A blog entry lifted from my Multiply account. What I have here are some of my thesis statements from Social Philosophy (Ph102), which I took up when I was a college Junior. Noted below each thesis statement are some of my side comments (parts of which I have no intention at all of saying during the Oral Exams, for obvious reasons. :p)
Left with no choice but to dedicate my Easter Triduum solely for academic matters, I decided to finish reviewing my Philippine History (Hi166) and my Materials Chemistry II (Ch141.92/MSE102) first. And so, while Jesus spent His night washing the overly-smelly feet of His Apostles, I was occupied with readings about Ferdinand Marcos’s cunning wisdom and applications of soft magnets (which I never really learned to appreciate, despite the course I have chosen to take). As Jesus Christ moves on to Gethsemane to utter His rants of pain to His Father, I asked for Divine Power (or whatever) as well to aid me in my Good Friday quest: philosophizing on a year’s worth of learnings. I go to sleep as Jesus is carried away by the Roman soldiers, Judas Iscariot in the lead.
I woke up on Good Friday at exactly 9:00 a.m., the very same time of Jesus’s inhumane nailing at Golgotha. I can feel the pressure of the nails in my brain too; every cell in my body tells me to pick up my Philosophy books, a dozen of mimeographs, and a pen. Four thesis statements from the previous semester done, and ten new thesis statements to go. With my stomach rebelling for canned tuna, I gathered the said materials against my will.
Thesis statement number 5: At first glance, freedom and responsibility means my capacity to choose, to act on my own, to be the source of my concrete actions and to be accountable for them. But as I gradually unfold in the world, I am not only free, but become free and response-able. Freedom then develops into “self-possession within an objectively directed project of life.”
Okay then, freedom is and freedom does. Freedom then makes up a person because the human person himself is freedom. Freedom then defines my personality and who I am, my directed direction in life, my all. But first of all, am I really free to become what I am? Did God, at the onset of my creation, give me the freedom to choose whether I be a plant, an animal, a human, or an extraterrestrial being? And am I really free as to gobble up all these academic burden, given the fact that I am a human, whose never-ceasing tag line is survival of the fittest? And with these academics I was imposed to take, am I really free as to whether or not I pursue on with my exams? Stupid people may answer that yes, I am free, as I can choose to slack off and flunk everything. But I counter-argue that: will you have the face to carry all the attacks your conscience will throw at you after you do that? Will you be able to speak to your parents who burned all their flesh, blood, bone, and sweat so that they may save up money for your sky-high education? In the end you are not really free. It’s not a talk of external and internal constraints, it’s a talk of human life. It’s all about the inescapable reality of Darwinism, and Social Darwinism, in these modern times.
Time consumed: 1 hour.
Thesis statement number 6: Dialogue is not identical with love but is required in love. The obstacles to dialogue are seeming, speechifying, and imposition.
Being, personal making present, and unfolding are the characteristics of dialogue. It’s not that when you talk to someone and you open up to her it already means that you are in love. Dialogue is beyond words; dialogue is a means to communicate with each other’s spirit in a psychic way. We are after all embodied spirits, and thus, the only way to see each other’s soul is to talk not by the conventional, physical means. Damn, I forgot Doc Manny Dy’s lesson on how one can have a dialogue with himself. Maybe it’s being true to myself? Then here’s to it: I am so not in the mood to study on a Good Friday. Begone with all this stupidity. I so miss my childhood, carefree days. I miss meat, I miss my home in Cebu, I miss MTV. Dialogue you say? Yep, there is this single person I would have given up all the riches in the world to have a dialogue with right at that instant. How fated the life of man is, not getting everything he wants. No wonder Jesus Christ died on the Cross: Adam and Eve envied God’s infinite access to everything He can ever dream of.
Time consumed: 40 minutes.
Thesis statement number 7: Love is the unconditional giving of oneself to the other as other. Love of the other as other dos not run counter to self-love but presupposes it. Love is “essentially a movement tending to the enhancement of value.” (Max Scheler)
Yay, my favorite topic! Fresh from Marriage Theology (Th131) class, I declare that love is the will to extend one’s self to another for the purpose of his and the other’s spiritual growths. That’s already three or ten points for my Th131 Long Test. But for Ph102, other things are added to the recipe. Love is the sum of two freedoms, giving a total of a big freedom. (How stupid the philosophers are with mathematics, stating that one plus one equals one.) I love her then because I care for her, as much as she loves me because she cares for me. Our selves are our gifts to each other. And in loving, we then discover that there is more to ourselves, more to our personality, and there we grow in spirit. But where is she I am referring to? Only if my loved one was there to comfort me as Jesus utters His Seven Last Words. But here I am, alone at the foot of the Cross, waiting for Jesus to say Eli, Eli, lama sabachtani? With that, I will back up, Yes, Lord, why have You forsaken me as well? Why have You forsaken us Ateneans, sons and daughters of Your servant Jesuits? Why are we studying in this period of the year? Why are we not out there, proclaiming all the loving in the world? I am here, all alone in the world, reviewing instead of playing; writing instead of blogging; working instead of resting. Where is the love?
Time consumed: 1 hour and 30 minutes. Damn.
Thesis statement number 8: Justice is the minimum demand of love rooted in the inviolability of the human person.
If love is Th131, justice is Literacy Training Service (NSTP1/2-LTS). Justice is what gives human dignity, the very reason of his being. As “free persons” we are then called to practice love in the promotion of justice. For a person in the lower rungs of society, justice can be expressed in simple means such as giving them instant noodles. For those in the upper class, it is recognition from those in a status lower than theirs. For students, it is the chance to be relieved of academic burden and pain. The dignity of students is best promoted during vacation, where no school work can threaten them. But where has Atenean justice gone now? Why are there exams on a vacation week? Weren’t those professors students themselves decades ago? Didn’t they long as well for the smell of salty sea breeze and the enticing aroma of food in the kitchen when they were young? Where is the justice now that they are forcing us to study, all against our will, but choiceless when it comes to our conscience? Why are they so happy provoking us and depriving us of happiness? Justice, we Ateneans thirst.
Time consumed: 40 minutes.
Thesis statement numbers 9-12. Great. Four thesis statements on political philosophy. No way. These will be for Black Saturday. Or probably just on Easter Sunday. Next set please.
Thesis statement number 13: In being-towards-death, I come to grips with my wholeness in advance and thereby live an authentic existence (Martin Heidegger). Death is a test of love and the condition of freedom (Roger Troifontaines).
In accepting the possibility of death, a person becomes totally free. Now that he knows that he is about to die, he can choose whether to live a crappy life of a criminal or a praised vocation of a saint. In relation to this, the human person then is free as to whether extend his love to others or be egoistic. Okay. I know I’ll die, my chemistry says so, no need to stress the point. I then will continue flooding my excretory system with sodium, since I get to live this life only once, and therefore, I want to enjoy it. No one, even my mother, is really in command in my life. You cannot dictate at me. You cannot change me by your criticisms. I am what I am and if I disappoint you, I do not give a damn. I hear your attacks, but I won’t thank you for it. They are yes, means to bring me up, but never will they be means to bring me down. Go and try. You’ll end up brawling in defeat and frustration. Why don’t you mind your life instead? Stop your stupidity and get real. There is death in life, as much as life is present in death. Have a surgeon implant you neurons if you do not understand the meaning of this. Huh. So much for rants. As for Ateneo, I am now dead. Why you ask? Where is my freedom? Where is my loved one? None are here, just me and my philosophy book. Therefore I am dead. And no one cares.
Time consumed: 1 hour.
Thesis statement number 14: Human love in itself, which is the crowning point of all my activities, does not guarantee my total fulfillment a person but falls short of my search for authenticity. Thus, reflecting on my historicity, and facing the inescapable fact of death, I long for the Absolute Thou who is the Horizon and Ground of my earthly existence.
Unlike God, I am limited by time and space. I die then. I am a unique person (no one aside from me can be me) though and as such, I am a historical being. Being an embodied spirit, I am also freedom, and this freedom is best expressed in my ability to love. But since I am bound to die, I can never fully express all my love in the world. I long therefore for God who can fully satisfy my hunger for infinite love, as He, unlike me, is not set by limitations. The existence of God is not proved objectively, rather, it is a question of how real He is to me. As a Catholic from birth, He is very much real to me, even at those moments that I came to question my religion. Set with these countless trials from the Almighty, I am now very much in need of Him. I may be alone physically but in spirit, I know that I am not. I may not feel any help from Him as of the moment, but my heart tells that eventually He will provide me with one. All I have to do is believe, and like Jesus, say Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit. And like Jesus, I close my eyes to rest. So much for Good Friday. The Lord is dead, and so to humans, we sleep with Him. Haha, just a jesting.
Time consumed: 1 hour.
So much for the other four thesis statements. I don’t want to go back to them.
Not that I made a marathon of this, I took long precious breaks in between. It’s Good Friday, after all, and rest must be a part of the Catholic’s life. All the Calvary of studying continued until the good Lord rose from the Dead on Easter Sunday. I envy Him. He is out there, enjoying White Chocolate Easter Eggs while I am here with my hands numb of writing notes.
Eventually, I got to study all thesis statements except thesis statement number 12, a thing about civil society. I am not really into this topic — even a classmate’s notes won’t work. And turning my ears to Pinoy Big Brother Teen Edition Plus (on this particularly hot girl housemate) on the eve of my Oral Exams last Easter Sunday, I called it quits and I slept. If ever my professor tells me to explain number 12, I have a script to tell him already as to why I can’t.
And because of Divine Intervention, I got Thesis Statement 5. Of course what I typed here I did not say all, especially my rants. My professor looked satisfied, and by the looks of my Final Mark, I snagged a high grade. Now then, I am free to enjoy the summer. (But not yet totally free as a human person)
As I went on with my Orals, I can’t help but ponder on the fact that I spent days and days studying 14 thesis statements and in the end, I get to only defend one for just a quarter of an hour (maybe even less, for short, straight-to-the-point thesis statements). Imagine, sacrificing everything to make sure you know all; fearing for the worst that you might get what you hate; completely choiceless of what to pick. But though the 15 minutes may be shorter than the time allotted for studying (and cramming), every moment is a good avenue to release all the tension incurred from all those heavy studying and endless beating in the ass. Utter those words of defense to your professor with pride – straight in his bored face. Just be sure not to give your opinion. Say anything other than the lesson and all your hours, days, weeks, and months you have burned to studying those 14 thesis statements will turn to ash. And come next Lenten Season of the New Year, they will be wiped on your forehead as a reminder of your stupidity. Shaped in the form of a Cross, they will tell you of a New Calvary you are about to experience.
Fifteen minutes of glory. Fifteen minutes never to return.
At last, I have suffered, died, and resurrected. My psychic Paschal Mystery is over.