Thoughts on Nolan’s Interstellar

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Warning: Some – no, a lot of spoilers ahead. I can’t not talk about it because it really is a great movie, and I suggest that you watch it while it’s still being screened in cinemas. I can feel that the experience in the theater would be vastly different from watching it on Blu-Ray or on a laptop.


I recently watched Interstellar, and I’m happy to say that it did not disappoint. The visuals were amazing, the writing (save for a few plotholes) was on point, and the acting was well done. My favorite performance in the film was Matthew McConaughey’s Cooper, which highlighted the conflict between wanting to save mankind and wanting to stay on Earth and take care of his loved ones. It was evident in the film that his heart got in the way of the mission that he was supposed to accomplish, and this led to very interesting developments in the film’s plot.

However, I especially loved how Interstellar brought up some huge questions regarding life, death, the human drive for survival, and of course, love. Needless to say, the questions I had in mind while the credits were rolling as I was leaving the cinema (that’s right, I don’t watch until the end of the credits because I suck like that) were philosophical in nature, and for a while, walking around Greenhills Shopping Center and waiting for my sister’s iPad to be repaired, my mind lingered upon these questions.


What is more important, the needs of the many or the needs of the few? Is it alright to sacrifice millions of people in order for humanity to survive? Interstellar touched upon this very intelligently, and it proved to give rise to some amazing character development, especially in the characters of Professor Brand and Dr. Mann. They both believed that Earth was a lost cause, and that the only hope for mankind was the Lazarus Mission. While millions of people would perish on Earth, it would have to be a necessary sacrifice in order to ensure that the human race would carry on.

Professor Brand had to keep this belief a secret from the rest of the world, including his own daughter, Amelia, and especially Cooper, who he knew would not go on the mission unless it gave his loved ones a chance at survival. He died without telling it to anyone except Murphy, Cooper’s daughter, who in turn transmitted the information to Cooper’s team. Brand was willing to sacrifice his very own humanity, along with the millions of lives that would be lost on Earth, in order to make sure that human life would carry on. Brand, who was made to be seen as the typical elderly mentor-type character, who pushed Cooper to go on with the mission in order to save mankind, and later on even trained Murphy to become a top scientist at NASA, lost all hope in the rest of humanity, and accepted the fact that there was no chance for them to survive. However, this final act of confessing to Murphy could be seen as his redemption of sorts, and it could be seen that in the end, he still had the hope that the people left on Earth would be able to survive. Until the end, he kept on reciting Dylan Thomas’ “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night”, telling of survival, and of hope of a new life for mankind. Even if he initially believed that sacrificing a select population was necessary for the good of all, even if that population was composed of millions of innocent people, it may be seen that in the end he kept the faith and kept on telling mankind to rage against the dying light.

Meanwhile, Dr. Mann was previously considered as one of the best and bravest scientists of NASA and even the world, with Amelia regarding him as a hero when she said that they wouldn’t be doing their mission, and they wouldn’t have gotten that far if it weren’t for him. As it turns out, Mann also believed that the people left on Earth were doomed, and that the objective to find a new planet to call home was more important than saving the rest of humanity. Upon discovering that the planet he resided in was uninhabitable and finding out that Cooper had plans to go back to Earth, he tried to murder him to ensure that they would still be able to find a life-supporting planet, and afterwards tried to take control of their ship, the Endurance, and caused part of it to explode in the process. It would seem that this previously brilliant, heroic man had been corrupted not only by the time he had spent in solitude, but also by the lack of faith that he had in the mission itself. It would seem that he had gone mad, and had decided to give up on saving the rest of mankind, deeming them hopeless causes, but it may also appear to be rational thinking that led him to make those decisions. He perceived a threat in Cooper’s desire to go back to his family, and he tried to eliminate it. He only wanted what was good for the whole of mankind, what was good in the long run, and what he considered to be the greater good, and from his point of view, he may have had to get his hands dirty in the process.

These situations pose the question of what can be considered to be the greater good, and as per usual with philosophy, there is no concrete, absolute answer. There will always be too many factors affecting what is right, and what is good, and what should be, and it may not always be what everyone wants. Humans are as individual as they are communal, and that individuality affects our notions about the world, our environment, other people, and even ourselves. Your moral code may not always be the same as mine, maybe because of the different things we went through.

Cooper probably had the faith that he would be able to help save the people on Earth because he had tangible things to fight for, like his children, and his drive to save them, his selfless acts of love for them, were what led him to keep this belief in the salvation of all of mankind, including those left on Earth. In the same way, Mann’s perception of the people left on Earth may have changed, be it from his solitary stay on a galaxy far away from them, or from some other factor that the film did not touch upon. This perception, this belief that there was no hope for the abandoned humans on Earth, led him to take the actions that he did, to take all measures necessary to ensure that they would be able to survive as a species, and unfortunately, eventually led him to his demise.


Why does man feel the need and drive to survive? The entirety of Interstellar is based upon the premise that Earth has become uninhabitable, and man must search for a new home in order to carry on its existence. The whole expedition to another galaxy in search of an inhabitable planet was for the survival of the human race. But was all this even necessary?  We are but tiny, tiny humans living on a tiny, tiny “pale, blue dot” among the multitude of speckles in the galaxy, which may then be a tiny speck among a multitude of other galaxies, the cluster of which may then be another tiny speck among a seemingly infinite blanket known as the universe. What lead us to embark on a journey to the final frontier, to the grandiose vastness of space? What called us to go beyond the limits of our home, the Earth, and go on voyages to worlds besides our own?

Interstellar sums the answer up very simply. The human race needs to leave Earth because of food shortage and harsh living conditions. Resources are low in supply, and time is running out for so many people. The Lazarus Missions, along with Cooper and the rest of the team, aimed to find a new home for man, and these people braved the terrifyingly infinite nature of the universe in the hope (against all hope) that they would be able to discover a chance at survival. Futile as it seem, they “succeeded”, but not without losses, and seeing as the people abandoned on Earth were able to survive on their own (not without the help of Cooper, of course, through some very confusing yet beautiful transcendental space-time manipulation), it would seem that the expedition was, to some extent, a failure. However, with Amelia’s (who was the only person in the expedition crew who “survived”) eventually discovery of the planet that human beings could call home, it would be revealed that this expedition was still successful in achieving, as it was said, Plan B.

But would all of that have been necessary? What if what was meant for man was to succumb to its tragic fate, which was to eventually die out? What if this demise was inevitable, and the expedition that was carried out only contributed to the suffering that people experienced? Eventually a man would have to come to terms with his very own death. It is inevitable. But what if the same happened for all of mankind? The death of humanity itself would not be the same as any massacre, or genocide, or epidemic, as it will deal with the elimination of not just a specific sample of the population, but of the whole population itself. Wiping out the existence of mankind, something that we very much like to think we own, and something that we very much like to think of as constant and permanent, is different from any sort of death because it will not just be the death of any one. It will be the death of culture, of government, of language, of morals, of knowledge. The demise of humankind will be the demise of humanity itself. Does this justify, then, our primal drive for survival?

We’ve been surviving for as long as we’ve existed as a species. We adapted to changing environments, eliminated predators, caught prey, and eventually learned how to cultivate lands. With our expanding knowledge, we created structures, and with those structures, we began to shape our very own environment, the very Earth that we live in. Our very own intelligence, the greatest ability we utilize in order to survive, has been the tool to our progress. While it has divided us, it has also brought us together as people. So would the launch of an expedition to go beyond our dying planet be something that wasn’t meant to happen? It could simply be seen as us human beings doing what we’ve been doing ever since: Surviving. What could be so wrong with that?

Ultimately, it is still up to us to decide what to do with our intellect, and it is still up to us to decide to do what we can do. There will be things beyond our finite, human control, like death, calamities, the confines of time and space, but we can still take over what little control we have. We can still take steps that inevitably affect everything around us. We can choose to perish, we can choose to try and survive, or we can even choose to not choose at all. In fact, we can choose to believe in choices, or choose to believe that we cannot choose at all. In Interstellar, the people of Earth chose to take a chance at survival, and it happened to be a choice well made.


Why is love so important? Cliche as it was, Interstellar explored a key theme that has intrigued and inspired us human beings for as long as we can remember: Love. Does it exist, or is it merely a social construct designed to motivate or encourage us? Is it our way of adapting, of extending our instincts of survival not only to ourselves, but to other people? It is, after all, easier for man to survive in groups rather than alone. Is this thing that we call love something that merely serves a function, and nothing more? Different social, physiological, and psychological factors may be able to explain how love exists, and what it does for us.

But that isn’t what Interstellar meant when it touched upon love, and frankly, it isn’t really what I fully believe when it comes to this  widely-discussed topic. Interstellar explored the concept of transcendental love, love that exceeds all boundaries, love that goes beyond the confines of space, time, and whatever may be greater than that.

Cooper loved his family so much that he was willing to be sucked into a black hole for them, even if it meant his very own demise. His love continued to drive him to cross into this transcendental dimension where he was given a chance to manipulate the very fabric of space, and made him able to traverse the limitations of time (it got really really confusing towards the end, but nonetheless that scene was pretty cool) by giving signals to Murphy through gravity.

In this case, love was shown to be able to exceed even the most permanent, stoic of boundaries. In its unconditional, infinite, and pure nature, love is able to be transcendental and go beyond what would normally limit other forces. Cooper was able to transcend the very confines of his finitude as a farmer on a dying Earth, as an astronaut seeking to save the human race, and perhaps most importantly to him, as a father trying to be with his children again. His love drove him to take the steps necessary, even if they seemed to be impossible, suicidal, and ultimately futile, but in the end, love prevailed. Love drives us to do the unthinkable, even if it meant letting yourself get sucked into a black hole with no chance of escape. It is that aspect of our human spirit that enables us human beings to be greater than what we are, and to possibly change the things around us in ways we cannot comprehend. Like what Cooper said, it’s not something you can quantify or measure empirically, because as cheesy as it may seem, love achieved the impossible because its something that was greater than all of us.


There are so many more thoughts that I have on Interstellar, but I can’t collect them all as of now, like prioritizing one’s duty to a greater cause over what one’s heart is saying. Another thought would be how we are even able to comprehend something as vast as the universe, and if that means that there is something greater, bigger, and more powerful than the universe or if it just means that we haven’t even comprehended the universe itself enough. Unfortunately, I do not have the time (for now) to address and ponder upon these questions, so I’ll save them for another time.

Please do try to watch Interstellar. It’s an amazing film, a wonderful work of art by Christopher Nolan. It did have its weaknesses, but personally, its visuals and the thoughts it invoked in me made up for it tenfold. Thought-provoking, wonder-inducing, insightful, and simply majestic in its portrayal of the universe, Interstellar is like the first breath of fresh air after ages of floating around in the endless depths of space.

This does not make sense, but I guess I’m fine with that.

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khjhjkh

Today I passed one of the most important papers of my sophomore year. It seems a bit shallow, or superficial, or irrelevant in comparison to all of the papers I’ve had or will ever have in the future, even more so if you consider the fact that this is just a paper. It is not, and never will be, an accurate representation of my collective thoughts, musings, and more importantly, who I am as a person. However, I’m not writing this to talk about my paper. I’m not writing this blog post to further elaborate on how we shouldn’t reduce our lives to absurdity in the face of our inevitable deaths, much less from the perspectives of Socrates and Josef Pieper. No, I’ve done enough of that for the semester.

(Okay, maybe not enough. I still have an oral defense on Tuesday, but I can care about that when I’ve reached the end of this in-between.)

I discovered something in writing essays, reviewing for tests, poring over books on death and philosophy, doing org work, serving in the student government, listening to people greater than I was, and engaging in (usually) fruitful discourse, something that I often overlooked while I was doing these things. I discovered that this seemingly jam-packed schedule of mine was not as full as I perceived it to be sometimes. There are days when I feel like this one paper is as heavy as the weight of the world. I’ve never stopped to consider that I was doing it all for a reason.

I was never confident in my ability to rise up to the challenges that came my way, mainly because I can be a sappy, insecure piece of crap who folds into himself almost every time I get pressured. I’d be anxious almost all the time whenever a deadline loomed above my head. I’d be anxious that I hadn’t done something right, or hadn’t started on something that I felt I should’ve started with. I’d feel anxious whenever a family member or a friend acted even slightly differently from usual because I’d think that I had done something to offend them or hurt them or that they just thought I was being an idiotic jerk. It’s true, though. If there’s one thing I don’t want to be, it’s an idiotic jerk. I guess that somehow helped in my becoming one. Kind of. At least in my perspective, I kind of was one.

You see, I’m a rather paranoid person. I just don’t like showing it. I’ve kept my occasional bouts of paranoia to myself becau– Nope, actually, no, I have no good reason for my paranoia. I am an insecure person who cannot let even the little details from bothering me. I picture these almost-cataclysmic ends to my relationships with other people for no good reason because I am extremely insecure. I care about what people think about me for no good reason because that’s what I am.

But (and this is a huge but), the past few weeks – even the whole past semester, to a certain extent – has showed me that I’ve been caring about the wrong things for such a long time. I’ve been caring too much about the opinions of other people, people who, I’m sure, don’t even care that much about me. I’ve been caring too much about insignificant things, about tiny little details about me and about other people that don’t matter.

(I’m sorry if I can’t articulate this well enough, I just came from writing a paper on death and I’m pretty drained. Sorry. But yeah, where does the part that I said about writing and stuff come in to this horribly self-pitying self-realization? Okay, here goes.)

I discovered that what matters are the things that I choose to give value to. I cared about the opinions of other people because I chose to care about them. What I didn’t know before (and what I wish I could’ve found out sooner) was that I could choose whose opinions to care about. I could choose who mattered to me, and I discovered that I didn’t have to choose. Not really. People like them come, sometimes they go, but in many ways they come back. If you want to, they will. These people are ultimately the people who are worth caring about, and even more importantly, worth caring for.

(That still doesn’t have any connection to what I said earlier about writing and doing schoolwork and serving in student government. But yeah, I’ll get to that in this next paragraph.)

Furthermore (this is starting to feel like a paper wow), I realized that while persons mattered, individual persons who I actually personally knew, I wasn’t alone in this world. I was trapped in this umwelt, as Josef Pieper referred to, and I was limited by it (ugh I told myself I wouldn’t add anything even slightly philosophical in this blog post). I was in my own little world, and I had to know that the world actually mattered. That discovery led me to care even more. Not about the opinions of other people, but for the world. Yes, this is embarrassingly naive, but I’m pretty sure none of you will read this (much less remember this), but I believe way too much in the world. For all my insecurity, I feel like I have the responsibility to change the world. Call it Atenean formation, call it my weirdly Catholic upbringing, call it my naivete fueled by comic books and pop culture. I call it hope.

And this is where all those things I do, I choose to care about, come in (Aha! I knew I wasn’t just rambling pointlessly). I, for all my insecurities, for all my anxiety, chose to do these things. In the grand scheme of things, I probably won’t matter that much anymore, but I have now. I can choose to give in to the pressure, I can choose to give up, I can choose to fold in. But surprisingly enough (I really am quite the lover of surprises, aren’t I), I chose to accept all this pressure and go on. I chose to carry these burdens and use them as something to help me carry on. And I do all these things because I continue to stupidly, undyingly hope, and in spite of it all, I learn. I wouldn’t be writing this blog post if I didn’t learn something from all those times I had this past week, this past semester, this past year. I chose to do these things, I chose to pursue these passions, and I chose to learn. I guess in the long run, that’s one of the most important things in my life. I choose to do what I love, I choose to love what I do, I choose to love the people who actually matter, and I choose to try everyday to be a better person. Not necessarily to be the best, but to be better.

I can’t seem to think of a fitting end to this post. It’s been a while, so my non-academic writing’s a bit rusty. Sorry about that. Here’s a nice quote to make up for it.

“It is because of the ambivalent structure of philosophy, because ‘marveling’ sets one on a road that never ends, because the structure of philosophy is that of hope, that to philosophize is so essentially human–and in a sense to philosophize means living a truly human life.” – Josef Pieper, The Philosophical Act

I wanted to write a poem.

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I wanted to write a poem
About love, freedom, and hope.
I have always been reading that poem
In between heartbeats and beaten hearts.
I tried to think of every broken phrase that there was.
Sadly, I’ve never had the chance to write them down.

I wanted to write a poem
That ended with the lines,
“A placebo still would’ve been better than nothing at all, right?
At least I thought I had something that you gave wholeheartedly, right?”
I have yet to write that poem,
Much less divine how it ends.

I wanted to write a poem
That reflected me and you in all its darkness,
Enjambments like suckerpunches,
Figures of speech numbering our days.
I cannot write that poem.
At least, not yet. Not without you.

I wanted to write a poem
And I wanted it to be Me,
Me in the form of words strung together in a specific sequence
Such that it would all make sense.
I’m reading this again and I’m hoping that it won’t be this poem.
I edited this poem and I don’t think it would be so bad if it was.

I wanted to write a poem
That wasn’t this poem, or rather, was better than this one.
I’ve seen the first three stanzas through a different set of lenses
And I can sincerely say that I wouldn’t want this poem to be Me.
I’m trying to make it up to myself and to you by ending this poem.
This poem will probably be me.

Thank you.

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Di pa ako talaga tapos sa year na ‘to kasi may paper pa akong isusubmit on Monday pero bahala na hahahaha
Freshman year was, simply put, amazing in spite of the mountain of requirements that I had to get through (which I’m still actually going through because EnLit is all-consuming) and a lot of people need to be thanked for making it the way that it is.
First of all, to my high school batchmates (13est woohoo) salamat kasi friendships were not lost, and even deepened kahit na college na tayo.
To Sir Nori and Sir Maki, mga Fil prof ko, salamat sa pagpapalalim sa kaalaman ko hindi lamang tungkol sa pop culture at panitikan kung hindi pati na rin sa mundong ginagalawan ko, at sa pagtulong sa kin na makahanap ng paraan para mapabuti to.
To Ma’am Diaz, thank you for teaching me how to endure countless papers, readings and quizzes, all of them unthinkably difficult, and for indirectly (maybe even directly) teaching me how to push on and hope against all hope (this is you, En101 portfolio).
To Block J, for being my first family in Ateneo. I’m still looking forward to more good times with you guys, lalo na since magkakaroon na tayo ng majors next year.
To WriterSkill (and WriterSkill CB 2013-14) thank you for being my second family in Ateneo. You took me in and made me feel loved, and I found a real home in this org.
And lastly, to M04 2013-2014. You guys have made all the difference in this year. We suffered together, and we all got through (will get through) this together, victorious. The play that we staged just hours earlier is enough proof for that. You guys have made waiting in Bel for 2 hours every Monday, Wednesday and Friday so worth it. The friendships I’ve forged in this class will be forever, I know it. And I know this isn’t goodbye since we’ll all be seeing each other again soon, very soon. Thank you for the two semesters that we’ve been together.

Sorry kung cheesy, but I just had to let this out. Just, thank you all so much. Cheers.

EN12 Reflection Paper: Faith, Science, Ballpoint Pens and Sparks: A Story of A Confused Kid

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Ahhhh, first semester English. Back when I was still pretty innocent when it came to writing and reading. Not that I’m complaining: En101 is hell, but I’d say that it’s pretty worth it (SOH kid vibes). Well, here you go, my En12 memoir, or rather the first draft of it. If I remember correctly, I submitted a slightly edited version of this one, but I only changed very minor things (typos etc.) so this isn’t that different from the one I submitted.

My mother was quite a religious woman. She was raised up by her parents, especially my grandmother, to be a firm believer in the Catholic faith. Because of this, our family observed and practiced Catholicism. We would go to Mass every Sunday and on special occasions like birthdays and Christmas. Me and my sisters were all baptized when we were infants, and our Mom taught us early on to believe in God and His ways, and how to pray. We’d spend a lot of time as a family doing Catholic traditions such as Visita Iglesia and praying the Rosary.

I guess it was because of her religiousness that a significant event happened to me. One day when I was really young, about pre-school age, my mom happened to ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up. Immediately, almost as if it was an instinct, I replied to her that I wanted to become an astronaut, or a superhero. They were those ideas of occupations that were conceived through endless stretches of daydreaming, inspired by television shows like Justice League or space expedition documentaries on National Geographic. I knew even then that they weren’t practical or logical because the chances of those actually happening to me were close to zero. They were just ideas for my young mind to play around with. I knew they weren’t “real” jobs, that I could land. Besides, I thought, I wouldn’t make any money in the superhero business.

One time, my mom expressed, implicitly, her desire for me to become a priest. I think it was after we went to mass, when we got home and were having dinner. She said something along the lines of, “It would be nice to have a priest for a son.” When I asked her how come, she replied something about plenary indulgence, holiness, and security, and a whole lot of other things I didn’t, and couldn’t understand at the time. Not only were they quite unusual things for me to hear, especially at the age of seven-ish, but from what I heard from her, I knew that a part of my mom wanted me to pursue priesthood. And so I thought that it would actually be all right with me if I did.

I actually kind of believed that I really wanted to become a priest for a while. I was a really obedient kid, and I thought that following my mom’s wish would make me a good son. I thought I was repaying her, in a way, for all the years that she spent taking care of and all the years to come that she would take care of me, by wanting to become a priest. It was my form of gratitude to her for her love. My mom said to me that she’d be happy as long as I was happy and secure with what I was doing with my life, whatever my job was, just as long as I made sure that I wasn’t doing anything wrong. But I still persisted at that time. I said that I wanted to become a priest, and I tried to stand by it.

But I knew that I really didn’t want to pursue a career path in priesthood. Priesthood was a calling, and I wasn’t being called, for whatever reason God had. I think I was meant for something else. The problem was, I didn’t really know what I wanted to become. Still, I continued upholding my “fake” desire to become a priest, mainly because I didn’t know what I wanted to be yet, and also because I still believed in fulfilling my mother’s wishes. I still wanted so badly to want to become a priest, even if I knew that it wasn’t really for me. I was thinking that my doubts for becoming a priest were just temporary, that it was just a phase that I went through and everything would straighten out eventually.

Eventually though, all this doubt was cleared. I soon discovered girls, and relationships, and all thought and “desire” to become a priest was thrown out the window. Eventually I talked to my mom and we cleared up that I didn’t really want to go into priesthood, and that I only said that I wanted to because I thought it was something she wanted. Fortunately, she was really happy for me, that I was following my heart instead of being dependent upon other people for my dreams. It was a huge relief for both me and her, but eventually it gave rise to a bigger problem. What did I want to become?

At that time after I confessed to my mom that I didn’t want to become a priest, when I was in grades four to six, I realized that I was a jack of all trades, but I was a master of none. I wasn’t exceptionally good at any of my subjects. I despised Math, which I didn’t get at all. I liked reading books but I was too lazy to write, so my output wasn’t that good. My performance in my Science subjects were average, and I was no good at my HELE classes. I was not athletic, and all the artistic prowess that I had when I was in preschool, drawing and painting, was lost once I got to Grade School. Around that time, my self-confidence was seemingly at an all time low. Like a bully once said to me in my fourth grade HELE class, I was a loser. I didn’t feel as if I’d amount to anything worthwhile at that time.

I felt like this for a long time, and at around the time that I was in Grade 6, I was getting desperate, seeing that a lot of my classmates and friends were all decided on what they were going to take in college. At that time, my sister graduated from Medical School, I figured I’d just become a doctor like my sister and hope for the best. It was a job that payed well, and I felt like I could survive the four years of Medical School. And just like before, I thought that I wanted to be something that I knew I didn’t want to become. I thought that I would actually enjoy being a doctor, but I knew that I wouldn’t. Medicine wasn’t really interesting to me, even if by that time I was becoming more adept in my Science classes, even enjoying them.

A big change came when I finally got to high school. It was then that I discovered my true passion: Writing. My laziness when it came to writing was lost when I first wrote about a topic that I was interested in. After that, I was hooked. I would write formal themes, essays and poems feverishly. I made friends who found writing as enjoyable as I did. I experienced that high that you get when you feel your hand hurt as you make your pen fly across the page, inking your thoughts, feelings, opinions, your identity into the words you write. I started becoming poetic, expressing my feelings in verses instead of just plain words. Writing also became my primary creative outlet, enabling me to regain that sense of artistry that I had when I was younger, painting my feelings with words.

I also discovered another passion of mine in high school. As a child, I would defend my occasional little wrongdoings. I always found a loophole or palusot as my mom called it, whenever I was accused of eating an extra cookie or accidentally breaking a vase. I didn’t realize then that I was actually using logical arguments for my case. But I did realize this once I got to Grade 8. It was in Geometry, specifically the logic and proving part, that I learned how to think outside of the box. Even outside the classroom, I started viewing every problem from different angles, considering the different solutions and their effectiveness. I brought this kind of thinking to my writing, as I loved writing essays about solving social problems. I wrote points that I learned to back up properly, and learned how to read between the lines when someone else was arguing against me. I learned how to think, and how to apply what I thought. I argued passionately, savoring victories and learning from defeats.

I knew then that I wasn’t for science. Science piqued my interest, but it didn’t satiate the thirst that I had for writing and arguing. Because of this, my friends said that I was perfect for law. Again, for the third time, I depended on other people for what I wanted to do. I knew that I liked writing and informal debate, but I didn’t know exactly what I felt about a career in law. That was at the time for college application forms, so I had to make a decision on what course I was going to take in college. Still thinking of pursuing a career in law, while fulfilling my passions for writing and arguing, I picked AB Philosophy, seeing as it was perfect for all these things that I wanted at the time.

When I got into college, I was already having doubts about law, mainly because I thought it wouldn’t be able to achieve some of my personal goals that I only recently established. My experience in UPIS, my high school, instilled in me a passionate sense of responsibility to and love for the nation. And I saw how broken the system was, how messed up our situation was. I saw how evident corruption was in our society, and how radically unequal the statuses of the different social classes were. It was like a cancer that was spreading, rotting the nation to its core, and I knew that it had to be destroyed. I was thinking of ways on how to change the way things were being run in the country.

I knew then that I wanted to spark a revolution, start a change in the way things were being run in our country. My gut told me that law was a noble path, but it wasn’t going to change a system that was already too corrupt. I needed to try a different approach to make a change.

I was having my doubts about Philosophy for the first month as well, thinking that I would be of no use when I graduated. I would only be fit for three professions, I thought, either a lawyer, priest or teacher. At the time, I thought that none of these professions would inspire any change among society. The impact would not be sufficient for a revolution. That was what I thought, that is, until I realized that I too, was inspired to be socially aware and start a change by my high school teachers. My sense of national pride and identity, my desire to make the system better, all of those had their inceptions in high school, because of my teachers. Even in college, in my Filipino 11 class, I was being taught to not be passive, to take a stand in our society and try to instigate a change. Being a professor would not be too bad, I thought. Teaching the generations after me about these values that I too was taught about would not only be noble, but it would spark that revolution that I wanted. I would set fire to the desires of the people who came after me to become “revolutionaries” themselves, just like what my teachers did to me.

Still, I wasn’t sure of this goal. Anything could happen, and becoming a teacher was only a possibility. I still wasn’t sure on how I was going to achieve my bigger goal of reforming the system. But then, I thought of what I would gain from studying Philosophy. The ability to think, I thought. The ability to adapt. The ability to be whatever I wanted to be. And I thought, I wanted a change to occur, a change for the better, but I didn’t know exactly how. Philosophy would enable me to know how. It would take me on a journey, both literal and metaphorical, to know how to achieve this change that I wanted. I would be able to explore, and I wouldn’t be boxing myself into a specific category, especially since I was taking an AB course. Philosophy would pave a way for me to achieving what I wanted to achieve. And this time I wasn’t fooling anybody, not even myself.

And now here I am, enjoying every bit of this journey that I’ve undertaken, however hellish it may be at times. I know that everything was, and will be worth it. All my indecisions, my doubts, my confusion, has amounted to something. I finally knew what I wanted to achieve, and stood up for what I believed in. I was no longer a confused little boy, leaving important decisions and desires to other people, ceasing to think for himself. I achieved independence, got inspired, and at the very least tried to inspire others as well. I was no longer the loser that got bullied in HELE class because I knew what I wanted to become: I wanted to become a winner. I knew I wasn’t a winner just yet, but I knew that I was giving it my best shot, and I was on my way to become one.