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Jan 04

Quote of the day

…When a whole population takes on the status of bystander, the victims are without allies; the criminals, unchecked, are strengthened; and only then do we need to speak of heroes. When a field is filled from end to end with sheep, a stag stands out. When a continent is filled end to end with the compliant, we learn what heroism is. And alas for the society that requires heroes.
Cynthia Ozick
In her essay, “Of Christian Heroism”

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  1. wysgal

    This quote reminds me of the “Bystander Problem” outlined by Malcolm Gladwell in “The Tipping Point.” When people are in a group, he says, the responsibility for dealing with the situation at hand is lessened because people assume someone else will deal with it.

  2. Dominique

    “In a life in which there is no demand, there is no meaning. If no demand is put on you, then you are in a sense excluded.”

    “From what?”

    “Life itself. To be demanded of gives us dignity. Don’t you see that the demand is that you take part in the huge cosmic struggle that is going on? Apathy is the gravest of sin! Even the tiniest creature can shake the universe. Only obedience is perfect freedom.”

    Madeleine L’Engle, The Young Unicorns

  3. djuara

    one can only hope, dream, yearn for the time when justice
    will prevail in this country.

    we are in a country with the record highest number of journalists killed, murdered.

    there are more than ten (10) judges murdered since 1999.

    this is a country with another president who cheated to win.

    how long shall the people in this country remain silent?
    how soon will we learn to know and understand what heroism
    is?

  4. cvj

    Dominique, that saying somehow reminds me of the “On Demand” mantra of one of those IT Companies.

  5. joey legarda

    MLQ3, Quotes are always nice.
    Who knows what kind of heros it will take for our particular situation?
    Since the entire system is rutten,so where do we point our guns?
    Who is a hero?
    An activist?
    A thinker?
    The disgusted & frustrated?
    The anyone who makes a stand?
    The one who has nothing to gain from anything?
    The person who resist presures from all direction?
    Are they the ones who use media?
    Is it the person who refuses to be drugged into poison politics?
    Is the hero the one who puts his life on the line like our soldiers, traffic cops..?

  6. Jon

    To me, a hero is someone willing to fight, willing to risk limb and life for a noble cause.

    If the cause is not noble, then he is a fool.

  7. joey legarda

    manolo, i guess heroissim is not so attractive.
    correct me if i’m wrong but it seems that even our revolutionaries where not very united among themselves.they never seemed to agree w/ each other.
    But for me heros are people who work silently & are compitent in what they do best.
    seems like what hounds goverment is peoples incompitence & playing deadma to what the right thing to do is.
    Heros for me are people like Yorac, she was a fighter.
    Heros for me are our athelits because they work hard to be winners & above all bring the name of the country.if our sports programs where down the past years it was because of to much politics.
    I think, gone are the days of heros of the life & limb type.
    If there is any battle to fight for now it’s about strenght in charcter so as not to be carried away w/ all the senceless noise & winds.
    Sadly the division of the philippines today is not based on ideology but between those deffending turfs.defending a status quo where one can take advantage of things & make lots of profits.
    where the name of the game is confuse,dramatize, emotionalize & devide.

  8. Jon

    Are we bystanders and spectators? Do we need to be heroes (in the mode of Rizal, Bonifacio, Silang, Etc.)?

    In my view, we are spectators most of the time. As individuals we only have our voices heard during elections or plebiscites. With the advent of new technology such as e-boards and blogs such us this, we now have another way to be heard but not as strongly as the constitutionally provided means.

    During EDSA I and II, the voice and will of the people was heard.

    So it is those who are apathetic are the ones who are really to be considered as bystanders.

  9. ricelander

    Let’s push the philosophical boundaries a little bit. Wouldn’t you call a heroine a woman who takes to prostitution to earn money to put her sick kid to the hospital? Could you call it heroism: a politician with only the sincerest desire to help his countrymen wrest power in the most shameless way possible? Should not anyone wish to be shamed if being shamed to the highest heavens mean serving a higher end? Doesn’t honor for its own sake also selfish if you come to think of it?

  10. Jon

    It is a conundrum. And going to details will bring far-reaching discussions on what is right and what is wrong.

    Let’s discuss the mother who will sell her flesh to save her sick child. My personal opinion is that (1) prostitution is wrong. (2) Doing your all to save a life is good. But you cannot join a right and a wrong to come to a noble and heroic act. To me, this mother’s act is one of desperation.

    In parallel, if a politician wrests power from a seating president to alleviate the suffering people, he has (1) Broken the law by wresting power, (2) Brought promise to alleviate the condition of the suffering people. The end does not justify the means. It’s just that a lot of people would go thru this road because they would think it as the lesser evil.

  11. cvj

    imho, the woman is a hero to her child, that sincere politician is just presumptuous.

  12. joey legarda

    ricelander,normaly heroic acts are in a class of their own.even the most philosophical people will keep quit.a heroic act is not even open to debate because it does not have ulterior motives.

  13. fencesitter

    I think real heroes are those who do not seem to know at all that they are one. One classic example of heroism is what the good samaritan in the bible did to the browbeaten man on the street. He helped the man simply because the man needed help. He never appropriated what he did to heroism, or for the greater Glory of his god, or to anything. Real heroes do good or do what is right because it is correct to do what is good and right. doing what is right for the sake of righteousness must come out instinctively from a hero.

    I am scared about heroism in the sense that a call to it can always mean a grim backdrop, such as the ones described by Ms. Cynthia ozick in her essay.

  14. fencesitter

    correction:

    Doing what is good and what is right must come out instinctively in a hero

  15. cvj

    Found the link below from ‘marginalrevolution.com’ – looks relevant to the discussion.

    http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_print.html

    Scroll down to Philip Zimbardo’s entry: ‘The banality of evil is matched by the banality of heroism’.

  16. Jon

    We’re discussing too much about heroes, but they actually just “appear when needed”, as fencesitter and joey mentioned, they didn’t even think what they did was heroic until the act was acknowledged as such. Which is very true, isn’t it?

    What do you think is needed so that the silent majority will stop being bystanders, or fencesitter?

  17. joey legarda

    jon, i think there will always be fencesitters & bystanders.also because life is made of of leaders & followers.maybe in a way the fencesitters & bystanders have a purpose to.i think that in the right time they to can be inspired to do more.maybe, those we brand as fencesitters just wanna have a life too & realize that it’s not worth their while to join the fray.
    But I think each one of us can be heros in our own right & it starts in the lil things we do where we give importance to the people we deal w/.maybe others will never know about it.but the point is we are not doing things cuz we wanna be noticed but it’s because it’s the right thing to do.

  18. Jon Mariano

    That is the same reason why I commented that people now put more importance to (1) Self and (2) Family. There is nothing wrong with that, except when the preservation of self and family causes others to lose their hides.

    I agree that knowing what is right and wrong is essential, same with setting priorities, same with having some “life” or enjoyment in life.

    The quote from JP Rizal states that if the majority becomes bystanders, that’s the time we have problems such as we’re having now. I.e. victims not getting justice, the powerful taking advantage of the weak, the men in power using their power to take advantage of the powerless.

    It’s one thing to agree that yes there will always be those bystanders and fencesitters, but it’s another thing to allow yourself to become apathethic because yours is a comfortable life. JP Rizal took his stand by not being intimidated, by speaking out.

    He spoke against all the ills of his society. He didn’t wait for others to speak for him. If we want to follow his example, we therefore need to speakout if we feel there is something wrong. Isn’t that right?

  19. joey legarda

    speaking out is right, i know i would.
    but it would be usefull that before anyone speaks out you must understand deeply what the problems are & must be able to present doable solutions.
    what we are experiencing is a social dilema.
    we all know people value working in goverment not for the meger salary that it pay if it even pays on time but because of the “advanteges & oppurtunities” it provides.
    starting of w/ such attitude you can just imagine if you can expect any compitence from anyone who is not compensated properly.
    yes there are so many things wrong in our society, and many of the wrongs have roots in our “pakisama” system, the “utang na loob”, the bahala na attitude.
    how can you legislate disency, honesty, fairness?

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