Judgmental Disability


A drop of water, by Kam Chuen Dung


By Edgar Lores

I made a throwaway comment on the judgmental disability of Filipinos, and JoeAm suggested why don’t I write about it? And so I have . . .

My comment was prompted by @Juana Pilipinas’ statement that she was a “tad skeptical about Filipinos’ decision-making ability.” The entirety of my response was:

“Tad? That’s very generous, Juana.

“The judgmental disability is huge… from the verdant fields and hills to the halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and all the way up to the Supreme Court bench.

“I would attribute this to four things: (a) the lack of principles; (b) the lack of criteria; (c) the lack of reasoning power; and (d) selfish or factional interests.”

Thus here we are.

Despite the biblical injunction not to judge — and let’s not forget Pope Francis’ rhetorical and reflective question of “Who am I to judge?” — we pass judgment constantly.

I think the oft-quoted biblical injunction is misinterpreted. It is impossible to live in the modern world without making judgments. We no longer live in an era of arranged marriages and hereditary kings. We are confronted with important choices now and then, if not every day, and we are forced to make decisions. To make wise ones we are compelled to judge.

How then do make at least good judgments, if not wise, judgments?


Judgment is defined as “the ability to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions.”

I think the operative terms are “considered decisions” and “sensible conclusions.” We make decisions from the moment we wake up to the time we go to bed. What to eat for breakfast. What dress to wear. What way to take to the office. What TV show to watch. What time to sleep. These decisions, while important, do not rise to the level of judgment.

I remember an old Reader’s Digest joke which I would update in the following vein: The husband says, “I let my wife make all the minor decisions, like what house to buy and where the children go to school. I decide the major ones… like whether to allow China to grab the Spratly’s.”

And yet I take exception to the word “considered” because we do make automatic judgments all the time without a moment’s pause or consideration. When we meet a new person, we know, at a glance, whether we like them or not. Women think, “Is this man husband material?” And men go, “Is this girl edible?” And the judgment is made… instantaneously. We can intuit the possibility of love, friendship, indifference or hate… at first sight.

Poets say it is a matter of Cupid’s arrow and scientists a matter of pheromones. If we take the time to reflect on our instant judgments, we might identify the elements that go into them. I confess I don’t know how women see things — women are such magnificent and inscrutable creations — so I will go with the male perspective.

Now, why do we go grrr at one girl and meh to another? Well, we all have different preferences that shape our judgment. Some men like gams. Some like front, er, bumpers, others rear bumpers. Some like blondes, others brunettes. But it could also be the presence of dimples or the shape of the mouth. You know, that certain smile.

But judgment is more than a considered or automatic decision. It must also be a sensible conclusion. After our first judgment of attraction, does the attraction last? Does the other become our significant other? We discover that other factors come into play such as attitudes, interests, family circumstances and personality. And, if the planets and stars align, the sensibility of our conclusions drags us to the point of offering or accepting a proposal of intimate relations in whatever form.

Still a passage of time later – days, months, years — the sensibility of our conclusions may be challenged by the lessening, or even overturned by the severance, of our intimacy. But that is another story.

I think it is fair to say that all judgmental disabilities are rooted in ignorance. We misjudge because we do not know. (Cue: The blind men and the elephant story.)

However, if we look back at that scenario of meeting a new person, the personal preferences we have pointed to an important element of judgment — that of criteria.



We do use criteria in assessing a person, whether we do it consciously or not.

In essence, explicit criteria objectify choice. And criteria are widely used to evaluate the choice of “objects” from soft drinks’ blind-taste tests to beauty pageants.

But the thing is we do not use criteria when we should… especially in making important decisions. This is one major cause of our judgmental disability. We do not “count the ways” but tend to go by gut feeling or intuition.

It is a simple matter to keep in mind or write down desirable qualities in judging a person, product or process. The modern world has provided us with many decision-making tools — such as spreadsheets, decision tables, decision trees — and methodologies — such as SWOT analysis, four-quadrant analysis, cost-benefit analysis, and Pareto analysis. I would go as far as to include such methodologies as rational choice theory and game theory, methodologies that use mathematical models to obtain optimal decisions in many areas including economics and computer science.

If one has had the chance to visit match-making websites for whatever reason — and I don’t judge you! — one will note that these sites use different sets of criteria, which may include hobbies, interests, and the all-important vital statistics.

In the evaluation of political candidates, one can begin with Robredo’s standards of “matino at mahusay” or move up to, say, the filters listed in @Juana Pilipinas’ post “Why Making the Right Choice in the 2016 Election is Crucial”. (I note this post trended before the elections.)

JoeAm’s post “Now Seeking Applications for the President of the Philippines” is another good and realistic example of assessing the qualifications of candidates.

(Incidentally, we are missing a postmortem post on the elections: the winnability factors that led to election defeat and victory… with the exception of the influence of social media.)

One may use a list of criteria as a simple checklist, ticking off each standard that applies. However, a clearer picture and choice may emerge through scoring. Scoring involves (a) the qualitative scale of, say, good, fair and excellent; or (b) the quantitative scale of, say, 1 to 5. The former is appropriate when appraising a single object, but the latter is best when appraising multiple objects. To further improve decision making, one may employ criteria weighting to give emphasis to certain factors. For example, for a given job, the criterion of “intelligence” might be more relevant than “education” and, on balance, “experience” might be more relevant than “intelligence.”

Be aware the use of criteria methodologies is not foolproof in arriving at good decisions. Some of the pitfalls are misidentified criteria, inaccurate scoring, and the inability to capture factors that are not assessable qualities of the objects themselves but of the milieu.

But while we may use a set of criteria in arriving at good judgments, we may still falter because we have missed a basic principle.



If criteria are the answer to the question of how to make good judgments, principles are the answer to the question of why judgments, in the final analysis, can be adjudged bad, good or wise.

A principle is defined as a “fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.”

The operative terms are “fundamental truth or proposition” and “foundation.” Both criteria and principles can be classified as standards, as notions of ideality. The distinction is that principles are more basic than criteria. They provide, as it were, the baseline, the proper context in which judgments should be made. Principles are the stones upon which you stand and criteria the filtered lenses through which you see.

When faced with a tough decision, the question I invariably myself ask is, “What is the basic principle involved here?”

And I find that to be able to answer this question, I must first properly categorize the issue at hand. Is this a human rights issue? Or is it a law and order issue? Is this a purely political issue? Or is it primarily a moral issue? Is this a “soft” issue where empathy and compassion can apply? Or is it a “hard” issue where the law and its penalties must apply?

Here one begins to see the roots of the confusion that beset us. And the confusion is increased not only in our application of the wrong context and principle but also in the absence of the application of any principle.

To be sure, to claim there is a total absence of principle is inaccurate. The turncoatism of Filipino politicians rests on the Darwinian principles of survival. Nevertheless, we say there is an absence because elected politicians are expected to practice a higher set of principles. The Constitution provides that public servants must serve the people “with utmost responsibility, integrity, loyalty, and efficiency; act with patriotism and justice, and lead modest lives.”

Where are the responsibility, integrity and loyalty in defection? Turncoatism illustrates my fourth cause of judgmental disability, that of selfish or factional interests… when criteria and principles and reason are thrown to the wind.

The question arises: Where do we find principles?

We find principles everywhere. We find them in the natural world. We find them embedded in religious and secular law. We find them in the memes of culture. We find them in books, in the measured lines of poets, the insights of philosophers, and the wisdom of sages. We learn them in school. And, hopefully, we learn them on the knees of our parents and grandparents.

Apart from miscategorization, principles have one other main pitfall. It would seem that for every given principle there is an equal and opposite principle. To resolve this conflict, to decide the right principle, we are thrown back to the use of the right criteria. Additionally, we must depend on the use of right reasoning, the lack of which is our third cited cause for judgmental disability. Let us look at two instructive examples of conflicting and misapplied principles.

In the just concluded election, two conflicting principles were cited to accept or reject Poe’s candidacy. The Latin maxim quoted to accept was, “Vox populi, vox Dei.” And the Latin maxim to reject was, “Dura lex, sed lex.” I am certain your opinion differs from mine but my reasoning did not detect any contradiction between these two maxims.

Here is my reasoning. If we grant the voice of the people is the voice of God and has primacy, isn’t it true the Constitution was ratified by the people? And granting this is so, isn’t it also true the Constitution specifies only natural born citizens are allowed to run for the presidency? Therefore, there is no conflict: the first principle leads ineluctably to the second principle, and both observed. In this case, if a foundling is not a natural born citizen — and this was the crux of the issue (which the Supreme Court has not formally resolved) — then Poe should have been disqualified.

In the case of misused principles, let me refer once more to the same case. Again, you may agree or disagree. Newly appointed Justice Francis Jardeleza argued the citizenship issue was one of human rights, that the Constitution does not discriminate against foundlings. To my mind, the issue was simply one of qualifications for candidacy. A basic principle of constitutional construction is that provisions are mutually consistent. This means that one cannot use one part of the Constitution — in this case, human rights — to argue against another part of the Constitution — in this case, qualifications for candidacy. One cannot assume internal inconsistency, and should it seem to exist, perhaps the rule to observe is that specific provisions override general provisions.

Where there are conflicting principles, one should dig deeper and unearth an underlying and more primary principle.

Disagreements naturally lead us to perhaps the strongest reason for judgmental disability — that of reasoning power.

Before I discuss this, let me make one more comparison to highlight the difference between criteria and principles. In a decision matrix, criteria would have allowed us to score Binay as the tailender, but principles should have prevented us (and him) from seriously considering him as a candidate.


Reasoning Power

It is not that people do not have reasoning power or do not use reason in passing judgments and making choices. It is that they often make choices for the wrong reasons.

There are two aspects of reasoning power that are significant: (a) the proper use of logic and (b) the avoidance of fallacies.

We have two reasoning centers: heart and mind. Often the logic of the heart and mind coincide, but sometimes they do not. The first uses emotional reasoning and the second cold reason. Women are heart-centered and men mind-centered.

I think, in general, Filipinos are heart-centered.

I base this observation on the articles and commentary in news and social media. Without analyzing the logic of these items, the style and tone alone tell me heart rather than mind (or the brain) is the dominant organ.

Then when one analyzes the logic, one uncovers various types of fallacies. The most prevalent fallacies would be (a) ad hominems; (b) the appeal to authority; and (c) red herring fallacies, which I refer to as deviations, deflections and befogging.

JoeAm has done a good job as moderator to lessen ad hominems in this forum. But they continue to flourish… in their subtlest forms.

I find the appeal to authority fallacy is in vogue even on this site as shown by the number of (a) links and (b) images. The use of images may seem particularly persuasive — subliminally that is in accordance with the maxim “to see is to believe” — but while I appreciate the effort and the entertainment, I am at times irritated.

I will not give examples of poor reasoning less I get lynched. Suffice it to say one can check one’s own reasoning by familiarizing one’s self with the different types of fallacies and playing the role of devil’s advocate to one’s ideas and opinions. This is good training; it gives us the ability to see the world with clarity in 360 degrees.


While I said we constantly judge at the beginning, there are people (and things) we do not judge. Who do we not judge? Family and close friends. If our loved ones do wrong, there is no question of forgiveness… because there is nothing to forgive. And even when the wrong is directed at us, we may remonstrate, but eventually, we are reconciled. Perhaps this is the reason for the biblical injunction. If everyone is our brother or sister, why judge?

Again we meet with paradox: judgments allow us to live and no judgments allow us to love.

Let me rephrase that: judgments allow us to live in order to love, and no judgments allow us to love in order to live.

The circle of progression in making judgments goes something like this. We are presented with choices, and we must make a judgment as to the best choice. Whatever choice we make crystallizes into a decision. Whatever decision we take translates into reality, win or lose. Whatever reality comes into existence bears consequences for us and everyone. And whatever consequences unfold, we are again presented with new choices.

Good consequences usually result from good judgments… and bad consequences from bad judgments.

Therefore, let us take great care in forming opinions and judgments.


303 Responses to “Judgmental Disability”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    I thought of this postscript as I woke up from a nap this afternoon.

    POSTSCRIPT: The Solomonic Decision

    In the Solomonic Decision, we find the perfect interplay of criteria, principle and reasoning power.

    The criteria is really just one criterion. That criterion is love.

    The principle is “a mother will protect her cub at all cost.” The principle is found in Nature.

    The reasoning power of Solomon lies in two aspects: (a) the conception of the test to bring out the criterion and (b) the logic of the verdict.

    The actual test is the halving of the baby.

    The verdict is: whichever woman is not willing to lose the baby to death – even at the cost of losing possession of him – must be the true mother.

    The reasoning power of Solomon is mind-centered.

    The reasoning power of the true mother is heart-centered.

    • karlgarcia says:

      I think the Solomonic decision is of both heart and mind.
      When I read that as a kid I thought he had no heart,but as I grow older I felt that his heart guided his wisdom.

      • edgar lores says:

        Karl, you are entirely correct.

        I noted the true mother was guided by the reason of the heart.

        King Solomon’s reasoning is logical (that is, mind-centered) based on the stated principle.

        As I think about it, the test itself is not heart-centered. In fact, it is cruel.

        But the verdict is heart-centered as it shows compassion for the true mother.

        And the stated principle is, indeed, all heart. To have known this, King Solomon shows heart.

        Thank you.

  2. Joe America says:

    Generally, I think I make judgments along these lines, but tend not to think much about the structure of them. Let me try a hand at backfilling a decision that was recently made, the election of President Duterte.

    – Criterion: I need action now to end this ridiculous trek to work (or, in the provinces, all the druggies and criminals having their way).
    – Principle: Action is more important than law.
    – Reasoning: The laws were made to protect the entitled, not me, so let’s go around them. Duterte is the only guy bold enough to create action.

    So I vote for Duterte.

    Is that about the way it worked?

    And how about agencies that are in bed with smugglers (Customs, DENR)? If we look at it from the point of view of a third tier manager:

    – Criterion: My job should pay enough for a fair lifestyle for my family.
    – Principles: (1) Government should assure that we get paid fairly. (2) If our Employer is negligent, we must fend for ourselves the best we can.
    – Reasoning: I am not getting paid enough. Others take care of themselves first. So should I. I’ll accept bribes.

    What other examples are there of Filipinos not reasoning “properly”. I’m inclined to argue Filipinos reason as well as anybody, but their conditions lead them to a different set of criteria, principles and reasoning.

    • edgar lores says:

      Hmm, These are hard cases to parse.

      What jumps out at me in the two examples given is that the criteria (or criterion) used are personal ones. They are subjective.

      Criteria, when applied in the judging of public “objects,” must be as objective as possible. I would prefer to use the term “conjective” (or intersubjective) instead of objective. That is, the criteria should be the outcome of consensus.

      When we evaluate political candidates or beauty pageant contestants, we must use pre-agreed upon criteria. Otherwise, our decisions — just like our criteria — will be all over the place.

      And the criteria must not only be consensual but must take into consideration the reality of the milieu. In the second example, for instance, the criteria should include the conditions of the marketplace. The government cannot just mandate scales of salaries arbitrarily. Its decision must be in the context of what businesses can afford to pay. And also, in the case of nurses, the excess of supply.

      Filipino reasoning is unique because they are not taught principles and logic in the first place. If ever they are taught, the principles — as in the case of offering/accepting bribes — are thrown overboard in actual life practice.

      This leads me to an observation about the first scenario: the principle of self-reliance is not emphasized within the culture of patronage. We rely on leaders to effect changes for us… and because our leaders have not done this in a systematic way, we are faced with the extremes of Dutertian politics. No one observes Gandhi’s dictum that we must be the change we wish to see in the world.

      • Joe America says:

        Ah, consensus criterion. That, I suppose, is where education and press coverage, and even campaign ads, fail to establish the basis people should use in selecting a President. For example, I would want “represents the nation responsibly on the international stage”. Our Rizal-Robredo Index was an exercise in that direction, but it is all pretty much “wing it” in the real world. Or intuitive. So when the criteria are all over the board, reasoning will follow suit. It will be based on make-up stories as much as anything.

        • Francis says:

          If I could add to the line of thought that the “poor state” of reasoning among Filipinos is more due to external circumstances rather than any inherent or internal flaw:

          In fairness to the Filipino—his society lacks the institutions to build consensus criterion. To expect the average citizen to be “super-informed” so as to be like Plato’s philosopher-kings and therefore capable of weighing each decision (especially political) with utmost care is a bit too idealistic. What really set apart the Western citizen in “advanced democracies” from the Filipino citizen are two crucial things in my opinion. First—there are less buttons (criteria) to choose; the existence of think-tanks, political parties (especially political parties) and churches do much to narrow the Western citizen’s “menu” of principles, criteria and choices. Second—the aggregating institutions (i.e. political parties, churches) serve to enhance the reflective and communal aspects of decision-making. On the former: by having fewer criteria, principles and choices to think about, one can afford to properly reflect and focus on each one. On the latter: whereas the average Filipino citizen makes highly personal and self-interested but still rational decisions (see the examples given above of the bribe-taking Filipino bureaucrat) due to lack of membership in any aggregating institution or a lack of Filipino aggregating institutions with a specific focus towards civic responsibilities in general–the Western citizen, by virtue of his membership in a political party for instance, is inclined to not only think of himself and his blood relations in his decisions, but that of the principles and criteria of his peers in the aggregating institutions of which he is a member of (his political party for example).

          Under such circumstances–one is even inclined to give the press (even when sensational) the benefit of doubt with regards to how they affect decision-making. After all–how else can they simplify Philippine politics other than a telenovela drama when it less the distilled competition of principles among a few clear groups in society (Republicans v. Democrats) and more a mixture of the indecipherable ranting of a million individual and unique voices on social media (in terms of clarity: worst) and the Machiavellian machinations of a few thousand dynastic families and their fluctuating factions (in terms of clarity: best)?

          I can’t help but think of when I went to an alternate history website and lurked at a thread for discussing British politics. Many of them were Labour members–and many of them feeling emotionally distressed at the sight of their party’s tremendous implosion and infighting after Brexit. One even said something along the lines of Labour being a “home” for him. As a Filipino–there was something quite fascinating and poignant about this. These weren’t politicians. These were just normal card-carrying members of their party who joined on the basis it reflected their principles in some way.


          Filipinos are said to have too much heart. I think that the problem isn’t that, but rather that the institutions that are supposed to aggregate our choices are all mind (small groups of academe and do-gooders in NGOs and fluctuating groups of tactical politicians in PH political parties) but have little room for tapping into the heart of the Filipino people, of the masses as it were.

          • Francis says:

            Addenda: the proliferation of cooperatives and people’s organizations (while small in number) means that there is actually much cause for optimism. EDSA laid the seeds. In time, it will bloom.

            At the very least—we’re further than many of our developing nation peers in this regard.

          • edgar lores says:

            Francis, thank you for your perspective.

            The perspective of the post is from the viewpoint of the individual Filipino decision-maker. Your perspective is from the viewpoint of external consensus aggregators that do not much influence the individual.

            I would agree with your points. In the political scene, for example; our political parties are bereft of platforms. The intellectuals — who I suppose are the columnists in news media and the PhDs in academe — offer no comfort. The Church has a voice, but it is largely ignored by the flock, except where the institution strongly intervenes, as in the implementation of the RH Law.

            The busiest aggregator is social media, but there is hardly any consensus. You say the institutional aggregators are all mind and no heart… and I said Filipinos are heart-centered. Perhaps this is why there is a disconnect.

        • Kanto Boy says:

          IMHO, majority of duterte’s supporters decided based on association. The see him as a disciplinarian father who is willing to curse and wip his kids if they have done wrong. This is common in filipino families. The lack of understanding (or education?) of the role of the president contributed much.

      • Instead of teaching Code of Ethics and Conduct in college or professional school, maybe it should be taught in elementary school in PH? There are ethical characteristics that are germane to all lifestyles and pursuits such as integrity, honesty, respect, loyalty, justice, initiative and leadership. As it is hard to teach old dogs new tricks, maybe training the puppies will do it? Just a thought…

        • edgar lores says:

          Juana, I recall studying Civics in elementary school. You are right, lessons must be learned at an early age, and I suggested at our fathers’ knees. They must be driven into the psyche constantly, not just from church or school though, but the from the world at large.

        • Nowasencit says:

          What happened to old-fashioned Good Manners & Right Conduct? I believe it is now taught as Sibika. New name, new form, but obviously much less content.

          And speaking of the recent election, I see it simply is a clear validation of Thomas Hobbes’ major premise in The Leviathan.

          • Juana Pilipinas says:

            Ah, you believe that PH reached the point of “Kingdom of Darkness?” Great treatise for an article – Leviathan, Filipino style. Are you interested in informing us as to the main points that led you to the conclusion in your last paragraph? If you may, please write a short article and email it to Joe. I would enrich a lot of us to read your point of view.

  3. karlgarcia says:

    major decision.
    Where to rehabilitate all those drug addicts who surrendered.

    He will pass the decision to his economic managers.

    same with doubling salaries of police and soldiers.

    he will pass it to Diokno.

    Ralph Recto resigned as NEDA chief because of the pension time bomb of police and Military.

    There is still no pension system in place.

    • Joe America says:

      The history of Sec. Diokno appears to be spend now and pay later. The write-up in the Inquirer had him taking pot-shots at the Aquino Administration rather than talking about issues such as these. My observation is that these guys are in for a rude wake-up call soon as the walls of Jericho start collapsing in slow motion. I’m running a book on when the investment grade ratings will be lost. I’ve set the bar at 10 months and am looking for overs and unders. There is a separate book for when the ratings will increase. The bar is set at 8 years for starters, and I’m looking for overs and unders.

      • Joe America says:

        The currency is bottles of San Mig Pilsen, 15% of each bottle going to the house.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Is Sal retired? NHerrera might want to be active again.And he is an engineer,that is an added bonus,he knows when Jericho’s wall will collapse.

        • Joe America says:

          Sal got retired when Roxas lost. 🙂 He’s back in Sicily last I heard.

        • NHerrera says:

          We have probably these notional range of numbers: 5%-8% of the P3T of the national budget to raise the salaries of the police, the armed forces and other government workers. It may not do to just raise one sector’s salaries, such as those of the PNP personnel only.

          There is the positive side. Hopefully, with higher pay the government personnel will be more dedicated to their work and not engage in crimes themselves. Hence the positive corollary effect on business and investments. The negative side, of course, is that this will be a yearly sum, and puts a strain on resources that would otherwise be used for other purposes. Note that the 5%-8% of the national budget is about half of the budget allocated to Education, the largest chunk of the budget; about half already allocated to Defense and DILG; about double allocated to Agriculture; or about 40 percent more allocated to the combined budget for Transportation & Communication, Environment, Judiciary.

          Technical Note:

          PNP personnel ~ 180,000
          Armed Forces ~ 120,000
          Other gov personnel ~ 1,000,000
          Total ~ 1,300,000

          Salary and or allowance increase: P10k-P15k for 12 months in the year.

          The above gives a range of the needed funds: P156B-P234B which translated to percentage of the P3T budget gives a range of 5.2%-7.8%

          • karlgarcia says:

            Many thanks again Manong NH.I just read your note.

            Thanks again for your valuable know how in numbers.

            I know I have shown this to you before,my concern that The PNP and AFP has no pension system in place,because the RSBS brouhaha.

            The pension then is provided for by the GAA
            The number of pensioners is catching up to the number of those inthe active service,and their pensions are as high as their salaries.


            Crisis over AFP, PNP pension fund
            by reposted only | Sep 13, 2010 | Social Security |
            MANILA, Philippines—A crisis involving the pension fund of military and police personnel is looming, with the government facing the prospect of forking out more money for the retirement benefits of soldiers and policemen than for the salaries of their comrades in active service.
            Under Malacañang’s proposed national budget for 2011, P100.597 billion is allocated for the salaries of the 250,000 to 300,000 members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP).
            A total of P53 billion is set aside for the pension of retired military and police personnel, or one-fifth of the projected budget deficit next year.
            There are roughly 120,000 retirees in the AFP and 50,000 in the PNP.
            Sen. Ralph Recto, chair of the ways and means committee, said the P53-billion pension allocation for the military and police personnel was glaring when compared with the P22 billion in annual benefits given by the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS). More than 1 million government employees are members of the GSIS.
            At this rate, Recto said the government would be paying more for retired soldiers and police personnel by 2019 than those in active duty.
            “The government has to address the problem before it explodes in our faces and we end up spending more for the retirees than those in active service,” he said in an interview.
            At a Senate hearing last week, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad Jr. raised the possibility that the government would be spending more for the pension of retired soldiers and police personnel than the salaries of those still in uniform.
            “That is an area of concern not only for the uniformed personnel of the PNP and the AFP, but also for the judiciary because these institutions do not contribute to the pension fund like GSIS. (The benefits) to members are coming out of the appropriations,” Abad said.
            Retirement age
            Another factor contributing to the pension problem was the retirement age of soldiers and policemen, Recto said.
            Soldiers and policemen retire at 56 years old, lower than the norm of 60 to 65 years old, thus giving them a longer period for enjoying benefits.
            The national government has to shoulder the pension of soldiers and police personnel because they have no retirement system.
            The military was supposed to have its own self-sustaining pension fund through the AFP-Retirement and Separation Benefits System (AFP-RSBS), which was formed in 1973. The agency was shuttered four years ago when it went bankrupt due to gross mismanagement by generals on its board.
            The police have been getting their pension from the National Treasury since the PNP was spun off from the defunct Philippine Constabulary in 1991.
            Recto said the collapse of the AFP-RSBS was the main reason the government was spending heavily for the military and police pension fund.
            Pampered lot
            Recto and Abad noted that compared with other government workers, soldiers and police personnel were a pampered lot. Besides the early retirement age, they get monthly pension equal to those received by counterparts in active service.
            For example, a general who retired 15 years ago would be getting the same amount due a four-star general in active service, according to Recto. In addition, soldiers and policemen retire at the next higher rank, he said.
            Moreover, their pension increases by P5,000 when they reach 65 and 70 years of age aside from the total disability benefits amounting to P1,700.
            “We have to look at all these factors and assess the viability of the military and police pension fund system because the government cannot sustain this for long. We must have a self-sustaining pension fund in place,” Recto said.
            Abad said the Department of Budget and Management would conduct a study of the military and police pension fund system and recommend how to make it more sustainable without being a huge burden on the government. –Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Philippine Daily Inquirer

      • Micha says:

        The Budget Department is a superfluous agency of the national gov’t. President Rody could scrap it altogether and nothing will be missed.

        • Joe America says:

          The operative word in the agency’s title is not budget, I think, but management. The function is to make sure the 3 trillion pesos that flow out go to properly authorized uses, and are accounted for as the released money is actually spent. If the department were eliminated, government work would come to a dead stop.

          • Micha says:

            There’s an audit bureau to do that.

            Or, to meet you halfway, just scrap the budget word and call it Department of Audit and Sovereign Fund Management

            That budget word misleds people to think that the national gov’t even needs a budget.

            • Joe America says:

              Audit audits, they do not approve and release, just as at a corporation, audit has no operative function. It is a check of fiduciary rules, independent and an add-on. You can’t remove the operating function of approving and releasing money. You’d be foolish to remove the audit function. You are back trying to run the real world according to your flaky economic ideology again. Write Sec. Diokno about your plan, as they are in the mood for big change, and see how he responds.

              • Micha says:

                Appropriating, approving, and releasing money is in the hands of Congress which has the power of the purse subject to signature or veto of the President.

                Diokno is old school, too imbedded in orthodoxy as to be open for new ideas.

              • Joe America says:

                Congress establishes the policies and the policies (laws) assign distribution of money to Executive. Congress could retain that operating function if it wanted, I suppose, but it still has to be staffed and done. It can’t just be stopped.

                That Diokno would not be receptive to your new-fangled ideas is exactly the problem with said ideas, they are not pragmatic, for the people getting things done.

              • Micha says:

                What is not pragmatic about MMT?

              • Joe America says:

                Nobody uses it?

              • Micha says:

                Hahahaha…and therein lies your total ignorance on what MMT is all about.

                All sovereign countries with their own respective sovereign currencies are, in effect, using the principles and mechanisms outlined by MMT. But of course their country’s officials and policy makers still pretend and cling to the old traditional balancing the budget scheme as if the finances of a sovereign national gov’t is just like the finances of an ordinary household which is definitely not.

              • Joe America says:

                Oh, without question I am ignorant of MMT, but not of the operations of spending money or auditing processes. But let’s be clear, it is you with MMT who are the outside looking in and preaching to an audience that is working hard just to get done what has to be done. There are no intellectual radicals in government who are willing to tear up the established methods to trip down some unproven (to them) yellow brick road. That’s why the Duterte Administration is speaking loud and often that it will continue the Aquino economic policies and programs, because there is something like stability and respectability that go with the job.

              • Micha says:

                If the Duterte administration wanted to get things done, MMT is the most useful and liberating tool they could adopt.

                In fairness to both Diokno and Pernia, they both are proposing infra, education, health, and agriculture spending and subsidies. Those are prescriptions that MMT would readily give a thumbs up. The only question is how efficient is the implementation and how extensive are the subsidies.

                In the Inquirer article, Diokno is said to have imposed a moratorium in the creation of new state universities and colleges during his first tenure as DBM chief. Maybe he wanted efficiency but was there an improvement in quality education in those already existing state u and colleges?


                Oft heard excuses and complaints from administrators are there is no money for improving quality.

              • karlgarcia says:

                The only letter that prevents MMT from being pragmatic is the letter T.

              • Joe America says:

                Theory? ahahahaha, yes, good point.

              • purple says:

                MMT is designed for 1st world countries with international currencies and deep, liquid debt markets. The Dollar, Euro, Pound and Yen. That’s it.

                It has no use for the Philippines because no one wants the Peso or Peso denominated debt in Europe, China or the US.

              • purple says:

                When I say “no one”, I mean it is not a currency people consider a store-of-value in crisis. Of course people will buy the debt for short-term yield.

              • karlgarcia says:

                FWIW,the last global peso bond was for ten years.


      • jolly cruz says:

        Sec Diokno has five post graduate degrees from the US. the most prominent of which is developmental economics from Johns Hopkins University. He has a multitude of published articles and discussion papers here and abroad.

        Your comment, Mr Joe makes it appear that he is a neophyte who is too big for his britches. It is unfair to say that he will be “in for a rude awakening”. You really think that he is that naïve and unknowledgeable of governmental economics ?

        • @Jolly Cruz.

          Are you familiar with Cass Sunstein.

          Well he probably has more post graduate degrees than Sec Diokno and He definitely is a world class intellectual.


          Basically when Cass Sunstein went to work in the whitehouse

          COWEN: How did your time in government change your view of academia?
          SUNSTEIN: I concluded that academics, including people like me, were in important respects clueless, and I did not think that before. I did feel as admiring, or even more admiring, of basic research by academics that produces knowledge or fresh ideas that can be put to use. But having studied administrative law for more than two decades, I was amazed by how steep my own learning curve was in an area that I thought I knew well.
          So, I had written about — and I don’t mean to single myself out for opprobrium here. I, like many administrative law professors, write about stuff, and just the absence of a sufficiently thick understanding of how things happen — that really surprised me.

          • jolly cruz says:

            Yes, but Diokno was in government service already during Pres Cory’s time. He has had tons of experience in actual government service and not just in academe. Diokno has walked the talk.

            • Jolly,
              The DBM was not the source of slow spending. If I was asked I’d say that the first half of PNoy’s presidency people in government were in tiptoes because they did not want to appear corrupt. This is from personal observation. The government offices needed to be acclimatized to that environment to spend.

              During Diokno’s time the problem was where to get the money. Our problem now is how to increase the velocity of spending without removing the protections that have been put in place.

              I sincerely hope that he succeeds. His success is our nation’s success.

              Basically I believe that his past experience would help but may also hinder him.

              I used to sneak into large classes in UP when people like Walden Bello, Sec Diokno, Monsod, and some names I no longer admire.

        • Joe America says:

          I give him credit with being qualified for the cabinet appointment. His background is rich. I have no idea where you drew this “rude awakening” comment from, as I for sure don’t recollect having said it. In the dialogue with Micha, I was pointing out that he had a pragmatic role to play, with the point being he would not be receptive to Micha’s MMT. Are you reading me or Micha???? I am totally lost on your comment as it does not connect at all with what I think.

          • jolly cruz says:

            Mr Joe, I picked up the statement from your post in reply to Karl. It was posted on July 3 at 4.24 pm. The first sentence referred to Diokno, so I assumed that the succeeding comment referred to him as well being the Neda chied .

            • Joe America says:

              I wrote:

              The history of Sec. Diokno appears to be spend now and pay later. The write-up in the Inquirer had him taking pot-shots at the Aquino Administration rather than talking about issues such as these. My observation is that these guys are in for a rude wake-up call soon as the walls of Jericho start collapsing in slow motion. I’m running a book on when the investment grade ratings will be lost. I’ve set the bar at 10 months and am looking for overs and unders. There is a separate book for when the ratings will increase. The bar is set at 8 years for starters, and I’m looking for overs and unders.

              Well, let’s wait and watch, eh? I have read since then that Sec. Diokno’s prior stint at DBM reflected persistent overrun of debt projections, but I’m disinclined to get into an argument with you over the matter. The results going forward will resolve it for us, and I do hope for strong economic growth, stability and international debt ratings. That is the only way to cure poverty without wrecking the engine of the machine (as socialism would do).

            • karlgarcia says:

              Sorry for the confusion.I see that I mentioned Diokno then suddenly shifted or segued to Recto’s resigning as NEDA chief.

              I am not belittling Diokno in anyway,I am saying he has a tough job together with Pernia ahead about Drug Rehab and Doubling salaries of Police and Soldiers with the Pension problem still unresolved.
              I am not saying that they can not do anything about it.

              Jolly,you are part of The Society of Honor, you talk to us, as if we are different people.You have been here too long to give us the “you people “treatment.

      • purple says:

        The Duterte admin will be incapable of dealing with a slowing world economy and a strengthening US dollar. In this climate they want to spend more and end tax investigations. These trends could spark a run on the Philippine peso.

        • Joe America says:

          Yes, and the poor can’t climb out if the economy goes south. I wonder if the judgmental disability is such that they would fail to recognize their own accountability for failing to vote for an economist to lead the nation, dull though he may be.

    • edgar lores says:

      Karl, you have opened an entirely new topic.

      The topic here is about making good decisions. The topic you bring in now is how to handle the consequences of decisions. This is the area of planning. Filipinos are also notoriously deficient in this area.

      We should probably ask NHerrera to shed light on this.

      As to drug lords, didn’t Duterte say he will feed them to the fish in Manila Bay?

      • karlgarcia says:

        I was just thinking of NHerrera.

        • edgar lores says:

          Have we developed intra-TSH telepathy?

          • karlgarcia says:


            • NHerrera says:

              Edgar, Karl:

              I am responding to the matter of the “handling of the consequences of the decision.” This note may not be fully responsive but here are my thoughts.

              1. First, we must be referring to the many important decisions made by President Rodrigo Duterte (PRD) at different levels of development from essentially full development to partial development, and whether directly or indirectly — the treatment of the VP relative to that of Marcos, the PRD-inspired killings of drug pushers, statements on corruption vis a vis the non-recall by PRD of corruption of friends Marcos Sr and Jr, etc.
              2. Secondly, the view and handling of the consequences of the decision depends, to me, crucially on the consequences to a) PRD and his Administration or b) the general public.
              3. I make this distinction because the view and handling of these consequences are different for a) or b). I say this because I do not believe the decisions and the handling of the consequences are viewed from the same prisms of a) or b). Meaning, for example, that in my opinion, the negative consequences to the general public counts for less weight than the personal negative consequence to PRD and Administration.
              4. Thus, if the personal negative consequence to the Cabinet officials involves a high risk of being killed themselves like the drug pushers, then the “decision” or inspired-decision and its consequent handling will be different.
              5. As an aside, we may have the spectrum from decisions inspired by John Rawls view on morality and ethics to decisions inspired by Machiavellianism.
              6. Although I subscribe more to the Rawls end of the spectrum, I must admit to being not too uncomfortable with the daily dissonance we are confronted with even in the big items in 5. above. Meaning my measure of comfort aided by my own sense of things over the years may be expressed as C = xR + yM. In the instant case, I must confess that the value I put on y is non-zero. I believe that the average sentiment in TSH is nominally one of 80/20 for x/y.
              7. BTW, we are all familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Thanks Manong NH.👍🏻

              • caliphman says:

                Or in the same vein that can also describe the strongest talent of the worst Filipino politicians, the ability to advocate two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain their credibility with the general public. Witness the recent elections and its aftermath…hehehe.

      • He may have said it in Visayan grammar.

        I remember a Visayan chick who liked me.

        She said minsan ipapakain kita sa Chinese.

        • So all Duterte may have said was…

          he will feed THEM fish from Manila bay.

          They will have sumptuous dinner by the sea.

        • pelang says:

          so, what happened to the Visayan chick, did she get you to eat chinese or did you eat the chinese? ano iyon? just kind of bored. the germans won last night against the italians, i almost had a heart attack.

          • Hindi natuloy… I think she was a Visayan from Mindanao and her awful Tagalog somehow turned me off. Hadn’t met that many Visayans or people from poorer families before I came to Germany and I was still very much the typical arrogant Manila kid for a long time.

            Yes, the Germany-Italy game yesterday was VERY exciting. The first time Germany won against Italy in a major match so I am in a very good mood today.

            The Italians as usual had their strong defensive formation, as hard to beat as the defenses of a Roman phalanx, and aggressive attack as soon as you show weakness.

            The new thing was that the German team has learned a new flexibility in attack, not like the tank attack style of the 1980s or 1990s, their combinations are nearly Brazilian now.

            And the Italian team was older / had less endurance, they tried to score a goal in the extension where they were tired but failed… the penalty kicks were a war of nerves as always – penalty kicks are like billard or darts, the cooler side wins… Neuer stayed cool.

  4. karlgarcia says:

    Judgement call-best decision at the moment or good idea at that time.
    Usually if you think your criticts are correct(that you are wrong),you will just say,Hey,judgement call.Don’t judge me.

  5. Micha says:

    The political domain is replete with subjectivity. People make seemingly irrational political choices and decisions most of the time.

    Do Pinoys have monopoly of this trait? Absolutely not.

    Democracies across the globe tend to have citizens who will gladly vote against their own self-interests depending solely on which political spectrum they identify and have sympathies with. A white working class American, for example, will most likely vote Republican even if that party is known to espouse anti-labor policies. And which Supreme Court have ruled that corporations are people?

    It would be wrong to single out Filipinos having this kind of character flaw or disability.

    • Bill in Oz says:

      You are right Micha…..But the Philippines is still unique I think…..The political culture is more driven by loyalty to a datu…Very much like Feudal system of 14th Century Europe..The Lords make the decisions and the rest bound by loyalty to their datu, follow their lord’s lead..

      I am reading a big article in the Enquirer today about “Turncoatism In PH. ” by Roger Pe..A great article..The writing style reminds me of Chempo…

    • Insecurity causes people to go irrational. Why are populists the strongest in the UK, USA and the Philippines. And not as strong in Canada, Australia, Japan, Germany, Singapore.

      Because in UK, USA and the Philippines, the creed of Reagan and Thatcher was applied the most. While in the other five countries the state still does more for many people. Also the middle class feels securer and the poor are not as desperate as in the first three.

      • Micha says:

        Yep, 30 plus years of Reagonomics and Thatcherite policies have turned both the US and the UK into a third world hellhole decimating the middle class and with extreme income and wealth inequality.

        • Joe America says:

          . . . into which millions around the world would happily move if they could.

          • Bill in Oz says:

            because it is still far worse where they currently live……

            • Joe America says:

              . . . or is mis-characterized as a hell-hole. I was there in 2015 to visit my middle class family in three cities, all of whom are enjoying life and living well, in cities that are clean and orderly and vibrant. Literary license is granted to the ideologues to try to paint the world in terms that they find useful to promote their ideologies.

              • Hellhole is definitely an exaggeration. I know London because my sister lives there.

                But I also have spoken to the English working-class family of my brother-in-law – life has definitely gotten less secure because the formerly generous social welfare system of postwar England was dismantled. But what is also true is that things were far worse in the 1990s and have improved nowadays, my brother-in-laws father had a really hard time getting his family through in North London. So things are never that simplistic.

              • Joe America says:

                Yes, I think we need objective criteria to define “hell hole”.

              • Micha says:


                Come home to your native land and visit places like Camden New Jersey, Birmingham Alabama, Detroit Michigan, or Gary Indiana for a taste of third world hellhole in a supposedly first world country.

              • Joe America says:

                Exceptions aren’t the rule.

              • Joe America says:

                Guesses at the future are projections, not certainty.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                Micha.You are absolutely right..An important link worth reading…But the process is happening in other countries..In the U and last week the people affected decided to Brexit Europe

                In Australia the current government which faced an election yesterday decided in 2014 that the automotive industry which provides about 200,000 jobs nation wide, should close…Three cities will be gutted by this : Geelong, Adelaide & to a lesser extent Melbourne. Cars will be fully imported from Thailand & South Korea.. A fate similar to the hell holes listed in the USA is probable…

                And yesterday in the general election, the government that arranged this to happen was given a massive kick up the bum…If there had been more trust for Labor Party, which ruled from 2007-1=2013, and presided over chaos in key areas, Labor would have won in a canter..Instead the voters turned to minor parties with vengence on their minds…

              • Micha says:


                Here is Detroit, Michigan :

              • Joe America says:

                You are trolling now.

              • Micha says:

                Yeah Joe America, everyone who doesn’t share your worldview is a troll.

                It’s so nice seeing you contradict yourself about that listening and learning mantra you so love to espouse.

              • Joe America says:

                No, someone who pops off three separate postings of examples of decay in America is trolling. I listen to you ad nauseum, and welcome dissent. But not trolling. Those who have been suspended and come back to challenge my editorial prerogatives are also slow learners and not long for this blog.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Yeah if we just listen to Eminem we would learn about Detroit.
                GM and company was bailed out,Detroit still went bankrupt.
                Eminem even had a fundraising campaign.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Detroit vs. the World.

          • Because it is easier to move into the less regulated labor markets of the US and the UK than into the highly regulated markets of places like Germany. Takes longer to get established in places like Germany, but the long-term outlook is more stable.

            The UK became the magnet for Eastern Europeans, who became the “Mexicans” there. Of course there are the talented who thrive in London. So the opportunities you have in both US and UK are more extreme, while in Germany they are humdrum but more stable. Different philosophies underly US/UK liberalism and European social democracy – the former is more dynamic for sure, the latter a bit more stable but often slow to change. Might be that Canada and Australia are somewhere between these two in their approach.

            • Bill in Oz says:

              The poor from countries such as Cuba, Haiti, Guatamala, El Salvador and parts of Mexico head North to the USA because even this USA is better than their home..And of course these migrants send money home to families..In Europe the UK is a magnet for poor Eastern Europeans for the same reasons…

              The consequences politically are Trump & Brexit….

              Australia has always pursued a more selective & controlled migration policy and ‘refugee’ policy..And as a consequence there has been far less disruption of the nation…

              Since 1945 850,000 refugees have come to Australia..Many had their travel ares paid and were given housing and English language lessons while on Social security benefits.At the moment it is roughly 14,000 refugees a year.who are aided in this way…There are idiots among the Australian people who believe in open borders..They more or less ran things from 2008-13. They are no longer in control

              And there are roughly 250,000 self funding migrants picked each year via a points system depending on job skills, language, health and no crime record..( BTW Migrants convicted of committing crimes with more than 12 month jail time are deported. Most of the ones recently deported are Kiwis. )

              So I have reason for optimism about my country’s future.

              • I believe the biggest black eye of Australia is its treatment of the aborigines. You’d probably have an insurgency problem if those people are not starving.

        • RT = Russia Today. Economics Collapse = Pig Ears’ Marketer, Doomsday Herald.

          Give us credible references we can believe in. True, the places mentioned are ghosts towns considering their progress and glory in their heydays. Please visit these American towns and then visit Payatas, Tondo and other blighted areas in Manila and the provinces. Take lots of pictures then do a compare/contrast article here. So easy to judge when you do not have the big picture…

          • Micha says:


            The Philippines is a third world country, you’d expect Payatas-like communities to be found there. The US is a global economic and military hegemon, its corporate and financial giants dominate the world, are we suppose to expect this blight and degradation in its inner cities?

            In what part of the US do you reside? Are you mindful of the communities around you? Do you see those homeless folks, the starving children, rampant criminality, and gutted neighborhoods?

            What is your big picture?

            • So it boils down to expectations, huh?

              The big picture, Micha, is your expectations are too high even for a country like the US. Living here will give you a more balanced picture of what US is all about. What makes it successful is all its trials and tribulations plus the never-say-die patriotism and empiricism of its people.

              I live in Southern US. The home to the poorest red states in the nation. I am very mindful of my community and my mindfulness extends to PH through insignificant generous acts and deeds. I grow food for the disenfranchised and extend goodwill to all who are willing to accept it. Your turn… Tell us what you do for Japan and PH that entitles you to condescend others.

              • Micha says:

                I live in the US too, Juana, and I’m disappointed at your picture of the big picture.

                I thought you’re going to climb up the hill or ride a hot air balloon and take a panoramic snapshot of the American economic landscape but it looks more like you’ve only managed to get through half-way the statute of Liberty.

                The big picture here, if I may, is this thing called globalization. American corporations are doing very well, thank you very much. Gross earnings of one mega corporation exceed the entire GDP of some countries. They have become denizens of the globe, they don’t anymore care what happens to the land where they were born. Corporate executives would jet set around the world and make deals in places where they could extract the lowest labor cost for their operations. And so it came to pass that they gladly abandoned rust belt areas like Detroit, Philadelphia, Camden, Cuyahoga Ohio, etc and turned it into modern American hellholes.

                Globalization. We’ve thought it would be a benign positive force overall but it only produced very few winners and many many losers. The extraction and accumulation of wealth went disproportionately to the top. As we speak, it’s still gutting large swaths of the American middle class.

                One hopeful sign amidst this bleakness though is that the masses are starting to see they’re being conned and, grudgingly, some in both the left and right political movements are starting a protest vote against the plutocratic establishment.

                And as well they should.

              • Joe America says:

                I think this discussion represents two different value foundations. Micha’s is that of a rebel who holds that large corporations and poor distribution of wealth are damaging the American dream. Juana’s is that of someone who is personally benefiting from the American dream, and whose husband has defended it.

                The arguments can never connect until the two value systems are reconciled. Tough task.

              • Micha says:

                @Joe America

                As a matter of fact, me and Juana are about to connect the arguments if you hadn’t inserted and asserted the near impossibility of doing so and making erroneous assessment of my personal circumstance and convictions.

                I am doing very fine, thank you very much, but I have eyes to see and ears to hear the cries and suffering of both brown black and white Americans who’ve been sidelined by this economic animal called globalization.

              • Joe America says:

                I frankly don’t give a shit about your personal circumstance, just your ideas. Furthermore, read the title of the blog. It’s mine and I’ll comment when and where I want. Lose the chip from your shoulder. It’s getting so large we can’t see your head any more.

                Which reminds me of a joke, “Is that your face or did your shoulders grow another ass?”, but I’ll be kind enough not to apply it here.

              • Micha says:

                Support your assertion that my ideas are that of a rebel, Joe America.

              • Joe America says:

                Ah, maybe ‘eccentric’ would have been a better term. But, no, I am not thrilled at all with the idea of engaging you in any conversations that are likely to have us continue to butt heads. So thanks for the invitation, but I must respectfully decline.

              • Micha says:

                Advocating for basic human dignity for all is not being eccentric, Joe America.

              • Joe America says:

                Holding that oneself has the sole key to all human morality and economic ways seems a tad eccentric to me, but I have no research to back it up. So, I’ll just concede that you are as mainstream as they come, right down the center of the bell curve, half to the left, half to the right, half above and half below. And mosey on down the line to listen the eccentrics who are polite and willing to teach, and generally more entertaining than those middle of the road people who can’t seem to get off the dime for being so agreeable.

            • Joe America says:

              The view of Johnny Maceda on Facebook:

              Happy Birthday America

              This Sunday in church for July 4 Independence Day we sang America the Beautiful, from sea to shining sea. It is a beautiful song. It brings tears to my eyes just as Bayan Ko brings tears to my eyes.

              Thank you America for accepting so many Filipinos as immigrants into this great and wonderful nation. As a result, Filipinos are the number one Asian sub-set in terms of count (over 1 million) and also number one in terms of income. Filipinos have good jobs and a good life here. We beat all Asians and even whites. May pera ang Pinoy. In terms of others, we are either number 1 or 2. This is how great the Filipino can be outside his original homeland. America is our beloved adopted homeland and we love it here just as much as where we love where we from.

              Filipinos are hardworking, education oriented, frugal, family, and God oriented people. Filipinos are law-abiding, community and country oriented
              citizens. Filipinos pay taxes on time, and gladly so. Filipinos continue to be model citizens emulated and followed by many. Many people in the Philippines can’t understand this but we have not turned our backs on them. We haven’t lost our love for the original. Filipinos are like the American Jewish people. They love America as much as they love Israel. Think Bob Arum or Sheldon Adelson.

              It’s a hard concept to understand for many.

              But bottom line, we are just escapees from our corrupt culture. We left because we want to make a better live for ourselves.

              America is the place to be – so says the Mexicans, Eastern Europeans, rich Chinese and everybody else. They are here by the plane load and Donald Trump hates all of them. Ferdinand Sr and Jr, Imelda, Erap, GMA, hundreds of Napoles senators and congressmen destroyed the beauty of our culture. This point is just too long to discuss here. But believe it or not, without them, we would be like America. I am praying to see this as true in my lifetime. In PNoy we had a turning point. In DU30 I hope it continues.

              Time to go now to new neighbors house for the start of summer barbecue. Steak and wine daw. Not the regular hamburger and hotdogs. Wow! He rang my doorbell last week to invite us. They are a young Filipino couple both nurses new to America (4-5 years) with 2 young children. Naka Lexus pa! Sosyal parekoy! (STEM graduates so they have something to offer the job market demands) I’m excited to get to know them. Mukhang pala barkada. My wife and I have our standard answers if they see us as alternatives to their day care baby sitting needs. We only like to take care if our own. Sometimes you have to wonder why people are friendly to you. Hahaha! Obla di obla da!

              • edgar lores says:

                This optimistic view from Johnny Maceda suggests that the trick is to take out Filipinos from their own country… re-condition them and put them back. I wonder how it can be done… figuratively.

              • Joe America says:

                I don’t think there is sufficient critical mass to make a difference. The change will come from within when enough people have enough money that they want to protect it with stability and good thinking.

              • purple says:

                If Filipinos love America so much why did they vote for a president who “hates” America ? Why did they vote for a president who disparages and questions the alliance ?

                Why are American taxpayers supposed to protect a country like the Philippines who vote for anti-American authoritarians ?

                You see why Trump is getting purchase ?

                Remember, the U.S. shed blood for the Philippines. Not China. Duterte’s move towards China is deeply offensive. There will be repercussions as more Americans learn about it.

              • Joe America says:

                Agree. I don’t think OFW’s and American Filipinos had any idea who they were voting for. They were voting for whiffs of smoke about bullets in bags and jobs by the bucketloads and first world status next week. The judgmental disability probably extends overseas.

            • @ Micha – Wow! Are you bitter or what? I am disappointed in your drips of condescension and arrogance. You even channeled Malkin in your name-calling diatribes in your past postings. I can see that we do not hold dear same values so I’ll leave you alone in your cave of misery from now on.

              @ Joe – You got that right. I am happy where I am. I do not think Micha and I will bridge our differences because we are polar opposites, mindset-wise.

      • Rank says:

        You’re right, Ireneo. Paul Krugman will agree with you.

  6. Daniel Goleman writes about the subcortical brain circuitry and the neocortex.

    The subcortical circuitry or bottom-up mind:

    – is faster
    – is always on
    – is intuitive/associative
    – is impulsive/emotional
    – is reactive
    – manages our mental models

    the neocortex or top-down mind:

    – is voluntary
    – is effortful
    – is the seat of self-control
    – is able to learn new models and plan
    – is partly able to take charge of the bottom-up mind


    The bottom-up mind of the Filipino might be the one using Tagalog, Ilokano or another native language, while the top-down mind will usually be trained in English. This could be one reason for the judgemental disability of Filipinos. Our experience is stored in the bottom-up mind while our education is stored in the top-down mind. The two are usually out of sync with Filipinos – I know because I only managed to sync the two in Germany, with both working in German for a while.

    The bottom-up mind will register associatively. A woman with certain features may give me goose bumps because she reminds me of someone I knew – even if there is no logical reason for that. The bottom-up mind is the “Stone Age” mind, works quickly and keeps us from danger.

    The bottom-up mind of many masa is wired to be suspicious of whiter, richer, more educated people even if they mean well. The top-down mind of many masa is badly trained if at all. While the top-down mind of many pseudo-educated Filipinos is out of sync with the bottom-up mind.


    The bottom-up mind reacts to memes.

    The top-down mind reads highfalutin stuff like Edgar’s 😀

    Edgar’s bottom-up mind thinks of women as edible.

    • edgar lores says:

      Ahaha! So am I bottom-up mind or top-down? Or balanced?

      The dichotomy makes sense. The advances in neuroscience are remarkable. What is promising is that techniques are being developed and practiced that can overcome personal deficiencies like tics and stuttering and even epileptic seizures. The polyvagal theory has been proposed to understand and regulate the basic fight/flight/freeze response.

      • Balanced unless LCPL_X comes along and annoys you. Or MRP.

        The dichotomy refines what Freud found out by intuition, without the means available today. Probably the bottom-up mind is more like a “neural network” while the top-down mind is more like a typical computer. Neural networks have been known to make mistakes – a neural network trained on pictures of tanks associatively remembered the sun behind the tank and was not able to find a tank in the rain. Mar Roxas is a victim of associative thinking – “elite!” because of mannerisms that remind people of something from before. While Duterte benefits from associative thinking – “simple guy just like us, swears like us” – and of course in times of panic, bottom-up wins. Think road rage. Or running amok.

        • edgar lores says:

          I get that Filipinos are bottom-up generally. But what about Roxas and Duterte?

          Is Roxas top-down (a victim of associative thinking)?

          And is Duterte bottom-up (a beneficiary of associative thinking)?

          Basically, what I am asking is: Are associative minds attracted more to associative minds rather than to non-associative minds?

          • Those mainly intuitive (associative minds) will react to those who are like them.

            Those who are mainly rational will react to those who are like them – one can see even the difference between emotional Mocha Uson memes and “fact check” memes of “yellows”.

            As a consultant, I work a lot on stuff that demands selling change to the unwilling. Usually computer users will be intuitive while computer pros will be rational.

            Bridging their worlds is very hard work, but often essential to success – I feel like a politician on a tightrope then.

            Adenauer used populist methods post-Hitler. He was also seen talking to a donkey on vacation in Southern France. Asked by people (he was unknown in that village) he said: “I’m a politician and have learned to speak to all sorts of donkeys in their own languages”.

          • Joe America says:

            Depends on if you are talking about women, religion or politics . . . . he he

            • edgar lores says:

              I think in religion and politics, like attracts like.

              I think attraction in sex is different according to biological differentiation vs. gender differentiation.

              o In biological differentiation, opposites (male vs. female) attract.

              o In gender differentiation (LGBTI):

              – For LG’s, like attracts like respectively. That is, L attracts L and G attracts G.

              – The B’s (bisexuals) attract opposites and likes.

              – The T’s (transsexuals), if they have transitioned, would be attracted to their opposites… which they were like before!

              – The I’s? I give up!

    • NHerrera says:

      Edgar’s bottom-up mind thinks of women as edible.

      Hahaha. edgar, Irineo got you there!

    • karlgarcia says:

      Buttoms up!🍻🍾

  7. edgar lores says:


    Yes, totally agree.

    This is a Filipino-centric blog, and we are being a tad provocative.

    But would you say that Filipinos have more judgmental disability than other nationalities? Let us exclude Americans because of Trump.

    This would be along the line of various country indexes, such as for corruption, happiness, IQ, etc.

    • I was having a discussion this morning with an old friend from high school days – he has opened up a closed FB page with Pisay alumni, UP (crookery?) alumni and professors…

      he told me Bavaria and Austria seem to him to be the elite areas of Germany, and Czech areas the less developed, how could populism have come exactly from those places?

      I wrote him – the last bandit in Bavaria was executed in 1908. They had to go to the Czech republic to replicate how his place in Dachau county looked like before.

      While in Munich the first cars drove on the streets, just a few kilometers away in Dachau county, people like Matthias Kneißl lived in abject poverty and marginalization.

      A footnote – he became an outlaw because while dancing with his girlfriend, a cop said that girl is a bitch just like his mother. He beat up the cop and became a folk hero, covered up by the common people and swooned over by a lot of young women…

      Another footnote – the town of Hallbergmoos, near the hypermodern Munich airport which was finished in 1993, got its first asphalt road in 1965. I know people who are just a generation away from the Hitler supporter mentality, but they managed to study in the excellent public polytechnic universities – that network was set up by Franz Josef Strauss, controversial populist, son of a butcher who managed to finish Dr. iur – law – straight A…. so ignorance is something bred by poverty, and education/opportunities the solution.

    • Micha says:

      Do Pinoys have more judgmental disability than other nationalities? No, I don’t think so.

      Given what they have and given the choices before them, their actions and decision can be perfectly viewed as rationally justified and will be no better or worse than what a New Zealander, for example, will do given the same choices and circumstances.

      • edgar lores says:

        Is it as straightforward as similar choices and circumstances though?

        A Binay would not be allowed to run in other countries, and yet we permit it. Why?

        • My English brother-in-law, of true and proud London working class origins, once told me something very enlightening which could have come straight out of Charles Dickens:

          “those who have known hunger will always have a scar and sometimes act hungry even if it is not called for” – I guess this attitude may even be passed on through generations.

          My brother-in-law was of the generation that made it up… his father is very much a tough guy in the building industry while his late grandfather who was born in a slum was a bit of a crook he told me – nice man in the same way Binay can be truly friendly, I met him once.

          Dr. Franz-Josef Strauss was Bavarian Premier for many years and did a lot of good stuff – rumored corruption but never proven, libel cases for those who dared claim it as fact.

          Even detractors to this day say maybe he stole, but he made Bavaria a modern state…

          I once sat beside Strauss supporters in an Oktoberfest tent. They were celebrating his death anniversary. With Pinoy attitude of smile and say yes, I got along well with them… 😀

        • Micha says:

          Who is the “we”? If it were just limited to a subset of people who thinks Binay is morally bankrupt to run for public office, then maybe they wouldn’t. But there is no “we” entity that will allow or disallow Binay to run given his intent and ambitions.

          Our Constitution allows him to run because while it is true that he is under criminal investigation he is not yet a “convicted criminal”.

          • The same ruling that disqualified the younger Binay from ever running is also applicable to the elder Binay save for the immunity that is his privilege as a VP.

            This power is given to the Ombudsman by the constitution.

            • Part of our “tayo” – if we define the pro-Aquino forces as the tayo – were very favorable of Binay. I mean the Aquino sisters.

              The partisan bias of Filipino politics is everywhere, even if the partisanship of the “other” side is extremer and more agressive.

              Like I already mentioned, it is like the bias of soccer team fans in Europe – good we over here (kami rito) have that outlet for it. Otherwise it would be real war again, my father once said European soccer is a replacement for war. Instead of political partisanship, in Munich we have the clear identification with “red” and “blue” – you are either Bayern München or 1860 München, and you stay with one side for life while voting relatively dispassionately.

          • Filipino language is more precise in defining the we. Kami lang ba o tayong lahat?

          • edgar lores says:

            “We” is the nation as a whole. The mores of Australian culture, for example, would not permit a Binay to run. Both the media and the people.

            The Japanese would expect a politician as tarnished as Binay to resign if not commit seppuku.

            I have quoted the Constitution in the post with respect to the qualities of a public servant. It is not necessary that Binay is a convicted criminal. It is sufficient that he does not meet some of those qualities.

            So why the cultural difference between Filipinos and Australians, or between Filipinos and the Japanese?

            • Why are the cultures of Scandinavians so different from those of Balkan peoples?

              You are more likely to be asked for a bribe by a Romanian or Bulgarian schoolteacher, doctor or cop than by a Scandinavian cop – even if the two former places are improving.

              In Romania all forms of grease money are called spaga which come from the Italian “se paga” – this ain’t free, you have to pay this. So it is the Italian’s fault – AGAIN 😀

              Why does the Camorra allegedly control garbage collection in places like Napoli?

              Why did the Bavarian people love Franz-Josef Strauss inspite of all his capers, including getting caught with a prostitute in New York? The answers are blowing in the wind…

              • edgar lores says:

                The thesis here is that criteria, principles, and reasoning power are deterministic.

                There are things we can analyze and understand, and other things that are currently and admittedly beyond our power.

              • Micha says:


                Here is a thought experiment :

                Subject Australians to the very same historical events and climes as Filipinos, would they have not allowed or even voted for somebody like Binay?

              • edgar lores says:

                Such a thought experiment is impossible. Even a super duper computer would not be able to simulate all the variables and conditions. Therefore the thought experiment is invalid and meaningless.

                The question remains: Why does our culture permit a Binay to stand for office while other cultures would not?

              • Criteria may be based on the short- vs. long-term, individual vs. collectivistic outlook. Bulgarians and Romanians are usually short-term in outlook – formed by the Ottoman invasion/colonization experience and by poverty and feudal social structures for long.

                Bulgarians are more collectivistic, being Slavic in culture, Romanians are familistic, being Latins – my family right or wrong is their principle, a Romanian man might steal for his family, a Romanian woman might prostitute herself for her family – but never for the nation.

                Principles are stronger in German-influenced Transylvania than in Bucharest, there the principles may be more Mafia-like, among gypsy clans there patriarchal and clannish.

              • edgar lores says:

                1. I believe it was Joseph who pointed out Filipinos have a different sense of time from the Chinese. We build sari-sari stores and the Chinese build mega-malls. The judgmental outlook is indeed dissimilar.

                2. Would individualistic cultures have more principled people than collectivistic ones? Yes, I would agree. The process of individuation is a process of self-reliance.

                On the other hand, the Japanese are a collectivistic society and a principled one at that. It may be due to the rigid hierarchical social structure and its historical isolation. We have a hierarchical structure too but that structure and archipelagic isolation have been broken by three successive waves of colonial masters.

              • “Subject Australians to the very same historical events and climes as Filipinos, would they have not allowed or even voted for somebody like Binay?” One has to look at their English ancestors to see some parallels, even if history only rhymes like Mark Twain said:

                1. The original Game of Thrones were the Wars of the Roses in the late 15th century. York vs. Lancaster. There was a Ramos-like figure there called Warwick the Kingmaker, a military leader and nobleman who switched sides and had a lot of background power.

                2. The conflict between York and Lancaster bled England dry. An outsider with connections to both clans, Henry Tudor of Wales, became King Henry VII.

                3. King Henry VII was energetic and rebuilt England. His son Henry VIII was a mixed bag, somewhat crazy and abusive, split from the Catholic Church to divorce his Spanish wife.

                4. Queen Elizabeth relied on pirates like Sir Walter Raleigh, but her reign was one in which England flourished. The defeat of the Spanish Armada was the beginning of naval power.

                5. The Scottish Stuarts came after childless “Virginia” (Queen Elizabeth, unmarried and therefore a virgin in theory, although the Spanish said she was a “zorra” = vixen)….

                6. The Scottish Stuarts were hated, and an English country nobleman, Oliver Cromwell, became Lord Protector for a while. He was very strict, prohibited dancing and more.

                7. The Merry King Charles II brought the Stuarts back, a relief to the English after the rule of Cromwell. His son abused power again, and this cause the “Glorious Revolution”…

                8. to bring King William and Queen Mary of Orange (Holland) into power, but with the Parliament running things from then on. John Locke was a major supporter…

                9. Read by Thomas Jefferson who studied at the William and Mary college in New England. Gave him ideas that led to the Declaration of Independence.

                So in that sense, Micha, you are right – a lot of things happened so that certain societies became more “advanced”. Bill in Oz, please correct me if some aspects are wrong.

              • “The question remains: Why does our culture permit a Binay to stand for office while other cultures would not?” let us look at other cultures that like characters similar to both Binay and Duterte… this is about a “champion of the poor” Rio de Janeiro drug lord…


                It was just such deprivation that changed the life of Antônio Francisco Bonfim Lopes – aka Nem – forever in the year 2000. In his mid-20s, he had a respectable job distributing a TV listings magazine around the South Zone. Then his baby daughter developed a rare autoimmune disease and his tiny salary was not enough to cover the complex treatment she needed.

                The only person who would lend him the money was the then boss of the favela, and to pay back the debt, Bonfim had to leave his job and begin work for the cartel. Over the next few years, he became the most powerful and successful drug lord in Rio…

                In the absence of any regular police, law was maintained by 150 armed men, most in their teens and early 20s. But while the man known locally as Mestre, or master, decided over life or death, he usually opted for the former. Under his rule, homicide rates dropped by more than two-thirds…

              • http://www.vice.com/read/getting-to-know-the-drug-lord-who-controlled-rios-biggest-slum

                You described him as having struggled with moral decisions.

                How do you run a city of 120,000 people and its primary industry and you have 120 significantly armed young men under your control? How do you exercise power, what do you consider to be morally right and wrong, what do you consider to be operationally right and wrong? It’s a much tougher job than people imagine. They imagine you just walk around and swagger and shoot people when you don’t like them and pick up stack loads of cash cause you’re shifting 60 percent of Rio’s cocaine—and it just isn’t like that. In the end, he wanted to give himself up, there’s no question about it.

                What was his reputation like among the people of Rocinha?

                They all said to me, “We’d have him back in a shot. He kept everything calm here, the economy was doing well, everyone knew their place, everyone felt secure.”

                The last sentence sounds like Davao City to me

              • A tentative answer: historical experiences shape every culture and its PRINCIPLES.

                CRITERIA are shaped by what people see as doable or not in their life situation.

                The only solution: show them that other possibilities exist and are for real.

              • edgar lores says:

                Irineo, thanks.

                1. The first proposition about historical experiences is undoubtedly true. But:

                1.1. Spanish culture might allow a Binay to run. I am not sure, I am not familiar with the culture.
                1.2. American culture would definitely NOT allow a Binay to run. A Trump, yes, but not a Binay.
                1.3. Japanese culture would also not definitely allow a Binay to run. But we were under Japanese for less than 5 years, and did not imbibe their culture. Or rather the culture they showed us was the cruel side.

                2. The second proposition I question.

                2.1. It is not undoable for the media to crucify Binay. They did in part but not consistently and constantly. (This force could have ousted Binay.)
                2.2. Institutionally, the Senate hearings crucified Binay. The Ombudsman investigated him. The Judiciary suspended his son, and Binay (as Giancarlo notes) was implicated.
                2.3. The Church was largely silent — and silently accepted Binay’s help in repairing their buildings.
                2.4. Some of the people rejected Binay but — you are right — most of the people were apathetic and accepted his candidacy.
                2.5. The students did not rally. (This force alone, if mobilized properly, could have ousted Binay.)
                2.6. As JoeAm noted in one post, the moral principles of the Church whose tenets are accepted by the majority of Filipinos should not permit Binay to run.
                2.7. And Binay himself could have realized he was not fit to run. He battled the police, manhandling an officer, but there was not enough hue and cry.

                3. I believe the criteria were doable. it is just that, in your terms, a “tipping point” was not sufficiently created to force Binay from contention.

                In sum, the principles and criteria are there… but they are not practiced with sufficient force.

              • “We have a hierarchical structure too but that structure and archipelagic isolation have been broken by three successive waves of colonial masters.”

                not broken, but deformed to favor the abusive in the hierarchy.

                and the hierarchic structure in the Philippines never was national before the colonial masters came – the very country was built on the premise of datus swearing allegiance to King Felipe II, being privileged while supervising the slave labor of their own people. The idea that a datu must serve his people may have been broken then, Jesse Robredo may have been its true revival. The colonial structure was the people must serve the datu/Don.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                @Micha..Your thought experiment got me thinking…Australians & Filipinos in fact have very different histories..as a matter of fact…And so Australians have very different ideas about the nature of society and how it should be governed..

                Recently an Australian Historian name Babette Smith put forward an interesting ( and to me convincing ) hypothesis..

                95% of the early settlers in Australia up till about 1850, were ‘convicts’ – convicted of a crime in the UK and transported as convicts, or the children of convicts..Among those ‘convicted’ of some crime or other, there is a basic equality…..A recognition of mutual equality….This was Australian society..Very different to the aristocratic nature of England…

                Yes there were 5% who were ‘free settlers’ ..Soldiers & officers & officials..But they were a tiny minority and often went home to the UK at the end of the appointments..They did not stay.

                Meanwhile the convict settlers spread out across the continent..forming farms and towns and their attitude was we Australians are all equal…And we Australians have inherited that psychology. Migrants who become part of that are accepted. Migrants who don’t are not accepted even if they are as rich as Bill Gates

              • edgar lores says:

                Bill, let us hope that the Oz DNA allele for equality is dominant to that of criminality!

              • Bill in Oz says:

                !@Edgar. I wonder if there are alleles for equality..But all hunter gatherer societies are characterized by equality and a a lack of hierarchy…

                As for our convict- criminality allele..Hmmmmmm..Beter not to say..he he he

            • Bill in Oz says:

              An interesting discussion has been happening while I was sleeping..
              1Irineo..You are almost completely correct in your historical remarks..Just one minor correction : the 1688 Revolution in the UK was against James the 2nd, the younger catholic brother of Charles the 2nd..

              James 2nd reigned for bout 5 years..He started replacing major officials with his own favorites..Catholic favorites..There was a revolt lead by Charles 2nd illegitimate son. ( Charles had no legitimate issue so the throne went to brother James.) The revolt failed and the illegitimate son executed..

              William of Orange & Mary Stuart were offered the throne by Parliament and ruled together. Their major claim to fame was being protestant.1688 established the Protestant ascendancy in the UK.Their other claim to fame was that William was more interested in the Netherlands & spent most of his time there…In his absence Parliamnet became the effective governing power….And thus Responsible Parliamentary government was born.

              It was at times corrupt and undemocratic. It was also dominated by the Whigs who had the numbers to control government until the Napoleonic wars.. a century

              • karlgarcia says:

                my turn for a minor correction – James II ruled from 1685-1688 whch makes it 3 years.

        • Joe America says:

          This question gets to my point that criteria for decision-making in the Philippines provide the context for reasoning. Laws in the Philippines are written to favor the entitled, and the absence of ethical standards is clearly maintained to allow the empowered a lot of latitude to do things that would not be appropriate elsewhere. The Ombudsman had no power to file a case against the Vice President while in office. COMELEC had no basis to deny Binay his candidacy. Millions of voters believe that everyone in government is a crook, or has special benefits . . . which they do . . . and so voting for him is perfectly fine, if they think they will gain from it. It has nothing to do with innate capacity to reason. It has to do with social context.

  8. NHerrera says:


    Taking the factors you listed that contribute to judgment disability, which I subscribe to, I make the suggestion that if from time of our infancy to adolescence we have been fortunate — to have parents, teachers and people we respect and admire who have taught us by words and examples the good sides of a) principles and d) interests — then we are left mainly with the problems that comes from b) lack of criteria and c) lack of reasoning power. You added later the concept of ignorance and so I add as part of your basic list, e) lack of knowledge.

    Factors b and e are the more mechanical ones and can be had or taught without much difficulty if a and d are sound — especially in the context of the Internet and Google. Factor c) reasoning power as you aptly described and provided with examples is not just logical thinking but thinking beyond logic and I believe this requires practice and continued self-education but always anchored on sound principles. It is ironic that the upper middle class and up, are short on judgment ability as much as those who are lower than them in the socioeconomic ladder. Thus, the importance of nurturing and effective real education in the mix of those factors to instill the positive sides of a and d; and the continued self-education and practice to be good at reasoning power.

    Somehow the notion of creativity is also a factor that may be included in the list to enrich judgment, even with continuing self-education, as a guard against judgment being formulaic. Or is that the Filipino’s fault — being creative in our politics and the interpretation of our Constitution and the Laws? Baka makalusot eka nga. Hahaha.

    I like the article, Edgar.

    • “being creative in our politics and the interpretation of our Constitution and the Laws?”

      Filipino laws and institutions do NOT have deep roots in the culture, except in the culture of the educated groups, especially in cities.

      In Germany, even the man on the street knows terms from the German penal code – most especially those who might be affected just in case hehe..

      Elitist, yes often even highfalutin education on one side, and near-medieval ignorance on the other – this is a divide that is simply HUGE.

      And in the middle, those forced to memorize without understanding what they are learning.

      The educational system which Rizal already criticized as producing gramophones.

      • NHerrera says:

        Needed: an Atatürk-like change? In what way is Pres Duterte like Atatürk and in what way is he different in the desired change?

        • Quezon was the most like Atatürk, but the war cut his good work short, I fear.

          Duterte may at worst be like Erdogan, at best be like Adenauer or Franz-Josef Strauss.

          • NHerrera says:

            Thanks. Interesting — I have to read more about Quezon.

            • Most Republican institutions including COMELEC come from Quezon’s time.

              Filipinos seem to have just lived in them and built makeshift extensions after the war.

              • edgar lores says:

                Makeshift is very apt.

                Makeshift – “1. acting as an interim and temporary measure.” “2. Suitable as a temporary or expedient substitute”

                Perfect term for the lack of criteria and principles. Also implies expediency.

                Expedient – “A means to an end; not necessarily a principled or ethical one.”

      • Vicara says:

        Let’s not underestimate the medieval ignorance of our elite. 🙂

    • edgar lores says:


      Very good.

      1. Lack of knowledge (e) is ignorance and I said all judgmental disabilities are rooted in ignorance. It is true the Internet will help cure ignorance, but ignorance is more than lack of data. As Irineo says, data is not knowledge. Knowledge is comprehending the interconnectivity of related data.

      2. I agree creativity can be part of reasoning power. That is a very good point. Lateral thinking, for example, is creative thinking. There are other techniques, such as what-if simulations and role-playing. Thank you for that.

      3. Interests is a new one. I take it you mean that interest in something increases judgmental ability in that area. Therefore non-interest (or disinterest) is a factor in judgmental disability. Basically, you are saying laziness. Ha ha.

      3.1. Disability is defined as “a physical or mental condition that limits a person’s movements, senses, or activities.” Well, laziness is a physical and mental condition. And Filipinos are indolent, according to Rizal. Again, thanks for that.

      4. There are more factors to judgmental disability than I have discussed but have omitted because (a) they were not in my original comment to Juana and (b) for reasons of length. These are conditioning (biological, racial, cultural) and the paradigms (social, religious) we live by. That is, our judgmental abilities are constrained by conditioning and the paradigms that prevail in our times.

  9. Micha says:


    Re thought experiment.

    I’m too lazy to get down and dirty explaining the point of the thought experiment because I assume you will have no difficulty getting it.

    The Australians we typically know of today who developed the continent are actually settlers or immigrants from Europe, mainly England. Let us instead assume for the sake of the experiment that they are not, that is, they were native to the place, subjected to being conquered by 16th century Spain, bought and betrayed by General Dewey and eventually ruled by Americans for 50 odd years, brutalized by the Japanese in WW2, and eventually corrupted and robbed by their own leaders with names such as Marcos, Ramos, Estrada, and Arroyo.

    Given that historical trauma and background, how likely would it be that Australians in the hypothetical Filipino shoes (tsinelas?) would allow or even voted for somebody like Binay that come their way?

    • Let’s ask Bill… he is not only Australian… if I remember right his background is Irish… an island conquered… what he says about how attitudes were shaped by that experience.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Sorry Irineo..I cannot speak for the Irish..I was born in the UK which conquered Ireland under Cromwell…
        But Micha you are wrong about Australians being mostly descended from English..Many Irish migrated here after he potato famines..And Scots too as there was famine there as well..And Germans fleeing religious persecution And many Chinese seeking gold after 1850 ( but denied entry after 1860 ) And Americans & Italians

        • Joe America says:

          All I recollect remembering about Australia in 1969 were that the girls wore short short skirts. Of course, I had been in-country (Nam) for 9 months, so my criteria, principles and reasoning were a little warped. I have since learned that it is a huge country of many natural delights. In 2004, I had the honor of being the first modern-day outsider escorted up the rainforest mountain side to scale Mount Pieter Botte and sit atop the rock there. I didn’t even recollect the length of skirts then. All this actually relates to the point of this blog, that criteria and principles shift like the sands of the Sahara, and reasoning is always a bit temporal itself.

    • edgar lores says:

      Micha, sorry, it is too hypothetical for me.

      Instead of imagining a replication, why not analyze the actual situation as Irineo is doing?

      • Micha says:

        Then the examples are everywhere.

        Corrupt politicians in diverse places like Sudan, Haiti, Honduras, Brazil, Chile, Burma, Thailand, Pakistan, Italy, Britain, and yes, good old United States of America are allowed to run for public offices and many actually have managed to win.

        Hilary Clinton, a corrupt liar, a war mongering freak, a Wall Street prostitute and is under criminal investigation by the FBI is the presumptive nominee of the Democrats.

        Clearly, Pinoys do not have monopoly of the trait that you describe.

        • Joe America says:

          When’s your subscription to Breibart News expire? My advice, let it lapse and step back from the world of verbal extremism.

          • Micha says:

            @Joe America

            I’m a democrat but I’m both disgusted and ashamed that Hillary Clinton is the party’s nominee. She reminds me of Gloria Arroyo, a power hungry war mongering liar.

            And no, I do not subscribe to Breibart News.

            • Joe America says:

              I think she has been steeled and sealed in the hard bitterness of political battle, and can manipulate with the best of them. It all started with the battering she took on her Health Care initiative during President Clinton’s first term, through the Monica Lewinsky affair, and recently through the partisan committee grilling from the Republicans on the shooting of the Libyan ambassador. So I don’t think she is a liar as much as a powerful realist with an agenda who has been shaped by the reality of the bitterness of today’s American politics. You have to be the biggest dog in a pack of wolves to rise to the presidency, I think.

              • Micha says:

                Stay tuned to breaking news Joe. There’s a strong chance her political ambitions will be derailed one more time.

              • Joe America says:

                I watch with interest and amusement. I personally don’t fully trust Ms. Clinton, but all the other lunkheads ponied up by the respective parties are eccentrics, malcontents, and weirdos. She’s who I would vote for, even over Bernie Sanders who got shallower and more one dimensional and downright hostile the more he was in the limelight. I’m for Al Gore myself, although geeze, I wish he would lose some weight. It doesn’t serve do gooders well to be fat.

        • edgar lores says:

          Micha, I conceded your point with my first response.

          Yes, Filipinos are not unique.

          At the same time, no, Filipinos are unique.

          The mystery of Binay remains.

          And we are trying to understand this phenomenon… because if we don’t everything remains the same. There is no progress.

        • Bert says:

          ‘Attagirl, Micha, you’re on a roll, I love that. Thumbs up to you, Manang!

  10. josephivo says:

    We are three different people in one package. One has an instinctive, DNA formed over 100,000 thousands of years, taking decisions in a fraction of a second based on a set of values that made our ancestor hunter-gatherers thrive. The second is cultural, our clan found solutions to solve common conflicts between our instincts and the current environment. Fine-tuned values, religions as community builders and as proto-scientific problem solvers. It is all deep inside us but differs between tribes. Lastly there is out frontal cortex enabling us to define criteria, principals and logic when one and two are in conflict or if new situations arise.

    This three “me’s” constantly fight for influence. E.g. sharing is in our DNA, wealth accumulation in our culture, so this conflict needs out frontal cortex to come up with a final decision.

    The closer we are to a pre-agricultural society, the stronger a culture, the less we need criteria, principles or logic. Many in the Philippines are still close to early agricultural societies, having a strong culture that can solve conflicts with the older hunting-gathering DNA of the homo sapiens. Judgmental disability as a strength?

    • edgar lores says:


      This accords to my thesis as follows:

      1. The first layer of DNA formation is what I would call biological and racial conditioning. I did not include conditioning in the main post but have remarked on it in my reply to NHerrera.

      2. The second layer is what I usually refer to as cultural conditioning and the paradigms we live by. Again, these are in my reply to NHerrera.

      3. And the third layer is what the main post is about.

      We have discussed this a few posts ago. I believe my stated stance is that we can transcend the first two layers through the practice of mindfulness.


      • josephivo says:

        I wanted to stress that conflicts or mismatched between a situation and our first and second nature trigger thinking opposite to flying on automatic pilot. Some refinements:

        Often the decision and judgements are made by our first nature or by the second and the frontal cortex justification is constructed only afterwards. Such as: “I’ll study engineering because it is a family tradition” or “my best friends study it” or most likely: ”it will help me to impress the girl I like.” The rationality comes later: being good in math, career opportunities, reputation of the engineering department.

        Our third nature is our ultimate problem solver too, unknown to other species. When our first nature says amorousness and love, our second nature shouts fidelity, than our third nature cuts the conflict with arguments as the cost of annulment or the cost of 2 relationships.

        So the need for good reasoning depends on the mismatches between new situations and our established culture (our culture addressed most mismatches between our first nature and the environment. E.g.: In small hunter-gatherer groups social control was strong, stealing a tool from your neighbor impossible. In larger groups embedded culture, via religion and sins, tries to avoid stealing)

        Changes in the Philippine society were very little. Local chiefs and regional datus, replaced by Spanish colonizers, replaced by Filipino colonizers. The culture has learned to live in this environment. Religion mimics the situation, parents do not allow children to be rebellious and education strengthens the culture, repeat, don’t think. But things are starting to change, (the previous administration greatest achievement… the wala wang-wang and “you are my boss” mantra, and more important the changed attitude of most secretaries and the obvious dissonant Binay?), hence the (new) need to address Judgmental Disability and the timeliness of Edgar’s article.

        (miss something about alternatives, the not selected criteria, the opposite principles, the other ways of thinking to avoid bias, staying too long within old paradigms, widen the perspective.)

        • Edgar Lores says:


          Thank you for the extended clarification. The example of the love impulse is striking:

          o First layer (biological) – desire as love
          o Second layer (cultural) – norm of fidelity/monogamy
          o Third layer (reasoning) – practice of infidelity or polyamory

          The first layer, which is nature would also determine gender. Or so I believe; others believe gender is nurture.

          What is fascinating for me is the profusion of diversity at each level, and the fact (?) that the third level can redirect the “programmed instructions” of any level. The mismatches can be between, among and, I would say, within all levels.

        • josephivo says:

          To better understand judgment it is important to understand the fast deciders of our first nature selected over millions of years, crystalized in our DNA. These values were essential to survive as hunter-gatherer (many can be seen too in groups of chimpanzees). First, the (kind) drivers of cooperation and support for each other, conflict resolution, group happiness, and the search for fairness, proportionality between cause and effect, coherence, search for the supernatural, the spirits as part of the family… Second, the (violent) drivers of defending our territories, the need and control of borders, the de-humanizing of outsiders, the offensive fights only with superior numbers… We feel good when our behavior can align with this inborn values.

          Then, 12,000 years ago a population explosion supported by an agricultural revolution resulted in permanent residence. This created numerous problems as individual property, women becoming individual property too, shift in scale and hierarchies, epidemics, need for better defensive and offensive weapons… Good manners, stronger Gods as social glue, respect for the ruler, proto-medicine in religious rules for nutrition and to avoid STD’s…. They all became self-evident, part of who we are, our second nature and it helped to create artificial borders, identify outsiders with their rude rules, false Gods, strange food.

          Globalization splits the world in two groups, those not afraid of reason and wanting to develop better judgmental skills and those who want to return behind stronger borders, fall back on their culture, developed over hundreds of years.

          • edgar lores says:

            Joseph, thanks.

            That’s quite an extensive list of drivers. From my view, these drivers are principles developed in mankind’s journey. They are also criteria.

            Take, for example, the proportionality between cause and effect. Stated as a principle, one can say, “Under the rule of law, the methods we use to fight crime must be lawful.” Then when considering using extrajudicial means to suppress criminality, it can be a criterion: “Are our methods proportional to our goals?”

            I have noted that there can be conflicting principles, such as the ones cited about globalization in your last paragraph. To decide which principle is “better” will depend on the criteria, the reasons and the people affected by it all. One can, for example, take the EU view or the Brexit view. This begs the question: Which behavior aligns with inborn values? Or the better question might be: Which behavior aligns with future values?

            • josephivo says:

              The list of drivers is endless, would need a separate blog. “Proportionality” according our DNA killing for petty crime is felt as inacceptable, killing for major crime as acceptable . The frontal cortex could create objections for both, “the small criminals are Jews, so extension is needed” – according the frontal cortex of a Nazi -, or “killing is against the 5e commandment, thus never acceptable”. Small infections as common cold have a minor cause, lethal infections as HIV are the result of major negligence.

              Eve did bite in the forbidden fruit of the tree of knowledge, so we are condemned to work hard and keep accumulating knowledge. Returning to paradise and live an “instinctive” life is no more possible. Returning to our age of innocence (0 to 2/3years, when culture kick in?) not possible either. Maybe some mild dementia can help? In our current world and our current condition, happiness might be in making better judgments 🙂

              • edgar lores says:


                I know you previously posted your reading list on this subject. Could you please post it again here? Thanks.

              • karlgarcia says:

                Just say the word and the librarian will do his job.

              • josephivo says:

                A lot of ideas from: “The good book of human nature. An evolutionary reading of the Bible” Michel. Older, “Sapiens, a brief history of Humankind” by Yuval Noah Harari. And the good old “Ideas. A history of thought and invention, from fire to Freud” by Peter Watson.

              • Edgar Lores says:

                Joseph, many thanks.

              • josephivo says:

                first book by Michael van Schaik and Kai Michel.

  11. edgar lores says:

    I accept the refinement.

  12. chempo says:

    Thank you Edgar, such profound article. I’m enjoying the comments coming in.
    At the moment I’m a Left-Right mind. I read your writing twice and every comment, eyes and mind scrolling left to right.
    Per NHerera’s interest, I think when personal interest is at stake, everyone can judge very well.

    • edgar lores says:

      Chempo, thank you.

      With interest in any subject, we can attain the level of expert.

      My newly acquired interest — in which I have not reached expertise level — is in parsing and conjugating sex and gender attractions.

  13. Exhibit A:


    (a) the lack of principles;
    (b) the lack of criteria;
    (c) the lack of reasoning power; and
    (d) selfish or factional interests;

    Brilliance wasted on evil rather than good deeds.

    • edgar lores says:

      Juana, thank you for this link. I have just read it now… and you are right about the waste of brilliance. So much effort to deceive, and to what end? His name is mud.

  14. From what I got from reading the article:

    Criteria is concerned with HOW a judgement is right.

    Principles are concerned with WHY a judgement is right. As for how it is different from Criteria, I think the Binay example was actually very good.

    For reasoning power, I’m kind of lost. Especially after the Solomon example. Uhm… Could you elaborate more? As of now, I interpret it as the consistency of reasoning? So in a way, reasoning power would establish principle as it’ll find the most consistent, which in turn would establish criteria, thus the judgement/decision?

    For personal interest, I see at as something like biases? And these biases would influence reasoning power as it’ll probably influence ‘consistency’, which in turn will also influence the other two. However, maybe we could also include external biases like social and environmental ones?

    As for another factor, I think foresight is also important with regards to making judgments/decisions. Because depending on how far a person looks ahead, it’ll probably determine what their biases are which in turn will also determine all the other factors?

    And lastly, I think the most important factor when making a judgement/decision is attitude to data and information. Primarily how they gather and interpret it. Wait… It just came to mind now that we are basically talking about critical thinking. So judgmental disability is basically a lack of critical thinking? Hmm… This just seems to be a very wide topic and I can’t seem to know where to start. Uhm… Can anyone point me in the right direction? =D

    • As with the judgmental ability of a majority of Filipinos, I think that it is not that they don’t have it. But rather, I think their bias for self-preservation is just too strong thus they dismiss the “proper” decisions. But then again, from their perspective, it is a proper decision as doing the “right” thing would not be beneficial to them especially when they are the only ones doing it. But looking at the long run and also the big picture, Filipinos are of course losing out. It is like the prisoner’s dilemma on a national level. Filipino’s don’t really trust anybody if you look it closely. So how do you suppose we encourage “trust” among each other? You know, for them to develop a concern for the common good and whatnot? If we can fix that, I’m pretty optimistic that this judgmental disability will disappear by then.

      • I have mentioned often that Filipinos tend to play zero-sum games or lamangan…

        Win-win is rare, because win-win presupposes trust that is not there in a country that was subjected to Spanish divide and rule, with own leaders merrily taking part and continuing.

        • To share, I found a video about an iterated prisoner’s dilemma.

          Assuming you are already aware of the prisoner’s dilemma, the video basically discusses possible strategies for cooperation/non-cooperation and maximizing personal returns given multiple rounds of the said dilemma.

          The problem is: The situation in the PH is indeed a zero-sum game because nobody can cooperate as it would mean letting one’s self be exploited. It does seem to be that the PH is indeed a nation of self-interested bastards. And as of now, you can’t encourage cooperation because it will be a lost cause unless a significant number of people will start it.

          So given that, how do you suppose do we establish a significant number of agents that’ll encourage cooperate?

      • Joe America says:

        I think you found your way out of the woods just fine.

      • karlgarcia says:

        Trust is a benefit,a benefit of the doubt.

    • edgar lores says:


      1. You are trying to understand and interrelate the factors. This is good. Your conclusion is that reasoning power is the starting point. It uncovers principles, which lead to criteria, which lead to decisions.

      2. In the circle of progression at the end of the post, I delineate the process, but I do not suggest that reasoning power is the starting point. I mention choices, but where do choices come from? They come from prior conditions, and in a sense, are givens.

      3. The world and our existence in it are givens. How we apprehend the world, I would suggest, is a good starting point. But here we enter into the murky waters of philosophy, into epistemology and metaphysics. I will not go there — I dare not.

      4. I will just say that there is a more basic mode of apprehension than reasoning power. This is intuition. This is your handle — and it is apt.

    • edgar lores says:


      Sorry, I have not dwelt on your other points.

      1. It was NHerrera who introduced the factor of interests. The term has many meanings. It can denote bias, yes, but I would prefer to use the term inclination. Bias has a negative connotation. Lack of inclination predisposes us to judgmental disability; interest increases our judgmental ability.

      2. Foresight is an extension of reasoning power and intuition. There is a practical aspect to it in relation to the consequences of decisions. We usually use it in the context of planning. We say that if everything has gone to plan, the planners had great foresight.

      3. Data and information are the inputs to decision-making.

      4. Critical thinking is a methodology of reasoning.

      • I get what you mean about using ‘inclination’ rather than ‘bias’. I was actually considering the former but I found that the latter would also put into consideration the social and environmental factors which seems to play a significant role when it comes to making decisions. So in a way, ‘bias’ is more of a generalized term? But yes, there is a negative connotation attached to it. Though it could probably be avoided if proper context is included?

        With regards to foresight, it does seem to be inexplicably linked to intuition. Hmm… Maybe it is because intuition relies on previous experiences and then it uses these to decide as to what may be the best course of action given a current scenario. So maybe it can be said that intuition relies on the adage that history may repeat itself? But then again, foresight seems to be more rational as it seems to take into account that no situation is actually exactly the same so it takes tries to consider these other details then finds other experiences that may be appropriate. So maybe I’d like to define foresight as ‘intuition with perspective’? Basically makes an amalgamation of many different experiences from different perspectives to try and make an accurate picture of what may happen? That’s seems to be a better stance…

        As for reasoning power, sorry but umm… I still can’t seem grasp it. But re-reading the article and also some of the comments, it does seem to be about finding the conflicts between different principles and criteria thus establishing consistency and stability of reasoning? And given that every new decision can introduce new data and information, we would actually have to re-establish it every now and then so there really isn’t a starting point. As you’ve said, it is a circle of progression.

        However, given this circle of progression, wouldn’t their be a tendency of getting into a feedback loop? Something like getting stuck in an echo chamber as the goal is finding what is ‘right’, usually in terms of what you have considered “right” given the previous iteration of the loop.

        But then again, this does beg the question of what is “right” anyways. And as you’ve said, we probably shouldn’t go there. So uhm… Random quote? =D

        [“Who’s to judge what’s right and wrong?” The correct reply is, “We all are – every rational being on Earth must make moral judgments and be prepared to be held responsible for one’s own actions.” As Ayn Rand said, “Judge and Be Prepared to Be Judged.” We are to judge based on the best reasoning we can supply, in dialogue with other people and other cultures, and with sympathy and understanding.”]
        – Ethics: Discovering Right and Wrong (2006)

        • edgar lores says:


          Thanks for the refinements.

          1. Inclination vs. bias. In this forum we use the Humpty Dumpty Dictionary, meaning we can use a term any which way we like as long as we define it. Your points are accepted.

          2. Foresight and intuition.

          2.1. I agree intuition may rest on experience. This is the gut feeling of the detective or expert. This aligns with the dictionary meaning of knowing something without conscious reasoning.

          2.1.1. But intuition may also be a “bolt out of the blue” independent of experience. Arguably, the insights of Einstein or the prescriptions of Edgar Cayce fall into this category. There is nothing in their experience that would account for their insights. Einstein’s insights were pure abstractions and not based on concrete reality.

          2.1.2. I also agree foresight relates with intuition. The insights into the separation of power doctrine of the Founding Fathers of the US are partly based on historical figures. like Montesquieu and Locke, but nevertheless their foresight is legendary in mapping out the details of the original vision.

          3. Reasoning power. At its simplest, this is the ability to select the correct principle and the correct criteria in decision-making.

          3.1. There is nothing wrong with feedback loops. It is necessary to refine our judgments. Like adding additional criteria for instance. Or correcting errors in the implementation of our decisions. Even the principles of the Constitution need updating.

          3.2. I agree consensus establishes what is right… but consensus can be wrong. Like the consensus on slavery in past times. The correct principle establishes what is right. And reason helps us to select that correct principle. Consequences also tell us if something is right or wrong.

  15. I had to take a break from exile to comment. I thought this article was really good too, edgar! And I’m with chempo, I had to read it a couple of times (also the rest of the commentary!). It’ s right up there with josephivo’s New Thinkers and New Enlightenment articles, and go together perfectly.

    I agree with you re DNA formation 1) biological and racial conditioning, 2) cultural conditioning as lower levels ; as for 3) i’m right there w/ intuitiveperceiving I don’t quite grasp it, but I know it’s the ideal (the goal if you will), kinda like the Vulcans in Star Trek , who’ve learned to suppress 1) and 2) thru centuries of diligent practice.

    As a military guy I’m all too familiar with 1) and 2) , and I think this is where we disagree most of the time, edgar 😉 (for me 1) and 2) are important), I’m not smart enough to conceive of this 3) but like a guy in the dark I can make out bits and pieces of it. I think…

    the ultimate expression of 3) IMHO is in sacrifice (the opposite of self-preservation).

    When I said Bam Aquino should visit Jordan and hang out with the King there, it wasn’t simply for physical prowess or a self-examination of bravery.

    The Jordanian military is known as the most professional in that region, Arab militaries fall over themselves to recruit Jordanian military officers, it’s kinda Jordan’s most sought after export in the region. The other militaries in the region (Egypt, Syria & Saddam’s Iraq pre-9/11) more resembles the Philippine military, with lots favoritism & corruption.

    In 1984, Queen Elizabeth II visited Jordan, King Hussein (the father of King Abdullah II) ordered his son to be the Queen’s personal bodyguard.

    At that time King Abdullah II commanded a tank unit in Jordan. Just 4 years prior, he attended Sandhurst (England’s West Point, the Philippine’s PMA). As part of his stint at Sandhurst, he also served in an English infantry unit. Sandhurst was also where his dad and grandfather attended. Before Sandhurst the King attended high school at some fancy prep school in New England. My point here is that the current King is a product of Arab, American and British modes of thought.

    When his father ordered him to be the Queen’s bodyguard, just to make sure, he asked his father how far he ‘s to go as head of this executive protection detail…

    The King said, “If somebody fires at the Queen , you will put yourself in the way. And if it means losing your life to protect our guest, you bloody well do it. Otherwise I’ll shoot you myself!”

    I think that’s more of a Klingon mindset, but a Vulcan would game that in their head and also conclude it to be of sound logic.

    Sacrifice IMHO galvanizes 1) … 2) … and 3) together in one simple package.

    Thanks for the article, edgar, not only was it a satisfying read, but I think I know what direction to push the next article towards now. 😉

    • This is Edgar and LCPL_X: 😀

    • edgar lores says:


      Thank you.

      I like your perspective of the three layers of “consciousness” as it relates to you.

      Two things to think about.

      1. The arc of evolution is towards higher complexity and differentiation. The higher the layer that we ascend to, the more we fulfill our human potential.

      2. Your insight about the relationship between self-sacrifice and self-preservation is central. Indeed, the interrelationship of these two human vectors is the core of all great religious teachings.

      2.1. In Christianity, we are commanded to love one another.

      2.2. In Buddhism, the practice of Metta (loving-kindness) is the height of being, the expression of universal love.

      The basis of the insight is the realization that, at bottom, we are not separate. This is Buber’s I and Thou proposition.

      Vulcans and Romulans, unite!

      • edgar, et al.

        Romulans or Klingons represent the same thing to me (1 or 2 depending which Star Trek iteration)… represented by the Spartans and their Agoge, Romans and their Citizenship and eventually the Samurais and their Code. Vulcans… Pythagoras’ cult to todays’ Science movement (not Scienticism) IMHO represent that trajectory in humanity.

        I think originally in the Star Trek series,

        1. Klingons

        2. Humans

        3. Vulcans

        represented, 1. Id , 2. Ego, 3. Super-Ego ,

        then in the 1990s that was re-tweaked to

        1. Humans (id)

        2. Romulans (ego)

        3. Vulcans (super-ego)

        with the intended ramification of the three species being genetically related, which means all three species have the capacity to evolve or devolve up or down the ladder, descend or ascend this very potential.

        I’m still on the same boat as intuitiveperceiving and chempo, but re-reading de Montaigne’s very last essay, “On Experience” , I think helps a bit (the article Joe recommended that I write , is now evolving into something a lot more abstract, thanks to edgar and the comments here 😉 the hard part now is how to translate it to something actionable… ) , read here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3600/3600-h/3600-h.htm#link2HCH0106

  16. cha says:

    The part of me that’s fed up and exasperated – that which now feels estranged from members of my own family and some friends I used to like, that part which believes I am right and they are wrong – would say yes, of course the Filipinos have a judgmental disability.

    But the part of me that’s been trained to think rationally -that part of me that’s been trained in the social sciences, that which seeks first to understand and then to be understood – would say, hang on, wouldn’t saying so only serve to expose my own judgmental disability?

    And so I go back to my familiar grounds, the social sciences, for some perspective. There is an emerging theory on morality, The Moral Foundations Theory developed by a group of social psychologists (Jonathan Haidt et al) which I find useful. The theory attempts to explain the origins and variations in moral reasoning between individuals and cultures as a factor of differing sensitivities to five foundations that helps locate each of our value systems. In each foundation, we will find that we have our individual comfort zones in an imagined continuum of two opposing directions and this is what is often the bases of the choices or decisions we make both in our day to day life as well as those that affect our future.

    For brevity, the points I’d like to make for now are that :

    1. We all have different sensitivities when it comes to each of the moral foundations the theory identifies.
    2. We also give different weights to each of the five in our overall personal value system.
    3. Some of us tend to share the same sensitivities and weighting systems relative to the five foundations, perhaps as a result of shared cultural upbringing/traditions or through similar evolutional/educational tracks .
    4. And likewise, there will always be those in the general population that have different sensitivities from us for those same reasons in number 4.
    5. That which we consider “judgmental disability” basically represents a different set of sensitivities than us.
    6. Changing and reshaping others’ sensitivities are possible through social learning and education.

    Here are the five moral foundations explored in the theory:

    1)Care/harm: This foundation is related to our long evolution as mammals with attachment systems and an ability to feel (and dislike) the pain of others. It underlies virtues of kindness, gentleness, and nurturance.
2) Fairness/cheating: This foundation is related to the evolutionary process of reciprocal altruism. It generates ideas of justice, rights, and autonomy. [Note: In our original conception, Fairness included concerns about equality, which are more strongly endorsed by political liberals. However, as we reformulated the theory in 2011 based on new data, we emphasize proportionality, which is endorsed by everyone, but is more strongly endorsed by conservatives]
3) Loyalty/betrayal: This foundation is related to our long history as tribal creatures able to form shifting coalitions. It underlies virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice for the group. It is active anytime people feel that it’s “one for all, and all for one.”
4) Authority/subversion: This foundation was shaped by our long primate history of hierarchical social interactions. It underlies virtues of leadership and followership, including deference to legitimate authority and respect for traditions.
5) Sanctity/degradation: This foundation was shaped by the psychology of disgust and contamination. It underlies religious notions of striving to live in an elevated, less carnal, more noble way. It underlies the widespread idea that the body is a temple which can be desecrated by immoral activities and contaminants (an idea not unique to religious traditions).  

    Additionally, the developers of the Moral Foundations theory have also been attempting to explain or illustrate the differences between the minds of political conservatives and liberals.

    Those who want to read more on this and even take a Moral Foundations test and see how you compare with likeminded political animals, go to :


    Hope this is helpful. (Or at the very least interesting. Haha)

    • Joe America says:

      Fascinating . . . which is way beyond ‘interesting’! 🙂

    • What would the PDuts vs PNoy supporter look like

      • cha says:

        Thanks Gian. Ted talks are always enjoyably educational.

        Also, there is a self-scoring questionnaire in the MFT website (link posted earlier), in addition to the actual MFT questionnare which if you accomplish is auto-scored and you get back your profile in comparison with the prevailing conservative/liberal profile. I used the self-scoring questionnaire in trying to come up with the Duterte profile in my response to Edgar below. Hopefully I got it right. (Then again, who cares? Haha)

    • edgar lores says:

      Cha, thanks.

      There are several ethical systems, some of which I have mentioned before: virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and situational ethics. Now. in addition to your moral foundations (MFT), there are (a) the theory of justice of Rawls and (b) the discourse ethics of Habermas.

      I have bookmarked your link for further study.

      My initial reaction is: I long for the simplicity of normative deontology when stealing was considered bad!

      The new ethical theories seem, to me, to evaluate the ethicalness of human behavior within the social context. Some would go so far as to say morality exist only within social interaction, and does not apply to the individual qua individual. Individual morality is not morality per se but character development.

      I find it difficult to swallow these. Perhaps, in due time, I will be able to.

      I note that MFT not only considers the social context but also evolutionary history, which accords with Joseph’s three layers of consciousness.

      My other difficulty with these new systems is that they are postmodernistic and assume some sort of ethical relativism.

      I do not deny that there is relativism in the application of morality. The Philippines is different from Oz. But should there be relativism in ethical principles? Is corruption bad in Oz but good in the Philippines?

      These are the issues I — and we — struggle with, and there is no clarity.

      It might be said that Duterte provides deontological clarity — and how!

      • cha says:

        I do understand where you are coming from. There is still right and wrong. And MFT is not about that.

        What MFT is able to do is provide an understanding, a snapshot or a perspective of individual, societal and cultural tendencies relative to the five moral foundations at a given point in time or stage in its evolution. As Giancarlo inquires insightfully in his comment above, what could the profile of the two opposing camps in the last elections possbly look like? I think exploring the answers to that question can be helpful in terms of 1) drawing inferences and making sense of the results of said election and from there 2) charting future courses of action by way of education or advocacy perhaps, such that the future choices of the Filipino electorate reflect more what is right instead of wrong relative to the five foundations. (That’s where the ethical rights and wrongs can come into play)

        Hopefully, somewhere there between social psychology and ethics, we can stumble into a way of understanding and doing that brings us all some piece of mind and hope still of a more emlightened future for Philippine society.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          Cha, thanks for the clarification.

          So MFT is about explaining the varieties of moral cultures, and is not a moral system in itself. It is descriptive and not prescriptive.

          When I look at the five foundations, which are dichotomous, and try to construct a profile of a Roxas voter (RV) vs. a Duterte voter (DV) as suggested by Giancarlo, the results may be clear in some foundations but not in others.

          1. Care/Harm. Both voters (and their principals) care. However, a DV is willing to commit harm in the short-term. But can it not be said that an RV prolongs harm in the long-term?

          o At the cultural level, Filipinos are not strong in their care for others?

          2. Fairness/cheating. In what way can this be applied to the voters? It may apply to the principals. If indeed the DV campaign was a psyops, then the DV camp cheated. Roxas presented himself without adornment, therefore he was fair. But this foundation has to do with equality, and neither candidate favored one segment of the population over another.

          o At the cultural level, Filipinos are not fair.

          3. Loyalty/betrayal. This foundation has to do with the formation of shifting coalitions, patriotism, and self-sacrifice. Again, I cannot see anything here… but DVs are willing to betray/sacrifice the rule of law?

          o At the cultural level, Filipinos are not self-sacrificing for the country.

          4. Authority/subversion. The DV voters and principal favor stronger hierarchical authority.

          o At the cultural level, Filipinos obey authority and are not openly subversive; however, they are snide.

          5. Sanctity/degradation. Can it be said the DV voters and principal are willing to degrade criminals and women(?).

          o At the cultural level, Filipinos exhibit both sanctity and degradation.

          If we apply the five foundations across culture, I believe we will find the same clarity and ambiguity.

          Overall, MFT is helpful in explaining cultural variety and may also help explain our judgments in the social context.

          • cha says:

            Yes, Edgar, the MFT’s usefulness is in its ability to describe. adding my own assessment to yours (above), the profile of the Duterte supporter vis-a-vis the five foundations might look like this:

            1. Care- Only slightly important. I do care about others. But hurting/ killing others is
            justifiable if it means we can have peace and order in our country.

            2. Fairness- Important but only in terms of my own sense of victimization. I have
            lost my sense of security and safety to these lowlife criminals, my property constantly
            under threat. Fairness is found in retribution, an eye for an eye. Due process is for

            3. Loyalty- Very important. If you are not with us, then you are against. The enemy
            of Duterte is our enemy. Those who criticise Duterte criticise us. Do-terte or die.

            4. Authority- Very important. Yes! We finally have a leader who is ready to rule and show
            ’em. Go President Duterte! We are all behind you. We will support you in everything.

            5. Sanctity- What is that? And who cares?

            Going by the numbers, there should be about 16 million Filipinos who are likely to fit this profile. But the beauty of the MFT is that it reminds us that there are other sets of sensitivties, other profiles to be found in the general population. The 16 million do not a hundred million make.

            Eventually those whose sensitivities run counter to those that occupy the stage at the moment will push back. Joeam, in the next blog is doing a bit of needling right in that direction (thank yoy Joeam) . I think it’s the right move to make. I see others doing the same thing in social media, seemingly lone voices for now. But in time, I think they will find each other and their voices together can command better attention.

  17. Bill in Oz says:

    @Giancarlo..Re Aborigines in Australia..I think the census says that there are about 500,000 in Australia..Approximately 80% live in the cities..with varying degrees of wealth & poverty, health and disease, home owning and homelessness.

    The other 20% choose to live in remote outstations in their anstcestral territories : remote from jobs, housing, schools, doctors & hospitals, even roads and water. These places are frequently characterised by high rates of drug & alcoholism, domestic violence, low school attendance rates, unemployment,, dependence on ‘sit down money’ ( social security )

    Every year the Commonwealth government provides about $4 billion to help alleviate aboriginal problems.It has do so since the 1970’s..The policy of throwing money at the problem has largely failed..

    • Joe America says:

      Not to be particularly racial about it, but just feeling a bit smart-assed today due to all the shit I have to put up with in trying to run a good blog, when I was in Darwin, there were cliques of Aborigines hanging out here and there, perhaps, as you say, being drunk or out of school, and I thought to myself, “hey, even I can dunk over these guys!”

      • mercedes santos says:

        They have a long struggle with a non-bush habitat whereas you have been living in a man-made habitat the rest of your life. Try living in the bush and see who will survive, bossman.

        • Bill in Oz says:

          Mercedes..Are you making a personal comment directed at me ? If so you are out of line…with the standards set by Joe on this blog….
          As for your comments
          1 : Aborigines from out stations coming into town for booze or drugs do themselves no favours. Ditto petrol sniffing and shabu
          2:There are plenty of aborigines who live in cities living normal lives, with jobs, homes and families.From the stats more of these than in the bush
          3:As I lived and grew up in the bush,I’d do just fine thanks very much..by my standards

          • Joe America says:

            I think her comment was directed at me, and there was no ill judgment behind it, just a stern “watch your manners, bubba”.

          • mercedes santos says:

            There’s only one bossman in this society and, unfortunately, that’s NOT you. Try the nomads in Queensland.

            • mercedes santos says:

              That’s for you Bill from S.A. (south africa ?) and why do you need a caregiver in Pinas when there are so many Pinay women in Oz. seems odd to me, but that is just me.

              • Bill in Oz says:

                I am Australian from South Australia…I have never claimed to be a ‘bossman’ so I don’t I have to cop your insult…(which is what it is Australia by the way, Joe )

                I am simply putting information/facts before people in this conversation.If you have different information you can add it to the conversation. Responding with insults simply indicates
                you don’t have those facts or information.

                I have a Filipina fiance/partner. We care very deeply for each other. But it is no business of yours, ….You have no right to make such remarks..So bugger off.

        • Joe America says:

          Oh, hey, I visited Kakadu and spent time with the spirits drifting across the rocky landscape on the winds and clouds, and totally respect their heritage and hardships. I’m a bushman myself, having tutored under Carlos Castaneda and watched every survivalist show known to mankind. But it is a simple truth, I can dunk over aborigines, the joke always being on the white guy because we really CAN’T jump very well. It has to do with butt muscles . . . but perhaps I overspeak . . .

          • mercedes santos says:

            Proof that Yanks can jump but Poms are over-jumpy ???

          • Bill in Oz says:

            Joe, I’m puzzled by the word ‘dunk’ In Oz we say ‘slam dunk’ in basketball or to ‘dunk’ something in water…

            Aborigines don’t play much basketball..But they do play Australian Rules football a lot..both in the amateur leagues and in the professional AFL .They are amongst the best football players in the country….And greatly admired for their speed, agility, ball skills and team focused way of playing…

            Kakadu I do not know..But the aboriginal peoples of Australia all had/have their sacred sites. Many are kept secret to avoid being desecrated..Others are well known and respected by locals of whatever color..There is one such place close to my home…It is a powerful cleansing place.

  18. Bill in Oz says:

    @Joe, Micha has brought to the fore, the issue of globalisation…It is neither completely good or bad…It has gutted many cities in the USA & the UK..And also brought jobs to poor people in poor countries…

    But is it a zero sum game ? And is a world with natural ‘limits’, how sustainable is it ?

    This is a along way from Edgar’s post and intentions…

    • Joe America says:

      Ahh, Bill. A superb topic. Care to write it up? Just conceptualize it in a short article and let the discussion work the topic. It would be very rich, I think.

      • Waray-waray says:

        Right you are @JoeAm. As early as the 2000’s globalization was the buzz-word then of me and my husband’s former company. The immediate effect was the collapse of unions and labour organizations. And now the shift in the socio-economic-political sphere as what is happening with the elections in the Philippines, the Brexit and the coming elections in the US. That would indeed be a superb topic, very relevant to the times.

        • karlgarcia says:

          Paging Irineo,could you do that article sharing or peering thing once more? What do you call that again?

    • karlgarcia says:

      waitaminit,how is your left or right arm? No news must be good news.

      • Bill in Oz says:

        Ahh Karl..Just back from the surgeon at Chinese. Yes good news…Doing Physio therapy now..And I am fit to fly..So in a couple of weeks we will head back to South Australia

    • karlgarcia says:

      This is what I do not get with the leftists,they hate Foreign Direct Investments among the many things they hate.They call ex PNoy the poster boy of neo liberalism.


      The IBON foundation is a leftist think tank.

      • Joe America says:

        The idea of a leftist think tank is quite amusing to me, as they seem unable to think of the simple idea of doing something pragmatic within the system. They are intellectually blinded by ideology, at least in my mind. In practice, they don’t have much to show for their work.

  19. chempo says:

    Edgar, I find myself out of depth here. Great contributions from so many, thanks to all for the lessons.

    So basically, to make a considered judgement we gather info or data and measure these against a set of criteria, and using reasoning powers, make decisions based on certain principles. I’m wondering where do values come in? Principles and values are different are they not? Values stay fixed whilst principles are circumstantial. We learn values from our parents knees, not principles. Our values guide us on the moral aspects of the decision making process, and we lay the decision on certain principles. Good people often face a delimma when their values are at odds with the principle. For example, in refusing the SSS payout hike, I’m sure Pnoy has values in helping the poor, but the principle at work here is the govt should’nt let the agency pay itself into bankruptcy. I would say Pnoy made a wise decision, but it actually goes against the flow, because values often stay fixed, it’s principles that shift.

    In decision making we also factor in the consideration of the consequences. I’m afraid that often, it’s the consequences that hold sway in the final decision. The SSS example again illustrates this.

    This topic is really heavy for me. I know you don’t like pictorials, but I’ll inject some lighter moment here. You mentions the various ways of the reasoning – high tech, low tech, high sciences etc. Some go to the mountains for answer — media say Quiboloy does that, the ancients go to Mt Olympus, some seek out shamans, some go disturb their ancestors — there are many ways to derive at different answers.

    In Chinese temples we have 6,000 year old methodology. We use 2 low tech tools – the fortune sticks and the jiaobei or moon blocks:

    The fortune sticks comprise of a set of about 60 ( I don’t really know how many) bamboo sticks with a unique number. The number refers to an answer manual. Each number has a stated quotation in very steep ancient language and references.

    You take both the set of sticks and a pair of moon blocks, kowtow before the diety, and ask your questions, be it anything. You ask for a solution to your problems, an answer to something bothering you, some future expectations, anything. Then you tilt and shake the bamboo container until one of the sticks pop up and jump out onto the floor.

    You then ask the diety is this stick the answer by clasping the moon blocks between closed palms as in a prayer, then raise your arms and release the blocks. The moon blocs has 2 surfaces, one side flat, the other rounded., just like heads and tails of a coin. Do this 3 times. If it’s head and tails consequetively 3 times, the divine answer is YES. Whenever it’s 2 tails or 2 heads, do a reset. Put the stick back into the bamboo holder and shake again for another stick.

    When you get the YES answer for that stick, go the the book for the answer. Actually, we just go to a temple staffer and he will give us a pre-cut small clip with the answer bearing the number of the stick. It’s a modern world, so it may come with an English translation. We may read both the English or the Hanyu pinyin, but unlikely to decipher it. On we go to a specialist who then interprets in relation to your question to the diety.

    One may scoof and laugh, but I can tell you this in all sincerity, those manual answers, they contain 6,000 years ancient history and wisdom. No matter what is the question being asked, the particular stick can be interpreted in relation to your question. I shit you not.

    The moon blocks and fortune sticks may be a better way for decision making for those with impaired judgmental capability.

    • chempo,

      We have something in the military, basically doctrine & training, making processes standard & predictable—- which takes care of basically 99% of our lives when not in combat. But when in combat it only covers like 60%, but that coverage though not complete alleviates a lot of stuff, making them predictable,

      so we can better handle the other unpredictable variables.

      Similarly, I think those magic sticks do the same thing, which is actually why I’m taking this break, yet again, from exile. 😉

      You see a few years back, I was dating this Cambodian/Vietnamese girl, who I had met at a club. She grew up here locally , so she was American in every sense of the word. Dates were fun and sex was good (she had her own apartment close by, so it was Easter every day for me 😉 )

      A couple of months in, she invites me to her temple (Buddhist), she said there was a festival and there’d be good food. So me being me, I sensed a trap, I asked, is this a meet my family ambush? She assured me, her family went the previous day and that it was just us.

      We get there, and we go straight to the temple. Lit some incense did her stuff, then we went to these fortune sticks. I thought it was some sort of parlor game. But you can sense the weight of her prayers and questions (she explained that it was like the Magic 8 ball game).

      She got one, two and I think even a third (not sure), but I remembered they were negative—- something like leave whatever this is, you will only get hurt, be careful something bad is coming, stuff like that. But she never told me her question, so I’m like, let’s eat already!

      She never talked to any staffers in the temple.

      As we ate she kinda got pensive, kinda sad. We returned to her apartment, and I swear that was the most sublime experience til now (I still reminisce). Then I left to return to base, and I get a phone call from her, kinda whimpering but very decidedly said, We’re done.

      So I think she brought me by her side, as she shook and took out these fortune sticks one by one, because my intentions would some-how magically be laid out in front of the gods (Buddhas). I was the calibrating factor, the sticks decided, and all that was needed from her was a decision.

      To quote Sec. Rumsfeld,

      “There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don’t know we don’t know.” (I agree with you chemp, how you figure known unknowns, especially unknown unknowns, the sky’s the limit)

      chemp, I got to be at the receiving end of those fortune sticks you’re talking about! 😉

      • chempo says:

        haha Lance
        So you came down from the mountains?
        Whether she made a good decision, its a ‘known known’ to you only. She trusted the ‘unknown unknown’. I think she probably asked the question of consequences.Then again, she may have asked whether it was good for you. Guess you’ll never know.

    • edgar lores says:

      Chempo, you bring in many good points.

      Let’s take them one by one.

      1. Values vs. principals.

      1.1. A principle is a statement of value(s). To put it another way, a value is simply a stated or unstated term within a sentence that establishes the principle. Both are norms.

      1.2. “Thou shalt not steal” is the principle. And the tacit values inherent in the principle are honesty, cooperation with neighbors, and respect for their property. (There could be many more values.) We learn both principles — and values — on our fathers’ knees.

      1.3. Fixed vs. circumstantial.

      1.3.1. Both principles and values are fixed and circumstantial. As I state in “The Seven Commandments of Secular Ethics”: “…commandments are absolute but must be applied relatively.” For “commandments” read “principles” or “values.”

      1.3.2. The principle of not stealing is absolute, but there are societies that view stealing as “permissible.” In the West, a Robin Hood figure is seen as heroic. In Islam, a man who steals because his hungry family is without food is forgiven.

      1.3.3. The value of honesty is absolute, but we are permitted to tell white lies in observance of the higher value of compassion. The wife asks, “Am I fat?” And the correct answer is, “Your earrings are beautiful!”

      1.3.4. Both principles and values can be in opposition to other principles and values in unique circumstances. This is the creative tension in our lives. Our task is to find the correct application of hierarchy in any given circumstance. In the post I state, “Where there are conflicting principles, one should dig deeper and unearth an underlying and more primary principle.” It is not that ethics is relative; it is that ethical dilemmas are situational… and dynamic.

      1.3.5. Joseph has enumerated many drivers in our decision-making. These drivers are the historical perimeters of our principles. My view is that we use these drivers mostly unknowingly. As Joseph states, they have become second nature. My stance is we should be aware of them and constantly re-examine their influences on our judgments.

      1.3.6. In the SSS case, you are partly correct. The principle as you state it is, “The govt should not let the agency pay itself into bankruptcy.” The counter principle is: “A duty of govt is to help the poor.” The value in the first principle is the viability of the agency, and the counter value in the second principle is social justice. Again, the principles and values are in opposition due to the circumstances of this particular scenario. This brings us to the topic of consequences.

      2. Consequences.

      2.1. A consequence is a criterion. Or to pluralize it, consequences are criteria.

      2.2. In settling the opposing principles and values for the SSS case, PNoy could be said to have observed the higher principle and criterion of Consequentialism: “the greatest good for the greatest number.” He could have implemented the bill and given temporary satisfaction to the few for now. But he decided to veto the bill to give the greatest number the benefit of pensions in the longer term.

      3. Fortune sticks and moon blocks.

      3.1. Ahaha! I laugh but I do not scoff.

      3.1. We use this method to “automate” decision-making… especially when we have reached an impasse that principles, criteria or rational thought cannot resolve.

      3.2. In this, we rely on chance. But is it really chance? Or is it “surrendering to life?” Is it happenstance? Or synchronicity?

      3.3. I cannot really say because, like you, there is part of me (the heart) that believes in synchronicity… that the events in our lives are “meaningful coincidences.”

      3.4. There are many such methods like consulting psychics, looking for signs, reading Tarot cards, tea leaves or chicken entrails. One method is contained in a book by Luke Rhinehart, “The Dice Man.” This book contains darkness. Another book along the same lines, but in a spiritual vein, is “The Surrender Experiment” by Michael A. Singer. I have read the first but not the second.

      3.4.1. Admittedly, our rational minds classify some of these methods as superstition. What are the criteria? The absence of causation? What about psychic energy? We would have to examine the issue closely to be able to make a judgment. But, like my view on religion, my current stance is all beliefs are valid insofar as they do not violate higher principles. Fundamental religious and political beliefs that justify killing are invalid.

    • josephivo says:

      1. Your values and principles.
      You did not only learn on your father’s knees, some you got via your DNA. Your DNA has a long history, some values we still share with other gatherers and occasional hunters, the chimpanzees, some as love for children with much older animals. Some of these DNA values are plain instinctive, others are prewired and need priming by nurture. Their function is to optimize the survival of the species. They developed to serve small hunter-gather groups over hundred thousands of years. These values are so obvious that it can be difficult to explain the why. We humans share them all, in different intensity as we share noses with different length, color and shape. There is archeological, anthropological and experimental proof.

      Some rules/values your father sees as self-evident, religious values, behavioral values, nutritional values… He shares them with all the families around him, but if you travel a little, religion might be different, eating with stick the norm. Asking why, the deeper answer will be tradition. Often they tend to solve conflicts between our inborn values of small pre-agricultural, roaming groups and the current circumstances of high density sedentary populations. Chase strangers away is in our DNA, but not very practical if you live in Manila, millions of strangers, only a few dozen you know. Sharing religion makes them our “brothers”, behavioral rules make it easier and predictable.

      If your father is a deep thinker, he might share some values that he sees as specific and defining his family. The why will be very prominent in his explanations.

      2. Fortune sticks.
      No decision in mostly worse than the alternative decisions available.

      We hate chance (in out DNA) because we want to learn. We need a cause effect, this judgement will result in this positive outcome, fulfill these criteria.

      But the feedback loops are biased. The decisions and criteria can be so vague or supernatural that they are always true. We tend to remember positive correlations and forget the bad ones (Kahneman’s “Thinking, fast and slow”)

      My ultimate tool is a coin. If in doubt I toss a coin, seeing the outcome I’ll have a deep happy feeling or a sad feeling and thus the preferred solution becomes obvious.

      • edgar lores says:


        Ahaha! That last paragraph, so you go by the whisperings of your heart!

      • chempo says:

        @ Edgar & Josephivo

        Many thanks. Very deep and enlightening.

        “We tend to remember positive correlations and forget the bad ones” …. I wonder if NHerera can remember the term for this. I came across this in the study on probability. When I was young I had the experience that very often when I dress for an occasion and step out of the house, it rained. So I joked that I had a dark cloud over my head all the time. Of course the reality is that I don’t remember the times when it was shinning when I stepped outside.

        We can relate this to politics easily. When the admin does good stuff, nobody pays attention. The bad stuff everybody remembers, and so an admin is always tainted.

  20. LG says:

    Thank you Edgar for obliging to prepare and serve this meaty article.

    The eruditic discussions in the abstract, adlibs and what not, leave me full not only for breakfast today but also for the next few meals of the week.

    You guys are possesed of extraordinary buffet of information and perspectives on the subject that make the read more filling.


    I wish for concrete over abstracts, re: information, to address Judgmental Disability Reduction. I hope such is the logical extension of the article/discussion. Even just piece meal aspects of it. And there are, I imagine, a hyperbolic million aspects to zoom on concretes.

    Ideas, opinions, anyone?

  21. RKL says:

    I think educational attainment is the biggest disability. Only almost 2 in 5 finish high school and 1 in 10 finish college. Then there is the quality of education (i read somewhere that only 7 in 100 nurses pass the English proficiency test- all of them are college grads). Most college grads cannot follow the discussions here among other deficiencies.

    • Correct. Also because most education is simply memorizing.

      Don’t question why or how, because it is seen as disrespecting the teacher. But how can you understand anything in the end if you never dare to ask why or how?

      • bill in oz says:

        My feeling is that those who go to elite English language schools are taught at a high standard..But it is the children of the elite who benefit from this so they can join the elite in turn.

        • sonny says:

          Bill, thanks for this comment. Happy chance for me, I had to check it out.

          Your comment is an easy perception to make, given the educational culture in Manila. The “elite” as you called them were not always necessarily the socio-economically privileged classes. For example, during US colonial years (1925 and on) the high schools of privilege in Manila were public high schools: Manila West High School (Torres), Manila North High School (Arellano), Manila South High School (Araullo) and Manila East High School (Mapa), and in tertiary education it was the University of the Philippines (Diliman), and private institutions like Baliuag University and the various Catholic schools around the country. The early histories of these institutions included illustrious alumni in public service and national corporate life. Many of these institutions still are in operation and form the ramparts against the forces that impair national health and perpetuate our “judgmental disability.”

          The realities of current education, public and private, may or may not reflect the “glories” of bygone periods. Rather these should not be cause for desperation but rather inspiration for continuing national efforts and initiatives to stem the tide of “judgmental disability” in our body politic.

      • Yup. Education here is mostly indoctrination. And in addition to that, it is also mostly seen as just a means to an end. That is why the only goal for most is to only pass so that one can get a diploma, which is usually needed for work, which is the end goal. Most teachers know this, and most students know this. So if you look at it closely, there is already some sort of compromise between the two which encourages this way of thinking as it’ll make it “easier” for both of them.

        Luckily, I had a few teachers that emphasized ‘learning’ rather than ‘studying’ and this pretty much molded my approach to education very early on. It really gave me confidence on what I know and what I should know. So that’s why later on, I wasn’t really afraid of asking and questioning teachers, even those stubborn ones that don’t really want to be bothered. And of course, I try to make it a point that this is being done in the interest of clarity and correctness. Because to be honest, if you don’t, there are many that see these acts as some sort of subversion of authority so they may react quite negatively if you don’t approach carefully.

        So to make sense of what I’ve written above, another problem with Filipinos is that they don’t mind mediocrity as long as they know they can just get through with it. Though some of them do know what is right and more proper, they won’t uphold it as it’ll be, uhm… “inconvenient”. And given that there are many cases where the majority has really no idea of what is right and more proper: It becomes a classic case of the blind leading the blind. And many can’t seem to care if it continues. But looking at again, you can’t seem to blame them as there also seems to be a problem with authorities and feedback.
        To share something I’ve jotted down a while ago:

        “Because we know that some authorities don’t listen to feedback, we stop giving feedback altogether. But one should know that certain authorities don’t listen to feedback because they have become used to not receiving it. It is a vicious cycle. And if left alone for a long time? Breaking the cycle will become much harder.”.

    • Edgar Lores says:

      RKL, thank you. You bring a fine point and a puzzle.

      My first reaction was to agree with you. Education does alleviate ignorance, which I said is the root of judgmental disability.

      Rereading your answer, I note the second part indicates the “quality of education” — and not education itself — as hampering judgmental disability. I agree.

      I would qualify we are talking about formal education here. There are many undergraduates who are self-educated and who have proved to have excellent judgment. This leads me to the puzzle.

      If the lack of education is a cause of judgmental disability, then why is it that highly educated Supreme Court judges also make severe errors of judgment? And so it is with the denizens of academe, the professors, the doctors of philosophy and what not.

      Certainly, the lack of education is a factor, but is it the biggest disability? I would not say so. Perhaps reasoning power?

      I think the essence of education, in alleviating ignorance, is exposure — it reveals the world to us. And so does reading and travel. There is a correlation between world exposure and good judgment.

      To my mind, the element of exposure that makes it so is the variety, the diversity, of experience.

      I would conclude, therefore, that lack of exposure – and this includes proper education, reading and travel which I will put in one basket — is a contributory factor to judgmental disability.

      • josephivo says:

        Personal benefit and being nice. Being correct is not the number one priority. When you ask directions in the Philippines people send you in whatever direction. Personal benefit of not of losing face? Or wanting to please you? But certainly never the correct answer “I don’t know”. What is the effect of an answer comes before correctness, even in the SC.

        The two motivations are very much in our DNA guided value set. Correctness is a frontal cortex construction, frequent use can make it something cultural. Automatic doing requires culture, culture comes from frequent doing. Often frequent doing is the result of a problem situation. So what problem should we pray for to arise, a problem that will force people to think? (Making this blog mandatory? 😉

        • edgar lores says:


          1. A fine point in the first paragraph. For Filipinos, I think the admission of ignorance is a more primary driver than politeness. True politeness would consist of providing the correct answer.

          2. I second your suggestion.

      • josephivo says:

        An other reason.

        The Church. Christianism has two faces, one intuitive and one rational. On the intuitive side a religion with the acceptance of bad spirits, guided by Satan, and an army of good spirits as angels and Saints, pilgrimage to Antipolo, the Black Nazarene, Sinilog, praying for miracles, a house altar… On the other side is an intellectual religion with the emphasis on ONE God, absolute and omnipotent, a prime mover, the Trinity, the differences between the substance and the nature of Jesus, divine and human, the concept of the immaculate conception, virginity of Mama Merry, highbrow rituals…

        In high school in Belgium, most of our religious education was about the philosophical side. We would be warriors for Jesus, it was important to understand the correct and rational foundations of Catholicism. Here I see none of this, no theological discussion of bible texts, no need to understand mass readings, no need for reason, our intuitive religion covers all our needs.

        K12, an opportunity for the Church to also teach the basics of its religion?

        • bill in oz says:

          God I hope not..
          Better they learn useful skills to get employment..Like English…
          And then plug into the wider world

          • josephivo says:

            Would agree, but….

            “Religion” will stay part of the curriculum I assume so it could be used for the more philosophical part of religion instead of strengthening the intuitive and spiritual side.

            • bill in oz says:

              Are they compulsory ? Can students opt out ? Or parents tell the school they do not want their children to attend such classes ?

              Or are the answers Yes, No No ?
              Truly a bloody waste of time..

              • Joe America says:

                Private schools get accreditation and teach the required knowledge and skills. Most overlay a religious point of view on that, as that is their belief as to what is important, to build a moral compass in youth. A parent has choices to make, an overcrowded secular school (about 45 per classroom) that costs little and provides a rudimentary education at best, or a private school usually with with religious overlay, expensive, but generally fewer than 20 kids per classroom. I’m not sure what the waste of time is. Kids need education, private schools are within their rights, and home schooling is an option. I’m drawing the conclusion that you have little tolerance for those who weigh their criteria and principles and come down with different reasoning than you do. My kid goes to a school with a religious education, and is thriving. He gets parental balancing to the religious instruction.

              • josephivo says:

                20 kids per classroom? De La Salle has 40 t0 50 in a class and more than 10 parallel classes per grade. International schools might be less and private schools with lesser reputation.

                I myself, would attend religious classes again if I had to redo high school as a kid. It provided perspective, covered important areas not covered elsewhere in the curriculum. Some teachers where very good, Vatican II period, some still in long robes, but the young ones in pants and a strange shirt. And most importantly, belonging, everybody attended.

              • Joe America says:

                Religion does provide perspective and deepens the thought process to reconcile it to what we see in the real world. I regret that I did not pay more attention in the “Comparative Religions” class I took, as well. It just goes to show that even stupid youth can be redeemed.

        • Edgar Lores says:

          I’ll go with the teaching of comparative religion that JoeAm mentioned. The course should include secular religions like atheism, agnosticism, scientism and secular humanism. Ethics should also be taught; this is the alternative course here in Oz for students who do not attend religion class.

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  1. […] I was typing away, edgar lores published his article on “Judgmental Disability“,  forcing a shift in my direction of thought. I responded with the idea of self-sacrifice […]

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