belief itself, but what is believed. Rather belief in truth or the things needed to improve the country, belief is instead placed on lies and nonsense that only hinder us as a people. If anything, you don’t fix an issue as fundamental as that with more “thinking” because that could then be construed as approval for wasting one’s time on intellectual pursuits and conundrums for the sake of looking smart as opposed to learning the things we need to improve.

    If anything, it is not intelligence that we need more of. It is wisdom and action. The kind of which that contributes to actual improvement and not the illusion of such.

    Something that you might have to think long and hard on.

    1. I, personally, don’t put much confidence in political parties–liberals or conservatives-because they’re run by by self-proclaimed “intelligent” and “wise” and “action”-oriented individuals, that architect their own organizational values and norms according to their own purpose. Whatever contributions these political parties make is limited to what they’re willing and capable of making, which is often in their own best interest and capabilities. Therefore, those “contributions” that you speak of are limited, conditional, and, often, circumstantial to what’s needed to be done; the rest are given to chance. And if you have to “think long and hard” over the objectiveness, including the short and long-term benefits of these so-called “contributions,” you’ll spend a whole lifetime trying to figure them out without coming up with the right answer. I’d rather take the word of a “wise” man who understand the “nature of the beast” of politics (and business), have the opportunity to play a major role in it, but chooses to stay out of it instead.

    2. @Anti-Rationalist: Indeed there is merit in the different perspective you provide here. There is enough historical precedent in the use of “rational” thought to justify personal or party agendas.

      Yet the solution still lies in an intelligent, free, and open discourse that delivers an emergent outcome of keeping all parties in the discussion honest. One would think that a society of 100 million would be able to produce a big and diverse enough set of chattering entities to ensure that all parties, all angles, and all perspectives are sufficiently represented in the discourse as to ensure that the best ideas are identified as survivors of tough enough selection pressures collectively applied by these entities.

      Yet we don’t see this outcome in the Philippines’ political discourse. Instead, we see a disproportionate gravitating towards a certain type of argument or a certain type of party that had perfected a particularly resonant way of delivering it.

      1. “An intelligent, free, and open discourse” is nothing more than an equivalent of “talking the talk, but not walking the walk,”which has been the “policy” in Philippine Politics, and the way Filipinos have been living their dysfunctional lives, in this society.

        What the Philippines and its people need is a “Cultural Revolution”: uprooting and revamping their indigenous and foreign heritage of “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” and rewriting a new legacy of cultural traditions, values, and norms according to the merits of the past—even if it means starting over again with a blank slate.

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