Essays and articles

If my Yoke are Called Books, Yes, I will Carry Them

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Who isn’t irritated with paying excess baggage fees? If these are books, i will simply close my eyes and open them again once in the comfort of a quiet place to read. Sounds self-engrossed? Nope, “to each her own means of leisure.” This love affair with the hardbound, paperbacks, and printed stuffs dates back more than 30 years ago when i first discovered a novel in our house. I credit my elder sister for teaching me to read – her 4th grade texts! I guess that’s one of the perks of having an older sister – you may not get a hand-me down dress all the time, but mine did taught me the love for reading. When I reached the 5th grade, lessons on the Greek mythology classics were fairly easy. I had read them years earlier. The novels I’ve read in my teens started with Nancy Drew and Hardy boys  (I’ve read all the collections in our High School library) to more thrilling Agatha Cristie editions, Tom Clancy, and best selling ones in the 80s. In College, i switched to reading again the classics and  completed all the books in the Literature shelves in our library. I’ve discovered Harper Lee, Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and the rest in the school’s collection.   The best reads were those authored by my own compatriots. It is like looking into your own soul with new eyes. So i also discovered Nick Joaquin, F.Sionil Jose, Lualhati Bautista and the poetry of Marra Pl Lanot.  I swear that I have read more  fiction  and poetry than the required readings in Political Science. I found that reading the poems and prose of these social critics taught me more about power and politics than required, although in framing our narratives learning the science was good sense . Books can excite the mind. They can also make you sober.

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These days names like Noam Chomsky still catches my attention. Call it force of habit. I read The Guardian (on my smartphone), and in the 80s we had our own called the Free Press. Now, there is not much that delivers the punch. Perhaps the context has changed. Not until – the current Greek drama that media has captured in all its stunning details. Call it people power through the votes. The Greeks had just voted a resounding NO! to the proposed bail-out of European financial moguls in a bid to save their failing economy. I guess the powers-that-be are really dumbfounded. Was it a smart move of PM Tsipras to let the people have the final say? It not only saved his mandate of leading his own people but it gives the rest of the Western world a chance to take another look into the meaning of regional cooperation on the basis of solidarity and common grounds.  I wonder if the argument of so called sustainable foreign debt and socially just repayment schemes will hold water before the creditors? But this story is indeed worth following and all praises to the brave Greeks!!!

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One particular book I am currently browsing is an inspirational, self-help one with the title “The Voice of Knowledge” written by Don Miguel Ruiz. I had been in the past reading Eckhart Tolle and can’t help but compare the two authors in what they’re saying about faith, religion and sometimes mixing these with the drama and nonsense we keep listening to in our minds. Ruiz calls these voices as “lies” while Eckhart calls them the “pain-bodies.” While Ruiz is spiritual and Eckhart a secular humanist, what they’re saying is somehow similar. They convey a message so simple that the complex mind of the modern person need to reframe. We need to be authentic and true to who we are.