[Blog] The Rediscovery and Re-enchantment of Our Humanity: in Honor of the May Day and In Defense of the Global Occupy Movement by Jose Mario De Vega

The Rediscovery and Re-enchantment of Our Humanity: in Honor of the May Day and In Defense of the Global Occupy Movement

Mario De VegaThe present times are complicatedly so fast and furious. So fast the pacing that we forget to stop and pause to enjoy the quality time with our family and savor the moment with our friends!

We are so concern with so many pressing issues and material needs that we forgot the importance of silence, of meditation and reflections with are necessary in having conversation with our inner selves. Sadly, we instead push and push and in doing so, we fail to cherish life’s true joys and simple pleasures.

Modern technology has truly revolutionized human life. It has indeed made living hassle-free, easy, and above all, comfortable.

However, I am wondering whether the price that we have to pay for this kind of fast-paced life is worth it? Technology made it possible for us to hook up with anyone that we wish to talk to, yet ironically we spend more time ‘talking’ to our computers rather than our family. The internet has turned the young today as addict, worst than the television. Rather than engaged in actual interaction, our kids today are more interested in an on-line, virtual ‘relationship’. Everybody seems to be so busy with their respective business and duties that we miserably forget the necessary things from the mere pleasurable and fleeting cravings.

We have no time to ourselves and so as to our love-ones. We are so preoccupied with the ways of the modern world that it blinded us from the true, the good, the lasting and the beautiful! Truth hurts! Reality bites!

Sad but true! What went wrong?

It was widely reported that when the Dalai Lama was asked, what surprised him most about humanity, he answered thus as: Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

We betrayed our humanism for materialism. The modern way has programmed us for quick results and immediate outcome; yet we completely forgotten that life as a whole does not operate that way, that we cannot forced certain things because they in itself are dependent in time and circumstances. We failed to realize that the most important things in life are those beautiful things, momentous events and vivid experiences that come naturally at their own time. Perfect examples of this would be the fulfillment of a dream, the realization of an objective and moment of critical decision. These acts cannot be made in haste nether can they be force by an instant desire.

The book of Ecclesiastes has taught us that there is always a perfect time for everything:

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.

We all want to help one another and share each other’s happiness; human beings are like that; yet as economic progression has further developed and as we maximized to the maximum all the resources of mother earth; it seems to me that we have lost our way.

Greed has invariably poisoned men’s minds and corrupted their souls. The present global financial system has barricaded the world with individualism, hate, racism, nihilism, selfishness and false consciousness. The prevailing system has reduced man into a machine that is a mere appendage to the whole economic operational chains.

This presently ‘developed’ world has led and goosed us to misery, degradation and widespread bloodshed.

We have developed speed, but we deny the very existence of our fellows; and shut ourselves inside our very selves. Machinery that gives unimaginable abundance and immeasurable wealth has left has in want, hunger and deprivation!

Our knowledge has made us cynical and apathetic; our cleverness turns us into hard and unkind beings! We lost track of what is important in life, such as family, friendship and human solidarity. Instead we replaced them by money, competition and technology.
We think too much, yet we feel so little! It seems that we have already erased from our memory what Ludwid van Bethoven had taught us: Recommend to your children virtue; that alone can make them happy, not gold.

We are not aware, but the system has transformed us into a machine. The system has assumed an invincible power over our own selves, clouded our better judgment and has shattered our independence. We are all victims of this system that tell us what to think, what to feel, what to do, what to prioritize and what to value. Man is forgetting that he is not a machine or an object nor a commodity. He is man, natural, living, independent and free, a social being by nature!

As the great German philosopher Karl Marx said: Humans are urged to live to work, not to work to live!

However, all is not lost! There is always hope and regeneration!
As Charlie Chaplin lucidly expressed in a speech in one of his classical movies:

More the machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without this qualities; life would be violent and all would be lost.

Knowledge without morality is dead; wisdom without a firm ethical basis is unthinkable and material prosperity is empty if the soul is in shambles and incomplete!

To be a complete man, what we need is not only the dryness of the mind, but also the warmness of the heart and the goodness of the soul!

We can only realize all of this, if we would return to our humanity and share it to our families, friends and the rest of society. No man is an island.

To paraphrase the Greek philosopher Aristotle: Man by nature is a socio-political animal. We will never ever complete our social beings without immersing and bonding with our fellowmen.

Hence, we must not only return to ourselves, but also it would certainly do humanity as a whole a lot of good if we will return to ancient teachings which are based on wisdom, compassion and courage to re-adjust, re-look, re-learn and reform ourselves in all aspects our lives to restore the values, virtues and position of human beings in the world!

It is on this great sense that I firmly believe in the power of the international working classes to transform the rest of humanity from barbarity back to humanity and one of those great popular socio-political vehicle for them to realize that objective is by forging solidarity to the Occupy Global Movement.

As Professor Noam Chomsky said during his talk at the Occupy Boston encampment on Dewey Square on October 22, 2011:

“You can’t achieve significant initiative without a large, active, popular base. Its necessary to get out into the country and help people understand what the Occupy movement is about — what they themselves can do, and what the consequences are not doing anything.

“Organizing such a base involves education and activism. Education doesn’t mean telling people what to believe — it also means learning from them and with them.

“Karl Marx famously said that the task is not just to understand the world but to change it. A variant to keep in mind is that if you want to change the world you’d better try to understand it. That doesn’t mean just listening to a talk or reading a book, though that’s helpful sometimes.

“You learn from participating. You learn from others. You learn from the people you’re trying to organize. We all have to gain the understanding and the experience to formulate and implement ideas as to how to move forward.

“The most exciting aspect of the Occupy movement is the construction of the linkages that are taking place all over. If they can be sustained and expanded, Occupy can lead to dedicated efforts to set society on a more humane course.”


Jose Mario Dolor De Vega

Philosophy lecturer
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
Far Eastern University

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