June 2018
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Mindfulness, not Perfection

Ananas~May 2008-1is what one should aim for. Negligence can land you on the DOLE in most developed countries. Not the Department of Labor and Employment, not the pineapple firm, and I know it should be written in small letters but this mistake was intentional. Negligence is behind errors like the recent one by PNA, showing a Dole logo on a news item about DOLE, or “Stop SHAIMING Duterte” placards. Mindfulness is behind the high quality of Japanese artisanship and manufacturing. Quality assurance measures how many errors are made – zero errors as we know are impossible.

The Filipino excuse is usually “we are human”.  Of course. But the moment we start neglecting matters is a slippery slope. Human beings are by nature lazy. In the Stone Age, it may have helped us survive by saving energy. Nowadays it can lead to us becoming the pigs others eat for dinner. On Twitter, Joe America reminds us (link): “Be smart. Remember to exercise your mind as well as body. Get out of the 140 character attention span by reading longer articles regularly.”  Which reminds me of the last time I read an entire book end to end. I am feeling very ashaimed of myself.

Doesn’t make sense to think of oneself as useless every time one makes a mistake. There is a Spanish journalist in one of Rizal’s two novels who says that the best way to keep the natives in place is to tell them every day how useless they are. Now, Filipinos like to do that to each other.

Strive for self-improvement, help others succeed. That should be the way. Not people who want to discipline others yet do not even have enough mindfulness to avoid pineappling their publications. Who mess up catching major shabu shipments while killing small dealers. Or was that no mistake?

Covering up in order to look perfect, or lowering one’s standards so that it “no longer matters” will not bring anything up to speed either. The true and absolute judge of things shall be competition. For international trade and tourism, for example. The world doesn’t kill you. It just overtakes you.

Irineo B. R. Salazar
München, 12. August 2017

1 comment to Mindfulness, not Perfection


    JERUSALEM — Those words, “We are who we are because we remember,” uttered by our Israeli guide Azriel as we headed to Nazareth from Jerusalem, may be the closest to encapsulating my impression of Jewish identity. Everything — from the observance of the Shabbat to the celebration of the Passover — seems to be all about remembering the past.

    Perhaps we can appreciate the importance of zakhor, a Hebrew term that calls for an active labor of commemoration, if we bear in mind that for much of the Jewish people’s history, their nation existed only in memory. And because this nation was a theocracy, it was inexorably linked with their religion and their way of life..

    Memory, shared by one nation, is powerful because it can inspire determination and cohesion in times of crisis. From 1948 onward, the resolve with which Israel has defended itself — manifest in the unrelentingly tight security in its airports and its fearsome military — is anchored in the sense that if its people let go of their nation, they face annihilation..

    Meanwhile, we in the Philippines do not seem to have any collective memory — even of the most significant moments in our history. We see this amnesia in full display today, as we mark another anniversary of Ferdinand Marcos’ imposition of martial law amid the dark clouds of authoritarian rule. How can we so easily forget the price that was paid by our forebears to defend our democracy? How can we so quickly forget the many evils the Herods of our country have done, that we still allow them to rule over us?

    ..“We are who we are because we remember,” our guide told us.

    “Alas,” I should have told him, “we are who we are because we forget.”

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