Tuesday, August 10, 2004

The Lens of the Past

As a kid, I was baffled at the reaction many people had when it came to Imelda Marcos. They claimed that she was beautiful. All I saw was a fat, pimply lady with too much make-up in formal gowns. It was like a scene from The Emperor's New Clothes. Except I kept my opinions to myself.

A decade and a half down the line, I never seemed to question why people had those impressions. Sure, I heard that she was a former beauty pageant winner, but that was in the past. Age finally caught up to her, but when Filipinos look at her, why is it that they look as if she was still sixteen?

Personally, my mental image of myself is not the youth that I was or the man that I will be but my present state. Then again, I'm not exactly vain. Although certainly, my perception of other people vary; certain friends, for example, either look better or I just ignore their physical failings. Of course this perception is biased, mainly because the more you get to know someone you like, the more you look forward to seeing and meeting them. Or more importantly, it's the person's character that interests me more than their physical appearance.

Of course Imelda Marcos is not without her fans. In fact, I've heard lots of stories that even her critics are charmed the moment they meet her. Is it simply because of that, because of her charm? Or the fact that she's a celebrity? That she was once First Lady? Or of all the good (because as much as they did some horrible things, they also did perform acts that were beneficial to the country) that she did in the past? Or were people merely staring at the shoes and complementing them instead of her?


My current philosophy in life is about balance. Not too bad, but not too good either. A certain amount of law, and a certain amount of chaos. I mean the human person is a dichotomy of a lot of things; that's why we categorize most things in opposites. But I recognize that opposites are part of who we are. Submitting to the extremes of one is not our way, but finding the right amount of balance between the two is.

Of course my balance is not a universal balance. Each one must discover his/her own equilibrum. My proportions of a certain something is different from yours. It could be as mundane as finding the right proportions of sugar and concentrate in ice tea, to something as complex as finding the right characteristics in your life-long partner (if any).

Simlarly, my balance is not necessarily "balance" all the time but could be a constant state of flux. Good times will follow the bad, for example, and vice versa; tranquility before confusion, confusion after tranquility. To live in a state that is constant would be terribly boring, and would deaden certain senses. I mean relief is only possible because of pain. Joy could also placed in the light that it exists because of the absence of pain. Too little pain and what would be bliss to another person would be "normal" to you.

Change is also taken into account. The balance that I have now is not neccessarily the balance I'll need tomorrow. The search for this harmonious state is also in flux, and finding it is not the key to eternal happiness (since that's more of leaning towards one philosphy rather than a balance), but the key to living out true to the human experience (the good along with the bad).


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