My newfound understanding of the Filipino psyche is instructional, not just in giving me a framework for understanding Philippine culture, but in understanding Greek protestors, American "occupiers", and a lot of other strange beings.
The psyche is essentially this: "I am raised up if I tear you down."
Therefore, every personal interaction is a psychic wrestling match for power, and power rules all. The grasp for power rules the trash tosser, who can say with impunity to all Filipinos, "I am more important than you; here, eat my garbage". It rules the driver who asserts his place by parking in the middle of the highway or blasting headlong down the wrong side of the road, "I am more important than you; here, eat my dust". It rules the LTO staffer who glowers and does not move until P100 is slipped to him with the paperwork. He says "I am more important than you; you can't get anywhere without my approval".
It rules the Anti-Pinoy writer and the Get Real writer who pen "Filipinos are morons for this reason and that; see, I am wiser because I can point out the flaws that you dolts live, incessantly".
It rules the Senator who claims treaties with the US need to be re-negotiated because "the US operates in its own interest and only gives us crumbs".
It rules the teenage campers in the middle of New York that shout "down with banks".
Can you see the big empty space behind all these power-based arguments? Do you see what is missing? Do you see the common thread?
If not, I'll tell you.
It is an absolute abandonment of any responsibility for the conditions being criticized, or the outcomes to emerge if the complainant wins.
- The trash tosser wonders why his government can't fix his poverty, when he, himself, does more to drive tourist money away than anyone.
- The driver who cares not how others are affected by his methods cannot connect his actions to people lying injured or dead in the hospital.
- The LTO staffer who can't figure out why he can't support his family on his salary fails to connect his need to cheat with the need to cheat that undermines the effectiveness of the Philippines in every economic arena. Corruption is not a flaw here; it is a way of life. Capability is not rewarded. Cheating is.
- The Senator who finds the US VFA "humiliating" because of the out of balance imprisonment clauses fails to see that the Courts in the Philippines cannot be trusted to rule on LAW. They rule according to the trade of favors. And would abet the escape of felons. So, no, the US will not allow its soldiers to be tried on the basis of favor and emotion.
- The Occupier who is a snot-nosed kid recently out of college, without a job, and figures he can run a bank better than the high-paid CEOs he is complaining about. And has not the vision to see the economic ruin that would result if HE were in charge. Same with the Greek protestors. They can't build; they can only tear down.
So the argument is based on air. "I am raised up if I tear you down". It is the empty argument that is so very, very effective. It is the irresponsible argument that cannot be debated because it is based on the prejudicial notion that "I am right, because I thought it . . . or said it . . . or did it."
It is beyond challenge because my weak self-esteem does not brook confrontation.
If you are a policeman doing your job, enforcing the law, you, "copper", are in the wrong if you tell me to leave the park.
"I am right, because I thought it . . . or said it . . . or did it."
We are surrounded by people who madcap go about with the arrogance of knowing something is right because they thought it. Or a statement is correct because they uttered it. Or an act is right because they did it.
And all the bad outcomes are for sure someone else's fault.
It's surreal, baby! Surreal!