The Return of eLf ideas

ideas of an eLven being in Canada

Monday, March 07, 2005

I am sharing the following e-mail discourse between a fellow blog writer, Danu Achmadi (a.k.a. subwater), and myself.

Danu: Are you always so calm and reserved? Or, is there the "other" side of you kept aside to live in its own realm? :P

eLf: Really? Actually I never really realize how I, through my writing and with the way I deal with them, come across to other people; although, I've been hearing and reading heartwarming remarks, which I always find helpful and inspiring in my continuous struggle to be a good if not better person every day. So, I feel glad that you saw calmness in me even only through my written thoughts.

Other side? As in the violent, wild, or whatever you might call it? Ha-ha-ha! Of course, I have a bit of such, but it seldom comes out anymore especially in the recent years and because of the fact that I'm very far away from my loved ones.

I arrived here in Canada in 2003 to take care of my 90-year-old maternal grandfather, living with relatives whom I never really grew up with, so I have become even more reserved and controlled. I am yet to establish my independence where I am; in one year more, perhaps.

So, the other side? Oh, I've mellowed through the years. I am not longer the easily agitated and the hot-tempered. I've long learned to understand other people's follies that I can forgive them easily, to a fault though. The worst reaction I may have against someone doing me wrong, perhaps, is ignore the person and cut my ties with her/him...even if s/he's a relative or an acquaintance.

Danu: I like reading your blog... reading your mind as it explores the world and itself feels human... it is human... not like many who try to be more mechanistic and tell others what they can't do themselves! :D I'm talking about myself!

eLf: Thanks for finding delight in reading my mind. I need comments like that; it helps me continue thinking, questioning, and writing. You know, I am sometimes afflicted with bouts of self-doubt, and this blots my ink...the reason there are moments even I myself couldn't believe what I'm thinking. Sometimes I feel that someone's possessing me while I was writing such ideas. Ha-ha-ha.

But, kidding aside, what I write and what I declare in my writings reflect who I more pretensions. I've come to an age, or, should I say, to the stage in my life when I do not longer feel ashamed of my shortcomings and imperfections. Well, perfection is anyway just an unattainable destination. Nonetheless, I believe that the journey through such unreachable finality is where we find opportunities to better ourselves as humans.

Danu: "...many who tries to be more mechanistic and tells others what they can't do themselves..."

eLf: Hey, Danu, you're not alone. I, too, tend to be mechanistic once in a while and never fail to whine about things which I couldn't do or have but dream of being able to do or of having. Another human want, is it? And, I may come across as too optimistic through my writings, but, mind you, I have lots of woes. Ha-ha-ha. But, I guess, what's good is that I never falter from believing that I can fulfill even my simple dreams.

Danu: I got a blog myself. My wife set it up. Check it out! It's about my family. Most of the entries are in Indonesian, but a few are in English. The main reason we set it up was to tell our families and friends back home how we're doing; instead of sending copies of e-mails to everybody.

eLf: I already visited your blog; I even linked it with mine. I enjoy reading your entries in Indonesian even though I couldn't thoroughly comprehend them. Ha-ha-ha. Perhaps my love for languages compelled me to try to figure out some of the words. In fact, some words "sound" similar with Filipino; perhaps because Indonesian and Tagalog/Filipino both belong to the Malayo-Polynesian subgroup of the Austronesian languages.

By the way, are you Indonesian? How about your wife, is she too? Meeting humans belonging to a different race or who speak other languages is very interesting and educational; it widens one's perspective, by understanding how they think and how they view the world.

Like you, I also began my blog site as a highly accessible venue for letting my family and friends, especially those who are in the Philippines, know what I've been doing. Then, in the process, I realized that I can also maintain it as a public treasury of my literary works. And, most importantly, I regard it as a therapy, especially that I'm always afflicted with homesickness. As in The History of Writing by Steven Roger Fischer:

"The very act of writing about one's feelings, recent studies have revealed, can rid one of depression, boost the immune system, and lower blood pressure."

Danu: Would you mind if I ask you two questions, out of curiosity and for discussion's sake?

eLf: Ha-ha-ha, no problem. Mmm...let me see.

Danu: [First] You mentioned that you don't believe in monotheism. Could you explain why?

eLf: Actually, many would certainly regard this belief of mine as a sudden departure from what I'm "supposed" to believe in, simply because I came from a Roman Catholic upbringing. But, perhaps because I began to realize the existence, and study, the countless faiths and beliefs out there embraced by equally countless cultures that I came to a personal understanding that what is universal is the belief in an unknown "omnipotent" Supreme Being and NOT the belief in God; because that would be, in my view, a disregard for the beliefs of peoples other than your own. So, monotheism in the sense the "existence of the One God" is the one I no longer embrace. However, if I consider monotheism to mean the "belief in a Supreme Deity," then that would perhaps be my belief. In the end, it's really how we define monotheism, I think.

I'm certainly not an agnostic because I'm not confused about my belief, but am I an atheist? This is another subjective question. Because, I may not believe that a real deity indeed exists in the physical world, but I still embrace a sense of hope that someone out there exists—regardless if it's a physical matter or being or just a personified thought—to which I address all my wishes and prayers. So, again, I'm not an atheist if one will consider that I believe in a Supreme Being regardless if it's just a revered thought. But, to others who believe that there's really a physical god, they will definitely dismiss me as an atheist.

However, I no longer worry about what others think about my belief because, if we are to contemplate about it, we will realize that even people in the same religion are anyway never the same in their ideals or principles. In the end, religions and all those spiritual orientations no longer matter as long as we try every day to become better persons not only for ourselves but more so to others and the environment. I think I already summed up my spiritual belief in one blog entry I wrote.

Danu: [Second] Do you believe that we're connected through a supernatural/spiritual bond which affects our moods/emotions and thought, and which leads to astrology and horoscope?

eLf: I think, the "supernatural/spiritual bond" that connects the entire humankind as ONE pertains to the universal belief in a Supreme Being—be that 'being' the God, Allah, Shiva, Ptah, Ranginui, or a crude clay icon adored by an obscure African, Inuk, or Māori tribe.

Astrology, horoscope, and all those "pseudosciences," as how many scientists dismiss them—I view them as, again, only expressions of humankind's belief in Hope personified. I may not believe in them, but I respect those who do, especially if the belief in a particular pseudoscience results to something positive in the life of the believer and in the way s/he deals with others. Conversely, a belief in the pseudoscience becomes absurd when the person begins to regard it as her/his only source of hope and lets it affect her/his decisions.

Danu: This is just to create a discourse. I don't mean to interrogate you.

eLf: I actually enjoyed replying to this e-mail of yours; in fact, I enjoy responding to similar queries chiefly because it stimulates my mind and it gives me the chance to "view" myself from a distance through the eyes of another person. Because, as you have implied, when I write I most of the times get lost in the realm of my own thoughts to the point that I sometimes reach a moment when even I myself am not sure anymore if what I am ranting about makes sense. I regard people like you, who take time to understand what others have to say, as the validators and monitors of my own character.

Danu: Cheers!

Thank you very much, Danu, for engaging me in an enlightening discourse.


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