Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A life well-lived

Reading a very thought-provoking book of our professor, a Spanish philosopher Alejandro Llano, entitled “La vida lograda” (A life well-lived), I could not help but dedicate a few moments digesting his ideas. I thought I might as well provoke you, my dear readers, to think, so I decided to share these thoughts with you.

* * *

“Examinar qué es lo que me hace crecer en cuanto persona y qué es aquello con lo que yo mismo me puedo dañar y malograr mi vida” (Examine what makes me grow as a person and what is that which harms me and turns my life into a waste.)

It’s another way of expressing what Socrates declared long time ago: “An unexamined life is not worthliving”. It is part of our human nature to keep ourselves away from harm and to cling to what keeps us whole and fulfilled. Yet, the difficulty nowadays is that most harmful things present themselves under the guise of what is pleasurable and comfortable.

* * *

“Es joven toda aquella, todo aquél, para quien el futuro presenta mayor interés que el pasado” (Young is he or she to whom the future is more interesting than the past.)

The old ones say: “The problem with the youth is that they always talk about their future – their dreams, plans, ambitions, fantasies, etc”. Then, the youth replied: “The problem with old people is that they keep on remembering their past – adventures, achievements, etc.

If you think the past (especially your past) is better than the future (especially your future) and if you keep on saying that the days past are better-off than today and that tomorrow will be worse (especially when you say it with the certainty of the sun shining every morning), then, I’m sure you are already old.

* * *

“Para saber lo que debemos hacer, hemos de hacer lo que queremos saber” (In order to know what we should do, we should do what we want to know.)

It may appear like a word game. But its message is very simple: let’s put into practice what we know (or want to know). “By nature, man desires to know”, says Aristotle. And man wants to know only the good (at least, what is good for him) for, as the same philosopher says, “no man willingly does wrong.”

However, it’s useless to know anything if our knowledge does not lead us to action, if our knowledge does not tell us what to do. “In order to know what we should do, we should do what we want to know”.

* * *

“Lo decisivo no es sentir; lo decisivo es pensar” (What is decisive is not to feel but to think.)

If only the majority would base their life’s decisions on what they have thought of rather than what they felt, a lot of problems (especially emotional and relational ones) would be avoided or solved. But most people today make decisions based on feelings, not so much on rational deliberations.

Worst, the movements of one’s emotions (which are fluctuating) are interpreted as a sign of the right thing to do, the guide of one’s decision-making. “What’s important is I feel good,” said one friend of mine over the net. And I responded: “To feel good is the least; what’s important is to be good.”

* * *
“Hay que discutir las ideas y no criticar a las personas” (We should discuss and criticize ideas not persons).

People will not be motivated to correct their errors if criticisms are directed against their person (we call it “argumentum ad hominem”) rather than towards their errors or mistakes. A student is better motivated to study more if you tell him: “Your answer to this mathematical problem is wrong because the formula you used lacks one element”, rather than “Bobo ka kasi!” (You’re stupid!).

In our politics, in our movie industry, even in our neighborhood, in our workplace, we can observe a lot of “argumentum ad hominem” in our comments on one another. What is worst, we get used to it to the point that we could not distinguish anymore an argument (or a criticism) against an idea from that which is against a person. When our friend tells us that we are wrong in saying that Noynoy Aquino is running for president, at times we immediately react saying: “Ibig mong sabihin sinungaling ako?” (So you think I’m a liar?)

No comments:

"Sacerdotes, 'consagrados en la Verdad'"

Estar inmersos en la Verdad, en Cristo, de este proceso forma parte
la oración, en la que nos ejercitamos en la amistad con Él y aprendemos a
conocerle: su forma de ser, de pensar, de actuar. Rezar es un caminar en
comunión personal con Cristo, exponiendo ante Él nuestra vida cotidiana,
nuestros logros y nuestros fracasos, nuestras fatigas y nuestras alegrías -es un
simple presentarnos a nosotros mismos ante Él. Pero para que esto no se
convierta en un autocontemplarse, es importante que aprendamos continuamente a
rezar rezando con la Iglesia.