The Power of Love: Against All Odds
By Jose Mario De Vega
I completely understand and I have no illusion whatsoever that the stand I am taking today will be met with paeans of criticism, condemnation, rebuke, mockery and barrage of renunciation by the bastard herds considering the very fact of the seeming abnormality, unconventionality and oddness of the case I am about to discuss and defend, no matter how indefensible it may seem.
A couple of days ago, a Filipino rock icon shocked the whole show business and perhaps, the entire nation, too.
The case: He is a sixty year old man who admitted to the whole world that he is in-love and seeing a sixteen year old girl.
Initially, due to my pressing tight schedule (it’s the finals week and I am marking volumes of bloody papers, recording and encoding a lot of grades) and the nature of the case, I’ve decided to stay away with the same, yet after seeing what in my view are strings and series of utterly unfair commentaries, super below the belt reactions and completely malicious and unjust accusations leveled against the said singer and his poor girl, I’ve decided to put away, so to speak my work for a while and come out into the open to take up the cudgel for them!
As a radical philosopher and an activist professor, I cannot keep my silence, especially seeing that a grave injustice and a great slander is being committed repeatedly and on a daily basis against this odd couple.
As already noted, Ka Freddie is one of our world famous artist and one of our Living Legend on the art and craft of music. Needless to state, the guy is so famous and so popular, not only here but also abroad.
Now, it seems now that he at present, perhaps the most detested man in our society and country.
Nonetheless, this writer is not concern here with popularity and personalities, but rather my aim is to somehow harmonize no matter how hard and difficult it is the substantive question of private and public interest.
As an independent observer and in a sense, a judge, I am not swayed by the opportunistic, moralistic and hypocritical bandwagonism of “hooting throng” and “moral drums” that may make us, in fact sadly, a great number of our people, to see things through the prisms of prejudice, ignorance, arrogance and conservatism.
I have no need for that and I completely renounce and denounce that!
As a social scientist, I always bear in mind that when I dissect, study and analyze an issue or an event or a problem for that matter that affects society and our community I must be governed by rationality, humanity and objectivity.
In doing so, I must cast all personal feelings aside, to be objective and fair in my social analysis and academic endeavor.
This shocking issue before us must be resolved with total objectivity and impartiality, on the basis not only of the established facts and the applicable law, but also of the higher question of individuality and humanity, and not of some holier than thou mentality, moral cartel, some so-called established convention, time-honored values, long held beliefs, historical traditions and fixed culture.
I admit that on the level of the law, the icon’s act is illegal. I also submit that that on the sphere of socially accepted norms and prevailing morality, his conduct is ‘immoral’ and socially unacceptable.
I say that with a heavy heart, but still I say them nonetheless; yet in admitting that the act that he committed is illegal and immoral; is there a sense in which wherein we can still somehow justify his act of defying the socially accepted norms and established traditions and beliefs?
I know that my contention is controversial, but I will argue that though the icon’s act is illegal and immoral, his act of loving a young woman is justifiable still in a certain extent, because love is blind and love is the most powerful feeling ever known to man.
On that sense, I will defend his act as being ethical! It is ethical in my view by virtue of that fact that he just followed what his heart is telling and/or commanding him and he did not violate anybody’s or anyone’s specific rights!
To love is to be human and to be truly human is to true to one’s self against the whole world!
The Question of Public and Private Sphere of Human Action
Indeed, “the laws of a society ultimately have an ethical purpose: to protect the members of a community from harm, to maintain a system of law and order so that tranquility will prevail, to provide wholesome conditions so that individuals can pursue their diverse purposes, to insure the general welfare, and to maximize the opportunities for happiness.”
All of these are being carried out by the state through its agency the government to protect the general welfare and defend the public interest.
Hence, any action committed or done by a citizen within the public sphere is exactly within the domain of the government.
Nonetheless, a society especially a democratic one is not unlimited in its scope of power and societal control in all the sphere of human activities and individual conduct, by virtue of the fact that not all actions are within the province of the public.
There are areas in human affairs in which the public and the state and the government have no right to intrude or invade. That domain or sphere is the zone or sphere of Individual Human Privacy.
Every time I say that the government has no right to legislate morality, I am specifically referring to private morality in contradistinction with public morality.
To illustrate: the government has no right to tell me how the hell I am going to live my life, but it is the primary business of the government to prohibit me from killing someone or raping someone or burning and/or destroying the property of another individual.
The former is within my right to privacy, while the latter is within morals of the public and the government based on the public interest rule does have the legal power and the political right to command me and all citizens for that matter not to do those nefarious things and criminal acts, because we are all member of the body politic.
What I am against is the herd mentality of the public opinion that “does not respect idiosyncratic styles of living and seeks to regulate or suppress them.”
The Private Domain of Human Act
To quote Professor Paul Krutz:
“Society should respect the right of an individual to control his or her personal life. The zones of privacy that society should not intrude upon without good reasons are a person’s body, possessions, beliefs, values, actions, and associations, insofar as these pertain to his or her own private sphere of interest and conduct.”
It is my firm view that society has no right to meddle with the private lives of Ka Freddie and his girl. I do not see any violation of the public interest with regard to their relationship.
Nonetheless, I readily admit that by virtue of the fact that his girlfriend who happens to be a sixteen year old is a minor in the eyes of the law. Hence, the government can enter this issue to tell Ka Freddie that the girl is this a minor and he has to wait for another two years belong they can go on with their relationship.
My problem with these issues is the following:
1. Does the government have the right to tell the young girl what is good for her?
2. If the parents of the said girl gave the blessing of her relationship to that old man, what would be the violations?
3. Does the public interest in general shattered or violated or prejudice because of this case?
On number one: now, because of the spike of the crimes being committed by minors, some legislators wish to lower the age of criminal liability. Following the same line of reasoning, can we also lower the age for any individual when to fall in love?
On number two: does the government have the right to supersede the power or discretion or consent of the parents in the case under consideration?
Can the government say: “Hey, Mama, Papa, we know that you are the biological parents of this girl, but we are the political government and base on the public interest rule, we considered and viewed your consent as unwise and wrong, hence we are overriding your decision?
On number three: what aspect or part or domain or spheres of the public interest were violated by this odd case of these lovers?
The Power of Love
I do not want to be romantic about it, but how many times have we heard the expressions love is blind and love conquers all in our lives?
According to Professor A. C. Grayling:
“The Greeks had different words for love’s different manifestations. They spoke of agape, altruistic love (in Latin caritas, which gives us — but that with a cold ring — our word ‘charity’). They spoke of ludus, the playful affection of children and of casual lovers, and pragma, the understanding that exist between a long established married couple. They spoke of storge, the love that grows between siblings or comrades-in-arms who have been through much together, and of mania, which is obsession. And they have allied the latter with eros or sexual passion. They thought that love in all its forms was divinely inspired, in the case of the last by Aphrodite. But divine inspiration was not always welcome; manic eroticism, they said, was often inflicted as a punishment by the gods, and its unreasoning and distracting character interfered with what they most valued namely intellect and courage. Both Plato and Aristotle, in their different ways, therefore placed friendship at the summit of emotional life, and consigned the love that craves bodily expression to a lower plane…
“In making these distinctions the Greeks showed an alertness to the fact that close relationships subserve a variety of ends. People need emotional satisfaction of many kinds, but chiefly those that stem from giving and receiving companionship, affection, and the affirmations of being liked and approved. People might occasionally enjoy solitude, but never loneliness; they need to feel connected and valued. All of the six loves of the Greeks are connections, and all but mania bring a sense of self-worth.”
I have quoted liberally and at length from the Professor’s work to highlight to the people not only the different kinds of love but also its power and force.
The great French philosopher Blaise Pascal once said that: the heart has a reason which the mind does not understand.
To correlate the truthfulness of that pronouncement, let me quote Russell Crowe who played the role of Professor John Nash in that utterly brilliant and powerful film on love and reason, “A Beautiful Mind”:
“What truly is logic? Who decides reason? My quest has taken me to the physical, the metaphysical, the delusional, and back. I have made the most important discovery of my career – the most important discovery of my life. It is only in the mysterious equations of love that any logic or reasons can be found. I am only here tonight because of you…[looking at and speaking to Alicia]
“You are the only reason I am. You are all my reasons. Thank you.”
Another icon, Gary Granada said in one of his songs the following lines:
“Kailangang umibig, kailangang ibigin; kahit na dusa ang kakambal
Ang hahanapin at hahagilapin ng puso ay pagmamahal…”
To all those who condemn or criticize a person or an individual who is in-love are ignorant and idiots of the worst kind; wait till the day when they themselves fall in love and they will also do the bad and mad things that they previously criticized. History and Life has proven that again and again!
I am not condoning, but neither I am condemning Ka Freddie’s affection and feelings. I completely respect that! Who the hell am I to tell him that what he is feeling is merely a spurt of the moment and it is just lust? I am not him? And he is not me! Hence, no one but him can certainly say what the hell he is truly feeling!
I just hope that whatever he is feeling to his girl, it is not mania or eros!
I am hoping that it is somewhere between agape, ludus and pragma.
As Pink said in the opening line of her famous song, “Just Give Me A Reason”:
“Right from the start
You were a thief
You stole my heart
And I your willing victim
I let you see the parts of me
That weren’t all that pretty
And with every touch you fixed them…”
I am truly hoping that their love no matter how odd and peculiar it may seem may survive and grow against all odds!
As the time-honored saying goes: Love conquers all!
Jose Mario Dolor De Vega
College of Arts and Letters
Polytechnic University of the Philippines
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