(for Ka Loren and Brainteaser, whoever you are...)
I never realized that some statements I wrote with the frenzy of fingers in a mad rush to write a comment on the nostalgic piece of a former student on his remembered life in the walled world of the seminary would make sense for another blogger who responded with sensitivity to the comments that took on a life of their own away from—and autonomous of—yours truly the writer.
But the statements work their magic, some would say, and one Brainteaser, a blogger, says s/he likes the twists and the turns of the phrases that came from those fingers when one hour between breaks of lectures on the filmic possibilities of a people's revolution, I sat on my computer and catatonically wrote what came to mind, the small truth of the moment more important than anything else. And for a small-time, small-town writer on the lookout for the first affirmation early in the morning when blog opening is akin to early prayers for the early hours of the morning--those matins of birds that talk of dawns breaking in the summer sunshine--such a comment was a salve. It still is--and the kinship in language is forever sealed with all the Brainteasers of the world.
These days, the blogging world—the world we call virtual, cyber, and some other techie terms—opens up a world for us to explore and see and experience, a world of expansiveness, with the consciousness going way beyond the comfortable and convenient boundaries we have always known, much not unlike the comfortable and convenient logic we have always used to argue for the case of our comfortable and convenient existence that is as middle class as the Pharisees and the Sadducees of the Old and the New Testament combined, what with their luxury of abstraction about the coming of either the Son of God, or a prophet, or a mere messenger of the Good News.
Or this new world—brave and brutal as it is—is not new at all, as we have always known that there are other worlds out there whose horizons we have yet to grasp and grapple.
In the faraway lands that have claimed our everyday lives, this virtual world could signal emptiness. Or vacuity of the soul no one can ever understand as we keep trying to pursue some ways to fill up that world only to end up with some other vacuities that are both familiar and strange.
The thing is: we create and recreate each day out of the nothingness of our empty lives—empty because we are everywhere and we are nowhere, and as such, our roots reside, tentatively and constantly, in that territory where there is that recognizable and palpable restlessness of our soul. This is, indeed, the cyberspace world, and memory takes up our cause, that memory that remembers or makes us remember the many things that we have left behind like the scent of burned human skin and flesh one morning when salvaging—or summary execution in the early days of EDSA People Power when then President Corazon Aquino had all the power of the pulpit and the freedom constitution to reform the cancerous society we incidentally call the Philippines.
Her daughter, then in her grade school twinkle-twinkle hairdo, came to cut the ceremonial ribbon that would pave the way for awakened seminarians to come and say, Here, here I am, Lord, I come to do your will, and before the altar would frustrate themselves and offer everything they have got including their nothingness and being ala Jean Paul Sartre. The seminary ritual is one of self-oblation as is the ritual of the cyberworld. It is a box of chocolates, Forrest Gump says so, and indeed, it really is, what with priests and their allies always on the lookout for the dregs so these priests could have a reason to exist and for those dirty and drunken dragons lurking in seminary closets so they could have a reason to redeem. Here—in the cyberworld and in the seminary--you get to meet anonymity including yourself.
But it is one anonymity that sometimes hits you so darn hard you want to cry a river—or an ocean—depending on the severity of that sorrow that visits you while you state blankly on a screen that is so blank with emptiness and yet seducing you to keep going with the pointless attempt to clone your mind so that those who are like you might discover some of the sparks of being kindred in that sorrow all sorrowing people ought to know.
And so, here is my comment to that blog entry of a former student who has remained faithful to the cause of social justice, to the struggle to make our life in the islands of the Philippines better: “But those were the best of our days, I suppose, when the beautiful were in the contradictions we saw, in the conflicted lives we lived, in the poems of radicalism we wrote, and when salvaging was common in the hills of that seminary (where the priests-to-be studied their Coppleston and Glen and Summa Theologica and metaphysics and the dread of living. But there is hope in Marcel as in the Marx you know before the Marxists would mangle him, including those from the Philippines who called themselves communists). The guns fired against the helpless would signal the crack of dawn, and would crack the dark silence of the hills.”
That inaugurated a response that made me realize how words could be so charmingly powerful as to invite action and reflection from others.
I thank Florentino Lorenzana and the fans of his blog—hanseman.wordpress.com—for this miraculous opportunity to take part in the making and remaking of the cyberworld.
Honolulu, HI/ September 26, 2008