The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, February 21, 2005

In the mood to read the Bulletin Board of Friendster, of which I'm a member, I took fancy for (and decided to reply to) this article posted by Leila Bondoc, a friend of mine way back my days as a document analyst and a Coding Supervisor (1996–1999) at Quorum-Lanier (Phils.) Inc., a litigation-services company in the Philippines.

Leila writes:
What's Eating Me These Days?

I was taken aback by C.S. Lewis's "There are errors in two directions, and open-mindedness is not the ultimate good" (The Great Divorce).

If this is true, then I believe that this means we can only exert so much—as our ultimate "best"—effort in trying to "actually be" good people; and that no matter what we do, we will always fall short of the true Catholic Christian's definition of goodness; because "goodness," according to this definition, is Godliness; and Godliness can only be for God Himself.

Free will may seem enveloped in the idea of making choices which already have a reward or consequence as we know it. And in a simple mind like mine, it's just like choosing between two jars that both have cookies of different flavors. If I got the chocolate cookie but I hated chocolate, I would think of it as a consequence for making the wrong choice and vice versa.

But "the choice"—as in free will, is deeply understood by people who keep an open mind about their actions. Right?

As I continue to explore what I would so often refer to as "a deeper knowledge of how I came to be," I find that there are indeed a lot of stuff in allegories and philosophies that I need to learn and unlearn at the same time.

I know only one thing, though: I need to learn to be patient in my journey to achieving ultimate goodness. And that, frankly, is what's eating me these days.

My Reply
Dear Leila,
You sound like Siddhārtha Gautama here, before he became Buddha, who, to attain Enlightenment, had to embark on a long journey of mind and heart cleansing.

Yes, there are lots of philosophies out there—in fact, many of them often contradict one another; so, learning and unlearning any of them is certainly a feat. However, in the end, our choices are what will count most—so long as each of our choices makes us a good person within and without.

In relation to what has been eating you these days, let me share with you my own philosophy which is the result of what ate me several years ago during my own self-enlightenment. I decided to immortalize it in my yet-to-be-published book Engkanto: A Bestiary of Philippine Mythical Beings. With this (as worded by the excerpts below) I believe I was able to sum up my own opposing thoughts about deities.

[My Belief]
Many modern thinkers dismiss such deities as no more than symbolic figures of their race’s mythology—created by imaginative ancestors to explain things they could not fathom. Regardless, belief in these deities remains to be a potent source of hope and inspiration especially for the oppressed and the depressed or in times when life becomes harsh and unbearable.

[My Disbelief]
The existence of these ‘omnipotent’ yet invisible idols and icons, which continue to pose a great influence on our psyches and behaviors, simply reflects the weakness of our race. It reveals our inability to uphold goodness on its own merits—a shameful display of our race’s incapacity to initiate or sustain fellowship and compassion without the need for some unseen entities, the dogmas of the belief in whose can be reduced to a myopic choice between the fear of punishment and the promise of reward.

…for an ultimately good individual does good not because she fears the punishment for failing to be good or expects a reward for doing good; but because, for her, to do good is the only right thing to do.

[My Final Analysis]
Faiths and beliefs, and all those diverse spiritual orientations, no longer matter in the end so long as the individual lives his life in harmony with his fellow creatures and the environment, sincerely trying every day—through little to large deeds—to become a better and worthy member of the society to which he belongs.

Ultimately, the key to peace and harmony is diversity, understanding, and acceptance; not singularity, indifference, and discrimination.

Thank you for that very "enlightening" response, Alfie. I just finished reading articles on your blog.

"Ultimately, the key to peace and harmony is diversity, understanding, and acceptance; not singularity, indifference, and discrimination."

That one put THE much needed "explanation" on my mind.

Also, I loved the "Sonnets for Rain." You never fail to amaze me, really.

Today is Monday, and I feel I am fully recharged for a long week ahead because of this exchange. Thank you and I can't wait for your next article or sonnet or...



  • At Saturday, February 19, 2005 12:03:00 PM, Blogger Dani said…

    I agree with everything you wrote here. I only wish I had your skill with words.

    Thanks for stopping by my den. :-) I added a link to your blog on mine. Have a great day!

  • At Monday, February 21, 2005 1:46:00 PM, Blogger eLf ideas said…

    Dear Danielle,

    Thanks for the linking, and for appreciating my shared thoughts.

    As always, words of praise are the most potent sparks of inspiration...the thing which compels me to write, write, and write.


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