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Lessons from Orwell, Durant and the humble Cell

Posted in Polity by juned on the March 7th, 2008

I must admit it has been sometime since I wrote something about politics. And it is with some alarm that I note that issues presently confronting our society seems to hit a moribund cord in my soul. Have I become truly Benjamin the Donkey?

I am a student of Eric Blair or George Orwell. Ever since I have read Animal Farm and 1984 his works have been a form of entertainment and source of epiphany for me. One of my favorite read is Animal Farm, Why I Write and his thoughts about a number of people suspected of being fellow travellers and spies for the Soviet Union. His account of an execution in Burma is riveting.

One of his most powerful book is a fable about a group of farm animals who staged a successful revolution against the tyrant farmer. The fable chronicles the tale of Animal Farm as its revolution’s gobbles up its children and ideals. Sounds familiar. The progress, if you can call it progress, can be clearly seen in the change of the law.

Originally it was:

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed.
5. No animal shall drink alcohol.
6. No animal shall kill any other animal.
7. All animals are equal.

Then changes were made:

1. Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
2. Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
3. No animal shall wear clothes.
4. No animal shall sleep in a bed with sheets
5. No animal shall drink alcohol to excess
6. No animal shall kill any other animal without cause
7. All animals are equal.

Until at last only one law remained -

All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

After several Edsas and taking a look at this one I really feel like Benjamin the Donkey. One of the few barn animals who never really bought into the propaganda or hype of the revolution. Benjamin the Elder Donkey who has seen nearly everything and expect nothings. The elder generation who has seen the short term and often false promises of regime changes.

Benjamin sees through puff and naiveness of such regime changes and the almost null or zero changes it bring.

So as I survey this present game of politics being played out. A sense of remembrance of betrayed promises by the same set of politicians comes to mind. And worse a naivete that a regime change alone would bring about fundamental change.

Yes I and people like me have become Benjamin the Elder Donkey of Animal Farm.

But to be an honest pupil of Orwell one must also be prepared to question his ideas. Kill Buddha when you meet him on the road because he is not Buddha.

I am also a pupil of Will and Ariel Durant. Philosophers who wrote several elegant and insightful essays about history, civilization, and Philosophy. In one of their essays they spoke about Politics and how regime change can be quiet frustrating since those who trumped the tyrants and leaders often acquire quickly the habits and ill-manner of their predecessors.

Not un-similar to the view of Orwell voiced through Benjamin the Donkey. At this point the Durants depart from Orwell, abandon the stance of Benjamin the Donkey and professes to do revolution not through regime but at the individual and institutional stage.

And it is perfectly captured when they said:

The only real revolution is in the enlightenment of the mind and the improvement of character. The only real emancipation is individual, and the only real revolutionaries are philosophers and saints - Will Durant

And even at the biological level this actually makes sense. An organism changes at the cellular, sub-cellular and micro-cellular level. Everything above the cell is temporary and superficial change. And it seems this is the same way with human society. Changes happen at the individual level.

Looking at the present set of rallies and exercises all seem to be concentrated on just changing the regime. It seems to be pretty shallow and short-sighted. It is concentrating on removing a regime and not do institutional changes that will have an impact on Philippine Society.

I think I will just concentrate on doing things at the cellular level.

Anatomy of a Rally

Posted in Polity, Observations and Notes by juned on the February 16th, 2008

I think it will go down as well not really a big rally. Excuses and analysis will be given why this happened to Feb 15,2007 protest rally against the government. On the other hand it is interesting in that it was well … a rally and once could show what are the things you can find in a rally.

A slide presentation about the event can be found here.

Here is a list of shiort videos found in Radio Cubao.

Anatomy of a rally 1 - Before
Anatomy of a rally 2 - Near
Anatomy of a rally 3 - Nearer
Anatomy of a rally 4 - Something Different
Anatomy of a rally 5 - The TV Crew

The talk was that this rally was supposedly backed by a business group/club in Makati. It was more of a concert than a rally. And it is still several fish schools short of toppling this particular President.

It will take more than that I think. And the method and reason mentioned is quite stale that you can actually and immediately and without the aid of nutrients grow a colony of bacteria.

Still it provided good fodder for snaps and videos.