Saturday, April 29, 2006


I've been reading The Half-Blood Prince. Again. Which must mean that I'm really, really bored. No offense to Harry Potter fans, but I've always regarded his series with skepticism. Or maybe I'm just biased. Something so popular is bound to become bland after a while, and Harry Potter is more than 'a while' fad.

Like everyone else, though, I'm waiting for the seventh book. I want to see how Rowling ties up all the loose ends, which speculations are true or false. There is the question if Dumbledore is really dead, if Snape is really what he has been made to seem to be, and of course, who dies next.

Anyway, my summer is going fine. I get to lose weight, for one, as my mother is not an extraordinary gourmet. Remember, remember, the leche flan fiasco. Classes are okay. I finally understand all this math gunk, now that I don't have to go crazy over my Philosopy. In short, I am happy. I normally am.

Oh well. I'm sleepy. Later.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


If you want to beat your stupid brother the next time you have an argument about whose turn it is to wash the dishes, flaunt this. Need I remind you that physical violence is below you, a civilized homo sapiens.


Anyway, here are some informal fallacies you will find useful in your everyday existence. You can hurl them at Kris Aquino the next time she says that her hair makes her look younger. You can give your parents a taste of your potent intelligence the next time they won’t let you go to that swimming party. You can, you can. Learn some.

Argumentum Ad Hominem (below the belt, personal attack)
Stupid Little Brother: Ate ang pangit-pangit mo naman! Bagsak ka sa Math! Mas marami ang pera ko sa iyo!
You: Ad hominem! Ad hominem! Maghugas ka na ng plato.”
SLB: (Tucks his imp’s tail and quietly picks up a sponge and Joy, in the perfect world.) Opo ate.

Argumentum Ad Misericordiam (appeal to pity)
You: Mama, parang awa mo na, payagan mo na ako…wala na nga akong magawa sa bahay eh…napiprito na ang utak ko sa TV at PC at cellphone…ikaw rin…mamamatay na ako ng maaga…nasa lahi pa naman natin yung cancer…pano ka na? Walang mag-aalaga sa iyo…kawawa ka naman…mamamatay ka ng maaga…(katok sa kahoy)
Mama: (telebabad kay Tita Precy, hindi ka tinignan. O pinakinggan. Alam niya at alam mo na gasgas na ang linya mo.)

Argumentum Ad Baculum (appeal to force)
Mama: Kapag hindi ka tumahimik malalagot ka sa akin. May mahalaga akong kausap.
You: …
Mama: Oo nga Precy, ang payat niya ngayon no? Oi teka nga pala, gusto mo ba ng herbal diet pills? May nabili kasi ako eh! Pumayat ako ng konti…
You: (knock on wood).

Post Hoc, Ergo, Propter Hoc (appeal to a false cause)
Tita Bel: May regla ka di ba? Wag kang maligo kundi mababaliw ka.
You: Antagal ko nang naliligo pag may dalaw ako ha? Bakit hindi pa ako nababaliw?
Tita Bel: Sige, maligo ka na. Wala nga palang diperensya.

Complex Question
Betch: Hindi ka ba naliligo?
Cc: Hindi.
Betch: Hindi ka ba naliligo?
Cc. Oo.

Petitio Principii (begging the question)
SLB: Ikaw ang maglinis ng banyo.
You: Ayoko nga! Bakit ba?!
SLB: Kasi ayokong maglinis ng banyo.
You: Sapagkat?
SLB: Ikaw ang maglilinis eh!
(so on so forth ad infinitum)

Argumentum Ad Vericundiam (appeal to false authority)
Kris: Sabi nila I’m looking younger and younger daw. They say it’s my hair.
(sino ‘sila’…?)
Paul: Sabi ni Ms. Gigi si Magellan ang sumakop ng Pilipinas! Siyempre, siya ang History teacher natin kaya tama siya.

I love my Philo notes.

Je pense,donc je suis

Cogito ergo sum. I think, therefore I am.

I’ve been leafing through my Philosophy 1 notebook, and found what I wanted. It’s a memorable lecture from Dr. Sioco, one that brought forth my ‘conversion’ into solipsism. Don’t worry Papa, it’s not a cult. ‘Conversion’ in quotes because I have always suspected that the rest of the world exists because I think it does. Simply put. The conversion is pseudo.

Anyway, the lecture. In verbatim:

Rene Descartes
-method of Systematic Doubt (doubting everything until you find clear and distinct ideas that are immune to doubt)
3 Starting Points
1. Self/mindàdubitoàcognitoàexisto
2. God existsàhe is perfect, not to exist is an imperfection
3. Material objects exist- God as a non-deceiver, therefore objects exist

Permit me, for the time being, this babble. Let me explain this to myself, since I am bound to lose my notes and forget what they mean.

Rationalism is a knowledge claim which states that we must not use our five senses in the business of learning about the physical and metaphysical world. That, only formal sciences like logic, math, physics etc. are our only tools to acquire true knowledge. In other words, NO MATTER. This is opposed to empiricism (knowledge based on actual experience), NEVER MIND. (Yuck joke ba yun? Nasa notes ko! Makes sense though J )

Descartes (a major proponent of rationalism) believed in the system of systematic doubt. So, being the smartass that he was, he doubted his own existence. After a long discourse with himself, he proved that he exists because he thinks; because he doubts. This set the first starting point: cogito ergo sum.

Then, since man has the concept of God and that concept is beyond human comprehension, it necessarily follows that God is perfect. Not to exist is an imperfection. Therefore, God exists. (To put this all into formal logic notation is scrambling my brains. Next time na lang.)

Then, since you exist, which in turn proves the existence of God Himself, material objects (cars, toys, money, food, etc.) also exist. Since God is perfect, He could not possibly fool you. So, everything you see, hear, touch, taste, feel, smell, perceive around you is real. God makes no jokes.

The following arguments are, of course, not foolproof. I’m sure a lot of equally smartasses like Descartes can argue with him lividly. I can name one. Me. But it’s a long imaginary argument I cannot possibly share. Its dimensions preclude me.

And you’ll die of boredom. If you haven’t already.

Monday, April 24, 2006


The past few days have been, well, utopia. Boring utopia, but utopia nonetheless.

I've run out of books to read. That's a usual disaster when it's summer. Food abounds. Milkshakes are forever, sheesh, I almost treat the ice in the freezer with a fervor matching religion. Classes have been fine. This post is so dry.

I'll be back when there's something worthwhile to rant, (er) write, about. Just to show that I still care about this page.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Classical Conditioning

The black was just a spot. Was. It did not invade my consciousness and I did not retain a fear for it. Like all insignificant things, it was relegated an unceremonious position somewhere in the fathoms of my subconscious.


As days, weeks, months passed, the black started to consume my time. Its acrid stench clung to my nose and my clothes. Worse, it clung to my mind. The black was a paranoid fantasy come true. The fear it causes is sublimely intoxicating---like rugby. Like acetone.

Drunk, I feverishly pursued the black. Soon, I was dependent on it. Without it I knew I would fail. Even with the fear, the dependence and worse, the addiction, I could not let go. There was too much to lose.

Now its summer. I am free. Photocopied pages are a thing of the past, a vestige of a murky incomprehensible dream.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Princess and the North Wind

I entered college with the dreams and the means to make them come true. I never lacked for anything: money, friends, confidence, and love. I never doubted anything about what I can do and achieve. I collided into college equipped with everything this materialistic and competitive world can ever give me. Then why?

I finished my first year less than what I have been. I finished a failure.

I became engulfed by excessively brilliant and over-talented people. Even my ego couldn’t save me. Maybe it’s because I have a better grasp of reality that I could not lie to myself, who knows? But I was dwarfed. I felt myself getting littler and littler every day I am with these supermen (O Nietzsche, where art thou heaven?). All my ego-defense mechanisms went down, and here I am, a loser.

Sir Ronald, when I was in third year, taught me how to write. He can be called my mentor. He told me once that a writer should never pity himself. I said, of course not. I levered him a gaze that told him, how can you ever suggest that to me? But even then I was afraid. The thought of a new world was not far away, and I was not very sure about how I would hold myself up when the day comes.

And come it did.

Everyday I sunk into a deeper pathetic apathy. I let my friends do everything for me. They filled out the forms; they asked people to be friends for me and they asked the people for interviews and schedules. I gave them the impression that stuff like that were below me, stuff like pathos and empathy. But hell they were. I was simply afraid. Afraid? Me? Yes. Yes, Geronimo. Yes, Betch. Afraid. Afraid that maybe everything I do can be done better by everybody else, and they did. Including you guys.

That fear drove me into apathy. How many times, Cc, have you told me that you hate my complacency, my ennui? But of course ‘ennui’ is a big Hungarian word for you. Ennui. Indifference. I hate it too. Not caring is almost the same as not feeling.

I told you once that everything was mechanical. They are. I was stuck in a world of machinery, of gears and cogs and regularity. The worst of it? It was me who put me there. I studied and studied, but it’s all pointless! Pointless! There was nothing of me in it all.

My mom shoved an article under my nose the other day. You know, one of those in the Youngblood column of Inquirer. Its title was ‘Passion’. Like many other Youngblood articles shoved under my nose countless times, I was ready to put all of it at the back of my cobwebbed mind. For some not entirely meta-understandable reason, it’s stuck in my head. I see these successful people on TV, and ask myself: can I ever be like them? I dreamed to be them.

The dream is still there. The passion for it is somewhere taking a ride with the Princess on the North Wind.

Passion. Where is my passion? When I was in high school I loved to sing and play the guitar for people. I loved to write and speak my mind. All these, though, are almost gone now. There was simply no time, what with all the photocopied pages and pages and pages to read and memorize. Somewhere in the process, I lost my passion for what I do. I lost myself in the mechanism. Not that I don’t know what I want anymore. I just don’t know where the strength, the motivation, and the passion are to get them.

That is my failure.

So this is a problem. I am drained just detailing it. It is not the course I’m taking. The course even encourages my former passions: speaking my mind and writing. It’s just that I don’t! I could do better, but I don’t! I defeated myself in a battle against myself. I let me second-guess me and my environment. I sunk into a muck of my creation. I said once that I know where I want to be. But this, all of this, is not what I want to be.

Obvious, eh? Here’s yours truly suffering from a severe degradation of self-esteem. Now I know what those guys at Youngblood write about all the time, a lot of them being Iskos and Iskas themselves. They have been where I am. See, I don’t really put all of their words at the back of my mind. I rarely do. Now I need all their survival tips, along with my instincts to get through this. I will. I’m sure of it. UP may have taken my passion and my self-esteem, but I know how to get them back.

Even the Princess found the kingdom east of the sun and west of the moon, after her ride on the North Wind. My task can’t be harder than that.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Out Of Love

I've fallen out of love. Maybe it started with the feeling of not being worth each other's time. Who knows? Maybe the spark that made me want you was just that---a spark. Not a fire, not a flare, not even a glow. A spark, sweet and succinct.

Before, I never tired being with you. You occupied all my time. I touched you and you shiver; as you shiver I am filled with a wanton joy which is almost sinful. But it was not meant to last. The shiver became stagnation, the joy, frustration.

After I left, my life before you resumed. It was the same. I was the same. You did not matter so much that anything that mattered to me did not change.

But why is there a nagging feeling to get back to what we had? Why this obsession with your shivering frame? I had to know. So I confronted you.

You came to me in the middle of the night. You told me that I was just lying to myself. You argued that we are good for each other, and challenged me to disprove your words (which were pure music). I touched you again...and the familiar shiver coursed through you, along with the familiar joy. Yes. We are meant to be.

Guitar, I will never forsake you again.