Struggling for a better future | Inquirer Opinion

Struggling for a better future

It is simply human, and Filipinos are human, too, to look ahead and imagine our families beyond today. I think it is embedded in our DNA. It might be as primal as the instinct to survive, with survival to include the family we build and will leave behind to build theirs.

I think surviving precedes resilience, or is the reason why we turn out to be resilient. The Creator must have placed such great importance to life that all creation is energy as well, and energy is never destroyed.

There seems to be a philosophical dimension to life and it is most obvious among humans. We are all here, humans and everything else, not having created ourselves but caught in a process where we naturally recreate and extend life. More intricate than that is how we can enhance and transform ourselves. What a magnificent potential that is almost self-driven.


It is that time of the year when I tend to get more reflective, when I want to step up from the mundane concerns that tend to dominate our attention. Yet, most mean little to us, just details that divert our focus to that which means more. I can watch the Israel-Hamas drama all day, or the Biden-Trump dynamics, and yes, they are attention-grabbing.


I can go closer to home and witness how a UNITEAM is fracturing before my very eyes, even without knowing the more juicy rumors from people allegedly in the know. I see grand hypocrisy played out in tri-media, how this public official can say this but do the opposite behind the scene. And all this time, those involved in the zarzuela think we are all so dense and blind that we cannot understand what they are actually doing.

Politics are very critical to the lives of Filipinos who are dependent on government hand-outs or support. I understand that, especially when half of Filipinos consider themselves poor and waiting for government assistance. They have little options. They have to dance to the music of local and national politicians and bureaucrats who are distributing the goodies. But what the needy forget to realize is that they are pawns or puppets because they have little capacity to take care of themselves. For their lack of productive capacity, they surrender their dignity.

The reality, though, is that change will not come fast. In fact, it may not come at all. Unless an external force, whether it is a national calamity or a revolution, smashes the status quo. Meanwhile, life goes on but it does not go forward. If there is no meaningful and sustainable improvement, there is no forward. It is what is called as running in place. Too bad because running in place is the slower equivalent of digging a hole.

But life does go on, and not only that, life goes on with an urge to find a better place. It is futuristic, it may even be intuitive, but we look for a lighter life, a brighter tomorrow, and we see our children and grandchildren in it. For that piece of a dream, we struggle to go through our challenges today, even if we know we did not do very well yesterday.

And this is another reason why I am writing this article today, to share my thoughts on the virtue that is born and developed in us. Many call it resilience. The question is whether we can train ourselves to be resilient, or to simply forget about it if it is a natural consequence of the process we call daily living.

Resilience cannot come to be without a struggle. In fact, not just a struggle but possibly much more. Struggles are not only physical, or economic, they can be anything and everything. The make-up of a human being is so intricate that he or she is more than the sum of his or her parts. We are physical, we have feelings, we have thoughts, and we have decisions. We can ride the tide or we can resist the current. We can be what we want to be in our inner selves. Sometimes, we can even be what we want to be on the outside.


Training people to be resilient is to be a bit sadistic. That will mean deliberately moving them through challenges of our many dimensions, and making them come out not only alive but also not traumatized. Even without intentional programs to grow resiliency in people and just daily living, people can get in depression, contract mental illness, and some commit suicide. What more if they are trained to go through more severe situations in life.

Yet, people do turn out resilient. The fact that humanity is still here after all it has gone through means there is resiliency even without deliberate training. What humanity did go through is childhood and parenthood in the thick of daily living. The training for survival and resiliency has always been instinctive and intuitive. With almost 8 million people on the planet today, and most of them are poor and marginalized, the instinctive and intuitive have done quite well in sustaining life.

The truth is, it is not the resiliency of man that I am worried about. Our growing population already proves that. Rather, it is our intelligence that worries me, or, to be more succinct, it is our inability to overcome our stupidity that is truly alarming. For one reason or the other, we cannot seem to get things right. There are enough models, by the way, but not enough learning.

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Those who get ahead of others, few though they may be, cannot transcend the perks of power and the temptation of wealth. Unfortunately, they are in control despite their minuscule numbers. For only one reason, it seems. That the vast majority choose to suffer like meek lambs for years, for centuries, for millennia. Which is why, with everything we have to take care of, I worry about our intelligence.

TAGS: Glimpses

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