I often focus on the externalities because most understand them better. Distractions and disruptions are among the most common of externalities today. When there is a lack of depth and the game of life is played mostly at the surface, we will not only see but will be swayed by distractions and disruptions. Like bamboo, the winds and rains most affect us.
I would like to focus on the inner layers of life, too. Unfortunately, when the vast majority of Filipinos are hovering in the dimensions of survival and security, the inner dynamics will often be unnoticed. In fact, one most important reason why peace and prosperity are at the top of the universal wish list is that stability and abundance naturally open the doors for the subtle and artistic.
Peace and prosperity, however, have a hollow ring to them from over-use without corresponding affirmation. Politicians and other societal leaders mouth the peace and prosperity vision to justify plans and programs. Sadly, peace and prosperity in the Philippines are terribly selective. Many agents of discord have sown so much distrust. We are not enemies to feel angry at so many. We just succumb to partisan provocateurs; worse, even just to trolls and bots spreading malicious lies.
I am not talking about anything new. In fact, I have been writing about distractions and disruptions. My doing so is because we have to remain aware of distractions in our daily lives and disruptions that will upset us in a more intense manner. Being unaware will jolt us like bolts of lightning. Because they will come no matter what. Because our awareness and preparation will determine how mildly or badly we will be affected.
Where should our focus lie? If many of us are caught in the survival mode of daily life, then we must address the lack of basic essentials that force us into poverty. Those better than the poor but know they still lack enough security will themselves look for the consistency of income and savings.
Distractions, then, will not allow clarity but instead trigger confusion. We cannot control distractions but we control how they capture our attention, how they bring our emotions into turmoil. By being alert and forewarned, we have better chances of preventing distractions from disturbing our work to produce more, to earn more.
Disruptions, on the other hand, are more unpredictable. We can hardly avoid them, like the global pandemic, like the Russian invasion of Ukraine, like the loss of air space management last January 1 which effectively stopped all the flights to and from the Philippines. Disruptions will come, no doubt, and we cannot stop them. But finding a solid ground for the bad times will lessen the impact when they come.
The solid ground is capacity. Capacity is the fundamental element of self-sufficiency, and self-sufficiency is the fabric of independence. The most consistent vision for Filipinos is to build our capacity to take care of ourselves. It begins with our fundamental needs like water, food, air, community, and safety. We must develop the various capacities to plant food, to have clean water and air, to build communities where members intentionally have roles to help one another, and attain a sense of safety.
The crucial role, then, is inside the family, the most basic unit of community. It is not the government. It is one family relating to another, and more families relating to each other, until a natural system emerges from individual capacities. If we have no one to do things for us, then we do things ourselves. That means we must have the capacity to do these things with the least of help from elsewhere.
The need for subsidy is not economic. It is simply human development. In families and communities, the very young and the very old have to be subsidized. The sustainable well-being of families and communities require that those growing up must be nurtured, and those who have served must be honored. Taking care of our own is the central goal, and subsidy is definitely needed.
Nurturing the young is not only an instinctual activity, not for humans anyway. Emotionally, we are driven to do so. Practically, we must do so intelligently. We can see that as the young grow up, we grow older. We know the young will soon do things for themselves, and then for us.
Honoring the older generations is a critical motivation for young adults to commit to nurturing and developing their children. They must have a sense of assurance that their old days will not force them to work as hard, that they can rest, and still contribute with their vast experience and wise insights.
The advent of governments, in the case of Filipinos, has been one long failing process. One government after another has nurtured the weak, not from birth to childhood, but all the way to the grave. Poverty is like the weakness of the very young. It can be subsidized but subsidized intelligently. Because if the subsidized young do not take over the work of productive adults, then those who nurtured them did not do their job well. Or at all.
I must admit that the honoring of the senior members of society has borne more fruits. And it is not a matter of resources more than it has been a matter of priority. Society and government have prioritized the seniors to the point that more resources in the last several decades have found their way to them. Perhaps, the fact that society cannot procrastinate in helping seniors before they die has given a sense of urgency.
During all of these, distractions and disruptions will occur. But if we build a house of stones instead of straws, we can endure the storms of our lives better. Even the three little pigs of nursery rhymes knew they had to be safe against the big bad wolf. Certainly, enough erudite and resourceful Filipinos can do better than the three little pigs.
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