Is Conviction a Foe or Ally of Truth?

Convictions are more dangerous foes of truth than lies. – Friedrich Nietzsche

This week I am following an ongoing Korean drama series entitled Criminal Minds which mind you features one of my favorite Korean actors, Lee Joon-Gi.

This drama  focuses on a group of highly-trained profilers in the fictional National Crime Investigation (NCI) team who tries to profile and track down criminals to solve cases.

When we say profiling, by the way, it means “the recording and analysis of a person’s psychological and behavioral characteristics, so as to assess or predict their capabilities in a certain sphere or to assist in identifying a subgroup of people.” (https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/profiling)

Anyway, while watching it, the above-stated quote came up and sparked my interest and imagination.

So, our topic today is about conviction.  What does conviction mean?

Conviction means a strong belief or opinion or the feeling of being sure that what you believe or say is true.

If conviction is such, how then it becomes a dangerous foe of truth rather than an ally?

Let us site an easy example how this line of thinking must have come about.

For example, in common household products we use, detergent powder for one, let’s say I have been using this one product for several years and strongly believe that this product is the best ever product by far. Even when surveys or vast promotions occur, since I firmly believe that the product I have been using is the best, I probably will insist on what I believe and deny whatever evidence other people will present.

On that example, you can probably see where and when conviction can become a threat to what is true. Can you picture out how much more dangerous can it be if on a larger scale?

A person who firmly believes he is not doing a grave mistake despite of it being morally wrong will continue to commit the same mistake over and over again despite the fact or truth that it is wrong, for he had convinced himself he has abide by his own beliefs.

This must be how those committing crimes from petty theft to plunder have convinced themselves to do what they do so as not to buckle down at the prick of their conscience.

That is when conviction becomes the truth’s foe rather than an ally. That is, when we let ourselves be blinded by our wrong beliefs to the point of denying the truth despite of it glaring at us like the sun at midnoon hour.

Truth as Wide as the Sky

“You can never cover the sky with your palm.” – Prince Jin Seong/Lee Yeok, Queen for Seven Days Korean Drama

Queen for Seven.Days is a story about two brothers fighting for the throne to the Kingdom of Joseon due ro rhe evil manipulations and machinations  of state councilors who wished to have their tight hold over the leader of the nation, as well as a poignant love story of a couple who chose to part for each to live and love each other for a long period of time.

From the many memorable dialogues this drama series had, one of the lines which caught my heart and imagination is the above-quoted line.  Prince Jin Seong uttered these words during one of the altercations between him and his older brother who was the King when the latter was trying to subdue him with the ever-present thought that the younger brother (Prince Jin Seong) is out to take the throne from him, knowing that their father, the former king, wanted him to abdicate the throne to his younger brother once he had already come of age.

This quote, “you can never cover the sky with your palm” is, of course, a metaphor which means that one can never really hide the truth.  

As how it is not possible to cover the sky with your palm, unless you delude yourself that you are able to by covering your eyes instead, just as when we try to deny the glaring truth by trying to close our eyes to it or by trying to look the other way when we see something that should not be but feel we have no power or the right to be involved in, but still deep in our heart and if we let our conscience prevail, we know we can never totally evade or deny reality.

“The truth will always prevail” is another way to say it, but sad to say, no matter how wide the sky, most people nowadays will choose to cover their eyes with their palm rather than meet the glare of the sun and be blinded or burned, for often the truth can be as blinding or as hot as the sun and many peole will rather settle for half-truths or little white lies than to know or accept reality, they will be willing to become a racing horse let loose on a track with its eyes covered with blinkers or blinders.  

If you are honest enough, can you ever say to yourself, you had never ever tried to cover the sky with your palm?

Smile as the Bright as the Sun

“Smile often in order to have more reasons to smile about.” – Princess Hye-myung, My Sassy Girl Korean Drama

It’s just another ordinary Sunday to ponder about life and its drama.  So today, let me share with you, one of the catching quotes I read from a Korean drama I was watching lately.

You must have noticed by now that I seemed to be a bit partial with Korean dramas. What I particularly love from watching them are the moral values and teachings imparted in most stories especially the historical dramas. 

So, the above quotation has not failed to enlighten me and inspire me for this week’s post.

The previous months had been quite challenging for me that there came a point where I thought there seemed to be no reason to smile about.  I wake up in the morning and go about everything I was supposed to do for the day. I was on automatic mode. I work with a gloomy feeling, with my chest so heavy.

But then I realized, who am I punishing with this kind of attitude?  The more I think seriously of my situation, the heavier my heart became. God saw me through those difficult times, so I chose to trust Him fully with everything. With that thought, that choked feeling, the heaviness in my heart lifted. I can smile again.

I decided, whenever things got too heavy, I just need to think of something to smile about to lift my spirit up again, and whenever the heaviness of the heart started, I sing or hum, at least.

Why let ourselves be shackled ny our worldy worries when there must be a lot to smile about? Miracles happen everyday, we just need to acknowledge it for it to change our life and make our day brighter. 

A positive attitude is like a magnet. It pulls in positive energy that can repel negativeness away. Let us exude that positive energy and prevent darkness from prevailing. Smile as bright as the glaring sun in a hot summer day.

Do Miracles Exist?

“If you desperately long for something, it brings you a miracle.” – Prince of Qing, My Sassy Girl Korean Drama

Do miracles really exist?  In a world where many lived in squalor and poverty, where almost everyone is struggling to get by day by day, will it not be like manna from heaven to hope for a miracle to happen when one needed it most?
Several times this year, I had been in very tight spots, experiencing not only physical but also emotional stress, what with ailments in the family and financial distress brought on by these to add up to the already escalating financial setbacks an ordinary rank and file employee experiences, living on a mere pittance for what suffice as a salary.  It was like walking on a thin plank hanging up on a cliff, while carrying a time bomb set to blow up anytime.

Several times during these ordeals, I almost buckled down underneath the pressure building up in the pit of my stomach.  So many times, I was brought to tears on my knees, praying for God to listen to my heartfelt petition for a way out of these situations.
Looking back, no matter how difficult the road we call life had been, no matter how many times I had fallen and gotten bruised, no matter how many hurdles I had to tackle on the way, I realized no hurdles had been that insurmountable, I could still get up and tend to my wounds, life still goes on the way it wanted to be.  

Then while watching one of the Korean Dramas I love to follow, I came upon this beautiful line and it dawned on me, “wow!  That is quite true!”  I was  desperately longing for solutions to the problems besetting me, then when it comes to a point where all hope seemed lost, a solution suddenly comes along, my prayer gets answered. 

Cynics would say, they are mere coincidence.  Science might even explain it’s just a normal phenomenon. But for people like me, desperate to hold on to that short thread of hope thrown my way, I believe miracles do exist. 

Dark Clouds

The clouds are dark over the horizon
Are they because of the change of season?
Are they omen of things beyond reason?

Or do they offer hope of redemption?

The summer that passed by had been arid

The weather was tremendously humid

The rain was scarce just like money in pockets

No matter how much we pray over our wallets.

Beyond those clouds, is there a ray of hope

We can set our eyes on and help us cope,

With all our trials and difficulties,

With all of our problems and our worries?

(N. B.:  Dear Friends, sorry for my whole week of absence.  Had internet connection problems.)

Are We Really Free?

A happy Monday morning, everyone!

And to all my countrymen:  Happy 119th Philippine Independence Day!

My regular blog post should have been published yesterday but since today we will be celebrating the anniversary of Philippine Independence, I decided to postpone publishing and cover our own local celebration of the said event.

Before the program started, of course, people were still milling around in their gorgeous Filipiniana attires, the city officials and department heads of local offices posing for posterity while the various sectors in their uniforms waited for the program to start.

The program started at around 7:30 in the morning with the entrance of colors, which means the entrance of the Philippine flag and the banner of the city.  

This was followed by the offering of flower wreath at the center of the public plaza, in front of the flag pole, by the City Mayor, Vice Mayor together with the Filipino World War II Veteran President of the city.

The twelve Philippine revolutionary flags followed, escorted by the twelve Sanggunian Panlungsod Members, and paraded up the stage, their brilliant red color so vibrant to represent the bravery and boldness of the Filipino soldiers in their fight for freedom against the Spanish oppression of that time.

Wreaths, pots and bouquets of flowers were also offered under the monuments of the two Philippine heroes the city honors, Andres Bonifacio and Dr. Jose P. Rizal.

The city officials then marched up the city hall’s balcony to reenact the first-ever Independence Day Celebration held in Cawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898.

The program ended after a dance presentation by the city representatives to the Panaad Folk Dance competition and by a young maiden singing “Ako ay Filipino”.

Every year, every local government units, anywhere in the Philippines try to recreate the spirit of patriotism evoke by the first celebration of the Philippine Independence and try to enliven the occasion and impart the values of such event in the younger generations.

Yet, with or without the sad events still happening in Marawi, are we really free?

With all our talks about freedom, aren’t we still bounded by some ideas that limit us from experiencing it totally?  Or aren’t we limited by our inhibitions to embrace the changes that comes with the times?  Or aren’t we afraid to accept the consequences brought by grasping it with both hands for fighting for it might mean giving up our everything for it?

Fighting for our freedom does not always mean taking up arms and walking up and down the streets shouting for it.  

Our everyday thoughts and actions, our efforts and struggles, towards liberation from pangs of hunger and escape from the shackles of poverty, are also embodiments of our continuing fight for freedom.  

We might say we are already a Republic, a democratic country freed from dominion of other countries, but still, our existence is a continuous struggle not only from domination of powerful countries who continuously try to plunder our natural resources but also from the debilitating effects of corruption for the past several decades.

Freedom has its many faces.  And our struggle to keep it can also vary in many ways.

Even within our ownselves, an inner struggle continues.  We wish to fight our tendencies to bury ourselves underneath seemingly unimportant desires for lavish spendings and luxurious things but we often fail to discipline and curb them.


We wish to have more courage and determination to crawl out of our hand-to-mouth existence, but opportunities to do so is just so out of our reach that despite working eight hours a day, five days a week, earning supposedly thousands of pesos per month but what we bring home at the end of a pay day is barely enough to tide us over a few days.

We might always know deep in our hearts the value or importance of freedom but for us whose struggles towards liberty from poverty and harsh existence is ever-continuing, we might feel it or see a glimpse of it at times we receive our bonuses but we would always seem just dream of it and pray that manna will hopefully fall from heaven.

Is Martial Law the Answer?

“People sometimes make wrong decisions to do the right thing,” So Yool, Chief Kim Korean drama. 

With the recent terrorism attack in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte declared Martial Law in Mindanao on May 24, 2017.

But, what is martial law?

Martial law is the imposition of direct military control of normally civilian functions of the government, especially in response to a temporary emergency such as invasion or a major disaster, or in occupied territory.  (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martial_law).

When the president declared martial law on Mindanao, the reactions of the people vary from sarcasm to approval, from apprehension to relief, from loud protestations to noncommittal shrugs, from indignation to trust.  (http://www.rappler.com/technology/social-media/170749-martial-law-mindanao-netizens-reactions)

Many were reminded of the sad and harsh events of the Martial Law declared by former President Ferdinand E. Marcos on September 21, 1972 by virtue of Presidential Decree No. 1081.  Military rule reigned in Philippines then for more than eight years until it was officially ended on January 17, 1981 by virtue of Presidential Decree no 2045.  Marcos, however, reserved decree-making powers for himself. (http://www.gov.ph/featured/declaration-of-martial-law/).

I was born on May 1, 1974, when martial law was still fully imposed and practically lived my pre-school age in the duration of the entire martial law era.  Despite my young age then, I could not remember my mother and my great grandmother ever complaining there is any difficulty in buying basic necessities for us to live in comfort and peace.  Back then, we lived in Barangay Sum-ag, Bacolod City, a barangay where the Visayan Maritime Academy (now known as VMA Global College) was established, and my mom was looking after a boarding house catering for students studying at the said academy.

I did remember talks about curfew but I believed it just helped make my mother’s  life easier in managing several young lads in their teenage years with their raging hormones and penchant for adventure and fun.  They are not allowed to be out of the house after 10 o’clock in the evening and their fear of violating that law kept them in check.

Since, I was still young to remember that much, I asked my mother what was it like during the martial law era.  

She recalled that except for a problem with shortage of rice for a short time, life in the province went on as smoothly and as normally as it was before martial law was declared.  There were talks, she said, of some people who were imprisoned for talking against the government and there were talks of summary killings but none that she had witnessed or known personally.  It seemed to me that life in the province had gone on as much as it was before the declaration.  

News and confessions of life of brutality during martial law, seemed to had affected the people in Manila, where the center of government had always been, more than it affected the lives of the people in the provinces.

Once again, martial law is declared in the Philippines, but only in Mindanao.

President Rodrigo Duterte has declared martial law in Mindanao following clashes between government forces and a group inspired by the so-called Islamic State in Marawi City. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2017/05/30/1703141/live-updates-martial-law-mindanao)

There were many vehement complaints and loud disapproval of this action by the President.  The question is: If you were on the President’s shoes at that time, what would you have done in response to such events in Mindanao?

If we are among the residents of Marawi would we be relieved to know that our country represented by the President is doing its utmost best to preserve the lives of affected by making its military rule in the face of such blatant threat towards the government rule, or would we feel more threatened because of the power juggle and apparent war going on?  Despite the hardships and difficulties they must be facing now, wouldn’t the Marawi residents feel more assured of their safety knowing the government is showing its effort to control the situation and that the government is displaying so much more backbone and political will over their dire situation?

Yes, there is that worry that so much power can be alluring and addictive.  But, times now are different.  People are more aware of their right as a people.  We now have a stronger Constitution that protects us from tyrannical rule.  President Duterte himself is aware of that.

President Rodrigo Duterte claims he’ll be the first to call for an end to martial law once Mindanao is “stable.” (http://www.rappler.com/nation/171654-duterte-end-martial-law)

Then let me go back to my featured quote at the beginning of this post.

“People sometimes make wrong decisions to do the right thing,” So Yool, Chief Kim Korean drama. 

To some people the declaration of martial law might have been a wrong decision to make despite its intention to do the right thing, but, sometimes certain situation calls for drastic measures. 

Let us call them to task when the need for such measure has extended its purpose.  That’s the time then for us to make our moves. For now, let the government prove its worth and its supremacy over terrorism.