In a country whose people forget just so easily last week’s news items (it matters not much if we’re able to dissect and digest them as this require higher order thinking, let’s only focus on whether we have retention of facts), it’s a wonder how we still are able to maintain that dignity warranted a self-respecting nation. Since this sense of shame (if one is a pessimist) is not mandatory, and whether facts are forced on us or not, we still forget, I’m worried about how much little dignity this nation has left (granting dignity and forgetfulness are interrelated), if it has any to begin with.
After our passion (yes, we are a passionate nation) dissipates into thin air and we begin to forget, so do our anger, hatred (if you want), rage, feeling of propriety, sense of the ridiculous, and sadly our memory.
It is clear why we forget easily. It is our way of coping with all the calamities that strike us, meaningless deaths (it’s odd because death should be spectacular, our finale; it has to be grand, but in this country, death does not have the chance to be tragic like in Greek or Shakespearean tragedies; death here is commonplace), scandals involving our pathetic leaders, (I will not mention) our personal struggles, if only to survive in a country that seems to defy progress and finds itself deteriorating (‘going to the dogs’ would be an exaggeration, but this country always goes against established rules of language; it eats hyperbole on a daily basis, in fact, it is beyond it).
We know we’d all be deranged if we take everything, ourselves most especially, too seriously, like most Japanese, Americans, or Scandinavians do. Suicide is yet to be included in the list of 10 leading causes of death in the Philippines. Hardly will a Filipino place a bullet in his head or gulp a gallon of insecticide. It’s not because we are gullible and believe in the Catholic Church’s teaching that killing ourselves will mean a life spent for eternity in hell. We are scared of death in this country because we know it is going to be prosaic, stripped of all the ideals we have of the final adieu.
It is also for this same reason that we do not get angry. We are enraged, yes, (however, like our passion, it’s short-lived) but because of a fear that we’ll get consumed by this rage, we let ourselves be eaten alive by this conscious forgetfulness, instead. We Filipinos do not get angry because we know we lack the economic leverage, the social capital, and cultural complexity to run amok. The capacity to feel anger is, by the way, deserved. The assumption is that a nation stripped of its dignity relinquishes its right to feel angry. We are unprivileged to express this supposed basic human emotion. And for this we become less of a human being.
This is something the Filipino nation needs to re-learn. We all need to be angry, to feel enraged, no matter how we are undeserving of it, because only then do we become truly free.