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And it comes to a point when marginal returns begin to diminish, and papers begin to feel like goo framed within an ‘epistemic phenomenological completeness,’ wading in their own vanity and, of course, their accompanying uselessness sans aesthetic abhorrent-ness.
A human lifetime is 80 years long on average. A person imagines and organizes his life with that span in mind. What I have just said everyone knows, but only rarely do we realize that the number of years granted us is not merely a quantitative fact, an external feature (like nose length or eye color), but is part of the very definition of the human. A person who might live, with all his faculties, twice as long, say 160 years, would not belong to our species. Nothing about his life would be like ours–not love, or ambitions, or feelings, or nostalgia; nothing. If after 20 years abroad an emigre were to come back to his native land with another hundred years of life ahead of him, he would have little sense of a Great Return, for him it would probably not be a return at all, just one of many byways in the long journey of his life.
For the very notion of homeland, with all its emotional power, is bound up with the relative brevity of our life, which allows us too little time to become attached to some other country, to other countries, to other languages.
Sexual relations can take up the whole of adult life. But if life were a lot longer, might not staleness stifle the capacity for arousal well before one’s physical powers declined? For there is enormous difference between the first and the tenth, the hundredth, the thousandth, or the ten thousandth coitus. Where lies the boundary line beyond which repetition becomes stereotyped, if not comical or even impossible? and once that boundary is crossed, what would become of the erotic relationship between a man and a woman? Would it vanish? Or, on the contrary, would lovers consider the sexual phase of their lives to be the barbaric prehistory of real love? Answering these questions is as easy as imagining the psychology of the inhabitant of an unknown planet.
The notion of love (of great love, of one-and-only love) itself also derives, probably, from the narrow bounds of the time we are granted. If that time were boundless, would Josef be so attached to his deceased wife? We who must die so soon, we just don’t know.
Kundera, Milan. Ignorance. Linda Asher (trans). New York: Harper. 2000. 120-2.
I have been asked by not fewer than two people why this blog has not been updated and my Facebook page has remained quiet for a month. The questions in some respects are telling of what people expect from the person inhabiting the space next to them. Nobody seems to remain quiet these days. Noise as manifested by our rants, shares, shout outs, status updates are deemed virtuous almost a moral imperative. For one can only be one with all the rest through his participation in this grand exchange mediated by Twitter or Facebook.
Silence is taken as not having opinions on issues of imports, and worse, remaining silent before a scene of disaster and deaths is a tacit show of one’s apathy. In an extreme case, not talking is the antithesis of a being responsible citizen of this country. The spectacle is taken to the extent of the absurd, the ridiculous, the camp. And Filipinos are more than willing participants. With the popularity of social networking site comes an expectation from everyone to use it as platform for the continuous and gnawing opinion sharing.
It is sickening. People who equate silence as that sinister lack of desire to participate in the epic process of building this nation are not cognizant of the fact that although opinion making is necessary, reflection is also a much needed ingredient in this whole process. I cannot go on waxing irony and condescension in this post about the Filipinos’ loquacity in the midst of a disaster and before their celebration of the mundane when they’ve gone tired of the tragic and the macabre.
Choosing to remain silent is a conscious decision of somebody armed with the understanding that there are many more things silence accomplishes.
Because I don’t want this post to celebrate one of the most depressing days in a person’s life.
Perhaps the most rational reason people dig their trunks and the dark recesses of their computer memories to look for the most horrendous and dated artifacts of their pasts during Thursdays and have them posted on their virtual walls is because even though the past is ugly, sepia-ed, and moth-infested, it has never abandoned them. It is continually remembered with much fondness, like a 5-week old cereal-and-milk mixture sitting happily inside one’s refrigerator, forming crust on top of desiccated crusts, that can turn into either a sour-tasting granola or an organic charcoal–both wonderful byproducts.
Throwback Thursdays appeal the most to people in their 20s. That stage in one’s life when nothing’s uncertain, and the future looms devoid with kindness, when everyone seems to have moved on, but one still finds himself stuck in one place, silently crying for help, but not wanting to cry too hard lest his Facebook friends think he’s a whiner and a bitter participant in this party called life.
And so he quietly posts reminders of the kinder past, hoping, just hoping, the future will be much better, and for friends to drop him a like or two.
Don’t ask me about that giraffe and its various permutations.
What am I talking about? Today is just Monday.
Arriving tired after having done five rounds of jogging around UP Oval, hearing Mass, and indulging myself in simple dinner for one at a Korean place on campus whose name escapes me at the moment, I’m home with my resurrected web connection, alone again, of course, and a major task awaiting for me to finish before midnight later.
I want to do everything better this time.
Including having better sleep when this is finished.
Let me. Please.