>It was a lazy afternoon last Christmas vacation. I was alone in our house. My parents are both at work at the office, my sister is in school, and my brother is in his classmate’s house in Las Piñas. I was then feeling pathetic and contemplating about my suspension of wearing the cassock and my unreturned (confiscated in the first place) Motorola C117 mobile phone. Bored of the usual DVD marathon and without a good show on the television (why would I watch the crap of Sexbomb Dancers’ Daisy Siete?), I decided to listen to my newly purchased CD.
It was Radioactive Sago Project’s latest album entitled Tanginamo Andaming Nagugutom sa Mundo Fashionista ka pa rin (forgive me, that may sound too offensive and vulgar). The title of the album speaks for itself. Come on. It is fronted by the great activist and poet Lourd Ernest De Veyra. Simply put, it is like a protest rally in the streets of the metro that was made into a song and compiled into a nerve-wracking, head-banging and body-grooving album.
There are two songs in the album that inspired me in writing this piece: Superhatdog and Nasusunog ang Maynila which tells about poverty, destruction, famine, anarchy, and chaos as a result of man’s abuse of resources, greed, stupidity, corruption, and as the song continues, because of fake Ma-Ling (an infamous luncheon meat from China which is very common in a typical Filipino household). To sum up, it tells about the consequences, mostly evil, of man’s action.
The songs and the album itself – given its vulgarity, fearless messages and some explicit content – is not just an art masterpiece and a great contribution to the golden age of the local music scene. It stresses in the unnoticed and neglected reality – evil as a consequence of man’s willed and (intentional) action.
St Augustine did not agree with Plato that the cause of evil is simply ignorance. We have the choice either to turn to God or to turn away from God. We are, in short, free. Even God himself cannot force us to do something nor interfere with our freedom. Whichever way we choose, it is with the hope of finding happiness. Turning away from God and turning to God, according to St. Augustine, are not forced but voluntary acts.
Evil or sin is the product of the will. It is not, as Plato declared, ignorance, nor as the Manicheans taught, the work of the principle of darkness permeating the body. But in spite of the fact of original sin, we still possess freedom of the will which is not, however, the same as spiritual freedom, for true spiritual liberty is no longer possible in its fullness in this life. We use free will to choose wrongly, but, even when we choose rightly, we do not possess the spiritual power to do good what we have chosen – we need the help of God’s grace.
Adam and Eve committed sin because God endowed them free will. God did not petrified nor shouted at them when they were about to eat the forbidden fruit. They acted upon their choice. They acted because they have free will. With that, we can say that, as once writer said, free will is God’s only “weakness” (not to be interpreted in a literal way).
Call me a dreamer and too carried away with the punk jazz infusion of Radioactive Sago Project but I do believe that we can eliminate and eradicate some of the man-made evil in the world, in our society, and in mankind. If man, in his free will, can “create” evil as a consequence of his action, then he can also “create” good using his free will.
Call that a “new world order.” If each and everyone of us earthlings – disregarding the race, natural, cultural and religious differences, political views and personal motifs – acted for the good and the good of all, then what a prosperous, loving and peaceful world we have.
That may sound too impossible since man has a free will. You cannot force him to do this and to do that. No one, not even God, can control man’s free will.
Would a “new world order” be possible? Perhaps. Maybe. We do not and we may never know. Man’s key of creating a “new world order” could also be his key in destroying his own world and of creating sin and evil.
But we do have a choice. We always have a choice. If that time comes, Lourd de Veyra would no longer scream, preach, and curse “Tanginamo andaming nagugutom sa mundo fashionista ka pa rin!”
This article was written on January 10, 2008, 12:18 PM, as a requirement for the subject Medieval Philosophy when I was still in the College Seminary.
I have decided to post and share this article, together with my other Philosophy papers in order for you to have a glimpse of the “practicality” of Philosophy and to share my insights when I was still inside the institution.
I believe that philosophy, despite of being called impractical and a “boring subject”, is the key on answering the timeless inquiry of man about life and a great tool for having a meaningful and reflected life.