A reflection of a global conflict | Inquirer Opinion

A reflection of a global conflict

12:30 AM January 21, 2022

Before we go partisan, it is best that we know where we stand. It is first and foremost NOT about politics or personalities, but what our priority values are. Following what is most important to us, we then choose one side over another when there are opposing views.

It is from our choices and subsequent behavior that we can measure our value system, its depth or refinement. Human behavior is the most truthful expression of our state of being. Thoughts can quickly change, feelings can swing from mood to mood, but our actions define our behavior most of all. Our actions remain more constant than our thoughts and feelings. Our actions become our habits, and almost impossible to change thereafter.


Our level of maturity, or more realistically, our level of immaturity is seen through our collective behavior. Because we can be partisan even before we have consciously recognized and chosen our priority values, it is the equivalent of shooting before we think. We are reactive more than we are reasoning beings, just like how children are. That is why I say immature more than mature.

There are a few who can be driven by malice, but just a few considering the whole. What is more real is that our immaturity dictates our actions. We have this yet unattained capacity for critical thinking more than we have malice. For those who orchestrate or manipulate the immature, it is greed and the lust for power, two sides of the same coin, that propel their schemes. Yes, sometimes, malice or the need for revenge can be the main driver but greed and lust for power will quickly be the sustaining motivations.


Life used to be much simpler in the past. Monarchies ruled, and all else followed. However, the collective maturing process of humanity has introduced the realization among many that they, too, have some power of their own. When people stop blindly following their leaders, it is because they have discovered anger or their own personal power.

Empowerment, though, is a long journey for a humanity that has been used to dictatorial governance since time immemorial. Look at our own growth process and how long it is taking for us to witness reason governing us instead of our emotions or physical needs. A people, a country that is still host to large swathes of poverty, will hardly be characterized by critical thinking. We will be like children easily controlled by our poverty and emotions, just like puppets by their masters.

Democracy, then, for Filipinos is an ideal that is hardly understood by the majority. Government of the people, by the people, and for the people are ideas that are difficult to be understood by those whose level of dependence demands they obey more than participate in decision-making. He who has the gold rules, the saying goes.

Our May 2022 presidential elections are not about personalities but about where our values are and where we would like to bring them. The leading personalities involved are representations of contrasting and, often, opposing value systems. There are those who want control over empowering those they want to control, and there are the small minority who want to empower knowing it dilutes the power they already have.

To make it more specific, let us take the Gang of Four, a loose term being given to the political combination of Marcos, Duterte, Macapagal-Arroyo, and Estrada. Whether true or not in the actual sense, their public images highlight power and money. That is a value system that defines their images, and those images are their more from what people see than what enemies allege. In fact, Marcos and Estrada once occupied the top ten list of leaders who plundered the most in the world. It may yet come to pass that, with technology being more capable of unearthing secrets, Macapagal-Arroyo and Duterte will also be judged similarly in the near future.

Children, however, can be influenced by what they are told more than what they can discover. One is spoon-feeding, an activity that is common and necessary for children. The other is an effort to rise above obedience to informed choice. Children can be easily manipulated or, with difficulty and determination, developed to grow to discover their capacity. It depends on the motive of the parents, basically a choice between control or empowerment.

Are Filipinos children, then, politically and behaviorally? Of course, they are. When a pandemic immediately plans to deliver food to 80% of Filipino families, that is a graphic picture of how the government looks at the population – dependents, unable to fend for themselves.


Are Filipino politicians, then, children as well? I would say that the majority are, no matter how they may protest otherwise. During elections, they are mostly swayed by those who can give them, not by those they have to give something – just like children in contrast to enabled citizens who can dictate to public officials.

Is there no hope, then? Of course not. What saves the day and what assures the future is that the divine plan of creation is greater than what the greedy, manipulative, and exploitative can do. The design of humanity has in place the ingredients for growth and maturity, the potential and urge for self-empowerment and intelligence. It is only a matter of time. Evolution will see to that. After all, were we not just ape-like before?

The inner seed to fulfill our purpose and potential is the most powerful driving force of all. That is always there in each of us. It may be raw, it may be young, but it is there and it cannot be taken out of our spirit. We will not know when it overpowers the manipulation of exploiters but it is when, not if.

That is the highlight of this coming presidential elections, choices we all make for the presidency and other positions. We can remain like children, suffer the consequences, or choose to discover our own power.

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TAGS: 2022 elections, global conflict, partisan, politics
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