Chaos, Hallucinations, Order, Suicide

This study of East/West cross-cultural differences leads me to believe that we all live in an artificial reality that is the construct of our upbringing and our limited capacity to think. We walk a hallucination most days. So if this blog seems a little far out, just sit back and enjoy the ride. We are going nowhere with a sense of purpose. No harm here, for sure.


We are fed the values and emotional patterns of our family, friends, and mentors, the latter being relatives, pastors, teachers, bosses, community leaders and anyone else we grant authority to.
If our parents beat us, we are likely to turn the whip on our own children.
Unless we learn to internalize new, more powerful motivations that halt the hand in mid-air just before it descends onto Junior’s butt.
That is the dialogue that goes on throughout life, isn’t it? The patterns we think we are supposed to follow, modified by the lessons we learn. I mean, really LEARN. Take to heart. Not just memorize and allow to float aimlessly in a cloud of cranial inconsequentialities.
If our parents pray, we are more likely to pray. Well, unless it becomes an element of the rebelliousness that is natural in American homes as kids embark on the great separation that occurs around age 18. Which is why so many young American adults part from the church, leaving the pews to the elderly. To escape from the traps they feel their parents lay to restrain them, constrain them, tell them how to live. Many return to the church later on their own terms.
Praying is more likely to persist in the Filipino family where the glue that holds the family together is tougher than Mighty Bond. The composition of the glue might be pride, or its reverse, shame, or even guilt. And most generally a whole lotta love. It is unquestionably strong.

The  American family is magnets of similar pole, pushing outward. The Filipino family is magnets of opposite pole, pulling inward.

I think it is not the facts we learn that are important. I think it is the disciplines, the methods. I have a degree in mathematics and I remember we studied integration of the non-racial kind, calculus and trigonometry, sines and cosines and my favorite, tangents. At least tangents I could visualize. Those cosine lines could twist in funny ways, for sure. When teaching myself how to program, I would use sines and cosines to run do-loops that would draw elipses that would migrate in one direction until they hit a certain random count, then plunge off in a different direction, the angle also random. The computer drew quite elegant designs, order out of random chaos. Now today I can’t calculate calculus problems and I can’t program in any language, having forgotten the particulars. But I have remembered the disciplines of order thrust among random acts.
That is, after all, life, is it not?
Order thrust among random acts.
How well we order things means a lot. It determines if we will get good grades, good jobs, lots of wealth and the ability to read and sort out our passions without deciding like that poor Manila girl last week, to pull the plug
What were your passions as a youngster? Mine were baseball and basketball and building model airplanes and murdering thousands of big red fire ants. A little older it was basketball and volleyball and tennis and legs. We grow, eh, we grow.
I successfully parted from my family by going to college away from my home town. It seems like I have been shooting relentlessly outward ever since, some kind of big bang pushing me ever onward into new places and lifestyles and richness.
Along the way I’ve been a religious convert and a marijuana beach bum, a disciplined Army lieutenant and an undisciplined poet, penning imaginings outside of any box known to mankind. Love, hate, sex and more love. Been there done that. Corporate peon, yes.  I’ve scrubbed grocery store floors in the heart of Watts, the roughest, poorest part of Los Angeles. And stacked oranges in the produce aisles in a junky supermarket off Melrose . I’ve also lodged my feet on the desk of a 50th floor penthouse office downtown, propping up the President of the corporation with my brain and ability to apply aforesaid mathematical disciplines to the business of making money.
Philippine schools simply DO NOT TEACH enough disciplines. Disciplines is different than discipline. Oh, Philippine schools know discipline. It is the biggest barrier to learning disciplines. Discipline curtails innovation. Disciplines involve learning the organization and problem solving  methods that open up the world to solution. And learning the psychological wholeness that allows troublesome facts or odd behaviors of others not to insult one’s face or interfere with one’s achievement.
I’m not sure why Filipinos are so easily offended by mistakes. Or bumps in the road. The level of angst that flies from a bad incident here reflects an energy far beyond what the offense warrants. The hunt for perfection that Filipinos seem intent to pursue, yet grossly fail to reach, is of course a hallucination. It is a fact of life, the statistical odds, when you get 95 million people, there will be a girl somewhere who has it rough and decides to commit suicide. You can’t stop the math from working.
Life is not ordered. It is order within chaos.
To the extent that we allow our emotions to give life to the chaos, we are not doing ourselves, or the Philippines, much of a favor.
Our goal should be to learn and teach the disciplines of order. Of solving problems that the mathematics of random events throws in front of us. Of integrity, for that is best for the whole of the community, whether it is attached to a faith or simply figured out as the best way to behave.
The Philippines is a huge pile of emotion, detached from disciplines.
It is wasted energy. It is fire burning precious forests rather than fire molding steel ingots.It wears, sometimes.

I’d advise to train it, trap it as passion, not anger, and use it to build, not tear down.
21 Responses to “Chaos, Hallucinations, Order, Suicide”
  1. JoeAm;Since you seem to be working with numbers, here are odds worth reflecting on:"Future teachers and other professionals come from institutions of higher learning. Thus, in more than one way, the output of higher education has a great impact on the future of society. The society invests highly on education. From basic education up to college, these are numerous years of sacrifice from both teachers and parents. At the end of high school, all of these add up to a considerable amount of energy, resources and time from society. It is therefore foolish to deny college education at this point to those who have finished high school and have demonstrated that they are more than capable to pursue a college education. Doing so is a waste of effort and time spent on the previous years of basic education. With high dropout rates, lack of interest, barely passing standard exams, it is utterly stupid to deny a college education to a student who has survived through these challenges especially when everyone from kindergarten up till high school had worked tirelessly to make this dream come true. This is even more dramatic for a child coming from a poor family. Poor students have not been performing well as data have shown all over the world. Thus, every poor student who managed to excel in basic education is truly a rare gem.

  2. Very powerful statement, Angel. It establishes a clear order of priority where a little added investment, with special attention to the poor, makes all that has gone before worthwhile. I had not thought of it in those striking terms, that primary education is investment that can either generate returns, or be wasted. It behooves the nation not to waste it.Thank you.

  3. andrew lim says:

    I thought you were referring to Kris Aquino who pulled the plug on her TV shows after another domestic spat. Much of education in my time involved rote memorization of facts, not on methods of analysis or evaluation. I dont know about today. With the internet, it is useless to test knowledge; it is more impt to test the ability to interpret the knowledge. As for the Filipino's emotionality, it can be harnessed to achieve great things; but the telenovela diet reinforces the love of misery and conflict. Why do Filipino movies have to involve a lot of crying and slapping faces? Why cant they tell a good story that doesnt involve those?

  4. Cha says:

    "Our goal should be to learn and teach the disciplines of order. Of solving problems that the mathematics of random events throws in front of us. Of integrity, for that is best for the whole of the community, whether it is attached to a faith or simply figured out as the best way to behave."I was just reading this account of a young man now studying BS Computer Application on a football scholarship with the College of St. Benilde, De Las Salle University. I think it's a good illustration of your point.I'll let his story do the talking:The boy who would not quitA kid can give up. Alex Tayamora was not raised with a silver spoon in his mouth. Because of poverty he lacked the comfort of having a roof over his head and a soft warm bed. Uncertain of so many things he was not even sure if he was going to finish high school better yet go to college. But he refused to be called a quitter and is now in a college student taking up BS Computer Application in De La Salle College of St. Benilde on a football scholarship.Living in Sitio Ruby in Fairview, Quezon City was no walk in the park. A neighborhood where squabbles were daily occurrences, it was not an ideal setting for Alex to spend his childhood. In 2005, Gawad Kalinga brought football as part of its Child & Youth Development Program to GK communities in Barangays Sitio Ruby and Tatalon. Alex was one of the first participants. He was 12 when he joined and learned football.It was not a game that most of the children in the area play. But it kept him off the turmoil on the streets. Enrolled in the GK football program, Alex was required to attend weekly values formation sessions, go to school and maintain satisfactory grades in order to play.He admits feeling perplexed at times wondering if his hard work will pay off. “Kasi nung high school ako wala talaga sa isip ko na makakapag-aral ako ng college. Yung kahirapan ang naging sandata ko para mas maging malakas at patuloy na harapin lahat ng mga pagsubok ( Back in high school I never thought I would have the chance to go to college. Poverty became the source of my strength to face all the challenges head on),” Alex said.However unclear his next steps were that time he stayed in the program. Alex, who used to struggle with football, eventually showed potential. GK Football Program head coach Marlon Maro saw in him a diamond in the rough. Alex’s skills and determination made him resilient. He studied hard and passed the college entrance exam at CSB without anybody’s help and was granted a football scholarship.Today, the sports program, now known as GK SipaG, with the support from the Asian Football Confederation and the Philippine Football Federation will initially be rolled out in 10 GK sites across Metro Manila. “The story of Alex Tayamora is a big reason why I continue to support Gawad Kalinga as a program for grassroots development. We go right into the slums, recruit children in their communities, bring them through values formation sessions, and train them to play. More importantly, we are using the sport to save lives and develop role models in the community, “Coach Maro who will serve as SipaG’s technical director said. Alex now helps with expenses at home by means of the allowance he gets from his football scholarship. “Ngayon eto po ako second year college na. Ipagpapatuloy ko yung nasimulan ko sa abot ng aking makakaya. Tutulong din ako sa pamilya at kapwa ko, sa mga katulad ko pong bata para magkaroon sila ng tiwala sa sarili nila. (I am now a sophomore college student. I will continue what I have started and do my best. I will also help my family as well as kids my age for them to build confidence and believe in themselves),” Alex said.

  5. Poor Kris, to live the bickerings in such a public way. It's hard enough to work them out privately.Your second paragraph is exactly the point. The discipline of rote learning is not the same as the disciplines of interpretation or solving problems.The telenovels, yes. I have not been able to figure out that obsession. My wife has it. I hear the weeping and screaming from the tv late into the evening as I try to win my helicopter gun battle computer game. I ask her why she injects so much artificial agony into life when it already is filled with real-life problems. She tells me to scram and go back to killing people with my helicopters.

  6. Thanks, Cha. When I lived in Mindanao, I funded three college scholarships for the kids of poor fishing families. Two were brothers. One had "the bug" of self improvement and graduated with a business degree, the other liked playing basketball and lasted one term. The family had seven kids. The mama was in tears most of the day when her son graduated.

  7. Edgar Lores says:

    PERHAPSPerhaps the world is not a problem A sphere that whirls and makes its way Perhaps the Isles of Chaos are here –A string of pearls to make our day! Let all emotions run a riot Let anger, love and joy stray Let pandemonium have its sway –Let Joe, Cha and Andrew play! For they are here to chew and digest (Although they now and then digress)And oh we hope they do make sense — so Anon and Co. can say [“God bless!”]* “Hot diggity dawg!”* Strikethrough "God bless!" and replace with "Hot diggity dawg!".

  8. I am not sure if you could read Tagalog, but there are articles out there that relate interviews with Tejada's father. He spoke of the last semester that her daughter went through, like having only candy for lunch so that she could afford the transportation expense to go to school. This was a student who was not only qualified as she did very well in an exam in her psychology class but also very determined to pursue a college education. This is a student who had her eyes on taking a career in the sciences, which makes the entire thing even more special. I had dinner last night with an old friend who is now dean at Leipzig and he could not fathom how a situation unfolded this way. We seemed to have lost the true purpose and soul of education.

  9. I also have a classmate in high school, who writes for Malaya and he had a piece recently where he had poems written by former teachers of Kristel. One thing, I hope, is never lost in this discussion is the important point that Kristel was not even asking for a free education or scholarship. She was asking for a loan.

  10. Aha, another poet. Alas, dawg rhymes not with digress and your finely crafted order descends into chaos.Quite amusing. Next time kindly number the stanzas. ahahaha

  11. Cha says:

    Shuusssh Joe. I quite like Edgar unnumbered.Leave him be.God bless. 🙂

  12. Anonymous says:

    I feel your pain JoeAm.I just made this silly complaint that the wailing irritates my ears while my wife's watching the latest episode of TFC's "Be Careful with my Heart"… I will sleep in the dog house tonight. I live in Seattle, it is cold here and there's no heater in the garage.-Rob

  13. Aha! Take lots of blankets and think about buying chocolates tomorrow.

  14. Holy Dawg !!! Filipinos are blessed !!! Pope Francis demand that followers of his religion should be poor !!!! when he delivered his homeboy sermon for Palm Sunday Filipinos immigrated to America to be tad wealtheir than poor Filipinos cannot go to heaven.BLESSED ARE YOU POOR FILIPINOS FOR HEAVEN IS YOURS !!!!!!!!I would rather be wealthy on earth than promise heaven that may not be true !!!!

  15. I hope and pray to almighty God Jeuss Christ and Allah and all the 1,000 Gods out there that KRISTEL'S DEATH WILL NOT BE IN VAIN !!!!But again, what will keep Kristel's death cemented in Filipinos mind DEPENDS ON THE CONSTANT COVERAGE OF RELUCTANT SELF-PROFESSED U.P. -RUN PHILIPPINE MEDIA !!!!Philippine Media will eventually find out covering Kristel's death for another week do not make money. And the pressure from some unseen hands not to cover it at all just like that sweet 12-year-old Davaona who hanged herself because her lavandera mother cannot give her money for the christmas lantern project.WHAT MAKES OR BREAK THE PHILIPPINES IS THE "BRILLIANT" ENGLISCHTZES-0SPEAKING PHILIPPINE MEDIA.Dumb Media makes Dumb Filipinos

  16. Hallucinations of Philippine economy. BSP is telling Filipino people the economy is going up and up and away ! But cannot tell them, really, what are the sectors making it up and up and away. So, we just take the brilliant Philippine Media word for it? Philippine economy is like religiion. 1,200,000,000 people couldn't be wrong with Roman Catholic so are foreign investors to the Philippines.Could Philippine eonomy is faith-based? We will newver know. Foreign investors have faith in Philippine economy.Could they be hallucinating? Isles after isles of grocery store products are still made in Korea. Rice from Vietnam. Catsup from Thailand. Noodles from China. SO WHAT REALLY IS MAKING THE PHILIPPINE RUNNING ON ALL TWELVE CYLINDERS?

  17. (1) OFW cash, (2) RE bubble wealth accelerating, (3) people overseas who need to eat (ag exports). Soon add (4) tourism, including casinos. Then in 5 to 10 years add (5) substantially more industrial wealth as the Philippines figures out how to work around the 40% ownership limit and get customs and paperwork burdens eased. You are right, though. Right now the economy is exceedingly thin and puffed up on OFWs and bubble air.

  18. Anonymous says:

    OFF TOPIC: FYI Carlos Celdran posted in his FB page a picture of Benign0 and his wife Ilda. Real names Benigno Ignacio and Ilda Claravall. They look so harmless. – mb

  19. Yes, a friend notified me off line. Good looking pair. Pity, the waste.

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