Saturday, April 16, 2016

Maestro Lorenzo Lucero Mata: In Search of Meaning in the Golden Years of Life. (San Vicente IS to the World Series)

San Vicente IS to the World Series 
In Search of Meaning in the Golden 
Years of Life.  
"My life is my message."  Mahatma Gandhi

By Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog []

Maestro Lorenzo Lucero Mata excelled in the fields of education and art as Superintendent of Education in the province of Ilocos Sur until his retirement. He was a former principal, division supervisor, and teacher. A multi-awarded educator, Maestro Mata is also remembered for his obra maestra in sculpture, painting and literature. He had a Fine Arts degree (UP) and an MA in Education. As a writer and historian he headed the San Vicente Historical and Cultural Society and wrote Ti Pakasaritaan ti San Vicente, Ilocos Sur, a History of San Vicente IS. Married to another teacher and town mate, Generosa Alvarez Mata, the couple is blessed with seven children, all successful professionals, and a host of grandchildren. 


Never in history had the world undergone an unprecedented upheaval in the way we live today. We call this age we are living in postmodernism, a term that can not be adequately explained.   The late Dr Florentino H Hornedo, one of the country's leading sociologists, aptly defined it as "living tomorrow today in a free fall."  

This terse statement leads us io an arena of discussions by many sectors of our society today. And necessarily it calls for redefinition of terms and issues related to the new age, such as the meaning of legacy, environmental sustainability, globalization, aculturation in the context of cultural integration and others -  above all, the real test and measure of progress itself.  

Our demographic picture following a geometric increase in population in the last century shows a polarization of the generation of senior citizens (increasing in number and life span) on one hand, and the Millennial generation, those born after 1980 and the first generation to come of age in the new millennium, on the other. Indeed today's demography has radically veered from the traditional divisions of generations experienced in the past. 

Most Rev Antonio R Tobias DD (left) is the bishop of the Diocese of Novaliches QC where three million people reside, 63 percent are baptized Catholics. Under the bishopric are 36 parishes under diocesan clergy and 23 parishes under Religious clergy. Bishop Tobias served as parish priest in Metro Manila and professor in theology at San Carlos Seminary at Guadalupe before he was assigned bishop at San Fernando La union. then to Novaliches. One of his students is another scion of San Vicente, Monsignor Cecilio Rotor, former Consul of the Vatican to Kenya and the US. Bishop Tobias traces his roots to the Tobias of Santo Domingo, and Realubin (mother) who in turn is related to several families in San Vicente Ilocus Sur. Photo: The author presents to Bishop Tobias two of his books – Light in the Woods and Light from the Old Arch.

This article presents a general picture of our world's growing complexity in an attempt to define postmodernism.  Limited as it may,  the main idea is to pose a challenge tthe elders who are in their sunset years, which one romantically describes as "living in their golden years. " What legacy can they leave behind which the millennials can carry on to the generations after them. 

Here are thirty (30) scenarios of our postmodern world

We live in an age of liberalization, of freer expression (Women’s Lib), the role of women being the greatest manifestation, women becoming heads of states, women sharing common professions and fashion with men;

An age of capitalism, a system that cannot exist without democracy, and vice versa, yet inevitably falling into the trap of economic crisis in the US, Europe and Asia; 

Of excess capitalism plaguing countries victimized by cartels, trust and syndicates, capitalism breeding and pampering consumerism, creating a use-and-throw-away society, and failing to differentiate need from want, thus aggravating the degradation of our environment;

An age of mass-market beginning with Henry Ford’s assembly line to mega factories run by robotics whereby production and marketing are done in centralization and conformity, from toothpaste to magazines, shoes, automobiles and homes;

It is an age of stereotype economic, politico-social and cultural patterns, narrowing down personal choices and freedom, prodding non-conformists to explore new horizons in the humanities and science, and even behavior;

An age of weapons of mass destruction, born with the horrendous bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which put an end to WW2 and defined the reality of the Cold War which ended in 1989. The fear of Armageddon persists to this day;
Of exploring the peaceful application of the tremendous nuclear energy, so with alternative sources in lieu of depleting supply of fossil fuel to meet the world’s increasing demand to run industry, agriculture, transportation, and electricity particularly in large urban centers;

Lola Virginia “Virgie” L. Lagasca, 93, entrepreneur, philanthropist, lives a Spartan life, the key to a long and fulfilled life. As a WWII veteran and guardian of a successful family, she keeps on going with three generations in a row, remarkably at the forefront to caution change with priceless values and tradition. Background mural - Living with Nature - by the author at his residence in Greater Lagro QC.

An age of electronics which opened the kingdom of the invisible, heretofore seen only through a keyhole, now revealing the structure of the virus and chemical molecules, including the genetic makeup of life; and lately accurate images of atomic and sub-atomic particles;
Of social media enabling popular access to information and entertainment, knowledge and ideas, and other fields of human endeavor with the use of a palm-size gadget at fingertip command;

Of computers: university-without-walls (e-Learning, on-line teaching), marketing (e-Commerce), publishing (e-Publication), remote control management (tele-conferencing), satellite imaging (weather forecasting); guided navigation (GPS);
  We live in a  global village in the making, virtually shrinking the world with cyber communication, efficient and convenient transportation, thus erasing so to speak the boundaries of culture, politics, ideologies and pooling them altogether;

An age of fun and pleasure, from floating pleasure palace (Titanic), to pleasure and adventure parks (Disneyland, Ocean Pavilions), beauty and fashion shows (Miss World, Miss Earth), virtual reality shows, casinos, ecotourism;

"You must be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi· 

Of sports and games, other than the Olympic games, came non-conventional and highly dangerous sports (skydiving and survival games) pushing human endurance to the limit, and making big business at the expense of many sports, such as rugby and football;

An age of organized violence, the bombing of the Twin Towers being the eye opener to a global enemy – terrorism. ISIS, Al Qaeda, et al are getting bolder, prompting countries to unite in their fight against terrorism;

Of senseless violence committed in the home, on campus and street, often involving juveniles as perpetrators, raises disturbing questions on eroded values, breakdown of law and order, and the dark side of The Good Life; and lately cybercrime such as the multi-million dollar heist from Bangladesh Central Bank to Philippine banks and casinos.

An age of population explosion, now 7.4 billion dominated by Millennials, and those  aged 10 to 14 years. On the other hand, the world is getting old as population growth rate slows down, and life expectancy rises ( 70.7 years is world’s average versus 68.5 for the Philippines);

Maestra Caridad R Lazo, in her mid-nineties, with the author, her pupil at San Vicente (Ilocos Sur) Elementary School. A mother of successful professionals, she keeps being involved in church and community activities.

An age of scientific and technological breakthroughs: quantum physics (Higg’s Boson), space travel and exploration (man landing on the moon), breaking the code of life - DNA (genetic engineering), invention of the microchip leading to the Computer Age;
Of religious conflicts mellowing through ecumenism, but it has yet to resolve conflicts arising from extremism and fundamentalism that trigger genocide, terrorism, and mass evacuation, such as the case of the present Syrian war; and in cushioning the exodus of countless faithfuls from their organized religions;

An age of growing transience of people all over the world, migrants, overseas workers, refugees, weakening the institutions of family, home and community, and spurring exodus from rural to urban centers, which has now a ratio in favor of urban population;

We live on a planet we pollute - pollution in air, land and water, heretofore unprecedented in history, destroying the very foundation of life itself in what scientists term as autotoxicity – an indiscriminate and irrational genocide of living things including the human species;

We live in an age of epidemics from HIV-AIDS, Ebola, Dengue, Bird and Swine Flu, and recently, Zika virus causing abnormal births, while ancient diseases like tubercolosis still claim millions of lives. On the other hand, modern life style claims millions of lives from accidents, heart attack, suicide, including obesity related deaths;    

We induce catastrophes - eathquakes, tsunamic, tomadoes, typhoons, floods - more frequent, more destructive and varied, triggered by global warming, deforestation, desertification, pollution, Nuclear testing, rise of megapolises, excessive affluence;

An age of prohibited drugs on the loose, clandestinely channeled to millions of users worldwide, such a menace has destroyed countless young men and women, and undermined the integrity of governments and organizations;

Of test tube babies, surrogate mothers, menopausal and multiple childbirths, egg and sperm banks, organ and stem cell transplantations, which emerged into a multi-billion dollar industry amidst ethico-moral criticisms;

Of transgender, transvestite and same sex marriage; of single-parenthood, multiple union and divorce, radically changing the founding concepts and principles of the institutions of marriage, family and dignity of the human person;
Lola Naty R Ruelos is the mother of a priest and a nun, and three other children all professionals in their respective fields. oad. She symbolizes the traditional Filipina mother and home maker, an enterpreneur and leader in her community - San Vicente, Ilocos Sur -  even before the advent of Women Liberation Movement. 

An age of  mega structures that dwarf the wonders of the Ancient World: Burj Khalifa in Dubai the tallest building today, the Yangtze River Complex in China the biggest dam, and the International Research Station orbiting the Earth as prototype space city; 

A century of freedom from three totalitarian alternatives – colonialism, fascism and communism - the realization of ideas of liberty inspired by the French Revolution and that of our own in Rizal’s time, and as a whole, the indomitable human spirit. 

An age of secessionism – dissolution of the USSR, creation of new states (South Sudan, East Timor), reunification of divided states (Vietnam, Germany); on the other hand emboldened separatist movements linked with civil unrest and terrorism (Al Qaeda, ISIS, Tamil, Abu Sayaf);

An age of global and regional organizations – United Nations and its various organizations (FAO, WHO, ILO. UNICEF, UNESCO), European Union, APEC, ASEAN, G20; and international summits and conferences with agenda of global importance such as Climate Change;

Of optimism and dream of a better world – globalization, space travel and loftily planetary migration and virtual immortality – attest to the bold and adventurous nature of man, his awareness of time and space, and even his future, minuscule he and his spaceship the Earth may be in the universe;

It is an age of countless valuable lessons distilled from victories and defeats, successes and failures, pride and humility, joy and sorrow, good and bad times, that humble the Homo sapiens to go down his knees and look up to Heaven, an experience from which wisdom grows, and shared to the younger generations and humanity as a whole. ~ 

We are not hearing much about legacy these days.
One reason is that we live in an incredibly present-minded society with diminishing sense of history. It is also for the fact that our society appears to be "the only one that matters, " thus we seldom acknowledge the legacy we have inherited, so that we don’t see the value in leaving a legacy ourselves. We are also a culture that wants to believe we can live forever. We venerate youth culture, try to stay looking young as long as possible. A third reason is that we live in an extremely disposable society. Everything is designed to be used a few times and then thrown away. Lastly, we live in a very impatient society. We want things to happen immediately.
Reference: Time, Internet

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