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death

“Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in just the way in which our visual field has no limits.”   – Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 6.4311

“Dialogical” Death

There is some real significant sense in rehearsing Heidegger’s conception of the Dasein in thematizing death as “my death” (from my viewpoint) or “someone’s death” (from her/his viewpoint). However,  if I may appropriate Emmanuel Levinas in his Otherwise than Being or Beyond Essence,  there is a more dialogical way of discussing the issue of death which brings out the importance of  “the death of the Other” that haunts and disturbs an individual who has witnessed the death of someone personally close to her/him. As a  matter of my own thoughts about the possibility of my own death, it is not  haunting or disturbing at all. Thinking of my death is “autheticizing” to me and that’s precisely why I can unhesitatingly sacrifice my life for a noble cause. This, I think, could be another instance to signify Heidegger’s notion of “befriending” death. But it is the thought of the death of the Other that is haunting and disturbing to me.

It is therefore the THOUGHT of death (mine or anybody’s)–which is an acceptance of the radicalness of finitude–that we can talk about as it is presently thematized by us who are still living. In this case, the signification and hence the “authenticization” of death once it is actualized is no longer within the purview of our consciousness (for death’s actualization deprives us of consciousness) but in the consciousness of the living particularly those who know us.

The Death of an Individual in the Context of Community

In Alfred North Whitehead’s process philosophy, physical death is the cessation or extinction of one’s life that dissolves the future into nothingness. Whitehead further asserts that a metaphysical understanding of this notion leads us to an interpretation of death as a self-fulfillment or self-realization in the larger context of a social community. In this sense, death is understood as an event where a community of living entities can come together to be inspired by the death of a member of such community and in the process project a new vision of a desired future. This point may be better understood if a human individual’s existence is viewed as the polar end whose opposite is the community. Here the individual’s consciousness is but a tiny iota in the community of a myriad beings.

But taking the Whiteheadian issue in a more true-to-life sense is simply a matter of superficial imagination. If we pursue the Whiteheadian trajectory, we lose the “authenticizing” signification of the thought of death which is actually radically realized in the context of the individual. From the Whiteheadian perspective, the thought of death simply plunges into the narrative–even the metanarrative–of a community and therefrom lands in the cold rhetoric of empty romanticism.

I do not however deny the dialogical reality achieved in community interaction. Nobody can sensibly refute the facticity of human interface specifically realizable in the context of a community. But human authenticity emanates from the reflective competence of the human being in the individual dimension without necessarily naively revisiting the graveyard of Cartesian solipsism. Nevertheless, it is important to reflexively affirm the fact that the participating agencies in the human community are uniquely differentiated individuals that constitute an inter-subjective reality. Considering the dynamics of social change, a community could get extremely ascendant (and hence dominant/domineering) to the point of tyrannizing the individual. This is the major problematization in most of Levinas’ writings: When the community gets ascendant, the Other is pushed to the margins. In the process, the meaningfulness of the indvidual is imperiled and human authenticity loses its grounding.

“Existential” Death

Having said so much about individual death in the context of community, more focus should be taken now in talking about death as an existential event. But can we really talk about death? Well, perhaps as a concept: “death”. But death as “death” isn’t death at all, existentially. But can we get existential about death? Let’s get experiential about this issue. But can we really get experiential about death? Death cannot be experiential at all. But death is supposed to be experiential as a matter of human event. Now, the question is, can we really talk about “experiential” death when actually, death is the cessation of experience? Even the dying moment in the experience of a human being is not death yet and no one lived to tell that experience. Funny to even consider this matter at all.

We don’t get sad, much less terrorized, when we start to reflect about “our own death” because such is not reality as yet. But can one’s death be a reality to her/him? It is what I call “death”. We even tend to get philosophical about it in the existential sense. We can only imagine the sadness; not our sadness but the sadness of those who love us. When we die, such sadness is the “unique” experience precluded to us. It is the death of another that makes death saddening and even terrifying in certain tragic cases.

Death is not within the purview of the subjective experience of the living. Death as a matter of experience is “death” for it is the death of another person that we experience. And “death” as such makes us sad depending on the degree of our closeness to the departed.

“Death” is the only possible way whereby we can talk about death.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 17 December 2014

sjw

“Power in defense of freedom is greater than power in behalf of tyranny and oppression, because power, real power, comes from our conviction which produces action, uncompromising action.”

–Malcolm X

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

–Martin Luther King, Jr

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

–Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Justice in general and social justice in particular are serious matters to deal with. It is fundamentally important to focus on certain socio-political forces that operate in the whole gamut of human interactions–forces that have been internalized in a society’s cultural apparatus through time. Basic to all these is the long-running economic disempowerment to which the common people have been subjected for generations and has in the process created conditions that have spawned social injustice.

The world has witnessed real, true-to-life and action-oriented social justice and civil rights activists and revolutionaries in recent history, i.e., before the advent of the Internet. The likes of Rosa Parks in mid-1950s along with Martin Luther King, Jr, Andrew Young and Jesse Jackson among many other African-Americans who prominently figured out in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in the US. On the side of the more radical African-American social justice revolutionaries, I’d be cursed if I wouldn’t mention Malcolm X of the Black Panthers.

Then we also remember the exploits of white Americans on the “silver-screen” side like Jane Fonda, the late Marlon Brando and Canadian Donald Sutherland who actively stood up in the defense of native American rights in the 60s and 70s along with real eminent native American leaders like Russell Means, Wallace Anderson, Fred Hampton, Rainbow Coalition and the distinguished academic Oren Lyons among others.

On the other side of the globe, Mahatma Gandhi of India and Muhammad Ali Jinna of Pakistan stood tall in their respective capacities as heroes of social justice and human rights on behalf of their peoples. In South Africa during the infamous apartheid era, we had Oliver Tambo, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu and of course, the legendary Nelson Mandela.

In the contemporary Internet generation, we have the American Christian pacifist Shane Claiborne and his group called The Simple Way [http://www.redletterchristians.org/shane/]. On the side of activists who do not only write but actually and actively participate in social justice movements in various parts of the world, it is an honor to be associated with and to mention here my friend and colleague, the Haitian journalist, scholar and News Junkie Post (NJP) co-editor-in-chief Dr. Dady Chery along with the other friends and colleagues  in NJP like editor-in-chief Gilbert Mercier and co-EIC John Goss as well as my co-correspondents-writers Ruben Rosenberg Colorni and Imtiaz Akhtar of India among others. They are not only accomplished and powerful writers but also active participants in social action movements tackling issues of justice and human rights in the context of their respective geographical locations.

It is likewise worth mentioning and definitely an honor to be associated with contemporary Filipino social-justice and human-rights activists like my friends Adelbert “Ka Matt” Solana of Friends of Migrante; Connie Bragas-Regalado and Garry Martinez of Migrante International; Norma Biñas of AMISTAD and BAYAN; Paul Galutera; Mac Ramirez; Atty Jobert Pahilga of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NULP); husband-and-wife Raffy and Lu Baylosis; the Filipino nationalist poet, Prof. Roger Ordoñez; National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) Secretary-General, Fr. Rex Reyes; Prof. Ferdie Anno of the Union Theological Seminary (UTS-Philippines); US-based husband-and-wife academics, Drs. Sonny San Juan and Delia Aguilar;  Utrecht-based Rev. Cesar Taguba and Fidel Agcaoili of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), among others.

I can go on and on enumerating social justice and civil/human rights activists both past and present who in this particular context were, have been and are real activists on the street and in movements who have committed their lives, talents and resources for the advocacies, principles and ideologies they passionately believe in, stand for and are ready even to give their lives for, come hell or high water, so to speak. More than the writings of the “wordsmiths” among them are  their actual participation in movements, rallies, demonstrations and marches which makes them genuine social justice activists and partisans–revolutionaries, if you will–and not simply hideous and abominable counterfeits of the “armchair fighters” variety.

In a much clearer sense, we are not talking here of “social justice warriors” in the pejorative sense who have flourished and flooded the cyberspace and the information super highways in the last decades or so. To quote an entry from the Urban Dictionary website [http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=social%20justice%20warrior], a “social justice warrior” is

an individual who repeatedly and vehemently engages in arguments on social justice on the Internet, often in a shallow or not well-thought-out way, for the purpose of raising their own personal reputation. A social justice warrior, or SJW, does not necessarily strongly believe all that they say, or even care about the groups they are fighting on behalf of. They typically repeat points from whoever is the most popular blogger or commenter of the moment, hoping that they will “get SJ points” and become popular in return. They are very sure to adopt stances that are “correct” in their social circle. The SJW’s favorite activity of all is to dogpile [a group of people jumping on other people and creating a tower of people while crushing the people at the bottom]. Their favorite websites to frequent are Livejournal and Tumblr. They do not have relevant favorite real-world places, because SJWs are primarily civil rights activists only online.

In view of this, the term “warrior” is used in a more sarcastic sense for none of this kind of people is authentically committed to what they are spewing out. The most we can say is they are pure and simple trouble-makers and “intellectual masturbators” who could criss-cross from one side to the other of whatever politically controversial divide is on hand (or perhaps more properly “online”).

For those friends and colleagues I mentioned above as well as for those my memory has failed me to mention but nevertheless are of the same genuine category, I’d rather use the more appropriate and conventional pre-Internet-age term “activist” at least and “revolutionary” at most. To this, I can robustly and truthfully attest for once I walked with them on the street  sometimes under the heat of the sun and in other times rain-drenched, unmindful of risks and adversities amidst hunger, thirst and exhaustion. To the social justice activists and revolutionaries of this generation, I doff my cap. To the so-called “social justice warriors” of the cyberspace age, GET LOST!

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 10 December 2014

life

“We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”
– Joseph Campbell

“I was not sure where I was going, and I could not see what I would do when I got [there]. But you saw further and clearer than I, and you opened the seas before my ship, whose track led me across the waters to a place I had never dreamed of, and which you were even then preparing to be my rescue and my shelter and my home.”
– Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

“Life doesn’t work out the way we plan, but maybe it works out the way it’s supposed to after all.”
– Kristin Harmel, The Sweetness of Forgetting

“All human plans [are] subject to ruthless revision by Nature, or Fate, or whatever one preferred to call the powers behind the Universe.”
– Arthur C. Clarke, 2010: Odyssey Two

A list of what one has deemed necessary to accomplish is basically future-directed. Some important things one needs to do to achieve pre-determined objectives. The act itself of deliberating on these matters is a thematizing of what one has considered to be ideal. Every agenda is therefore constitutive of notions and planned actions still in the conceptual stage; some things yet in the mind that need to be acted upon.

The human mind in a lot of times and ways tends to be so ambitious and such tendency in most instances is matched optimistically by creativity which is likewise a fundamental aspect of humanity in normal circumstances. We think of doing a lot of things and we seriously plan to make them a reality. This whole process which generally leads to a deep moment of creative reflection makes each of us a temporary solipsist–someone who regardless of other conscious beings around believes that s/he alone exists and the fullness of reality is solely the world of her/his conception. The world is my world and hence I have all the power to re-arrange and modify it. I am my world and I am in full control of it.

Though almost entirely unassailable if taken into the arena of formal argumentation using the instrumentality of logic, there is certainly something ontologically wrong with the platform of solipsism. At a closer look, solipsism is flawed and will not stand in the context of multiple intersubjective encounters. There is more to life than the unilateral, highly subjective  and narrowly conceived world of my “solipsistic” musing. Viewed more reasonably, such a world is simply my own agenda spiced up with my own hopes and dreams, wishes and desires. A sober realization and acceptance of this more enlightened reality rationally explains to me why in so many instances the path I tread on is fraught with dissatisfactions, disappointments, frustrations, despairs, even tragedies in most extreme cases.

Life in its macrocosmic state has its own course independent of human conception. Yes, it is a given that my agendas are future-directed but so is life. We want to capture the future with our own conception of it but such is actually a grand human illusion. Life creates itself and moves on towards a state totally inaccessible to our limited consciousness which is only fundamentally endowed with the power of memory to ascertain the past and the power of tactical intelligence as well to cope with the exigencies of the present. The future is something else: boundless and incmprehensible at any point of the present. We may only have a glimpse of a myriad of future possibilities but nobody has an absolute certainty of what will actually happen in such future time.

In a more precise–though hilarious–way of describing the future from the point of view of the present, it is nothing but nothing. There is only the macrocosmic life that “mysteriously” leads us on a “historical” trajectory towards such future and invites us to a deeper sensitivity  of almost–if not totally–“mystical” character to comprehend “the signs of the times” at every signpost along the way. In this sense, we finally get to a realization that life will never ever follow our agendas. Instead,  it is our agendas that need to follow the leadings of life. With this in mind, we are at last unburdened with the spectre of false hopes that meet despair, disappointments and frustrations that have haunted humanity since time immemorial.

Life, my individual life, is what I make it. But life, the macrocosmic life of immense breadth, is the expansive and overwhelming ocean where my life is just a trickle.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 2 December 2014

jealousy

jealousy

embrace the wind and constrain it
in the illusion of a crystal cave
while the mighty surge of a tempestuous river
takes its path to merge with the rush
and shatter the frontiers into smithereens.

who would wish to revive the ashen shadows
of unfulfilled passions and unrequited longings
when all that remains is the ghost of the past
and the memory of a hopeless fantasy
in a world of self-indulgent and unilateral idealists?

calm down your heart in the deathly ambience
of an irreparable wasteland inhabited by unrepentant egos
who as yet hold on tight to the chimera of euphoria
while facing the empty walls of reality
that echoes the voice of unyielding liberty.

                                                                                                                                — r. f. pepa
28 November 2014

generation

“As is the generation of leaves, so is that of humanity.
The wind scatters the leaves on the ground, but the live timber
Burgeons with leaves again in the season of spring returning.
So one generation of men will grow while another dies.”
– Homer, Iliad

“The first half of our lives is ruined by our parents and the second half by our children.”  
– Clarence Darrow

“It is one of nature’s ways that we often feel closer to distant generations than to the generation immediately preceding us.”
– Igor Stravinsky

“There is nothing wrong with today’s teenager that twenty years won’t cure.”  
– Anonymous

Life goes on without interruption (for “life interruption” is an illusion, being simply a matter of subjective judgment and feelings) as time flies, so to speak. Generations come and go leaving imprints of their highest and lowest points, i.e., both good and despicable, as well as both pleasing and unpleasant. Humanity has witnessed the flux of generations as in the case of an old one gradually dissipating and giving way to a new one in a very spontaneous process. But even the notion of total dissipation is an illusion for there are always traces of the past that continue to linger in the present whether such are clearly vivid in consciousness or hibernating in the unconscious to be awakened in some future moment. Generations are temporal stations of being whose natural relationships are essentially interconnected in memory and reflection.

However, the train of events that runs from one generation to the next is not only characterized in a movement controlled by an unseen mysterious power which is also an illusion. The cause-effect continuum is the most viable paradigm to assess the meaningfulness of passing generations in the most reasonable context. One state of affairs gives rise to another which in turn gives rise to a new one and then another one is spawned by the former and the whole perpetual motion goes on and on and on, ad infinitum. There is therefore not a single generation unconnected with the previous one. In other words, generations are all interrelated.

Nevertheless, the continuum doesn’t imply passivity for within the dynamics itself of the movement are active components that emanate from the will-power of human entities being the principal players in the game of life. Paychoanalysis both in its Freudian kind and the Jungian depth psychology variety as well presupposes the vital interconnectedness of generations past and present in the life of an individual human and the significant influence of the past in the present dispensation. Circumstances at face value could appear very dissimilar but a close scrutiny that likewise gets us to their “historical” backgrounds would give us the whole story that in one way or another links them and makes us realize that one couldn’t have been possible at all without the other.

But veering away from the theoretical and getting face to face with what is actually obtaining in life as it has been humanly experienced–both current and historical–brings us to the reality that generations don’t see eye to eye. The present finds a myriad of faults in the past while the past gets upset with the present because of what the former perceives as blatant interruptions that demand change. The past doesn’t want modification while the present wants to do away with the past. At first glance, we see a linear progression but a deeper analysis brings us to a cyclical motion with the realization that the past used to be the present displaying the same attitude aggressively perpetrated by what is present now. In the coming next generation, the expectation is almost a foregone conclusion that the present now will be past at the inception of a new one and the whole cycle repeats itself.

The lyrics of the song “Father and Son” [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kea0ghm7Z4E] penned and popularized in the 1970s by the British singer-songwriter Cat Stevens (later, Yusuf Islam after converting to Islam) poetically reflects how the old and the new don’t sit well with each other in the simple context of how a father relates with his son and vice versa. The father’s admonition is heard in the first and second stanzas as follows:

It’s not time to make a change
Just relax, take it easy
You’re still young, that’s your fault
There’s so much you have to know
Find a girl, settle down
If you want you can marry
Look at me, I am old, but I’m happy

I was once like you are now
And I know that it’s not easy
To be calm when you’ve found
Something going on
But take your time, think a lot
Think of everything you’ve got
For you will still be here tomorrow
But your dreams may not

Then the irritated son replies in the third and fifth stanzas:

How can I try to explain?
When I do he turns away again
It’s always been the same, same old story
From the moment I could talk
I was ordered to listen
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

All the times that I’ve cried
Keeping all the things I knew inside
It’s hard, but it’s harder to ignore it
If they were right I’d agree
But it’s them they know, not me
Now there’s a way
And I know that I have to go away
I know I have to go

New experiences, new realities in the context of the young which seem to be ordinary matters easily handled from the point of view of the more experienced “all-knowing” father are supposed to be challenging and exciting moments to the former which the latter tends to simply dismiss as things that may casually be handled if the son would only sit down and listen to “the voice of experience”.

On the one hand, the old generation seems to have gotten used to impose too much of its values on the new one with the implied thought that old values are time-tested and thus almost universal and timeless in their applicability. This is an area of advocacy where old-timers are more often inaccurate and faulty and such is simply because they just don’t have the openmindedness to listen to and feel “the signs of the times”. Time has stopped in their dogmatic musing with the absolute belief that things must happen as they have happened in their lifetime. Events just repeat themselves and this notion is the sole factor that grants them the edge over and above the young generation who in recognition of such truth must listen to and take heed of their words. . . . Been there; done that.

On the other hand, the new generation gets into the trap of ignoring the lessons of the past which in general are matters of historical significance. Recklessness is the path taken with an air of aggressiveness which in many instances is on full speed and heedless of risks and threats of trouble lurking along the way. With the seemingly airtight notion that new exigencies require new approaches and the old ways are irrelevant and non-operative, young people of the new generation are just normally dismissive of warnings from the more experienced old-timers. With a certain degree of youthful arrogance, young folks are convinced that these old-timers need to toe their line if they want themselves to make sense in the new generation. Accepting new realities and approaching them with the instrumentalities of the present dispensation is the name of the game and the reversed dynamic is that the old-timers are supposed to be the ones to listen to the voices of the new generation.

Assessing the entire landscape from a more objective platform, it may be reasonably viewed that apparently both sides have an extremist tendency despite the fact that a common ground is perfectly in sight. Obviously, stubborness afflicts both sides and nobody wants to give an inch. This is the key area why the battle continues. The old generation is backed up by the solidness of irrevocable experiences in both triumphs and defeats while the new generation is pushed forward by an aggressive spirit to explore and conquer terrains of new possibilities. Indeed very few are sober-minded enough on both sides to sit back and put their heads together to understand each other and give their concerns a run for their money, so to speak.

But how really “all-knowing” are we to make a final evaluation at this point and theoretically insist that a common ground is perfectly achievable? Perhaps not at all and the conflict between generations continues relentlessly for this very condition makes the world go round and inspires life in a more exhilarating way.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 25 November 2014

happy

“Rob the average man of his life-illusion and you rob him also of his happiness.”
–Henrik Ibsen

“Happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion.”
–Anonymous

“There are some people who always feel happy. They’re called psychopaths .”
–Tal Ben-Shahar

“Happiness is just an illusion caused by the temporary absence of reality.”
–Anonymous

“The way to happiness” . . .  Could it belong in the same category as: “The fountain of youth” . . . “The elixir of life” . . . “The philosopher’s stone”. . . “The stairway to heaven”?  A fantasy? An illusion? A chimera? An ignis fatuus or “a deceptive goal or hope”?

If there is really such a way to happiness, at least there should have already been one who has found it, trodden on it, arrived finally at the point of happiness and revealed to us her/his own exhilarating experience right at the vortex of such happiness. Happiness is the perennial goal of humanity expressed in poetic hopes and dreams as a condition of contentment and bliss where life is no longer haunted by problems and difficulties, pains and heartaches, troubles and misfortunes, losses and defeats.

In Platonic (and even neo-Platonic) metaphysics, happiness is an ideal housed in the realm of universals along with the others that are permanent, indestructible, eternal and perfect. In this sense, there is no way for us to locate it in the daily grind of earthly life which on the one hand is full of frustrations and failures while on the other hand is somehow greeted with some glimpses of pleasure every now and then. In the latter realm of particular human experiences, what we can certainly verify, validate and justify is the reality of temporal suffering and pleasure like the cycle of seasons and the constancy of  habits that constitute the drama of life from which we derive its meaningfulness expressed in sorrow and delight, in grief and celebration, in sadness and pleasure.

Happiness continues to remain a nebulous star and one’s search for the way that leads to it is an exercise in futility. We know a myriad of ways to a variety of destinations and these ways are not the same despite some similarities for the end-goals are not the same. Every human individual under normal circumstances is replete with objectives and plans aimed to hit specific targets from simple wishes to ambitious projects. Along the way, we are not strangers to defeat and victory, failure and success. Despite defeat and failure, we plod on unmindful of giving up for the spirit of hope in our system persists with an air of spontaneity and those who have succeeded are wont to savor the sweet aroma of victory in pleasurable celebration. These are down-to-earth empirical instances more understandable in terms of pleasure than in the sense of permanent happiness for such achievement doesn’t catapult the achiever up in the seventh heaven of eternal happiness.

If in a linguistic consideration we associate and thus understand happiness as pleasure, there is therefore nothing uniquely special and ethereal in the essence of happiness. Happiness as pleasure (and pleasure as happiness for that matter) doesn’t really have an equally uniquely special and ethereal way for the ways of pleasure are many and the same applies to happiness. In this sense, happiness is stripped off of its “magick” and the terrain of its location is levelled off to what is common and ordinary in the human condition. As a matter of common expression, “I am happy” doesn’t therefore evoke a special and celestial meaning that describes an individual in a state of perpetual bliss.

Or perhaps, the reality of “happiness” is actually experienced as we courageously tread on the ways of life which in general are characterized by challenges and struggles.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 20 November 2014

skeleton

“If your life is like a tragedy it is because you have been neglecting something — most likely yourself.”
                — Bryant McGill, Simple Reminders: Inspiration for Living Your Best Life

“It is the neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary.”
– Richard Whately

 “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
– Aldous Huxley

 “Before the stroke, I was on a very spiritual plane. I ignored my body, took it for granted. When I look at my life, I see that I wanted to be free of the physical plane, the psychological plane, and when I got free of those, I didn’t want to go anywhere near them. But the stroke reminded me that I had a body and a brain, that I had to honor them.”
– Ram Dass (Richard Alpert)

 

We seem to be always busy doing and thinking–even dreaming–a lot within everyday of our lives. Things deemed important in life in general as well as concerns about job, school, family and relationships in particular preoccupy our thoughts. Many times we just do things at random and what comes up along the way gets the priority over the others. An amorphous collection of things to do and think–initiatives and relationships–generally dominate the order of the day. There is too much concern on certain things while less, even nil, on others.

This scenario is commonplace in the human condition until we get to a particularly “more relaxed” point that engages us to reflect on the deeper matters of life. Then some neglected aspects of our circumstances come up with the realization that we have been unfair with them as we have simply and generally ignored and even forgotten them. They are like the seemingly less important and thus negligible skeleton within us without which none of our physical performances may ever be actually effected.

We could in a way be likened to mixed martial arts fighter Anderson Silva who some months ago very seriously fractured his left leg in full view of a horrified live audience  during a UFC championship match with challenger Chris Wiedman. It was a terribly painful way to remind a highly rated gladiator of how important his skeleton was as he had always previously focused much more on his muscles and fighting techniques all the time until tragedy struck on that fateful night.

Thematizing the “skeleton” within us is symbolic of how we get to a stark realization of how we tend to neglect, ignore and even forget the ordinary presence of people, things, places and events in our daily lives until a point in time when we need them comes. Co-employees right in the workplace where we spend eight hours five days a week are just there and whose sporadic importance simply depends on the need of the hour. Friends and family who have always been supportive of every endeavor we get into but we only get mindful of them once in a blue moon. Things on the shelves we see day in and day out that we generally ignore until some very important need for them crops up and we just couldnt’ remember where we last saw them. These are all like the skeleton within us.

Of course, we reckon our limitations and because of these, we tend to neglect, ignore and forget. We are creatures of particular moments whose unilateral focus on very specific events gets an upperhand over and above other matters presumed to be of less significance. Then we get to a point of helplessness and failure and hence a realization that had we been mindful of some related and connected states of affairs, we could have successfully accomplished what we earlier started.

The point we have reached thus far is an acknowledgment not of these “skeletons´” non-existence because they are just there. In fact, in most if not all cases, we are actually using them as they assist us all along in the performance of certain tasks we need to do. They are not the proverbial “skeleton in the closet”  of which we are always mindful not to expose in public for doing so would mean some modicum of risk.

(c) Ruel F. Pepa, 13 November 2014

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