The Waves of Change

images1Evolution is a pretty touchy topic as there are those sanctimoniously thin-skinned among us who will have no second thoughts of calling you an irreligious, godless SOB when you talk about it. But let’s talk about evolution as our eyes see it – the salient and remarkable technological changes we see around us, affecting our very own lives. I am truly amazed and fascinated by the human brain because it evolves faster than any of the human being’s physical attributes. Scholars have suggested, largely based on anecdotal evidence, that at some point in our human history, aliens from outer space may have visited earth and copulated with earthlings and injected their more advanced genes into our specie. The astonishing, exponential surge of our human intelligence in such a short period of time leapfrogged our very own expectations of the human brain’s evolution hence the appeal of the alien intervention postulate. Or perhaps the human brain on its own is truly special, an enigmatic blob of energy that has boundless and limitless capacity when you nurture and stimulate it right.

I chanced upon this video which talks about the changes that will challenge man in the near future – the economy and technology. If you have 18 mins to spare, I strongly suggest that you watch the video. The first 7 minutes talks about the financial crisis and its impact on the economy and the remainder provides a fascinating insight on the potential scientific advancements of the future that could trigger man’s self designed evolution.

I don’t want to dwell much on the economy because it is a subject that had been beaten black and blue for the last 6 months. President Obama may be very well on the right track with his health care reform to save the USA from bankruptcy. Americans normally shun anything that purport notions of socialism but I will not be surprised if the US government impose a consumption tax much like the VAT (Value Added Tax) in the future if things get real tight with the deficit. It may be a tough pill to swallow but it could extricate the country from the deficit bind.

I am more intrigued with the speaker’s prediction of growing cells and tissues and the thought of a futuristic biological parts store, ala Radio Shack, where people could shop for a body part replacement. The tought of a blind person getting an eye that behaves like a camera lens certainly exceeds the capabilities the creator has given us. I’m curious as to what the long gone founders of religion would have to say about this – a miracle or work of the devil? Would the advent of super robots downgrade man’s workload ? Perhaps we could see countries warring with each other with unmanned drones and robot soldiers confining men as the brains of the whole spectacle of destruction. Our brains certainly have the power to accelerate our evolution and control our own destiny. I dare not speculate on the world order that would seek control of the affairs of the earth when the ultimate reboot happens but I hear echoes of John Lennon’s song Imagine when I think about this scenario.

One thing that perplexes me after watching the video, that despite the incredible and remarkable breakthroughs and predictions of scientific advancements in the generations to come, a considerable part of our world today still live in the medieval age where the predatorial rule of the jungle reigns, with people unsure whether they would see the sunrise the next day. Famine and poverty are very real in some parts of our world. The human race doesn’t seem to collectively progress towards the evolution of our intelligence. While some of us are working on farming of human organs to cure illnesses and prolong life others can barely eat three times a day to keep themselves alive. Why the disparity? Is intelligence the monopoly of the few? Don’t we all have brains? Perhaps the power of one’s innate intelligence can only be effectively harnessed and stimulated by some measure of enlightenment which is a requisite ingridient of the evolutionary process. Without such enlightenment, a restrictive, myopic view of the world constricts the power of thinking which paves way for stagnation and retrogression. Just a thought.

Time Out !

imagesIt took me 10 hours to drive to this place and oh, close to 900 kms.  After a near bout of deafness listening to Nickelback and Journey’s new 2 CD’s ( hey, I’m a frigging Journey fan too) and a near overdose of fat and tasty empanadas to replenish my energy, my driving ordeal finally ceased when we arrived at this mountain resort in the middle of nowhere.  It’s darn hard to get quality FM reception when coz it fades as you’re travelling .  Now I’m thinking of subscribing to satellite radio – crystal clear quality with no commercials. Boredom is your enemy on long drives.

We arrived with the sun was still high at 7pm, but alas the reception folks have left  at 5pm being Sunday.  A big note on the door told me to pick up my check-in package at the mailbox. It contained 2 access cards to our suite and instructions on how to get to our unit. Moose are travelling loose around here by night but darn the golf course looks majestic. Ha, this is my trip man 🙂 My wife and my daughter are a little impatient always asking me ” what’s there to see in this place ??” My wife was quite appeased when I told her an outlet mall is about an hour away 😉  Likewise my daughter believed me when I said ” hey, there’s a huge water park 30 minutes from here ” 😛   I could recharge and rejuvenate my body and soul in this place man. You could bring two warring people in this place and when they leave after a few days they could be friends again, that’s if you make sure you close the door so the fat mosquitos don’t come in 😆

I’m glad wireless internet is free and I could simply bounce in an out of cyberspace. The cable TV is equally loaded with channels. We got a full sized kitchen, washer/dryer, HDTV so comfort isn’t an issue. I can’t make out this place yet but will blog about it when I return home 😎

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images (1)Pinoy folk singer Freddie Aguilar rarely speaks his mind about fellow Pinoy artists but when the normally placid Aguilar hinted that Mariah Carey might have a case with her opinion on Pinoys being ” brown monkeys” and made reference to Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco as examples, the nation was dismayed with his rather incautious and crabby  if not unpatriotic comment. Some 4 years ago, Mariah alledgedly called singer Regine Velasquez a monkey- meaning good at aping other singers hence the lack of originality- when asked about her opinion of the singer. The veracity of Carey’s insulting comment was never established and no evidence of interview video or tape was ever produced. It may have been an off the record remark who knows and I didn’t write this post to villify nor defend Mariah Carey. This post is about my opinion on Freddie Aguilar’s comments.

images (2)Freddie Aguilar expressed his criticism of Pinoy singers who venture into the U.S. of A. singing English songs and totally ignoring Tagalog songs.  Freddie’s criticism may have to do with something more than plain patriotism. I think his point has to do with establishing an identity before hurling oneself onto the center stage in a foreign land.  Freddie  choses to sing in Tagalog – that’s just comfort zone. When he was in the States, he contemplated to move to Nashville and record country music in English to stick to his genre but his heart wasn’t in tune with his mind. For him there was no sense in pursuing a singing career for the sake of making money. He had to like the music he was supposed to make and it can only be in Tagalog so he headed home to pursue a career where he and his music belongs.

images (3)Freddie’s criticism of Arnel Pineda and Charice Pempengco has nothing to do with their singing talent but their lack of identity and originality. In Pineda’s case, he didn’t venture to the U.S. of A to speculate on a singing career. He was hired by Journey to be their lead singer. He trained, auditioned and got the job. He had no other option. His identity was dictated by the job. Arnel is technically an OFW, a hotshot one at that 😉 The criticism applies more to the case of Charice Pempengco who suddenly burst into the U.S. TV airwaves and you wonder if she was discovered by Oprah Winfrey from some circus freak show. Her singing talent is certainly superb and you begin to wonder – why didn’t she become a hit in her country ? Charice has appeared on countless TV shows and concerts in the U.S. showcasing her incredible vocal prowess. Perhaps it is time for her to establish her own identity and cut her own records instead of aping Whitney Houston and Celine Dion the whole time. People in this part of the world expect every artist of celebrity stature to possess originality.  Here, copycats are for pubs and bars and at best, a regular gig at a third rate casino in Vegas.

I remember many years ago back in Pinas, a noon time show conducted a Jack Jones sound alike contest and invited the man himself, Jack Jones to be the judge at the finals. When the time came to select the winner, Jack declined to make any judgement saying that every person has his own unique talent and should never be judged with respect to how he close he fares with another person’s talent.  I wouldn’t say Jack’s comment embarrassed the hosts of the show but it was darn humbling in my opinion.

Honestly, if I were Charice I’d concentrate on cutting records here in North America. No frigging Pinoy/Pinay has even gotten close to David Foster for one,  much more performing duets with the best singers in the world. What pisses me off are those Pinoys who counted her out because she didn’t have the star quality looks when she was an aspiring singer back home and now these same hypocrites are cheering her on, inviting her to appear in shows, cut records and what not. This is a classic case of the discriminated seeking acceptance somewhere, where people look at your talents and not your looks, your social standing, the school where you came from, the place where you live blah, blah ….and achieving overwhelming success in the process. In this case, forget about patriotism. I’d even say screw patriotism 😡

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About Education

images My last post about education was almost three years ago.  As my wife and I are mulling about moving my daughter to another class next year to avoid the “bitchy and unpopular” teacher who will be handling her class, thoughts about education hovered in my brain again and prompted me to revisit the subject. Parents are certainly concerned about their children’s education but in this part of the world, not having a college or university degree is not tantamount to a death sentence, where a person will wallow in poverty for the rest of his life. In other countries higher education has been commoditized, a requisite to landing a dignified job. It matters not whether your brain really has it or not as long as you have a degree to show for.  Failure to possess it is akin to not making it across the bridge to survival.

It is little short of a miracle that modern methods of instruction have not already completely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry…. I believe that one could even deprive a healthy beast of prey of its voraciousness if one could force it with a whip to eat continuously whether it were hungry or not… Albert Einstein (1879-1955) U.S. physicist

By the time we learned to communicate with fellow humans, we have been brainwashed into thinking that education is a “must have” to survive in this world of ours.  Sometimes our parents and other societal factors other than our innate talents and desires dictate and coerce us to undertake a discipline of education which is not to our liking. Those of us who have no enthusiasm for higher learning and prefer to use their bare hands to pursue the noble vocation of being tillers and builders are equally subjected to the same encumbrance, of achieving higher education for the sake of achieving, to fullfil the rite of passage. Overfeeding of superflous knowledge can disorient or dampen a person’s spirit and can diminish his desires for things he really craves to do. It is tragic when education destroys rather than motivate.

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.  Herbert Spencer

Sometimes I ask myself whether the full face value of my knowledge today is the product of spending 18 continuous years of formal education or the product of my maturity – the progressive education I obtained through years of on the job training and experience, self-initiated reading and research to satisfy my curiosity and achieve competency in my chosen field of endeavor, inter-action with the real world, not only on how things look on paper but how they really work, behave and affect people’s lives. There is an inseparable correlation between theory and practice and education cannot be complete if either one is missing. Much like a Marine who undergoes a rigorous, excruciating training but hasn’t gone to war, the image of a warrior isn’t quite complete.

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