di mabilang ang mga gabing lumutang
ang pangarap na sa pagsikat ng araw
hahalik ang tagumpay sa pisngi
ng umagang puspos ng buhay.

maraming pagbubulay at pagsisikap
ang yumakap sa pagkakataon
upang patuloy na dumaloy
ang kabuluhan ng pagmamahal
sa diwang nakikipag-ulayaw sa pag-asa.

. . . ngunit hindi sumikat ang araw
at ang humalik sa pisngi ng umaga
ay mga punglo na nagpasambulat
sa silahis ng tagumpay
at kumalat ang walang putol na dilim
lakip ang nakabibinging panaghoy at dalamhati.

hindi na makikipag-ulayaw
ang diwa sa pag-asa
pagkat ang dumaloy ay dugo
at ang lumutang ay isang bangungot
na ginising ng malakas
na sigaw ng pagkapoot
sa walang hanggang hatinggabi. . . .

kalat na ang dilim
at mahaba na ang prusisyon
ng mga kaluluwang tumatahak
sa ilang na walang landas
at sinisikap na tagpuin
sa isang marahas na lupain
ang mailap na katarungan
at kapayapaang matagal nang sinisindak
ng mga alagad ng kapangyarihang
salat sa katuwiran.

ruel f.. pepa . . . 19 Hulyo 2012



I read in college Martin Buber’s I-Thou (Ich-Du in the original German) more than four decades ago. I was introduced to it by a friend while I was doing a comprehensive paper on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, specifically that part about the “non-existence of the “I” on the basis of the notion that “to exist is to be in the world,” i.e., to be a part of the world. To be a part of the word is to be perceived in the world and on this basis, the “I” doesn’t exist because it is not perceived in the world. Wittgenstein said, “The ‘I’ is the limit of the world.” Using the analogy of the human “eye,” it is not a part of the visual field but the limit of the visual field.

This Wittgensteinian reductionism makes the world very impersonal where everything is a matter of experience and hence epistemic. After reading Buber’s I-Thou, the world became as I had normally known it all the while. From the Buberian perspective, Wittgenstein was only talking of an aspect of the two-aspect world and that is the I-It where we have the human subject who experiences and the object of experience. The other aspect which is of a higher nature is the I-Thou aspect where two subjects meet each other in a dialogical encounter: one addresses himself as “I” and the other as “You.” The “I-It” is empirical/epistemic while the “I-Thou” is relational/dialogical. The former puts in question our humanity; the latter affirms and confirms it.

In fairness to Wittgenstein (who was also of Jewish extraction like Buber), he was able to overcome this reductionist dead-end after a long hiatus and a return to philosophical inquiry wherein he repudiated most of what he said in the Tractatus. In his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations, a new and fresh philosophical view of the world and reality is being presented.


The field of commercial advertising in capitalist state of affairs is the major user and beneficiary of film and photography. We have witnessed the exploitative and manipulative effects of advertising on people. However, in the case of documentary films produced to expose socio-economic and political conditions, the particular users define and set the limits of what they intend to put up as a way to influence specifically targeted audiences. YouTube is a potent “post-modern” channel to express to targeted audiences contending sides of a controversial issue. In the case, for example, of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, YouTube offers two sides of the coin–both pro and anti–in very convincing ways.

I think the main problem is not in the presentation of photographs and filmic images but in the level of someone’s consciousness informed and shaped up by his or her socio-cultural orientation and politico-economic landscape as well. The whole situation still relies on the power of interpretation whose accuracy or correctness depends on the depth of a person’s involvement and immersion in the nitty-gritty of his or her national and geographical location.

In the present cyberspace age, no technologically-enhanced person escapes from mass media commodification. I think this is where “post-modern” power resides and anyone who attempts an interpretation–and s/he must be culturally programmed in the bourgeois social apparatus to exude a powerful stance to step forward and advance an interpretation–is spewing out something easily taken in and swallowed hook-line-and-sinker by the majority who always look up to a deified entity as a center of authority. This thing is a reality in the kind of showbiz mentality Filipinos generally have. And showbiz traverses its borders to the point of even blurring the line between it and politics.