Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dear Philosophy

Ah, here we meet again. It seems, in doing what I do, it is impossible to escape you. I have expressed before, when I was much younger, that I'd much rather think about things than think about thinking. Now I know I was quick to dismiss what you can offer, intimidated as I was by your 'logic' and the mathematics of those who claim to worship at your altar. I worry that you are enslaved by those who claim that there is truth backed by "rationality." I am somewhat comforted that it is also true that your development in recent centuries have been tailored to suit the natural world. And so it is fruitless to argue logic when one cannot perform experiments on human societies to verify or falsify social theories.

By virtue of the body of knowledge I have become familiar with all these years, there is in me the natural urge to resist that there is 'truth' to be 'known.' I like the fancy Frenchies with their outrageous claims that there is no truth at all. Or that we all walk around with various interpretations of it. In class today, the philosopher with a doctorate from Oxford doesn't seem inclined to believe truth is relative. Perhaps he is reluctant to let go of the DWEM (dead white European male) version of his truths. In the discussion he keeps giving examples in the natural world, wholly irrelevant in my discipline.

I took issue with the 'pragmatic theory' of truth, which claims that faced with evidence contrary to what we believe to be true (such seeing a black swan when before we were sure they were all white), then we have a choice to either accept there are black swans or reject it and claim what we saw was no swan at all. My understanding is that we will all respond to this contradiction depending on our degree of attachment to the whiteness of swans, and we will accept there are black swans if it is expedient (that is, beneficial) to us and our sets of truths. Some will adjust their beliefs to accommodate this new truth, or some will reorganise their whole belief systems to cling to the whiteness of swans. The point is, according to this theory, we have a choice. That all truths are 'rejectable.' But what if we really have no choice? What if we have only an illusion of choice?

It is easy enough to verify the color of swans, so really, why should we even bother to think about it? Juxtaposed to my discipline, which Professor Oxford encourages all the time, then what if I choose to go against the basic tenets of international relations, that all 6.3 billion of us are divided into discreet units called 'states' and that we all must carry a 'nationality'? What if I say I choose to renounce my nationality? It may be true for me because I supposedly choose for it to be so, but how is it expedient when this means I will become in essence a non-entity? Will not the world we live in, the system and structure of our reality, constrain my choice?

Found this in my drafts. Written last semester when I was taking Epistemology chu-chu.

12 comments:

Jon Limjap said...

LOL.... logic is my bread and butter.

Being a software dev is trying to write instructions for machines to be able to think a certain way, and the cold mathematics of logic is necessary if we are to accomplish this.

The funny thing is, in many cases we've started exploring various degrees of truths; whereas in the binary world it's just either true or false, we've started to explore the fuzzy logic world where truth is expressed in percent, where things can be 10% false and 90% true depending on given rules.

cvj said...

Yes, at the very least you'll be constrained by your passport and the other forms that you need to fill-out as part of everyday life.

sparks said...

We'll probably reach a post-national world...but we might have to wait many more decades to get there...

Anonymous said...

You're just saying this no nationality crap because you've got nothing to be proud about your stinking country that is the Philippines. I bet your jealous of all the Aussies when they go "Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi, Oi, Oi!" and think, why can't I do that with Philippines?

Give me a good reason why you would want to go stateless then other than that your ashamed of your own state?

sparks said...

Troll from Sydney,

I believe this blog is a testament to how much I love my country.

You know what's funny? The last time I heard that cheer was in a bus. A bus full of Bond students. Obviously mostly foreign. Three kids sitting at the bus started cracking racist jokes. Then chanting that song. The whole bus - full of people chattering in at least five different languages, fell silent.

I bet the driver, who was an 'abo' wanted to melt into his seat.

Anonymous said...

"I believe this blog is a testament to how much I love my country."

There's no question that you love it, just as a wife can love an abusive husband.

But can you be proud of it?

"Three kids sitting at the bus started cracking racist jokes. Then chanting that song."

Filipinos are just as racist as any race. The difference is that they cannot overtly project their racism to foreigners (especially Westerners), even in their own country because once they do, Westerners have an arsenal of retorts-from "your country stinks, is poor, government is corrupt, your lazy, your being left behind by even poorer Asian countries, etc, etc"

Witness the racism of Koreans, Japs, and Chinese against whiteys in their home turf. Filipinos can't do the same. If fact, Filipinos would look up to foreigners in their own land.

The average Filipino, of course, can be racist against Aetas, Bisayas, and Moros because they're economically lower than they are.

And therein lies the rub: White Western society (and I'm not just talking about 3 kids in a bus), despite of its flaws, will take care of it's own people, even immigrants. The reality of the average man-on-the-street Filipino taking care of their own is so far-fetched and removed from what the nationalist intellegentsia projects that it makes die-hard nationalists like you in the blogosphere so laughable.

It's also the reason why you can't comprehend (Western) Professor Oxford's black and white perception that you must carry a nationality. Because nationality works for him, but not for you. Especially for you flag-waving, idealistic, honest, tax-paying Filipinos.

sparks said...

While I know there is a need to build a modern nation, so my country can at least join the 20th century- I am no 'nationalist' in the way you mean.

Your analogy between husband and country doesn't apply. I am no victim.

If fact, Filipinos would look up to foreigners in their own land.

That is a matter of re-education. It can be remedied.

You're too old to have any hope for the future Trolly. The way you interpret the unfolding of history, of reality - is outdated. Your view of humanity is even more limited. You're stuck in the present - this century - with no appreciation of the past or the future. How sad.

I pity you. You must have left the Philippines with so much self-hatred. You are a part of a whole generation of self-hating former Filipinos who were brainwashed to think the Philippines is the worst country in the history of mankind. That the Philippines is in a special category of the absolute worst. What a pity. I cannot have any kind of discourse with you. We do not share the same vocabulary.

In your own sick and twisted way, you must love your old country still. Like an abusive husband still loves his wife after some sound beating.

Jim Rick said...

"You are a part of a whole generation of self-hating former Filipinos who were brainwashed to think the Philippines is the worst country in the history of mankind. That the Philippines is in a special category of the absolute worst."

Can't blame the old folks' hatred. With the loss of basic democratic freedoms and the worst economic situation post-war during Marcos' era, compared to our current generation, the Marcos generation really had it up the ass.

"Your view of humanity is even more limited."

Or maybe he's just older and wiser (and crankier)?

sparks said...

Older and crankier, yes. I doubt that he grew wiser.

Its not just the older generation I'm afraid. I heard litanies similar to his from a highly intelligent 34 yr old journalist for PDI. Re-education is what we need. We need to teach constructive criticism and hope, not self-hatred and despair.

Anonymous said...

sparks said...

"We'll probably reach a post-national world...but we might have to wait many more decades to get there...

We need to teach constructive criticism and hope, not self-hatred and despair."

But isn't you your longing for a post-national world many decades from now a form of desperation?

sparks said...

I'm not 'longing' for it. Its happening already. It probably sounds weird to a lay person. But I'm not using it as a lay person. Its academic speak. I hold no value judgment when I say it.

sparks said...

hahahaha. nirerespeto ang karespe-respeto.