Posts Tagged With: philosophy

Is there a possibility that human beings can be its conqueror? – The Nature of Fear and Beyond

I FINALLY DECIDED TO POST ONE OF MY PHILOSOPHICAL PIECES. THIS TIME, I WROTE ABOUT FEAR.

The Question

The Origin of the Question

The world is a dynamic dimension of the universe as how the lives which constitute it have been playing a role to unceasingly inhabit its breadth every single day. Human beings as how we may call ourselves – reading this philosophical piece, being able to understand what is limited beyond the comprehension of other creations, and having such existence spared from anything vicious through the most possible ways we can ever think of and prepare for – are nobody until we fuse certain characteristics inside of them and let them perform the vital show in this stage of life, seemingly a battlefield reserved for a myriad players of a game.

Life is a stage and we each must play a part as Shakespeare nailed it. How much of it can be realized by how many people among the crowd trying to fit themselves in a room of limited space? The ultimate drift of this question lies unto some possible inquiries that it is neither everything you see nor touch nor hear nor smell nor taste will give you the certainty of even the smallest act that matters to you right now.

What leads this paper to the question: Is there a possibility that human beings can conquer fear? is the reality that finds itself confronting the probability of how our journey as human beings is worth taking, is worth living for, and is worth dying for – when all that we do in an entire lifetime is to struggle for survival. Time forbids, we cannot attain perfection and thus conducting us into a path that is unknown.

One of the many emotions of humans: fear. It exists as a mixture of air that we breathe in and out, as a drop of water we sustainably engulf, as a bar of imprisonment we persistently doubt. This is a conspiracy between thoughts and perplexity, ideas and ambiguity, dreams and doubts, faith and hesitancy. When our courage begins to falter as fear starts wrapping its darkness into the hopes of each individual is the confinement era of the clarity of the mind, the heart, and the soul. It then becomes enigmatic because we endlessly pursue for the reasons of why fear has to exist. What is it that we can’t avoid? What kind of guts does it contain that we suffer from it yet we succumb to an emotion that holds its grip so tight we can’t let go? What is it truly aiming at for letting us feel down and worried throughout the grandeur of its presence? Is there any chance that we can tame the ferocity of a beast that fear has in its possession?

Now here, ladies and gentlemen, is where the topic has found its inspiration.

Significance of the Matter

Fear lends color to the world says a Norwegian philosopher Lars Svenden. It is stated in the Chapter 4 of one of his philosophical books, A Philosophy of Fear (other works include A Philosophy of Boredom and Work). He generally emphasizes that our fear is a by-product of luxury that it robs us of our freedom and undermines that essential social glue: trust. He even agrees to what Bertrand Russell, a British philosopher, has said: to conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom. Moreover, Svenden asserts that a paradoxical trait of the culture of fear is that it emerges at a time when by all accounts, we are living more securely than ever before in human history. A manufactured fear, however as he argues, is a revelation that he doesn’t consider of approving. Fear is not simply something we are exposed to against our will, it is often also something we voluntarily expose ourselves to in an attempt to transcend a banal, boring everyday existence. Somehow, whether consciously or not, fear has a highly-observed tendency to shape how humans act and/or react. It is a significant subject to study for it does not just define what fear is and how it is being perceived by the people; but it also deepens a compelling discussion that can help us better understand the capacity that we acquire and how to manage it well. This inquiry is vastly psychological with mixtures of different fields whereas the goal being reached pertains to the singularity and particularities of what the question is trying to seek for.

The problem is that we seem to see everything from a perspective of fear, Svendsen suggests [A Philosophy of Fear, Chapter 1]. Fear is favored over genuine thinking that causes to loose our heads [A Philosophy of Fear, Chapter 2]. It coincides with the nature of “risk” and he shows how our concept of it is systematically distorted. Later on the discussions, it will be more elaborated where such philosophers are coming from and how it can be used in this paper, attempting to answer the question that is being raised.

Furthermore, it is necessary that the applications of these instances be interrelated across our daily living tasks. Here goes the query: has it something to do with our lives? To satiate such inquiry, let another query be presented: What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? [Robert H. Schuller]. This seems to be a compilation of never-ending breathtaking questions about fear that eventually paves it way to terms such as risks, failures, and dangers – but really, fear has to offer something more than just locking up ourselves with one definition, one explanation, one belief, without even recognizing which point of stance one is located.

What is the question trying to relate with humans beings? Not an exact answer can be prearranged within a single provision of space for it allows rigorous contemplation of the matter before arriving at a particular viewpoint. As of now, knowing that fear is a crucial type of human emotion, it can be deduced that discussion may not be too easy; but since it is just normal to ask such question about its nature – we flourish when we conform with what is natural, since what is truly natural is best [recognized by the corresponding neo- Aristotelian, anti- Freudian essentially humanist view].

Fundamental Principles of Viable Consequences

An emotion, such as fear, is considered to have biological, psychological, and social aspects. This so-called fear makes humans to hold back whatever it is that they are doing or change the course of their approach towards tasks which, in some cases, resorts to a small amount of productivity and efficiency in specific fields of work. There are actually a myriad possible causes and effects of fear. The horrified feeling one gets after watching a thriller movie or after witnessing a violent event, the feeling of helplessness when trapped in a confined area or left alone, traumatic phobia/s (fear of water, heights, darkness, insects, rodents, etc.), uneasy feeling while thinking about the deadlines, appalled moments of having to speak in front of a crowd, threatening failures or loss of something/ someone important, and political intimidation – are only some of the familiar examples of sources of fear; whereas the effects that it brings to mankind vary in relation to the particularity of conditions.

Fear is a tool of control [The Village by M. Night Shyamalan, 2004]. While Ernst Bloch says that the crucial thing is to learn hope; Marco Zlomislic, Ph.D., the person behind the Reaktion Books Review, disagrees. Zlomislic argues that hope without action is useless. Svendsen answers humanistic optimism best counters fear. This may suggest that perhaps fear is manipulative to humans, we can partially depend how to resolve the struggles being faced into some other forms of feat. Bloch is stating that hope helps us become steadfast in dealing with fears while Zlomilic is stating that action is what we need more in order to counter such fears. Does this suggestion take a little effort to apply just as how easy it has been said? Can humans really take hold of the amount of hope and action they must provide?

Reason is the capacity to behave consciously in terms of the nature of what is not ourselves – written by a sage of the 1930s John Macmurray [Reason and Emotion page 19] – opposes a Western wisdom that goes back in the recognition of ancient philosophy that claims humans as prone to natural feelings and impulses. These claims are proportional to just as how Aristotelian and Freudian assertions contradict one another. While Aristotle describes reason as a product of our biology as fear, anger, lust, and the allegedly irrational emotions; Sigmund Freud is in contrast with it [see the corresponding statement at the last part of Significance of the Matter].

As it can be observed, fear unto which various meanings will be enumerated later on concurs not only with the basic situations humans get involved into but also to any political associations that are deemed influential to us for example. Reasons and emotions are complementary of one another. What humans feel accords to some reasons just as how we rationalize such actions due to emotions. It’s just that the debate prevails, between the abovementioned camps, whether these impulses are naturally acquired or a product of developed human characteristics. It is important to know the similarities and differences between the two because the ultimate question depends upon whether or not it is possible to overcome fear – which will only be achieved if dogmatism among sources is neglected.

To further analyze, it must be of immense consideration that the brain and the relation of fear to it shall be discussed. Brain is an instinctive and complex organ which is constantly transferring information and triggering responses. It consists of a part known as “amygdale” which triggers primitive neural signal causing fear that can be immobilized through practicing self-awareness. Also, there is a part known as “hypothalamus” which has reflexive control over the reproductive, vegetative, endocrine, hormonal, visceral, and autonomic functions of the body. It has the significance of what has been Professor Joseph LeDoux, a neuroscientist and psychologist, says Fear is the response to the immediate stimuli. The empty feelings in your gut, the racing of your heart, palms sweating, the nervousness – that’s your brain responding in a preprogrammed way to a very specific threat. Since our brains are programmed to be similar in structure, we can assume that what I experience when I’m threatened is something similar to what you experience.” The mind of human beings can be aware of the event’s impact within 300 milliseconds. Otherwise, fear takes over the individual. It is reported by Prof. LeDoux that it takes 20 milliseconds for the human mind to swiftly respond to the pathway of danger. A specialized sensitivity receptor is developed by the nerve junctions of the brain to be able to perceive sensory signals. This implies that humans are born in this world knowing the fear itself because the brain has to deal with nature and so it must still evolve through periods of time. An excerpt from Practice Intelligence for All by Karl Albrecht, Ph.D. states that some of our fears, of course, have basic survival value. Others, however, are learned reflexes that can be weakened or re-learned. This supports the idea of the preceding statement with some specifications.

Based on the idea of instant reflexes, human mind inhabits what is being called as “micro-fear” which means fears of fears; whereas the moment that the person experiences to feel fear, he/she remembers it and turns it into memory. The reactions presented at the very moment are not forgotten and will continually exist as “memories of fear”. Is it then an ample source of where fear has originated? Not until the portion for discussion is mulled over.

The problem is we don’t have a good physiological measure of fear or any emotion as situated by Michael Lewis (director at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School). It’s very hard to define that emotion in terms of the feeling it evokes, added Prof. Joy Hirsch (director at Columbia University). It recalls that perhaps everyone also has their conceivable ideas of what fear is, the amount of it and the probability of experiencing it cannot be calculated. It has not been beyond the scientific gauge to create the exact standards of how much of a fear is being felt by humans considering that measurement must be fairly applicable for all.

Who can define pain? Who can define pleasure? – in a way that the meaning will cover the general perception and understanding of it. Quite impossible, isn’t it? This is one of the hardest problems being dealt with by the scientists in the field of neuroscience. Given this case, why should the question be insisted to extract answers coming from a wide array of sources? Then why does this paper, midst a pile of uncertainties, still continue to uphold an amalgamation of insights through a range of substantial citations? The appreciation for such inquiry is yet to arrive.

Discussion

Implication of the Concept in General

            The only thing we have to fear is fear itself – President Franklin D. Roosevelt. This quotation from a prominent figure has nothing to do in answering the question being raised but it is somehow important that this kind of simple directive is attended to. What does it imply? How is it supposed to be understood? As a matter of fact, anyone who will try to comprehend the abovementioned line will result to different interpretations. Likewise, it also applies to how everyone else will try to associate the core meaning of fear among human beings. An endless output will be recovered since words have boundless expressions. Even researchers find it vastly personal experience.

Lewis adds to his notes that we learn to become fearful through experience with the fear event, or learning from those people around us like our parents, our siblings, our colleagues. Fear has a certain contagious feature to it, so the fear in others can elicit fear in ourselves. It’s conditioning, like Pavlov and the salivating dog. Others can derive fear as a vital response to physical and emotional danger to protect ourselves from legitimate threat [Pysch Basics]. When humans imagine an unpleasant event that has happened in the past, they experience a feeling of anticipation that causes them anxiety. Here goes the “fight-or-flight response” which basically means chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things – via stimulus [Julia Layton, How Fear Works]. Fear is a creative process, which subconsciously searches your mind for ways to escape pain. Your impulsive decisions, when triggered by fear, may not present you with any conscious awareness of the particular pain that you wish to avoid [Psych Basics].

However, Albrecht has enumerated what he calls as the Five Basic Fears that the human beings experience. Number 1: Extinction – it is the fear of the idea of no longer being that results to primary existential anxiety. This usually happens when a person is fearful that he/she will cease to exist; known as fear of death, such as that of looking over the edge of a high building leaves fear to the person. Number 2: Mutilation – it is the fear of the thought that the boundaries of a person’s body may be invaded or its parts and functions may lose the integrity. This usually happens when a person is fearful of animals and other eerie things. Number 3: Loss of Autonomy – it is the fear of being controlled by circumstances beyond our control. This usually happens when, for example, a person gets smothered or overwhelmed; physically known as claustrophobia and can also be through social relations. Number 4: Separation – it is the fear of becoming a non-person. This usually happens when a person gets abandoned, rejected, or loses connectedness causing him/ her to feel unwanted; wherein “silent treatment” can be a relevant example. Number 5: Ego-death – it is the fear of loss of integrity of the Self. This usually happens when a person is fearful of getting humiliated or disapproved because he/she feels that his/her constructed sense of lovability, capability, and worthiness are being destroyed.

Conversely, a spiritual source such as Joyce Meyer’s Facing Fear and Finding Freedom advocates that fear is the spirit Satan uses to try to rule God’s people and keep them from coming under the leadership of the true Master, Jesus Christ.

Gathering this diversified range of approaches about the meaning of fear that is inherent to mankind and how it does affect the human behavior, has not been too easy of a task; but it is quite commendable to see that such raised question is able to produce answers coming from different perspectives that is trying to aim at the closest possible thought which the inquirers of the question can settle with.

The aforementioned pieces of information pose that fear is an unavoidable human emotion. It is gained through experiences over periods of time. Human beings recognize fear because, of course, we know how it feels like not to be fearful. There are factors that trigger our nature to respond to stimuli – in which this response originate either from our natural capacity to react to certain dangers or from our developed notions to resist particular objects that we may find unnecessary for normal encounters. The feeling of fear is not a random experience for it follows a process which construes patterns of human behavior according to how we are conditioned by the environment and our personal dispositions. Extinction, mutilation, loss of autonomy, separation, and ego-death are terms that basically describe observable forms of fear among humans. For instance, these fears can hinder the growth and development of an individual in many aspects of his/ her life. Perhaps there are scholars who can counter these claims; so the fact on this matter is reserved for the next section of this paper.

While other remarks can scientifically be partially analyzed through theorizing, there are still some assertion that is somehow neither impossible to approve nor deny. The article written by Meyer, for example, is something that uses the name of God and excerpts from the Bible – whereas from here the argument is deemed over. Although there may be chances for these religious concerns to be reconsidered, it is not ideal to oppose (if ever) a belief system that take a stronghold from a supernatural being. In short, this type of source will be excluded in the succeeding arguments.

Philosophical Disputes of the Common Practice

            Horkheimer and Adorno assert that humans believe themselves free of fear when there is no longer anything unknown. This has determined the path of demythologization … Enlightenment is mythical fear radicalized. This statement is coming from a standpoint that is political in nature unto which socio-cultural norms in the society are the basic foundation of observations. The italicized text in this paragraph is said to be an irrational fear of the unknown wherein it serves as a drive to triple domination as the main source of disaster in our society nowadays – a blind domination pattern of nature by human beings, nature with human beings, and some human beings by others. Fear is destructive to society because it deprives humans to be free. When people are fearful, mechanisms for progress tend to demand higher cost from us in whatever form. The exploitation of individuals doesn’t matter as long as the needs of what is being feared will be supplied. People are trying so hard to conform to the necessities of those in higher positions (depending upon the status of the person) because we believe that once power has taken over – be it by a human being or even through the use of instruments, we must bend down and submit to the regulations that the powerful element is imposing. In this case, fear is the powerful. Is then there any way to get out of this situation and counteract the influence of an abusive power to control mankind? This is how the analogy works with the question being raised.

There are things that are worth fearing and these sometimes lead us to do the right thing. But then, human beings usually fear situations that leave us hanging for no good reason being stimulated by our traumatic experiences. What are these reasons? These may be excuses formulated from procrastination that is the root of the feeling of uncertainty because the tendency of human beings is to give in to what feels good and do it for us to feel better. This uncertainty may also be rooted from the associations of negative emotions such as stress that threatens human capacity to become anxious. Why is it natural for us to be pre-occupied by these uncertainties? The cause may be looked at the feeling of being real despite the doubts. We tend to acknowledge even the smallest hint of clinging into that immediate feeling of goodness as a defense mechanism to the hostility that fear brings to society.

On the other hand, in light of a beneficial political dogma, Thomas Hobbes [Social Contract Tradition/Theory] is claiming that the state of nature human life is “solitary, nasty, brutish, and short” because everyone is at war with everyone else. To end this war, we enter into civil society and surrender all power – all power to invoke ‘fear’ – to the state. So ‘fear’ is a good thing because it is the glue that binds people together. Here, the concept of fear transcends more practically. What does it mean? Since there have been discussions of about the basic fears and triple domination in this paper, the idea shall now be less complicated to understand. Again, fear comes in many forms and takes its effects in many ways. It is not limited to a confinement of views or it is a process that evolves and continually develops as the natural capacities of human beings are also able to transform their qualities depending upon the triggering factors in the environment over a period of time.

It is quite noticeable that fear undermines tons of significant moments in our lives. It is difficult to apply what the 14th Dalai Lama has put into a quote: Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk – because human being does not take total possession of his/ her own hold of emotions, of what to feel, of how much of an exacting passion is to be given and is to be received. It’s somehow ironic that in anonymity, someone has said that the interesting thing about human condition is that the minute we experience pain, we never want to experience it again. Well, of course, nobody wants to get hurt but feelings (such as fear) is inescapable state of mind attached to the very being of a person.

Meanwhile, Richard Huganir [Investigator with Howard Hughes Medical Institute] has this discovery which suggests that timely manipulation of specific molecules which regulate synaptic plasticity in the amygdalae of animals can remove the fear response. The neuroscience professor has identified an unusual protein, which appeared in the amygdale of animals, which had been conditioned to respond to sounds accompanying a foot shock. Does this lead to an idea that such behavioral and pharmacological therapies can actually intervene with the natural order of human nature? Does this signify a huge transformation in the internal and external figures of humans in the near future? Whether or not this attempt of chemical linkages will succeed, it is still an undeniable fact that human emotions are inevitable and no combination can perfectly attain the state of how we should feel and act because not even a single standard can be released to match a generalized character of every individual in the world.

In a reduction ad absurdum argument written by Onora O’Neill, a philosopher who has written about trust as the cement of civil society (the opposite of philosophy of fear written by Svendsen), proposes that where fear is universal and everyone were to deceive anyone else, then there could be no trust or reliance on others’ communications, hence nobody could deceive anyone else. What does the society need?

What does the mankind demand for in order to overcome such overt yet rigid emotion called fear? Is it even justifiable to think that there is any possible way for human beings to escape the terrible imprisonment of an unyielding feeling? The last section of this paper is intended to sum up what have been discussed and from there, conclusions will be derived. Hopefully, the proposals that are going to be built shall be of a purposive venture in fulfilling reasonable probabilities of the answers which attempt to unlock the mystery behind the question Is there a possibility that human beings can be the conqueror of fear? – Nature of it in relation to human beings and the topics beyond an infinite journey of this philosophical inquiry.

The Overture

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. – an excerpt from Frank Herbert, Dune – Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear. Does it make sense? In fact, this is a very idealistic viewpoint. It has been discussed that fear is not something which humans can manipulate in subtle ways. It takes too much of an effort to overcome fears since it goes beyond the horizon of the human instinct to perceive the danger yet conquer it immediately. Fear is tricky. As how Timothy A. Pychyl’s Don’t Delay article has put it into words of encouragement: I may have fear, but I need not ‘be’ my fear. Choose to take action from another part of your being, as there is more to you than this immediate emotional experience. This is similar to I can have fear, but I need not be fear – if I am willing to stand someplace else in my inner landscape from the page 57 of the book of Palmer that has been published on 1998.

In addition to these, more sources of encouraging words about fear will be cited. It is essential to get a good grasp of these kinds of wisdom for it doesn’t just uplift the spirit of the human beings but it also promotes a catalyst of change for a better understanding of how fear, through the eyes of different people, is perceived and translated into constructive dilemmas to become productive for the society.

Dr. Fredric J. Neuman, M.D. has devised Overcoming Phobias: Six Important Principles. It has an intended usage in planning how to confront issues among individuals that may, as well, confront the fears building up inside of us. Here, fear is associated with the concept of phobia since they share commonalities that can aid in distinguishing the abstract to more concrete visualization. First principle: In order to overcome a phobia, the affected person has to spend time publicly trying to do things that everyone else can do effortlessly. The person must first be aware that he/she actually feels the fear and he/ she must not deny it; but rather, let the people know it because it takes the first leap to risk one’s weaknesses and let the mind open for possibilities that the person must learn from the given situation and be able to counter whatever necessary thing it is that will come throughout the course. Second principle: Practicing to overcome a phobia takes time, sometimes a lot of time. And repetition. Overcoming the fearful conditions where a person is situated in cannot be achieved in one sitting. In order for a person to learn managing himself/ herself in crucial situations, he/she must be exposed to possibilities so he/she may be immune with how he/she should deal with the environment that is presented. Third principle: The things phobics are afraid of are not so awful when they do happen. What is seen as fear to a person may not exactly be seen with the same amount of emotion to another person because we all have differences and it can be realized that it is true that our feelings are created by our own minds (take not of the brain and the interconnectedness of its functions with the bearing of human emotions). Fourth principle: You can judge progress by what you can do, not how you feel. A person who is determined to overcome his/her fears will try his/her best to know himself/ herself better and transcend the pre-existing weak points into some forms of warning that will lead to another path where he/she is more comfortable with. The feeling of fear may not be totally gone but it sure has diminished a considerable amount that can keep him/ her going. Fifth principle: Phobics run into “stuck points” from time to time. Using an aide or a helper makes all the difference. ‘No man is an island’ and it is obvious that a human being needs an accompaniment with someone whom he/she can reasonably put his/her trust. In this manner, a person can let other people (often those who are with similar concerns) interact with him/ her that can aid in releasing the tension and be a drive to fulfill some goals. Sixth principle: Sometimes the very things phobics are afraid of give them the most satisfaction when they are no longer afraid. In this moment, the person is able to revive a sense of achievement within himself/herself and gratitude towards his/her surroundings. There can be a stronger push to strive in going further to overcome a person’s fears if it will be put off as follows.

Other sources may include a pile of optimistic quotations for human beings to get motivated overcoming their fears, such as: believe in yourself; shared interests of trust, reason, and respect; it will always be okay and you will always land on your feet; surrender the outcome; replace the risk with hope; develop accurate perception; feelings fuel our actions so keep an open mind – because if we allow fear to stop our forward progress in life, we’re likely to miss some great opportunities along the way.

The moment that the cause of fear is located, in any seemingly possible way, is the time that will give way to humans to free ourselves from emotions – not in way that we won’t be able to perceive feelings but it will lead us into a redirection of the outcomes of our actions – that is being aware of ourselves. Our inner being can somehow be relieved from the worries that fears have been causing to us if the acquired habit of being fearful is taken (for improvement) one small step at a time. Don’t expect that overcoming fear is going to happen instantaneously because no matter how strong the willpower of a person is, his/her natural capacity as a human being dominates the upshots. Svendsen, once again, thinks that fear can be controlled. Fear may be irrational in the sense that it makes us prey to manipulation, but can be rationally appraised and managed. We may not be able to completely master our emotions, but we can understand them and be alert to how they may be both exploited and moderated. Alternatively, Albrecht has articulated – once more, that when we let go of our notion of fear as the welling up of evil forces within us – the Freudian motif – and begin to see fear and its companion emotions as basically ‘information’, we can think about them consciously. And the more clearly and calmly we can articulate the origins of the fear, the less our fears will frighten us and control us. This greatly implies that fear as a human emotion requires specially designed agents of manipulation to alter the negativity that it carries for a less adverse impact.

Fear, for a notable affirmation, facilitate           s our being to grow as a person. It is definitely “the masterpiece of our brain” due to its prevailing ability to actually maneuver our actions. Perhaps it conquers humans even through the most unfathomable ways that can ever be fully imagined, but this does not mean that we cannot reverse the assumption that we can be “more powerful conquerors” of it. This is why this issue of fear is heaved as a fundamental question in the spherical terrain of humanity. There may be a multitude of determinants that can attack this apprehension through distinct contexts and relative importance yet unlimited suggestions will persevere to influence the mindset of the people as long as there is life, as long as the competence to think exists.

Behind the recourse of the production of this paper, is an ultimate question which fuels the citations and insights of the writer about the subject matter that is deemed a significant endeavor in undertaking studies about the human being. The challenge is now being tossed as to the strength and courage that the mankind can sustain in order to endure fear that may we may eventually overcome – but for it to be conquered will take us to prove all the way through a span of our lifetime.

~ May these fears inspire us to surpass what humans have thought as the boundary of our being ~

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Unraveling the Mystery of Love: Does This Even Exist in the World Where You Belong?

MY PERSPECTIVE ON Lacanian Perspectives on Love

I love you but what I’m loving you is that my love of myself seeing ‘me’ in you.” Does the typical belief of ‘what love is’ still co-exist with the stance that Lacan is trying to pursue unto his discussion of ‘what it truly is’? Can there be an agreement that love gets its single definition? Can there be one great unity as what our civilization is attempting? The article I’ve just read suggests that the answers are NO.

The lover and the love of this lover are elements of love. Their desire to be together to preserve each other’s life describes Sigmund Freud’s Erotic Instinct whereas it claims that attachment can eventually be destructive. It contradicts the idea that love is about wholeness and harmony for this must consist the differences between the elements in order for it to be true. Then, is there a love that is false? Inauthentic is how it has been termed. A displacement occurs where there is a case of mistaken identity; and this is what the Lacanian theory talks about- that transference love is an imaginary passion that becomes an obstacle to the analysis.

When the elements of love focus on the feeling of sameness instead of the difference, the relation deems to be narcissistic whereas the subject sees the perfection of himself/herself to the object; and the subject becomes an object worthy of love. This creates the illusions of “falling in love” which is not real because it only reflects the reality of an ego that is imaginary. Freudian idea of love is self-love: We love the one who harbors response or the response to the question ‘Who am I?’ Lacan used to say that Jacques-Alain Miller depicts that to love is to give what you haven’t got. In the subject of emptiness, the lack of one’s being is recognized and is given to the Other.

To really love someone is to believe that by loving them, you’ll get truth about yourself.” Passionate love produces ‘psychological catastrophe’ and it is a mistake because adverse effects will soon emerge. It is a ‘deceptive feeling that should be overcome’. It is only when the true nature of love is realized and when one is freed from its affects that the ego will be healthier and more mature.

Aside from being imaginary, love is also characterized by symbolic register which illustrates that it is impossible to express such love without the use of language: People do not love if they don’t talk about love. There is no love if there is no speech and if one does not speak, he/she does not love- because it has turned to be a demand from the fundamental desire of a subject for the other. Ego is altered as there is something to be shared upon; while the Subject appeals to the Other and this Other responds to that Subject.

Based on specificity and particularities, I love you but because I love you that which is not you; I mutilate you– subject says. The object itself is ruined just as how love itself is lacking and inadequate. Can the search for wholeness by finding the one who would fill the gap or lack of human being be called love? It is within Lacanian perspective… that love is the subject’s perception of the object of desire and its sublimation. Love relies on what other lacks and not on what the other has concludes that ‘oneness is an impossibility’. The love which many people believe that they feel and experience does not actually exist for it is only a form of compensation when the sexual relation finds its deficiency.

As for my point of view, I can assert that Miss Darlene Demandante, the writer of the article (and speaker in the symposium), has made such a substantive compilation on how the thinkers who are mentioned earlier have been philosophizing on love. The ideas have varying degrees of greatness to an extent that apprehension can still be comprehensive for it does not insist on agreeing upon a collectivized official meaning of love. It does not necessarily require that all of the people who will ask about the essence of love shall come up with one idea and be contented about it.

What the texts are trying to say grant me the knowledge to broaden my horizon that I may deeply understand that love is a complex matter. It can be explained by anyone yet nobody can fully achieve its definition. To some philosophers, love is a problem that needs to be resolved. While romance doesn’t care about the technicalities, scholars continue to seek for contemplation, and commoners are persistent to inquire about it… I will remain consistent with my belief that love exists. There are reasons and results just like how causes and effects work together. Explanations may arise; I still believe that love exists for majority of us know that while it is here, we can possibly endure what pains us; because at the end, it’s our mindset that really matters. Faith has its stronghold that binds things in the most undeniable form.

Perhaps I have high respect to those intellects who have critically scrutinized their topic. I can decide whether or not I will fully believe to that matter they have just explained. The discussion is quite commendable yet there are instances that cross the borders of what I think are already covered by the off-limits. Yes, it is true that human emotions can change the course of analysis because it is immeasurable. This may sound so simple of a factor to consider but to humanity, it plays a great role that no man or woman has discovered yet.

That is why it is called “perspectives”, isn’t it? It is based upon a particular standpoint. Defying the locks that imprison the notion of love inside a mystical cell is like attempting to discover when the death is approaching, to defeat an enemy that is not even there, to spend a lifetime exploring about what has really been making sense and if it is even significant at all.

Where do you stand? Have you even tried positioning yourself? Have you even asked what is it with love that we allot our time thinking about it when in fact, not everyone is sure if it really exists as how we ought to feel, experience, and believe it in our own ways?

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Principles: Worth Fighting For

Yi (righteousness)

Among the moral concepts enumerated throughout the reading are compelling discussions on each of the significant aspects of Confucianism lectures that are essential to mankind. Ideas lead to a variety of thoughts that eventually turn into good judgment. Yi is one notion unto which Kong Zi has taught the core foundation of righteousness.

Putting the technical terms aside, comes the sense of attaining what it means to be obliged to attend to duties that a person is imposed upon- and it must be beyond his/her knowledge that he/ she cannot escape the fact that he/ she is adhered to a certain extent of responsibility.  A noble person has a consciousness of one’s moral imperative. It means that when a man or a woman becomes self-conscious is also the time that he/she becomes aware that there are tasks on queue waiting to be fulfilled. It doesn’t matter to him/her whether or not he/she succeeds. The will that is truly determined for accomplishment of whatever it is that is deemed to be right- is what is important.

“Rectification of Names” is also focused on. It simply states that in order for the words to be appropriate, the names must first be proper. The principle of an ideal government is measured through setting up an objective standard to a specificity of name from which societal assumptions are attached. It is believed that harmony can be achieved if the people are willing to cooperate in aiming for what is right because nobody is devoid of purpose in life. Thus, it is advantageous for everyone if the people in a society decide for what is right for it is through righteousness that a person is considered moral: to renounce rights and receive benefits as well.

Extracting the conceptual perspective of Yi from a worthwhile movie entitled Confucius offers a wide array of possibilities through substantive reflections. Perhaps there are myriad instances that Ren, Li, Zhi, and Xin are being shown, one topic is to be chosen for this paper. Three examples are to be cited to support the idea of righteousness/ rectitude, duty/ obligation.

First example is when Kong Zi and his disciples are about to go to the palace to raze the power of the three Noble Families through a petition of demolishing the city walls. The disciples have been telling to Kong Zi to reconsider their plans for it is dangerous to rebel against the authority. He’s been working so hard yet he is not threatened that their actions may fail. Instead, he gains the strength from Lu and its betterment. Despite the worries of the people around him, he’s not ceased to keep going and fight for what he knows will be right in general. What they will be doing is not only for short term goals but a leap that can improve lifetime changes. He reminds them to “Put your country ahead yourselves. Yes, as an officer the burden is heavy. The road is long, so maintain your strength of spirit.”

Second example is when Kong Zi as an acting interior minister approaches what he calls this ‘majesty’. They’ve already won two cities and they can’t just abandon the last one. The majesty replies with fear that they will get encircled by Li Chu’s 30,000 Qi troops invasion once they form alliance with Cheng Yi- knowing that the majesty’s father had experienced the same fate of being defeated. However, Kong Zi insists on the proclaimed policy that three cities shall be razed. He said, “Those with high principle would rather die to protect their belief. It is wrong to be for one’s life but to compromise on the principles.” The majesty answers him by saying that sometimes he must play a little stupid, recalling what the teacher, Lao Zi, once said: “Accomplish all task by not barged on anything.” Then Kong Zi suddenly imagines a vivid picture of his teacher. He has been told, “Today the laws are not in order. Everything is in chaos yet you still insist on practicing your ethics, music, humanity, and harmony.” Although he is ashamed that he has not achieved anything, he has been asked: How do you know the lack of contribution is not the true contribution?

Third example is when Kong Zi leaves immediately after receiving a parting gift from the king. One of his students, Yan Hui, comes after him saying that he is going to stay with his teacher. While Kong Zi is uncertain where he is headed, he tells his student that there is no prospect for a fortunate life in the coming days of vast wilderness. The student is not afraid and even tells to Kong Zi that it is wrong to put all his teacher’s faith in the king. Kong Zi is revived by what he has taught his student/s that “If a man cannot change the world, then at least he should try to change himself from within.” It shows not only how one is loyal to chosen path but how one decides to stand by the path that he/she thinks is right. Even if Yan Hui can find a good position in court, he remains to hold on to his belief that he must go on a venture with his teacher. Disciples follow afterwards. This case is also similar to how Ran Qiu has been supposed to be appointed to govern but he said that it is not mainly what he wishes. He wants to bring his Master Kong Zi back home.

The aesthetic moral personality Yi covers quite a broad deliberation on how it is being applied even to everyday situations in our lives- from the simplest to the most complex conditions that the human life and the human being demand. There are noticeably interrelated concepts. As the interaction between them exists, so does the preference for righteousness.

Example 1, 2, and 3 suggest that the willpower can create a far-reaching horizon that allows more meaningful outlook to take over the minds, hearts, and souls of the people not only in the film but in the world where humanity belongs. A failure doesn’t necessarily mean that it occurs because the person has been wrong. It only implies that as long as the person tries his/her best to accomplish what he/she understands to be the right thing to endure, he/she still wins beyond a purposive journey from which a person learns and to which a person further applies what he/she accepts is real, rigid, and righteous.

Amid the struggles, a moral person survives with benevolence, rectitude, propriety, wisdom, and sincerity fused into a glowing spark that ignites the flame of burning passion for humanity.

Categories: Evaluative Essay, Reflection | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Faith that is Not Tested, is Not Faith At All

While the downpour of rain was heavy all day long last Saturday, I was able to grab my chance of clinging into my academic obligations. I did not fail, somehow, to comply with my to-do-list. Perhaps the weather was really gloomy and not everything inside our house had fallen in its proper place, I still tried to manage my schedule and my mood. That’s right; to manage myself and the actions I would take has always been necessary for a harmonious living- well, at least from my viewpoint.

Some readings I was trying to study that day is about the orientation towards being… something is about existentialism provided that the writer itself has this perspective saying Not that we believe that God does not exist, but we think that the problem of his existence is not the issue, and the other literary piece has been talking about this creatively ambiguous but witty format of what the persona aims to express; but justifiably, I got the gist of the articles I have read. Anyway, it’s all about how we’re to interpret the given symbolic entities which meanings invariably depend to our intellectual capacity and background. It’s up to me, actually, upon whose way of thinking I am made-up to affirm or deny, right?

We all know that in Philosophy, two major groups of people pave its path through the broadness and deepness of discussions- Christians and Atheists. I surely belong to the first one. I just can’t imagine how I was able to deal with the articles wherein atheistic viewpoints are technically considered. Each time I had to support my own ideology and never falter to what I have believed for more than a decade. I told myself that open-mindedness is not a bad thing at all. Essentially, it’s quite a brilliant means to transcend into reality without having to seem too arrogant, ignorant, conceited, and rude. Having an open mind to things doesn’t mean inability to decide for one’s self but maturity to cultivate the values that can eventually lead us to excellence and a better understanding of the world.

Last Friday night, when I am alone in our house and the storm was on its rage, I recorded my voice. This recording lasts exactly up to one minute as it plays. It is supposed to be an alarm which will of course motivate me to get up. Considering its inventive script and a bit proficient tone that speak in straight English, I honestly regarded this habit as some sort of fun. I’d have to adjust the volume to minimum so as not to frantically disturb others; though it’s fine if they’re interested in it.

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(Photo of me in Paoay Church, Ilocos Norte during our historical tour;

but Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral is where I constantly go every Sunday)

Today is Sunday, the start of the week, when I’ve written this. I truly deem that waking up early contributes to man’s productivity and success. So it’s a deal for me to start a day or even a week right enough to make me feel so guilty if ever I do not keep hold of consistency. I am persistent about my dreams, and this blog of mine can attest to that.

Going to church becomes the fundamental system running throughout my character. I’m not the person whom anyone can convince not to go out for mass attendance, especially since when I have started my routine here in the City of Pines. It is a breath of fresh air, a lift of soul, a beat of heart, and clarity of mind- for me as a being. Tell-me-you-can’t-go-but-don’t-tell-me-I-can’t type of attitude is what I got.

Before I could stand under a shed to wait for PUJs, I passed through rustling winds and flooded streets; but still, I could feel the banality of what I am doing. Excitement is expected of me as I fulfill what I want, what I need. There’s this vehicle that stopped in front of me. An old man got off. He is familiar; I always see him on his way to church. He’s passionate about it and I can thoroughly confirm the verity of his faith. Perhaps he’s not too normal (I guess he’s ill due to age-related sickness) and I just can’t say what it is that bothers him. I just know he needs someone to accompany him whenever, wherever, because there’s no safe place nowadays.

Just like at that moment, he didn’t have an umbrella and the rain was pouring hard. It’s cold and I could see he’s tensed. Magsaysay PUJs passed but I am taking the Bonifacio route. So the man was. It’s as if he’s in a hurry not to get late for the mass (though it repeats hourly, in different languages). He’s about to get in a PUJ but its signboard said Magsaysay. God knows how I wanted to offer my umbrella to that man but there’s a bit of force that insisted not. But, when this driver saw the people waiting, he immediately changed his route. So an old couple, I, and the old devoted man, were able to take the ride. I felt an ease that we’re finally on our way to church.

Traffic was not too heavy maybe because it’s still early and the weather wasn’t too good. The PUJ stopped in front of the Cathedral and the vehicle was suddenly more than a half empty. As I crossed the road, I saw this familiar old man taking his steps towards the church. This time, I couldn’t let go of the chance that I might help him. I offered my umbrella and we both took some meters. All of a sudden, I remembered my grandfather. Is he doing fine in our home? Does he feel sick? Does anybody take good care of him? Does he miss me the way I do? Can he still endure and wait for me to get back? Tears watered my eyes but I couldn’t let it fall. For the first few times in months, I heard again the word “apo” (grandchild), with a different high impact melody in my ears. The old man was shivering and a strike of blame landed on me for not doing it so earlier. His age marked those slow footsteps and a notion of helplessness and uncertainty from the environment where he belongs; but I could perceive his hopefulness and it fueled me to keep going.

I thought, I just thought, I am very faithful and this is so exceptional about me. But no, I’m somewhat wrong. There are a lot more people like this man that is full of love for his devotion to God and passion for life. He might be alone at a sight, but inside he’s so full of faith that he couldn’t even think that nobody is there for him. His power of belief makes him stand, walk, and offer himself everyday that until now, he’s able to live. At that very moment of his tight grip (signaling a pinch of gratefulness that someone is confirmed to be there for him even at the slightest point of time), I felt so empowered.

Kindness is contagious. It comes from this man, not from me. I am merely one of the many noble instruments to make people be reminded that The Holy still exists and will always persevere because God doesn’t really leave. God is always here. God is always with us.

A lot of times go by that our faith is being tested without actually the recognition; it just happens. This story of mine for today is just one among the myriad instances that the power of love, hope, faith, and existence itself is realized. Each day can be a miracle, that we all breathe, that we’re all residents of Earth. We discover ourselves in every drop of a second and we explore our lives further not through our own but through our fellowmen.

As for me, I get inspired by you. Criticisms, adversity, loneliness, doubts, and emptiness get clearer every time. I am determined to face such struggles and fight for myself, fight for you, men of amazing faith; because you let me believe that I am not alone in this battle, that we can actually hold on to our beliefs, that we can actually carry on through our passion, that I naturally acquire this spark of love for humanity and that these testimonies trigger me to live. God is with us all the time at all places, in any condition. Impossible can be possible because we believe. God is whom we believe, that’s why we actually can.

Stronger, is how I call. Faith that is not tested, is not faith at all.

Categories: Daily Post, Inspire, Part of Me, Reflection | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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