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Showing posts from April, 2015


It is the things that remain with us that define us. 
What changes, what comes and goes, is strictly speaking what is accidental, what comes from the outside, and thus not substantial to ourselves--that which we have been and continue to be. To be practical, when you undergo many changes, flee to different places, let different people enter your life and influence you, then you can sometimes lose yourself. Without us knowing it, we can be fragmented into so many things and places and relationships that all make it difficult to gather ourselves, and in effect know who we really are. This explains for that uncanny mood of being 'lost', of not knowing where we are and where we want to be. Augustine called this dispersio: a division of the soul, scattered through time in the sense that I can seem to be different from my past, my present, and my future.
Think of the classic case of someone undergoing total amnesia. Is he the same person he was before? Would not everything be new? …

Notes on Choices

1. You cannot really know 'what might have been' so it is meaningless and unfair to measure what you have or where you are against a fiction, a great maybe, a ghost.

2. The value of what you chose comes from its being chosen. To say that it is the 'right choice', that is, to explain away why it was chosen, can only come after--a great rationalisation, a hopeless excuse, but a necessary testimony which only has value to you and no one else.

3. A mistake is just that: mis-taking a choice for what is 'correct' or 'right' only to find out it was not what you thought it to be. But objectively, things and choices are indifferent; they are just there, neither right nor wrong, neither good nor evil. It is us who give value to them prematurely. Thus to be mistaken is to assume too much, hope too much, want too much. A man can never be mistaken if he just let things be what they are without asking more from them.

4. "Man has no excuse." He can neither …

Good Friday

O all ye that pass by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like my sorrow.

(Charles Bridge, Prague)

The Fields of Amorsolo

The first National Artist in Philippine history, referred to warmly as the “Grand Old Man of Philippine Art,” Fernando Amorsolo (1892–1972) still stands today as a looming figure in Philippine art responsible for being one of the artists who helped define what we up to now visually imagine as essentially Filipino. The images of rural life, of golden fields below clear blue, blue skies; the smiles of farmers which diminish their weariness as they plant, harvest, and winnow rice;most especially the iconic figure of the Filipina maiden working in the fields—the beloved dalagang bukid--; these, I believe, even after generations of Filipino painters since Amorsolo, have remained in our hearts and memory. Amorsolo did what great masters do for their country: bestow upon it its own icons, represent its native beauty, that is, to give its people and lands an identity and a face. There are, however, as many intentions for art as there are works of art. And these intentions will always remain in…