>I am still not through over the greatest concert ever performed in the Philippine music history. I am talking about the Eraserheads reunion concert. Alright, I was not present at The Fort last August 30 – thanks to the numerous “dementors” who tried to stop the concert (I am talking about the Health Department of Juan Republic), the delayed concert details and selling of tickets, and the mere fact that I was inside the seminary and I have no means whatsoever to score a ticket and to go to Taguig. But thanks to the modern messiah called You Tube, I was able to watch it on video. Thanks to the kind dude who (illegally) posted the video over the net to the delight of millions of Eraserheads fan.
The opening act is as stellar as the career and influence of our four heroes Ely, Raimund, Buddy and Marcus. The band played the opening parts of Alapaap as they were holstered up on hydraulic stages. Oh, that sweet Alapaap. It reminds us of the good old days. It also reminds us of the actor-turned-politician, former senator Vicente “Tito” Sotto when he accused the band of promoting substance abuse with that song. Reacting to the assertion that Alapaap was an “ode to drug abuse”, they say that the song was intended rather to be an “ode to freedom” for the “artists in our society.” A politician meddling over the then-heroes of the youth? Well, the band must have been a powerful influence.
Substance abuse, freedom, and influence. These are the three things that boggled up in my mind upon repeatedly watching the greatest opening act of a rock concert.
More than a century ago before Tito Sotto, a great thinker accused the greatest influence (so to say) of that time of “creating” a substance which benumbs the people in order for them to temporarily forget their problems. He accused Religion of being an opium to the people. He insisted that religion is just a temporary form of escapism for people to run away from their problems. Just like any narcotic, opium will eventually lose its effect in time. People will continually “turn to God” repeatedly whenever they are beset by their problems. As an atheist, Karl Marx will not believe in God and more so, in religion. Believing in God, for him, is just a “wishful thinking.”
I cannot blame Karl Marx. Poverty and exploitation of the working class during his time was in full swing. I cannot blame his followers either. How can you ask them to believe in a merciful and loving God if they were deprived in justice and earthly resources by their fellowmen?
These questions haunted me whenever I am beset by problems and whenever I see social injustices brought by the elite-runned government of the demockratic republic of Juan de la Cruz.
I found the answer last semestral break when I joined the Eucharistic celebration of the Neo-catechumenal way in Cuenca, Batangas. Alright, let us admit the fact that their celebration is weird (and I say it’s as weird as a cult) in some aspects but I admire the enthusiasm of the members of the community in their celebration. I admire their faith in the Dude up there which, according to their sharing of reflections, was their sole companion in times of trials and sufferings. But what struck me most was the words of their “presbytero” during his homily. It’s a simple statement but with a very powerful and substantial meaning. He said that whatever happens in our life, “Mahal ka ng Diyos.”
That Eucharistic Celebration was an “ultraelectromagnetic” experience for me. Aside from being a sessionist in the musical instruments, my eyes were opened that what is lacking within me whenever I engulf and indulge the ideologies of Karl Marx was God. I only listen to myself. I tend to forget forget Him. I run away from Him. After that, I found myself turning back to God again.
Oh, that sweet God. Long before the Eraserheads created an “ode to freedom,” another great thinker in the person of Soren Kierkegaard propagated a “means to achieve real freedom.” In his three spheres of existence – aesthetic, moral, and religious – he told that only in religious sphere man could attain his “real freedom.” When one submit himself to God without any pretensions (whenever there is a “suspension of the ethical”), he could achieve the so-called “leap of faith.” Man can only achieve the real freedom when he submits himself wholly to God.
Those two great thinkers are long dead but the influence they have created are still alive among the contemporary thinkers. The reunion concert is long over but it is still creating a buzz over the Eraserheads fanatics (we are hoping for a part 2, and I promise that I will be there). The Eraserheads has disbanded long ago but their spirit still lives in their songs. The great thinkers, and the Eraserheads, will never be erased from our heads. That is influence for you.