A few days ago, a friend doing digital research in social media showed me an example of how toxic our societal environment can be. Using cutting edge technology from abroad to vacuum sentiments expressed online and then customizing the same technology to suit the needs of clients in the Filipino context, his group would track relevant data on a real-time basis. The data would then be collated, categorized and analyzed.
Covering a period of a few weeks, he showed me a summary of what trended online. While we all say that there is a lot of negativity going around, the summary I saw was more than that. Every major issue registered negatively, as did every personality connected to the trending issues. It shocked me that the Philippine environment was dominated by the negative so much that good news could hardly surface to be appreciated.
It was alarming to see the trending issues where protagonists in all sides registered negative. Usually, when one loses, the other wins. But not necessarily so anymore because both sides lose. I know there is good news out there but they don’t trend – if at all they are noticed. The driver of nation-building should be based on vision and hope. Unless negativity is reduced so that the positive can surface, the nation will be listless, moving from inertia rather than in pursuit of a dream.
To make matters worse, I see and know of many who are afflicted with cancer. This deadly disease is not new but it might as well be. The majority who are suffering from cancer lose hope for two basic reasons; first, there is no consistent cure, and second, treatment is financially prohibitive despite the odds against a cure. Just earlier, I read an article about how 8 adults and 7 children die of cancer every day in the Philippines. If it is not poverty, corruption and contentious partisanship that is not dragging us down, it is dreaded diseases.
It is easy to imagine how poverty creates an atmosphere that drives many among the poor to drugs as a means to escape from their stressful existence. When hope fades, one does not commit suicide right away. There is first the most viable option of getting temporary pleasure or highs and forgetting about problems through the use of illegal drugs. And there is an industry complete with the infrastructure, material and human resources to promote and expand its market. The number of drug pushers must be creating the equivalent of the biggest sales group in the country.
Thankfully, and I really mean thankfully, a bright light was shining along my path and I found myself in two meetings in two days and encountered hope in two individuals. One is a Filipino inventor, Tuks Lavarias, who developed what can be a miracle oil because several cancer patients swear by it. Made available as a supplement because it can never get an FDA certificate as having therapeutic value, it nevertheless has done more for those with cancer who have used and are using it than officially labeled medicine – if one can afford to buy them. One patient is a personal friend and I am happily monitoring his almost instant and now steady improvement back to normalcy.
The other is a visiting Belgian professor and therapist, Marina Riemslagh, whose expertise is in empowering affected individuals to recognize, understand and address their stress. Stress is the driver of conflict, escapism, and illness. As they say, stress kills. It can also cause addiction to anything that delivers momentary pleasure or relief from stress. Marina is proving through her students, and all the more through her patients, that the highest power is love and there is a methodology that uses love to resolve disturbing issues and strained relationships in record time. Her set of experiences and knowledge make a strong foundation in teaching those involved in drug rehabilitation how to more quickly and effectively cure the addiction.
So, after all, it was not all so negative for me. Except I had to get lucky in knowing about cures and the personalities who are making the cures available while negativity simply envelops everybody without them asking for it. I am sure that the creativity of the human mind and spirit will ultimately discover powerful solutions to perennial problems. Tuks Lavarias and Marina Riemslagh must only be two of many more who are being guided by life itself to what will be mainstream answers to current massive problems. There were long periods of time when civilization was terrorized by smallpox, chicken pox, polio, rabies, and measles among others. But the Tuks Lavariases and Marina Riemslaghs of yesteryears fought their way from impossibility then to actualized reality today.
This is my hope for poverty and corruption, too. They are impossible to eradicate today but so were many major diseases then. There is a spirit in humanity that strives for the sun and the heavens. From one generation to another, that spirit has always expressed itself, sometimes subtly, sometimes aggressively, but it was never in paralysis. No matter how bad it can get, or powerful what is bad can get, it eventually collapses to give way to some good that wants to take its place. That is why idealism moves from generation to generation, hardly taught, many times discouraged, but every generation has it and tries to live it. When one generation fails, another follows still with idealism in it and tries to pick up where the previous one left off.
In the midst of the incessant noise and strife, we must believe that something better is just around the corner. Against the tide, if it has to be, we must seek that which promotes peace and raises the common good to society’s priority value. No matter how dark and difficult, enough of us must see the beauty of nobility and never, never give up.
Editorial cartoon, September 29, 2017