Monday, January 4, 2016

"Can man lead a life in which he can see and realize the true beauty of life?” 2016 Revolution

Our institutions should challenge the intellect, touch the heart, show the path the citizen should take, and enlighten the man on the street.

Dr Abe V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM, 8-9 evening class Monday to Friday

The Parthenon  represents "the supreme effort of genius in pursuit of beauty." (Aris Messinis / AFP/ Getty Images)

The Parthenon stands proudly as the centerpiece of Centennial Park, Nashville's premier urban park. The re-creatio of the 42-foot statue Athena is the focus of the Parthenon just as it was in ancient Greece. The building and the Athena statue are both full-scale replicas of the Athenian originals. (Internet)

 As I listened to a lecture Science as Critique of Society, the following scenarios, which are happening outside of the hall, came rushing into my mind. I am sure the audience invariably shared with me in the imagery of these current events.

o The whole world holds its breath at the current crisis in Syria and Iraq, and recently in Ukraine.  North Africa and the Middle East have yet to face the consequences of Arab Spring. North Korea and Iran are still stubborn on nuclear disarmament, and the US is extending is presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.  As of this writing Saudi Arabia and Iran have abruptly and completely severed their diplomatic ties over the execution of a Cleric Shite leader among 49 others.
Children are most vulnerable in the present Syrian crisis.  They are among the 4 million displaced Syrians living in refugee camps outside their country, and on the run barred from entering otyher countries.  

o Terrorism is today's enemy of the world.  For the first time terrorists are claiming for  a state of their own, The Iraq Syria Islamic State or ISIS.  The tentacles of terrorism have grown widespread even before the 9-11 attacks on the World Trade Center, NY. As a boundless, invisible organization founded on hate and destruction, it undermines the present world order, particularly capitalism. We have our own share of terrorism in the Philippines and it is a serious one. Year 2015 was highlighted with the upsurge of terrorism. 

o More than conventional weapons, terrorism is employing biological and chemical warfare – and not remote, nuclear weapons - the very tools used by the superpowers themselves against “enemies.” These weapons are around us and may be right in our backyard. It is not remote that the Philippines is in the target list. With the state-of-the-art of weaponology war is going to be fought by remote control using sophisticated drones both in air and sea.  Drones. 

o Polarization is not limited to politics; it extends as well to religion, reminiscent of the Dark Ages, when people were pitted against each other by their faiths. Egypt today is facing religious conflict as an aftermath of the Arab Spring people's revolution (Time, April 13, 2014). 
So with the current Iran-Saudi conflict.

The hall was attentively silent. I did not quite understand why these issues were generally left out. The lecture nonetheless provided the ambiance of these scenarios.

Happy faces. Participants in an ecology seminar, Faculty of
Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas 
with autho

o Oil prices continue to spiral with four increases in price in a row, triggering increase in prime communities and basic services, exacerbating our already weak economy. Global energy crisis looms in the current conflict in the Middle East and North Africa, the world's main suppliers of oil. Surprisingly there has been an inexplicable drop in oil prices,  But analysts believe this is temporary. 

o Mass evacuation of Overseas Workers who are in the war zone has nightmare stories to tell. Two things our country loses everyday: tremendous cost of evacuation and slowdown of dollar flow from the remittances of the OFWs.

o To worsen our fear the world has plunged into another climatic episode, this time El Niño, a climatic phenomenon characterized by extreme drought. Spontaneous forest and brush fires are occurring in Australia, US and Indonesia. The Philippines is projected to have poor harvest in rice and corn and this is expected to continue until next year.

o Food security as key to maintain our economy is difficult to attain, what with 10 percent production shortfall in rice, 30 to 40 percent in corn? We also fall short in the production of meat, poultry, fruits and vegetables. Yet we have IRRI and UPLB, the alma mater of scientists of foreign countries that now export agricultural products to us in exchange for the knowledge they earned.

o For a rich agricultural country such as ours, the need for a huge buffer stock is ultimate recourse since it is feasible to build one from local harvest. But this is not the case. For this year 2016, we are going to import rice in the tune of 1.5 million MT to maintain supply-demand balance and to provide buffer stock, from Thailand and Vietnam, and a part from China, Pakistan and India.
Imported rice from Vietnam
o On the side of space science and technology, the bold plan of the US to send man into space has been held off since NASA’s space shuttle Columbia exploded on impact with the earth’s atmosphere as it was returning from a successful mission. All 7 astronauts were killed. Definitely this accident has set back man’s conquest in space. It is a requiem for mankind, following John Donne’s “A little bit of each of us dies.” (On the Death of Strangers)

o It is a paradox that in this modern age of medicine, one of the leading causes of death in US hospitals is doctor’s error, chiefly wrong diagnosis and over treatment. Yet we are going to embark into a new field of medicine, gene therapy. Are doctors really prepared for it?

o Now this is interesting. Among the ten major causes of death in industrialized countries are those associated with the good life such as heart attack, severe depression, accidents, diabetes, and the like. What is good life then?

o On the other hand millions of people die every year from the ancient scourge of mankind – tuberculosis, respiratory diseases, infections, childbirth, and many other diseases associated with poverty and malnutrition.

o The lack of doctors and healthcare exacerbates the suffering of millions more, especially the children, who are victims of malnutrition and poverty. We witness the growth of slums, and a runaway population, and we stand there unable to alleviate their plight.

According to Susan George in her book, How the Other Half Dies, people either have too much or too little. As this is traced to his nature and the institutions he made. Because it is a question of governance, man holds much faith in his ability to solve the problems of his society. But the UN has not lived up to the expectations of the world. The EC is too regionalistic, so with ASEAN. But the holding of summits and conferences attests to man’s immanent goodness, and in spite of our limitations we have gone a long way towards progress.

Indeed science has definitely contributed to man’s success to this point. But to where does science ultimately lead us?

Let us consider these issues.

o Sixty percent of us Filipinos live below the poverty line.

o Exodus to cities and abroad seems unstoppable.
o There is breakdown in peace and order.
o Loss of species is rampant, but loss of entire ecosystems is more damaging. 
(Photo of our Philippine Eagle, now critically endangered) )
o Liberalization is trade and commerce exacerbates the gaps between rich and poor nations.
o Values seem to be taken for granted.
o Conditions in the slums are virtually sub-human.
o Forty percent of our youth do not practice their religion.
o Ignorance and illiteracy is prevalent – and increasing.
o Government service is generally poor and riddled with graft and corruption.
o Diseases can develop into epidemic proportion as in the case of bird flu and SARS.

It is an open-ended list of issues science should address itself. But we can not wait too long.

While the conflict in North Africa and the Middle East rages, global warming is stirring the cauldron of global climate and local weather, more and more natural and man-induced calamities at increasing intensity such as the earthquakes in Haiti, Peru, and Japan with a new record of 8.8 on the Reicher Scale. Hope dims and faith may not hold on for long. As the world prays, the hall is silent. Today,s news of an earthquake in India with 6.3 magnitude has caused heavy damage which is being assessed to this hour. .

North Korea’s nuclear program has emerged as a new threat to the region and to the world. But South Korea, which is expected to reunify with the North soon, is apparently undisturbed - seemingly so with certain countries. Will US apply stricter sanctions on North Korea? Will it apply its formula of allowing Iran to develop nuclear power for peaceful means in the case of North Korea? 

Is Japan considering re-armament? What is our stand with these developments? Is this the beginning of a third force? As the world waits, the hall is silent.

Where is peace and quiet for man and his society?

Related Articles in this Blog

Search i The Riddle of theSphinx – Are we in our sunset as a species? It is a discourse showing how vulnerable is the human species toward extinction – a vulnerability of his own making.

Also search, Bioethics – Expression of Values. It is a first hand account based on the author’s own experience in making a crucial decision in bioethics. Bioethics has expanded into various disciplines from its former confines in medicine and healthcare. It challenges a critic a deep responsibility - that ethics and virtue must go together. 

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