Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sabong, superstitions etc.

I saw my neighbor sitting while holding a twig. He was sitting and twirling the twig as if he was conducting an invisible orchestra. Curious, I went nearer for a look. I thought he was going nuts or something; he was not. Partially hidden by the leaves was a fighting cock. He was training his fighting cock. Maybe because I go to work everyday, I hadn’t seen him doing this ritual every morning. 

Raising and training fighting cocks is a serious and    multi million peso business here in the Philippines.

A couple of years ago on a Sunday morning, I was riding on a jeepney and beside me was a man with a fighting cock, a sabungero. He was talking animatedly with the driver about bets, odds and money. As the vehicle was cruising it met a funeral procession. The men became quiet. The look on the sabungero’s   face became sullen. He looked at the driver and said, “I hope we pass by a church with a wedding, or we meet a wedding vehicle.” Sabungeros have their own superstitious beliefs. Some of these beliefs are so strong that they would not even proceed to the arena when they met bad omens along the way. I could  see both the dirver and the sabungero scanning peering and looking and searching for good omens that would neutralize the funeral march. 

I do not believe in superstitions for they are illogical. They have no basis in reason and even in faith because most of them are obviously ridiculous and inane. But belief in superstitions does have power over the believer both psychological and supernatural. I have seen people literally get sick because they did not ask permission from a tree or a molehill when they pass by. Of course, the sickness may be explained medically but these people’s beliefs are so strong that they really get sick and medicine have little or no effect on them.  What's strange is that albukaryo's spells and cures do help them in most cases.

These  symptoms are really   psychosomatic in nature—it’s the mind fooling the body but its still they affect the believer so strongly. Really, superstitions are not harmless. They are to a certain level mental diseases.


What is the most important thing in the world? What is it that we seek?

I read an essay telling that what we, human beans, really want is peace of mind. All our religions, all our struggles, all our philosophical wonderings and meandering,  etc. are really geared  and expressions towards achieving “peace of mind.” In religion, all we are just beings seeking this state of bliss a state of eternal serenity. The essay goes on to say that if we all understand that we could achieve peace of mind in our own varied ways then there would be peace. Of course this idea is not new. This age, the post modern era, has made subjectivity diversity as one of its distinctive as oppose to the earlier eras where there were a lot of hang ups.

Anyway, if this all we need, if peace of mind is all humanity wants, then why not espouse suicide? 

What humanity is really searching is meaning. What needs explanation is what in the world are we doing here and why are we here. As long as this question is not answered, peace of mind will escape humanity’s grasps. 

Even religion at its limits could not offer anything except peace of mind. Hmmm…the circle begins again. 

Of course greater minds have explored and proposed answers to this question but still answers are inadequate. 

Maybe it’s the mystery; it’s the insolubility of the question that makes our life as it is. Hrrrrrmmmmmmm…

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