Scientific inquiry is advancing at an accelerated pace. Belief systems tend to be on a retreat in societies that are increasing in affluence. The latter way of life (living off beliefs) has been decisively beaten in much of the First World. But it remains entrenched in the Third World. The earlier (living off sound evidence- and logic-based thinking) is relatively normalised in modern societies but remains a curiosity in the Third World.
This is what makes Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent actions against the Catholic Church remarkable. Love it or hate it, he’s gone where no politician had gone before. In short, he’s done something different. How many Filipino politicians can one claim to have done something truly different? Filipinos like criticising them for being “traditional politicians” — in effect, highlighting their sameness and lack of originality as bad things. So along comes a politician — a sitting president, no less — who’s done something groundbreaking which is to directly crticise the powerful Roman Catholic Church without mincing words.
Backdropped by this current battle between Malacanang and the Church is a unique opportunity to find out what really separates the men from the boys amongst the Philippines’ chattering classes. Faced with a leader who is anything but “traditional” — he is kicking Catholic ass, talking directly to the masses in language and manner they can relate with, and pivoting the Philippines away from Western European influence — it is now even more crystal clear who are defending the status quo and who are boldly facing a future, albeit uncertain, that is will likely be an outcome of things done differently.
After all, the modern-day philosopher Raquel Welch was once said to have said: Insanity is expecting different outcomes whilst continuing to do things the same way. That one is an easy concept to wrap one’s head around as anyone who’s tried arguing with a brick wall can explain. The more progressive cousin of this statement is the one tabled by the great Albert Einstein…
Problems cannot be solved using the same thinking that created them.
It is only within the context of this statement where we can begin to understand why the Philippine Condition cannot seem to be solved. Have there been enough politicians and leaders who have tried to do things differently? Have innovators and visionaries (rather than historical dogmatists and religious zealots) been commensurately rewarded for begging to differ to the status quo? Indeed, take those questions and apply them to an evaluation of the chops the current Philippine Opposition apply to trying to beat Duterte and the result will likely be confronting.
The Opposition has so far offered nothing different. The thinking of its “thought leadership” remains imprisoned by the Roman Catholic Church and its 2000-year-old belief system. That, by itself, is cause for second thought before one laps up the “ideas” they keep harping about and disseminating via their billion-peso corporate media lapdogs and the captured audiences in their Sunday masses.
So, yeah, Duterte offers something different — which is why people hate him, because different things have long known to strike fear and loathing in people made comfy by traditional beliefs. The response to Duterte’s difference is therefore understandable. It is a very human response. Presumably, however, we all aspire to be exceptional human beings. Therefore, to be exceptional, in this regard, is to be able to overcome a traditional human response to new, different, and confronting things. At the very least, if one disagrees with the new or different thing they are confronted with, perhaps propose an alternative.
This is the role one ought to reasonably expect an Opposition movement to step up to — the role of offering alternatives to how the incumbent is doing things. Can the Philippine Opposition under the leadership of the Liberal Party (a.k.a. the Yellowtards) meet this requirement? By all accounts, they haven’t. Can an Opposition led by minds imprisoned by Roman Catholic Church dogma offer truly groundbreaking ideas and solutions? Very likely not. Can a person who approaches a problem using the same brain that created it solve said problem? Not a chance.
The Philippine Opposition therefore has a lot of work to do on itself. It cannot forever hide behind its lazy ruse of taking potshots at an incumbent while offering no alternative pathway. The real problem is the Opposition (as with most of those that came before it). There is no Laban, only a lot of thinking to do. The latter is the skill that the Opposition need to get up to scratch with. And that, ultimately, is really an easy challenge to face. All they need to do is consider the two biggest and most obvious solutions: (1) ditch the Yellowtards and (2) free themselves from the prison of Catholic dogma. It takes an exceptional breed of mind to come to terms with what is counterintuitive. And exceptional minds are what the Philippine Opposition badly needs today.
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