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UPDATE: The Philosophy of Academic Bigotry

October 8, 2009

“Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at virtue”

Reason versus faith...

Reason versus faith...

I’M not really surprised by how my critics responded to my blog entitled When UAAP is Reduced to Academic Racism. I have to admit that there are a few who presented their rational and well-thought-out responses, while most miserably advertised their hippy-like behavior and mentality. Most of the feedbacks are pretty amusing and entertaining, while some (those deserved my answer) kept me awake while watching X-Men Evolution online.

Sad to say, most commenters cried foul over how I defined their UAAP mantra, which I described as bigoted. I had to state the message behind this bigoted slogan— “Win or lose, it’s the school you choose”— and I anticipated that most would interpose such lines of defense as ‘collective spirit,’ ‘school’s support for the team,’ etc. To Ateneans, this mantra certainly sounds patriotic and enchanting. I have expected that they would defend to death that this slogan, probably endorsed by the Jesuits, is only intended to boost the morale of their athletes.

Contradictions cannot exist! Click image to know why I wrote this blog...

Contradictions cannot exist! Click image to know why I wrote this blog...

Now there are accusations that I have singled out Ateneo. I did not. I had to start with that slogan because I think that it reflects the kind of dogmatism that is being preached by their school. It is merely the effect of the cause. I don’t care how they view their school-sponsored mantra, but I have to express my opinion that there’s a bigger picture behind it. I have given my honest (or harsh) evaluation of their jingle, to wit:

“It means that 99 percent of Filipinos are nothing– that before they can be recognized as part of the elite system- or as part of the human race, so to speak- they must be Ateneo graduates…

“Win or lose, it’s the school we choose” is a battle cry for the UNEARNED, for something that is outside the attributes and character of an individual. It’s a battle cry for ZERO… One can’t have a battle cry for the negative or ZERO unless he’s a second-hander, brainwashed or a bigot.”

This philosophy is not surprising considering the brand of altruism and socialist tendencies of the Jesuits.

There are some commenters who tried to push me to expound my analysis of the said slogan and succeeded, while others had no rational arguments to offer other than to reiterate that the same is just an expression of their loyalty to their alma mater. I have no right— and it is never my intention— to question their loyalty to their school. However, what I would like to expose is the kind of philosophy and psychology that reek behind such a slogan. The meaning of this jingle is that it is okay for students to take things on faith so long as it is for loyalty, common good and the good of others. This philosophy is not surprising considering the brand of altruism and socialist tendencies of the Jesuits.

Hasty generalization: “All Ateneans are bigots…” Did I ever mention this? No, I did not!

But this is not the main issue here. Most of my critics cried foul over my simple evaluation of their slogan. It’s simple because I have not yet written a full-blown article on the matter. What I would like to establish is the philosophical bond between academic bigotry and collectivism/altruism. I used the Hitler connection as an analogy. Hitler also employed the same propaganda to keep his Aryan people sedated, brainwashed and indoctrinated. The Nazi propaganda served as opium for his unthinking, stupid masses. Throughout history there were two groups of men who ruled the world— the mystic of spirit (religionists, the Catholic Church, cultists, etc.) and the mystic of muscle (the collectivists, socialists, communists, Nazis, and their derivatives).

It is disappointing that this same collectivist-bigot ploy is being proudly adopted in this country, and it’s not surprising that the adopter is a Catholic school. My observation of academic bigotry did not spring just a few days ago. I am not singling out Ateneo, and I’m aware that there are many schools out there that embrace such a collective mentality. I do believe that it is improper and evil for a school to preach dogmatism and to teach its students to take things on faith, as well as the virtue of self-sacrifice, altruism and service for others.

Now, let me evaluate some of the comments on my article.

The following is a comment from Iorek from another forum: “…when he says men of great ability like Andrew Tan, Lucio Tan and Renato Puno, he is kind of adapting to the same mentality that big bucks = success, the same mentality he seemed to be against…. Can’t he think of other notable abilities aside from making billions of pesos/dollars? Kasi basing from these examples, he is sort of advocating the same standard that he is commenting against. That making big money is the standard.”

The real capitalists should not support their own destroyers.

I don’t know what kind of miseducation has ever infected this fellow. If you try to read all the must-read articles I posted on that essay, you’ll find out that I am for capitalism and against government intervention. I have given as example successful businessmen because it is they who make life possible for this country. It is not the unemployed politicians who stir our economy but the businessmen. If this is the effect of education that most so-called elite schools provide, then the rational capitalists should stop supporting these schools through their donations and subsidies. The real capitalists should not support their own destroyers.

Commenter academic bigot, who calls himself/herself an “Ateneo-trained political theorist” (whatever that term means), in his/her effort to challenge my position that the ruling philosophers of this country are Karl Marx, Immanuel Kant, Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church states: “Last time I checked, we were a liberal-capitalist democratic regime and not a communist one.”

My primary purpose is not to persuade or to influence— it is my selfish interest to express my mind.

Where did this “Ateneo-trained political theorist” ever get this kind of crude information? We are not a capitalist country; we are a mixed economy. The ones that I mentioned are the ruling philosophers in this country because their philosophy and ideals favor and endorse big government, state intervention, welfare statism and altruism. In one of my previous blogs I have stated the following: “I support capitalism because it is the only economic system that is consistent with man’s rights– his right to life liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness.” On the positive side, there’s only one commenter who somehow understood my purpose and my line of thinking. Immortal_bastiat had this to say in response to academic bigot’s comment: “What he means is that Karl Marx’s philosophy advocates the expansion of government powers which is exactly the same as what our politicians are doing now by through corporate welfare.”

Another commenter demanded my answer to every feedback to my blog, but I had to state that there are responses that do not deserve my attention. I cannot give my sanction to feedbacks intended to piss me off in that I’m not called upon to convince everybody. The hardest person to convince is the one in state of denial, or one who is brainwashed or is heavily indoctrinated. My primary purpose is not to persuade or to influence— it is my selfish interest to express my mind.

Geez people had this to say: “For you to be great, you have to consider other people’s perspectives too. Otherwise, people will just think you’re a smug bastard and won’t listen to what you have to say.”

But it is never my goal to be great in the eyes of other people. I’m not a second-hander. To those who charged that I was engaging in “mental masturbation” and “hasty generalization”, I do not have any time or space to deal with hippies. Also, my essay is not about a legal issue. I may be a law student but I am not engaging in any legal matter here. Honestly I am not academically good (the kind of student who gets high grades). The issue at stake here is the morality of altruism and the philosophical flaws behind the so-called elite school’s academic bigotry.

I am not appealing to those who refuse to think, I’m only willing to deal with those who’d like to use their mind. With this I can single out biogeek as someone who somehow is able to track my purpose. If you try to read some of my blogs you will find out why. If you don’t, that’s just fine.

For aesthetic purposes only...

For aesthetic purposes only...

But there’s one thing that made me laugh. Eardbest who somehow read my blog had this to say in another forum: let’s insult his logic so that he will never blog again =))”

Perhaps that tactic could work only if you’re dealing with a hippie. Nobody can stop me. This reminds me of a character of one of my favorite books (The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand). Ellsworth Toohey says to Peter Keating:

Kill by laughter. Laughter is an instrument of human joy. Learn to use it as a weapon of destruction. Turn it into a sneer. It’s simple. Tell them to laugh at virtue. Don’t let anything remain sacred in a man’s soul — and his soul won’t be sacred to him. Kill reverence and you’ve killed the hero in man.”

No. You can’t rule a man who takes ego as a virtue and never evil. A man who takes ego as a virtue can understand the meaning and his source of pride and self-esteem. A man of self-esteem and pride (that which comes from within and never decreed or anointed) cannot be ruled and will never take things on faith. A man of rational ego will never chant slogans that are collectivists in nature and have no objective or rational meaning—those slogans sold to people as instruments of patriotism, brotherhood, cooperation, and collective spirit. One commenter with the nick wordpress team suggested that I delete my blogsite. My answer is this: Can you edit the bible?

I’d like to also include the comment of this Clarisse (which, for ethical purposes, I simply considered a Troll, because I don’t want to think she’s from Ateneo). This is what she had to say after knowing where I currently study: “Are you now ashamed that you are from UE since they lost? We can help you tell UE that! Since you stick to your individualistic principles. How do you stand now? If you can stand at all! What do you think guys?”

To me, what makes you great is never (take note) your school; it is who you are and what you make for yourself.

I think these words just came from the mouth of a hooligan, and not just a hippie who’d like to get my attention. I must say you’ve succeeded in getting my attention. What made you say that I’m ashamed that I’m from UE? I never thought that any hippie digging my blogs could ever shrink to such a very cheap level. I’m a person who does not care about  other people’s status, educational background or family history. A truly educated and esteemed man wouldn’t even give a damn about crude things like that. It seems that you have gained so much confidence now that you know where I study. Will that knowledge of yours change everything I said? Will that make you a better, saner or more educated person? Only a racist or a bigot would ever have that kind of estimation. When I talk to a stranger, I don’t give a damn where he went to school or whether he has criminal record. I talked to retarded couple outside my dorm without feeling embarrassment or reluctance.

As an individualist, what matters to me are your values and choices, Clarisse (whoever you are), not the things which happened to you by accident. To me, what makes you great is never (take note) your school; it is who you are and what you make for yourself.

The future rulers of this country are being molded by our educational institutions. By education I’m not referring to basic academic subjects, but to the main purpose of education, which is to teach students how to live their lives—by developing their mind and equipping them to deal with reality. I’m referring to the kind of education that will make progress possible for this country, and with this I’m supporting only a system that corresponds to reality. Again I’m not good academically, but try to consider the following questions:

Why is it that not a single individual honestly defends capitalism in this country?

Why is it that most favor the redistribution of wealth, government intervention and welfare statism?

Why is it that it is good to consider the welfare of others and not yours?

Why is it that most people are sold to the mantra of collective good, collective effort, common good, etc. when these abstractions have no exact, objective meaning at all but only seek the immolation of the good to the weak?

Why is taking things on faith considered a virtue?

Why is more importance given to faith than reason?

42 Comments leave one →
  1. a capitalist permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:38

    i have the familiar sinking feeling that i’m about to do something completely futile as well as enervating–i.e. attempt to discourse meaningfully with an already closed mind–but one must, of course, do whatever one can, in order for any subsequent remarks regarding the interaction to be legitimate.

    i have just one question, assuming of course that you are open to questions honestly asked (never an automatic or a definite assumption to make in online interactions, i’m afraid): How can and did you assume the causal link (i.e. that one necessary AND sufficient) between the online remarks which you allege exhibit “academic bigotry” and the fact, which is NOT apparent from the remarks themselves as you have displayed them and which you have merely impliedly alleged, that their makers were Atenean?

    without that causal link, your logic does not stand.

    (as you should already be aware, correlation does not equal causation. for example, if such remarks appear subsequent to a sports match between two schools only one of which won said match, it does not necessarily follow that such remarks were made because their makers were educated in one or the other of said schools. other factors intervene, such as personality, socioeconomic background, childhood experiences, etc. these are, in turn, never necessarily or causally determined by the school one attends.)

    thanks and i hope for a rational discussion. but just in case i don’t get any, i won’t bother to reply. i’m not implying or saying anything against you; this is just my standard precaution when i attempt to engage other people on the internet.

    • October 8, 2009 3:38

      That’s not my main motivation why I wrote my original essay on this matter. Like what I’ve said I did not think of “this” just a few days ago. I already had this observation long before. If you read some of my replies on my original blog, you would know that there were incidents that proved what other people say– my professors, friends, Rina Jimenez-David column, admission of some commenters who claimed they’re from Ateneo, etc, etc. I’m not stupid enough to simply base my article on those “bigot” comments (taken from the net) I posted. If you try to observe I never used them as material for my essay. They’re just there for aesthetic purposes, so to speak. By the way, I have written an article ringing the same idea more than ONE YEAR AGO. Here’s the link–> so you would know…

      This is from Ms David:
      First posted 00:54:25 (Mla time) July 01, 2008
      Rina Jimenez-David
      Philippine Daily Inquirer

      * * *

      During the last season of the UAAP basketball competitions, supporters of Ateneo de Manila University relentlessly mocked their opponents on the side of University of Santo Tomas (UST) for being “jologs,” that is, poor and tasteless. Some even hoisted placards and streamers that read: “Tuition ninyo, allowance lang naming” [“Your tuition is equivalent to our allowance”], to which some UST alumni took umbrage.

      But as it turns out, some UST athletics officials admit, there was a grain of truth in the hurtful jibes. Aside from UST tuition being just a tiny portion of that charged by Ateneo, the allowances given to UST athletes, including the basketball team, are puny compared to the largesse granted to athletes from other institutions. For the longest time, athletes donning the UST colors were given just P500 a month, aside from free tuition for varsity players. Last week, that allowance was raised to P1,000 a month, but even so, it’s mere peanuts compared to the amounts received by athletes from wealthier institutions.

      The good news, though, is that the allowances in UST are distributed equitably to athletes in all sports, and not concentrated on the basketball team, which is the case in other schools, knowing how it’s the most favored sport by most Filipinos, especially moneyed alumni.

      The fair distribution of incentives at UST has worked to its favor, for in the 70 years of the UAAP’s existence, UST has been overall champion 35 times, and tying as well with Far Eastern University for the most number of championships in basketball.

      • October 8, 2009 3:38

        Yeah… So that’s the reason why you’re telling me I’m generalizing- that I posted those still clips supposedly spewed by online bigots claiming to be from ADMU? Let this be official from now on:
        THEY ARE FOR AESTHETIC PURPOSES… I need pictures for my blogs. What’s the use of online forum? Plus, I NEVER EXCLUSIVELY USED THEM AS MATERIAL FOR MY ESSAY! Try to re-read my original blog…
        Don’t you think it would make a big, big difference had I posted a photo showing that slogan printed on the shirt of some of your fellow schoolmates? I wouldn’t allow that to happen…

      • a capitalist permalink
        October 8, 2009 3:38

        the answer is the same– in order for your point, i.e. that ateneo has some sort of essential tie with ‘academic bigotry’, to be valid, you would have to establish that ateneo CAUSES ‘academic bigotry’, OR that it is a necessary and sufficient condition for ‘academic bigotry’ to take place. the corollary would be that EVERY SINGLE ATENEAN–let’s say, ever since ateneo joined the uaap–is an ‘academic bigot.’

        a single exception would, corollarily, disprove your point.

        ms. david’s article says, plainly, what it says. it does not attribute or correlate. it merely states facts. neither does she mention or imply anything about ateneans [necessarily] being bigoted, or about ateneo and bigotry being somehow essentially linked. you appear to say, on the other hand, that ateneo somehow creates/spawns/fosters what you call ‘academic bigotry.’ i’m not sure why you cite the excerpt then, as it does not support your argument/s.

        if your main motivation is to accuse ateneans in general of bigotry [as it fully appears from this and the previous blog entry; the one-year-ago entry is not cited here and so there is no reason for the reader to assume they are related], that is a generalization in itself. even apart from the ‘aesthetic’ pictures.

        that said, i understand from our exchange that your intent was merely to present a purely personal and arbitrary viewpoint, and not some sort of attempt to argue rationally. if this is accurate, then please accept my thanks for this clarification and good night.

      • Cassiopea permalink
        October 8, 2009 3:38

        Just so you know, your esteemed source Miss David got it all wrong… Admu was not the school who did the “Tuition ninyo, allowance lang naming”.. it was actually another school with whom UST had a rivarly with in the mid 90’s.
        In fact, Ms. David noted in her next column the mistake that she made.

        “Two letters were published recently disputing an account in this space of the behavior of fans at a UAAP basketball game. The account was based on stories shared over a meal by University of Santo Tomas (UST) athletics officials as well as officers of the UST Alumni Association, and so some details may have been lost in the process.”

        Let me state here that it turns out the boorish supporters denigrating the UST camp came from another member-school of the UAAP and not from Ateneo de Manila University. And that the incident dates back many years.

        It’s not my usual practice to respond to letters disputing my column, since I consider adverse reactions as a hazard of the trade. But neither did I want Ateneans and ex-Ateneans to think I was brushing off the error. And if it brought home the point that school officials need to subsidize athletes in all sports and not just those in enormously popular events like basketball, then I think it’s a point well made. And yay, go UST!

        and just so you know Miss David’s main point on that article was that she wanted more alumni support for university sports other than basketball. what She mentioned at the start was unfortunately a not so tasteful swipe at the wrong school. With regards to UAAP Basketball jibing I don’t think people should really look deeply in to that, after all it’s just playful banter most of the time. Yes. at times there are certain people who go overboard but these people are isolated cases, most of the people just want to enjoy the game and hopefully see their team win. After all, when the dust has settled, all of us return to our daily grind.

  2. Ken G. Tan permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:38

    Hi Froilan,

    I, like you, am a great fan of Ayn Rand. I’ve read most, if not all of her books. Kahit yung libro niyang-Capitalism, nabasa ko na rin. So I hope we both can lay down our defenses. I aspire only for an intelligent discussion.

    Medyo nakikita ko lang yung flaw dun sa pagpangalan mo sa mga ibang negosyante sa Pilipinas, and how you categorize all businessmen as heroes, because some of them are truly not. It doesn’t mean they are “capitalists”, they automatically embody the objectivist values of Ayn Rand. Some Filipino “capitalists”, like some you’ve mentioned, have actually looted public funds to amass wealth. Do more research on Lucio Tan and you’ll see. Not all so-called “Capitalists” are great because they are labeled as such. Like what you said replied to in a comment, it doesn’t mean the Philippines is labeled as a democracy that enables capitalism that it is what is actually happening in our country. Yes, we are of a mixed political and economic state. We all have “looters” inside of us, and it’s our responsibility to purge it as rationale and able beings.

    With much respect to Capitalism as the best system, I believe it is so because it does support a human individual’s value. Though it is the best, it is not perfect. It is with its rough edges. After reading Rand’s capitalism, I’ve devoted some time to economic and psychological books. As such, it has opened my eyes to much more wisdom, of course thanks to, first and foremost, Ayn Rand. I hope you have a few minutes to spare to read my argument.

    Capitalism could not be left alone, nor be without the Government. Government has a very vital factor in promoting capitalism’s benefit, yet must also try to regulate its consequences. An example would be the explosion of use of oil and coal. Though these are efficient means of getting energy, buying it at P36 a liter is actually not the real cost. It is only the cost of mining, formulating, delivering, profit of manufacturer, distributor, retailer, salary of workers, etc. But the added cost of cleaning up its carbon emissions, which harms other individuals, are not in the calculation of cost. The total actual cost with difference to the retail cost is what you call externalities. These are some details that Ayn Rand is definitely not an expert in. The only reason I added this paragraph is probably for each of us to encourage each other to continue digging for the truth rather than end in Ayn Rand’s great works. If there is one thing she has taught well, it is to question all values, including hers, the objectivist philosophy.

    With regards to psychology, I’ve read some books, of which includes that of Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins. And reading from their works, they imply that all actions that man takes are actually mostly subconscious decisions rather than consciously. To Sigmund Freud, it is the ability to mate and procreate that encourages our decisions. To Charles Darwin, it is for the survival of the species, later on progressed by Richard Dawkins, that stated that we act and decide in purpose of the “selfish gene”. Thus, people act in groups, decide in groups, are nurtured in groups, of which includes the direct family circle, because they serve a purpose in the evolutionary success of our species. There is a purpose for Ateneans, or any college individual to feel pride for their school, at this point in time. Though I believe, one must always constantly try to flourish as an individual, everything is a work in progress to be able to get inch by inch to our true human potential.

    I’ve stated that last paragraph not to tell you that academic bigotry is right or wrong, what I’m telling you is that it is quite difficult to simply summarize and give judgment based on the view of one great objectivist mind.

    If you’re up for it, would be glad to sit down and meet with you, pick at each other’s brain. Send me an email if you’re interested. Good day and I applaud your seeming quest for more knowledge. Keep it up, even if speaking your mind may offend and distress the beliefs of others.

    • October 8, 2009 3:38

      Yes… I must agree with that “flaw” you’re talking about that some of the businessmen somehow “used” government help for their business. I should have added Gokongwei… I think he’s the most moral businessman in the country today. Going back. Those businessmen, although they used government connections, could have not maintained their wealth if they’re not men of real ability. It’s like an heir to a great wealth (Francisco D’Anconia of Atlas Shrugged for example).
      But I think we can ignore that considering that this country is never given a choice. All educational institutions preach the opposite. They embrace Kant, Keynes, Smith, Marx, Catholicism and other derivatives that preach altruism, collectivism and self-sacrifice. My theory is that WE are not given the right choice, although I must say that we’re lucky to have adopted a few principles from the American constitution.
      My observation is that business schools preach the ‘philosophy’ of pragmatism in business. That’s why we usually hear people say “that’s business, so it’s ok to do bad things…” In the US, there are institutes like Ayn Rand Institute and Ludwig von Mises Institute that focus on the ideals of capitalism. You might be surprised that a business school in a country like Guatemala had included the teachings of Mises and Rand in their curricula. My humble opinion is this: there is no proper intellectual leadership in this country (please check ). That’s the problem why there are businessmen who mooch and who use government powers.
      Yes, in regard to psychology, you’re right. Every man consciously or subconsciously embraces philosophy, no matter how crude or evil it is. That’s why I mentioned “it (the slogan) is the cause of the effect (philosophy held consciously or unconsciously).

  3. Commenter permalink
    October 8, 2009 3:38

    You know what, you’ve defended yourself better in this entry. Good piece.

    Though sana you said all this in the previous entry. I get your point and I will not oppose it because you do raise some interesting points, – some of them I agree with and some of them I don’t. Not to annoy you or anything but I guess medyo “hilaw” yung entry mo before this, so people thought you were attacking na. Hindi lang talaga maganda yung labas nung entry na yon, especially at the peak of UAAP season, with tensions running high.

    People just need to read this entry to sort of understand where you’re coming from, what points you’re raising, since you fleshed out your points better here.

  4. October 8, 2009 3:38

    Hasty generalization means — all Ateneans are bigots… Did I ever mention this? You must remember, a capitalist, that every word must have its exact, objective meaning. This is not a thesis and dissertation project that requires me to cite my sources in APA, Harvard or MLA. This is an opinion, just like the way Conrado de quiros does. Perhaps when I’m goin’ to write a book in the future, I will need citation as well as interviews from experts and reliable observers.

    • Anti-essentialism permalink
      October 12, 2009 3:38

      “that every word must have its exact, objective meaning.”

      Now this is a very disturbing normative claim. Not only is it impossible, it is also undesirable as well. In the tradition of critical linguists, which counts among its ranks the likes of Wittgenstein, de Saussure, Gadamer and more recently Derrida, a word can never have a “core meaning.” The meaning of the word has no relation whatsoever to the object it refers to, and is therefore permanently unstable.

      When we try to look for a word in a dictionary, for example (and this is only an example), words are defined through other words. And if we look at those defining words, they themselves demand further definition, ad infinitum. Language is a closed system, yes, but it is primordially self-referential. Words have no a priori meaning, and are always open to scrutiny and “deconstruction”, much as I hate to use that term.

      Your essay must be aware of this semantic feature.

      • October 12, 2009 3:38

        “Now this is a very disturbing normative claim.” I think your claim is more disturbing than mine. I can say that the French thinkers have contributed”good works” to our civilization. You’re talking as if you’ve just finished a session of Derrida’s, Saussure’s and Gadamer’s works. Of course I believe that words have shades, but I do not believe that words should be a tool of destruction.
        I say that words must have exact meaning in order for us to understand reality. Words not merely convey our feeling, beliefs, aspirations, convictions and opinions; they also reflect reality. The works of the French intellectuals are merely abstractions. To better understand their impact on the real world, we must be able to grasp their concrete meanings. I’m sure you’re familiar with the concept of “signifier” and the “signified.”
        I’ll give you a good example of a word, the meaning of which was severely distorted and corrupted by the so-called intellectuals. Capitalism is a word which is not really understood by most people these days, particularly educators. There are concepts behind this abstraction, concepts which should not contradict each other.
        You must also be aware of “semantic corruption.” Words can be used as a dangerous tool of destruction. It can corrupt your mind– your soul. Take for example the agenda of Immanuel Kant. His purpose is not to literally deny that reason is nonexistent; he distorted the meaning of reason. This philosophical trick is more dangerous than the philosophy of the religionists and the mystics who consider that reason does not exist. Do you know the objective (at least the objective) meaning of terrorism and islamofacsist?
        Lest I be misunderstood, when I said that words must have exact, objective meaning, what I really mean is that a word must exactly and objectively convey the concept it symbolizes.
        Finally, I don’t really get what you wanted to convey. What I understand from your vague and undefinable premise is that words have no exact meaning. I have to congratulate you because you’ve just practiced what you believe in. That’s the danger now of not being clear in expressing one’s opinion.

  5. Froylan Binzent Bersuckmina permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38

    1.) You committed elementary mistakes in logic
    2.) “However, what I would like to expose is the kind of philosophy and psychology that reek behind such a slogan.” – you’re still stubbornly one-sided and keep a closed mind. You ALWAYS cite Ayn Rand when there are more philosophers out there.
    3.) Is it wrong for individuals to pick their institutions? They inspire collectivism, but really, those who conspire against it become part of a minor group of collectivists. Didn’t you think that it was an individual’s choice to go for Ateneo or La Salle, per se.

    *Dude with the way you write, and with your biases, and stubbornness, I don’t think you’d make a good read. People’d buy your books and you’ll earn your pesos, I’m sure, but not in the same respect as they’d have for Ayn Rand (who I would read upon your recommendation); they’d read it because you pissed them off, and you’re a really bad writer, just to comment. You might want to brush up on that since you’re a self-proclaimed well-read scholar. I expected more from someone so educated in the field of philosophy.

    Oh, and ‘good premises is like saying God bless’? Just citing God and believing that there is a concept of God means that somewhere out there, there actually is a God.

    Minsan, pakiramdam ko nagpapaka-intelektwal ka lang. Kasi kapag bumanat ka iba ‘yung timpla eh. I’ve read more scholarly essays than that one. And you’ve never written a full-blown article? I can’t wait.

    TO this second article: good premises and God bless.

    • October 9, 2009 3:38

      You’ve just made an enumeration of vague, undefined and undefinable words. Keep it up. That means you’re tinkling your mind. Just tinkling… a bit.
      You’re smart enough to believe in God. I’m not called upon to prove a negative. I DID NOT SAY: I’m a “self-proclaimed well-read scholar.”
      You said: “I don’t think you’d make a good read.” So stop reading my blogs…

      • Froylan Binzent Bersuckmina permalink
        October 9, 2009 3:38

        Oh you didn’t have to ask me to. After this I don’t think it’s worth tinkering with closed minds. Thanks again and God bless.

      • anti-essentialism permalink
        October 13, 2009 3:38

        “When I said that words must have exact, objective meaning, what I really mean is that a word must exactly and objectively convey the concept it symbolizes.”

        Allow me to interpret this statement of yours in an analytical manner similar to that engaged usually by a non-French “intellectual” linguist in the name of Richard Rorty. Here’s how I understand what you are saying:

        What a word means is that which it conveys. What a word objectively means is that which it objectively conveys. If it is objectively signifying the concept, then the word has objective meaning.

        Where may I ask does this “meaning” cohere? Where does it take shape? In my mind, or in reality? In the mental, or in the physical? The lifeworld perhaps?

        Capitalism, you say, is an oft misunderstood concept without any attempt at attributing the cause of its, erm, corruption. Let me ask you again, why is the term corrupted, or misunderstood? Is it because it has been currently defined so disloyally to its original conception? Or is it because it has been redefined over and over throughout the decades after it has manifested its inherent contradictions, and therefore necessitated some form of adaptation and revision?

        To say that capitalism is a misunderstood concept presumes that there is a conception of it which is not misunderstood, that is, a correct one. May I ask, once more, why your “correct” conception should be prevail? Isn’t meaning created and constructed, reified even, by those who use it? For if not, then words would have a priori meaning, which I am sure you cannot concede to. Someone who believes so greatly in rationalism and reason would not be so quick as to submit that meaning comes before existence: people create meaning, don’t you think?

        The current conception of the meaning of the word is not as clean as that to which it signifies. In between the archaic and practically useless categories of the signifier and the signified is the very process of signification, which in turn is characterized by the inherent instability of meaning-making, open and serviceable by power relations.

        This is my point, simply: We must recognize that words have no core meanings. We mean what we want them to mean, albeit not as arbitrarily as this may sound. Meaning is lodged in customs, tradition, collective beliefs, sciences, relations of production, etc. There are words which do not reflect reality at all, words that pertain to, say, fears and intuitions. And if they do reflect reality, chances are such reflection is at best imperfect.

        You say that Kant distorted the meaning of reason. I think this is a more interesting point of departure for a lively discussion. I would request that you drop the defensiveness, as I have not engaged you in any way that warrants the kind of rant the you have just displayed in your response. We are all interested in intellectual discussion here.

        Let me know your thoughts on what constitutes “reason” and rationality. What to you, is the stuff that makes up reason?

      • October 13, 2009 3:38

        anti-essentialism (however you want to use that term),

        I can detect your purpose in trying to narrow down the discussion here. But that’s just fine. I can give you a few minutes in spite of your anonymity. As much as possible I don’t want to deal with anonymous commenters, and I admire those who’re brave enough to reveal their identity. When I wrote this blog, I never entertained the idea of hiding behind a pen-name. Now in your reply, I hope that you’d muster enough courage to show your identity (which means you’ll give me some ways to validate your identity).
        This is your main point: “We must recognize that words have no core meanings. We mean what we want them to mean, albeit not as arbitrarily as this may sound.”
        What I can gather from this subjectivist approach to language is that since words have no core meaning, anybody can simply alter the concepts of a particular word. Language is a tool and domain of concepts. With the exception of proper names, every word we speak is a symbol that denotes a concept. We need to have an objective language because language and concepts are fundamentally a vital instrument of cognition, not of communication, the latter being merely the consequence. You must understand that cognition precedes communication. You can’t think properly without objective words or language. Thus the main objective of language and of concepts is to provide the speaker with a system of cognitive organization and classification, which enables him to gain knowledge on a broader or indefinite scale. In other words, the purpose of language and concepts is to keep or maintain order in man’s mind and to enable him to think properly.
        You’re simply echoing what the linguistic analysts embrace– that reality is not even percepts, but words. You adhere to the idea of these linguistic analysts that words have no specific referents at all, but simply mean whatever people would want them to mean. That means that words must be subjective because everybody can have his arbitrary interpretation of reality.
        Like the linguistic analysts you’re also opposed to consistency, basic axioms, and to necessity of any grounds for one’s arguments or convictions. Like them, you deny the hierarchical structure of concepts (meaning the process of abstraction) and considers any word an isolated primary– and that you’re against the process of system building for the integration of knowledge.
        The only concept I can gather from your assertion is this– that the meaning of concepts is primarily determined in the minds of average individuals. The thinkers whom you so admire regard words as an arbitrary social concept or product not subject to any standards or principles, an unsimplified primary immune from inquiry in regard to its purpose or origin– and that we can simply breakdown all philosophical issues by clarifying the functions of these meaningless, causeless, arbitrary sounds which hold absolute power over reality.
        These grotesque linguistic devices undercut the cognitive function of concepts.
        I understand that the premise of their baloney linguistic devices is that words are generated by whim, they simply try to propose a choice of whims– individual or collective. It means that there are only two ways by which we can define words: “reportive” (to be determined by surveys or polls) and “stipulative” (to be determined by anyone else. This whimsical thinking only leads to man’s Orwellian destruction, wherein language is at the arbitrary whim of those who have the capacity to define words according to their collective, arbitrary objective.

      • October 13, 2009 3:38

        anti-essentialism (however you want to use that term),

        With that grotesque idea or premise (or whatever you call it since you believe words have no core meaning) which you learned from the language analysts of absurdity, I must add that you can even question every term and every abstraction I used for my blogsite. Why? Simply because you can alter, redefine or distort reality only in your mind. You can even say that a table is not actually a table but an inanimate object that is a product of our illusion. You can even say that reason does not exist but just a product of man’s mystical reunification with the energy of the universe. Remember Matrix Reloaded (I’m sure you’re a fan of that creepy film), which was inspired by the philosophy of Immanuel Kant?

  6. KARLA2 permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38

    If you really want to talk about recognizing Filipinos, then talk to the corporations who only recognize graduates from the top 3 schools. Don’t blame it on the Ateneo. We are not the ones making recognitions that are relevant to the majority of the Philippine population.

  7. October 9, 2009 3:38

    I do not agree with many of your points and I didn’t enjoy the writing style that much; but I do like the way you’re questioning things and shaking them up.

    It’s sad to see so many people resort to name-dropping and personal attacks; like you said, it simply proves a lot are not open to reasoning.

    Hopefully, people reading your posts realize that these thoughts are meant to challenge themselves and question who they really are and what they stand for. The point of any philosophy after all is to ask questions that will get us closer and closer to the truth, which will always elude us due to the depth of reality itself.

    PS. In your free time, also try questioning Rand’s views. She may be a genius, but like any other human being, she does have her flaws.

    • October 9, 2009 3:38

      For my comment, click here.

  8. Ken G. Tan permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38

    Hi Froilan,

    I am a good friend of Dwight as well. He was the one who introduced me to Ayn Rand. I share your story of being born into and indoctrinated background. And have served such orders for a long time. Yet I, and may I say Dwight as well, has faced our own “demons” and we had to go through our own obstacles as well as you have had through your life time. So we are not speaking in behalf of those who have not read Rand’s work, nor self-reflected on our own beliefs. We are all questioning.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that though Rand, Nietzche, Ron Paul – love this guy by the way, Charles Darwin, Richard Dawkins, Galileo, etc. are all advance in their own respective times, we’re only at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to finding out and understanding the truth. I invite you to be critical, to have strong opinions, yet at the same time hold them weakly, as suggested by Stanford professor Bob Sutton: . I’ve heard once from an audio book, which sounds so relevant in our times with the emergence of ideal fundamentalism, “Look for the people who search for truth and run away from those who claim to have found it.” Let us think as our own critical, reasonable, rationale beings, as you said, to have opinions and judgments based on facts and not on emotional faith/loyalty to a particular character or ideal. Ayn Rand is the “bomb”, but there is much more learning we can do to improve where she has started from.

    Btw, try looking at Naked Economics by Charles Wheelan. Very good economics book that talks about the capabilities and limitations of capitalism.

    Good day.


    • October 9, 2009 3:38

      Thanks Ken. By the way I edited my reply to Dwight. Kaylangan ko mag-rush puntang school. I never encountered Dawkins and must admit that just read a book by Nietzche. I love Ron Paul and Ludwig von Mises. When reading philosophy, business or economic books, I usually use the following test– does the essence of the book correspond to reality? Does it distort reality? I’ll try to look for Charles Wheelan. Thanks again.

  9. Antoinette permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38

    “To me, what makes you great is never (take note) your school; it is who you are and what you make for yourself.”

    But that’s the thing you’ll never understand, FVB. The reason why we’re so proud of our school (and nope, stop labeling that as academic bigotry. Aren’t YOU proud of your school as well? Everyone’s allowed to be proud of their own school, duh) is that the Ateneo is not just a school. It’s a WAY OF LIFE. We have a different culture which you couldn’t ever grasp unless you actually spend time and live AS an Atenean IN the Ateneo. And our “way of life” is not characterized by the stereotypical attributes you know about us. That’s child’s play. And I won’t enumerate the REAL way of Ateneo life, one that your portrayal is sooo far from, because I might as well write an epic, and it deserves to be written on something more substantial than this blog.

    When we leave this school, being an Atenean becomes part of who we are. It is MORE than just the education, the culture, the values, the socio-economic status and so on. That is how things go in our school. Maybe “what makes you great is never (take note) your school; it is who you are and what you make for yourself” is the norm for your school, that’s okay and I won’t bash/undermine that. So do not bash the norm for OUR school. What you perceive as academic bigotry (an act of yours which, I can genuinely proclaim, is a mechanism for a whole bunch of things, one of them being red, raw ignorance), something of ours that you think is directed at you, is NOT academic bigotry and is NOT directed at you. We are proud of what our school and students/graduates have done, are doing, and predictably will do in the academic field, in real life, in the whole world. There is no need to hide the pride (notice we don’t practice false humility, too. Our pride isn’t exaggerated either. When we say we’re proud that we won the UAAP, it’s because we won the UAAP. If we say we’re proud of our graduates, it’s because our graduates have done so much in shaping the country and the world. We do not say “Oh, UE graduates are useless and lame”, we say “Oh, OUR graduates are amazing.” When we say our school’s the best, WELL DUH, DON’T ALL SCHOOLS SAY THEIR SCHOOL’S THE BEST? It’s part of the cheering spirit, what’s wrong with you? “From east to west, ___ is the BEST”; the word’s part of the cheering stencil. Do not take the tiniest things and make them blow out of proportion. Which, if you haven’t picked up yet, you have already done).

    And THAT’S why we love the Ateneo. Our school changes us dramatically for the BEST, it’s something that we become, remember, hold in our hearts, exemplify, and will forever be thankful for. We do not go to school here, graduate and then say, “Nah, I’m great because I myself am awesome. My school had nothing to do with it, really. It’s all about who I am and what I make for myself. Now off I go to change the world!”

    THAT’S what you’ll never understand. And writing about stuff you don’t understand… well, pal, I don’t know about you, but I think NO school teaches its students to do that. That’s where “it’s never your school, it’s YOU” comes in.

  10. snobsnob permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38

  11. Quito permalink
    October 9, 2009 3:38
    • October 9, 2009 3:38
      • esgie permalink
        October 11, 2009 3:38
    • October 9, 2009 3:38
    • October 9, 2009 3:38
  12. October 9, 2009 3:38
  13. Charles permalink
    October 10, 2009 3:38

    I will begin by quoting your final points:
    “Why is it that not a single individual honestly defends capitalism in this country?

    Why is it that most favor the redistribution of wealth, government intervention and welfare statism?

    Why is it that it is good to consider the welfare of others and not yours?

    Why is it that most people are sold to the mantra of collective good, collective effort, common good, etc. when these abstractions have no exact, objective meaning at all but only seek the immolation of the good to the weak?

    Why is taking things on faith considered a virtue?

    Why is more importance given to faith than reason?”

    Well it would appear you are pushing for a completely neo-classical perspective here. You are pushing that capitalism and (well I really can’t word it less harshly) self-interest is the way to go. You seem to espouse no government intervention/control aside from human security. Basically earn your way to the top with no help at all from anyone else and be able to say that you did on your own correct?
    Does not this echo of an Aryan way of thought? Survival of the fittest (in your case the one who is a self-made man is the fittest to rule the world and not the weak who have to rely on the much more powerful to survive in this world)?

    You also seem to want to do away with the common good as a goal of society as it merely “seeks the immolation of the good to the weak”. Is this not resounding as well of an Aryan way of thought? That the weak MUST die as it only drags down the rest, “the mighty, the great Aryan race”. Nazism on the surface may appear to be a collectivist “brain washing” scheme but if you look at the core of that way of thought of it all is it not individualistic? “only the greatest may inherit the Earth”, now if I were to nitpick with “greatest” being a superlative, then there can only be one and is thus individualistic no? Hahaha but that is a mere nuisance of words but the core of it’s thought appears to be wholly individualistic.

    If I may, it is good that you have self educated yourself on the writings of Rand and other great minds. May I encourage you to read up on Aristotle? I do believe he is basic reading for law correct? Read upon temperance and Aristotle’s mesotes. Perhaps it may show you that philosophy be it Rand’s, Kant’s or Aristotle’s is merely “a” path and not “the” path and to proclaim a single philosophy as “the” way to go (and by extension smacking a school’s motto as bigot for it runs against your brand of philosophy then that too will invariably smack of bigotry).

    You have my email. I do hope to hear from you soon.
    Cheers! 😀

    • October 10, 2009 3:38

      Hi Charles,

      Please check my answer to your reply here. It’s quite long so I have to move it to a new page. Hope I’m able to answer to question.

      The man who . . . closed the door of philosophy to reason, was Immanuel Kant . . . .

      Kant’s expressly stated purpose was to save the morality of self-abnegation and self-sacrifice. He knew that it could not survive without a mystic base—and what it had to be saved from was reason.

      Attila’s share of Kant’s universe includes this earth, physical reality, man’s senses, perceptions, reason and science, all of it labeled the “phenomenal” world. The Witch Doctor’s share is another, “higher,” reality, labeled the “noumenal” world, and a special manifestation, labeled the “categorical imperative,” which dictates to man the rules of morality and which makes itself known by means of a feeling, as a special sense of duty.


  14. The Green Mind's #1 Fan permalink
    October 11, 2009 3:38

    Guys, we should all thank Mr. Bersamina for having the guts to write this blog. By doing so, he has given us someone to critique while The Green Mind is suffering from writer’s block! So THANK YOU MR BERSAMINA!!!

  15. not Eardbest permalink
    October 16, 2009 3:38

    But there’s one thing that made me laugh. Eardbest who somehow read my blog had this to say in another forum: “let’s insult his logic so that he will never blog again =))”

    (1) You take things literally… even Rand (who you probably have a fetish on) would call you an idiot for that.
    (2) nice spelling, dude…
    (3) how are you sure you are right? after all, Rand’s objectivism isn’t quite objective.
    (4) I appreciate your conviction; I don’t appreciate YOU quoting ME out of context.


    • NCAA Schooler permalink
      October 16, 2009 3:38

      While reading the author’s replies and the angry comments of most commenters, I can say that you “not Eardbest ” is among those which should be labeled as “rotten tomatoes.” Kung nag-aaral ka pa, buti pang mag-drop out ka na lang kasi you’re not learning anything. You’re simply displaying your utter ignorance, bad manners and empty arrogance here. I have to tell you that I’m not from any UAAP school. If you have any complaint against what the author stated on his blog, try to post them on your blogshit if ever you have one. Or, you’re just dumb and idiot that you can’t even compose a simple article or commentary. Yan ang masama sa inyo eh, puro lang kayo yabang!

      • not Eardbest permalink
        October 18, 2009 3:38

        Since when was not being able to compose an entry the gauge of stupidity?

        How am I ignorant, rude, and arrogant with my post?

        How do you know the whole picture when he posted only two comments on a long thread on Multiply, which is me dealing with friends? Ever heard of “sarcasm”?

        Why should I drop out? Because you’re judging me through a thread?

        How can I take you seriously when your grammar leaves a lot to be desired? “Idiot” is a noun, not an adjective.

        Maybe YOU should drop out, because YOU are not learning anything. Take basic grammar lessons, then get out of the trash: you’re talking like it.

        make a mathematical proof of your conjecture, that I’m displaying “utter ignorance, bad manners and empty arrogance,” since I’m SO STUPID. 😐

  16. At.N.9 permalink
    October 22, 2009 3:38

    I’m not going to even begin to pretend that I understand all the Philosophy on this page (I’m a freshman in a science course, for goodness’ sake), but I have to say that this follow-up clears up some things. Thank you for that. Although I still disagree with you using Ateneo as your primary example (which I guess why many Ateneans including myself thought you were singling Ateneo out), I do agree that yes, there is academic elitism and bigotry in schools. IMO only, all of the schools are guilty of this; *some* Iskos think being in UP entitles them to being “intellectually superior” to the rest of the schools, *some* Ateneans think being in Ateneo puts them in a “higher class,” etc.

    However, I disagree that the teaching in Ateneo is dogmatic and faith-based. I am something of an agnostic, and so far there has been nothing really dogmatic about the learning here. Of course, we are encouraged to live out Catholic values, but we are also encouraged to think and push limits, and not conform to a dogma or doctrine. The only holy book I’ve been following is my Chemistry lab manual. Of course, I’m just a freshman, and haven’t taken up my mandatory Theology classes, so I wouldn’t really know. Just that from my perspective right now, I don’t think I’m learning anything remotely like “being Atenean makes you better,” just that being Atenean should be something I should learn to love, simply because I chose to be here for another four or five years. 🙂

    • October 29, 2009 3:38

      Off topic but, to above poster, the Theology classes will make a LOT of sense once you take up the mandatory Philo classes. There’s a post here that talks about the journey from faith to reason. What I learned (in Theo and Philo) is that it’s possible to have a journey from reason to faith. It’s a bit more optimistic but it’s proactive and I’d choose that over merely quoting philosophers and making boring commentaries endlessly on a blog. 😛

  17. October 27, 2009 3:38

    Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!


  1. When UAAP is Reduced to Mere Academic Bigotry; When a School Preaches Anti-Reason and Bigotry « IDEOLOGICAL SOUP
  2. Language as Tool of Destruction « IDEOLOGICAL SOUP
  3. Why I wrote my “Academic Bigotry” Blog? « IDEOLOGICAL SOUP

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