Thursday, December 28, 2006


Wandered onto today and it looks interesting. I like the fact that users get free Wikis as well.

I'm not entirely sure how I would use it, though. It appears that each user can only create one blog, so I wouldn't be able to create separate blogs for each class unless I had several usernames.

The Wiki is very promising, though. I may use it for my students' ALTP project next semester. Hmmm. I'll have to think about it some more.

Any suggestions? How might philosophy instructors use blogs and wikis?

Update, 2 January 2007: Today I found through a link on

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas holiday book purchase

We went to Fully Booked yesterday and Mike bought me this:

I'll let you know how it is.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The age of consent

This chart makes it appear that the Philippines has one of the lowest ages of sexual consent in the world. (This document places it at 18 but doesn't cite the law.)

It's a little more complex than that, though. There are various laws protecting persons under twelve and under eighteen from sexual abuse.

Let me preface all this by saying I'm no lawyer. Nonetheless, here's what I understand.

First, there is the law on statutory rape, which essentially says that any form of sex with anyone under the age of twelve is automatically a crime. The penalty is quite stiff in the Philippines: life imprisonment to death.

Secondly, sexual contact with anyone from twelve to seventeen for money or renumeration is also a crime.

Third, there is also a sexual harrassment law which criminalizes the requirement of sexual favors by a person in authority of his or her subordinate.

But what about consensual sex from ages to twelve to seventeen? Well here's where it appears to get more tricky. I haven't found any clear laws specifically pertaining to this, but the closest I could find was a law on seduction (click here then scroll down until you get to Michelle Basco's article).

According to this law, it is a crime to deceive (for example, with promises of marriage) or abuse one's authority, confidence, or relationship in order to gain the consent of a female (not male) to have sex, if she is: (a) from thirteen to seventeen-years-old, and (b) a virgin or a woman "of good reputation."

There does not seem to be any similar law for males nor for teenage women who are not "of good reputation."

If, then, this indeed is the only law directly pertaining to consensual sex involving teenagers from twelve to seventeen, I find it disturbing.

On the one hand, I know that the lack of legislation regarding this is partly cultural and historical. During my grandmothers' time, a lot of girls married in their early teens. Only in my lifetime was was the marrying age raised to eighteen (with parental consent, twenty-one with parental advice, twenty-five without parental consent nor advice).

Nonetheless, I think that there should be more protection for teenagers from being taken advantage of by adults, and I do think that there ought to be clearer laws in this regard.

First, I do think that the age of consent be raised. Another possibility would be to put some kind of "middle ground" put for statutory rape with a milder penalty, when, for example, the victim is between twelve and fourteen. (In some countries, for example, the penalty for this would be a minimum of ten years' imprisonment.)

Secondly, I've noticed that some countries have laws that adjust the penalty according to the age difference among the two parties. Perhaps something similar should be done in the Philippines. For example, maybe when the younger party is beyond the age of fourteen, the other person needn't be penalized if the age difference is five years or less, but perhaps there should be a penalty when the other person is more than five years older than the younger person. (I.e., it could be that consensual sex between a fourteen-year-old and a seventeen-year-old would not be criminalized, but consensual sex between a fourteen-year-old and a twenty-one-year-old would.)


Update: I mentioned my thoughts to a friend of mine who is studying law, and he disagrees with me.

Also, the idea of setting the age of consent at twelve actually comes from British Common Law, under which it became a criminal act to "ravish" a girl under the age of twelve.

Hmmm. I still think that the case of a fifty-year-old male who has consensual sex with a thirteen-year-old (whether male or female) should automatically be considered a criminal act, even if the sex was consensual. And the fact is, the current laws do not seem to cover such a case. If they really do love each other, they can wait until the younger person is a little older.

Interesting links

The assymetry of the universe

Review of a book on Mao Zedong

Review of a book on regional accents

The Laguna Copperplate Inscription" a 1100-year-old piece of copper that threatens to challenge much of what we have learned about pre-colonial Philippine history


In the past few years, discussions about China have primarily focused on its economic growth. Most have forgotten the China of 1989, of political repression, and the fight for political freedom.

This article argues, however, that the China that the world glimpsed at Tiananmen Square is still very much alive, though in a somewhat different form. No common cause binds together today's dissenters as it did at Tiananmen, but protest--against any kind of abuse, whether from the party, from company bosses--appears to have become a way of life for many Chinese, probably even moreso now then then, with the advent of new communications technologies that give citizens new channels to express their unrest.

Protests have not only become bigger in size; they are now more numerous. In 1994, there were 10,000 such “mass incidents”; by 2003 there were 58,000; in 2004 and 2005 there were 74,000 and 87,000 respectively. This is according to official statistics, which undoubtedly undercount. According to the legal activist Jerome Cohen, a truer figure for the last year may be 150,000.

Virtually every segment in society (except, of course, senior Communist leaders and wealthy entrepreneurs) is participating in these public demonstrations. Almost anything, whether or not it is a genuine grievance, can trigger a sit-in, demonstration, or riot against party officials, village bosses, tax collectors, factory owners, or township cadres. Yet most observers still do not attach real significance to these protests—no doubt because, apart from a general desire for fair treatment, no common complaint or cause appears to bind them together.

Author Gordon Chang challenges the notion that economic stability can be a substitute for political freedom, even on the local or organizational level:

As Tocqueville observed, “steadily increasing prosperity” does not tranquilize citizens; on the contrary, it promotes “a spirit of unrest.” In pre-revolutionary France, discontent was highest in those areas that had seen the greatest improvement; the Revolution itself followed a period of unprecedented economic advance. In the late 20th century, the same trends played out in Thailand, in South Korea, and in Taiwan.

In China today, it is middle-class citizens, the beneficiaries of a quarter-century of economic reform, who are once again confirming the pattern. In Shanghai, homeowners recently fought a state-owned developer who had reneged on his agreement to keep an area of open land in the middle of a multi-building project; one group of residents tore down a fence to stop construction, and when the developer put up another, an even larger group demolished it. In Dongzhou in prosperous Guangdong province, riot police ended up killing perhaps as many as twenty people who were protesting the government’s arbitrary seizure of their land for a power project and denying them the use of a nearby lake.

This is not like Tiananmen. In 1989, Chinese protesters were peaceful until attacked. Those in Dongzhou, however, used pipe bombs as an initial tactic, to break up police formations. In present-day China, the well-to-do act like hooligans, and will even resort to deadly force, if that is what it takes to defend their rights.

Deng Xiaoping’s strategy after Tiananmen was to buy off the people by means of economic growth. It was successful, but only for a decade. Change begat the demand for more change. Grievances that were once tolerable began to appear intolerable when people realized they could be remedied. Since the end of the 1990’s, the laobaixing are no longer, to borrow one of Mao’s favorite phrases, “poor and blank.”

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The "original" Malays?

Interesting Wikipedia excerpt:

In the Philippines, many Filipinos consider the term "Malay" to refer to the indigenous population of the country as well as the population of neighboring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. This misconception is due in part to American anthropologists H. Otley Beyer who proposed that the Filipinos were actually Malays who migrated from Malaysia and Indonesia. This idea was in turn propagated by Filipino historians and is still taught in schools. However, the prevalent consensus among contemporary anthropologists, archaeologists, and linguists actually proposes the reverse; namely that the Malays of Malaysia and Indonesia originally migrated south from the Philippines during the prehistoric period. Among these are scholars in the field of Austronesian studies such as Peter Bellwood, Robert Blust, Malcolm Ross, Andrew Pawley, and Lawrence Reid.

I don't know if this is true, but it's an interesting thought, isn't it?

Sunday, November 26, 2006

TM kooperatiba

I wasn't paying attention, but I caught a Touch Mobile TV commercial offering a special service for cooperatives. Sounds like an interesting concept.


This different way of teaching Thanksgiving makes one wonder how a community's rituals ought to be taught.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Fr. Danny's talk.

Fr. Danny Huang, SJ, the Philippine provincial of the Jesuits, gave the faculty a talk yesterday about what it means for Ateneo de Manila to be a Jesuit, Catholic university in this day and age.

As one could expect from Fr. Danny, it was a very good talk; the complexities were well-articulated and his ideas were nuanced and forceful.

First he emphasized that the Jesuit's educational apostolate is only one among its many apostolates.

Second, he talked about Paul's letter to Philemon and reflected about how that letter demonstrates how Christ had transformed the world in that Christ's message allowed for a new way of looking at property, at freedom, at social justice, at money, at persons.

The Church's mission is not expansion, he emphasized, but the redemption of history. It is (and this is my rephrasing) the creation of a new world order in every and all areas of human life, such that the world here may begin to look more like the Kingdom of God. In my own words again: the Church seeks not to increase in number, but to transform the world. (Something that one can only understand, I think, when one stops seeing the Church as "a denomination.")

In this sense, the Church sharply rejects the privatization of faith, the notion that faith is something that is articulated and experienced only in one's private life.

What, then, does it mean to be a Catholic university?

Again, my rephrasing: it is not merely a question of adding a Catholic element (such as theology classes or a campus ministry) to the work of a university, more than that and more importantly, it is to be a university in a way that is oriented to the redemption of history.

It is to form and educate the youth as mature Catholics or at least mature Christians or at least youths with a mature sense of the transcendent, young people, then, who emerge from university "with their hearts transformed and their freedom reoriented." It is to prepare our students as future professionals -- but to do this in a way that has been touched by the mission of building the Kingdom of God here on earth. In other words, it is to form students to be citizens and professionals for service and (if you prefer) nation-building. It is to do research that reflects on questions in light of God's mission to redeem history, drawing from the Catholic tradition of wisdom in an integrated and appropriate way. It is to be, as an institution, a witness to and advocate of the message of the Gospel in society and the world.

To be a Catholic university, then, does not make the university less of a university in the interest of becoming more Catholic. Moreover, being a Catholic university is not to become a monastery, or a seminary, or an NGO. (Again, the university is just one among the many apostolates of the Jesuits, and for that matter, just one sector in the entire world that the Church seeks to transform.)

To be a Catholic university is to be a university, a good university, an excellent university, in a thoroughly Catholic way. (My own reflection: in the same way that to be a Catholic person is to allow the Gospel to transform and reorient my entire human life, to be a Catholic university is to allow the Gospel to transform and reorient its being a university.)

Fr. Danny ended with some reflections on the realities within which the university must discern on the best way to proceed in this. Some of those realities including the diminishing number of Jesuits in the province, the increasing pluralism in society and among our students and faculty. Given this, the university must discern how to accomplish this task appropriately. Some of the questions raised in the open forum articulated this more specifically: the university must discern, for example, when it is best to explicitly label its work as "Catholic" and when it is appropriate to be more implicit; it must discern which practices and symbols to publicly express; it must discern how to dialogue with other faiths in a way that is true to its Catholicism yet also ecumenical and non-exclusive in spirit.

Truly, it was an excellent, thought-provoking talk.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Sorry for the rant.

Newsweek featured a story last issue about the "veil debate" ongoing in Europe. One quote from Jack Straw bothered me. In stating his arguments against the face-covering Muslim veil, he said something about how people communicate with one another not only verbally but also visually: "You not only hear what people say, but you also see what they mean."

I have a huge problem with this argument. If you ask a Muslim woman to remove her veil because it is a visual meaning that you are uncomfortable with, at what point will it end? The long curls of an Orthodox Jewish rabbi have visual meaning too--is that what is next to go? The sari of an Indian woman is a visual meaning too--will you ask Indian women to change their dress? Or how about the turban of a Sikh man? What's next? The traditional garb of an Irish man? The same can be said even for the color of my hair, the color of my eyes, the color of my skin, the shape of my nose. When you see all those and know that I am, say, "Filipino," is that also not a "meaning" that you must learn to contend with? Are you next going to ask all ethnic minorities to bleach their skin, dye their hair, get noselifts to make their noses more Western?

What is the issue, really? Rectify the names. Is it really the veil? Or is it your discomfort at immigration? At the end of the day, you just don't like to be reminded that there are all these "different" people? Your imperial past is haunting you now.

Jack Straw said that the veil "separates people." By all means, if we truly believe in a multicultural society, then let us please, please be separated, by the diversity of our faiths, of our ethnicities, of our individual perspectives. This is the 21st century. Surely by now we should've learned to celebrate diversity. And then let us find unity within that diversity, not at its expense. Malaysia and Singapore might not yet have experienced perfect integration, but I do feel that their example is something the Western European countries can learn from.

In the past century, women have fought to wear trousers. People in colonized countries have fought to wear their traditional dress. Ironic that now, faithful Muslim women should have to fight for their right to wear a veil.

A just society is a society where, as Arendt said, we are both gathered and separated: separated by our individual views, where no single person is forced to be homogeneous with the other. And gathered by our common interests.

Some Arendtian critiques I'd like to work on.

Arendt's critique of Marx

... can be summed up in these two excerpts, one referring to the problem of labor, the other referring to the problem of history:

To put it another way: while others were concerned with this or that right of the laboring class, Marx already foresaw the time when, not this class, but the consciousness that corresponded to it, and to its importance for society as a whole, would decree that no one would have any rights, not even the right to stay alive, who was not a laborer. The result of this process of course has not been the elimination of all other occupations, but the reinterpretation of all human activities as laboring activities....

For Hegel, thinking historically, the meaning of a story can emerge only when it has come to an end. End and truth have become identical; truth appears when everything is at its end, which is to say when and only when the end is near can we learn the truth. In other words, we pay for truth with the living impulse that imbues an era, although of course not necessarily with our own lives.

-- from here.

It just occurred to me that anyone who quotes Marx but doesn't know Hegel, doesn't really know the full implications of Marx.


Arendt's view of 20th century totalitarianism

... as an evil that surpasses our traditional moral standards

The thread of our tradition, in the sense of a continuous history, broke only with the emergence of totalitarian institutions and policies that no longer could be comprehended through the categories of traditional thought. These unprecedented institutions and policies issued in crimes that cannot be judged by traditional moral standards, or punished within the existing legal framework of a civilization whose juridical cornerstone had been the command Thou shalt not kill.

I think that this element in Arendt may address what I perceive to be a weakness in Levinas. Levinas appears to place the locus of ethics only in the indvidual subject. However, if we admit to the possiblity of "structural sin," then is it not also possible to speak of a structural ethics? Levinas does not appear to address that.

Leninist Marxism tried to but ended up with a "structural ethics" that goes against the ethics of the individual subject.

We return again to Ricoeur's problem of the socius and the neighbor.

Professor Emeriti

Two of my teachers were conferred with the title of Professor Emeritus last night.

From one, I learned clarity--that the minute you find yourself obfuscating your ideas in highfalutin words, you are no longer thinking. He is also my model for equanimity, for patience with and respect for students, and for, despite his achievements and wisdom, always maintaining a humble sense of wonder at all things new.

Mula naman sa kabila, natutunan kong mag-isip nang tunay at buhay, at hindi lamang magsuka ng mga salita. Ginising niya ako sa kalaliman ng ating wika. At higit sa lahat, natutunan ko mula sa kanyang mga salita, buhay, at pagkatao, na maging mas mapagkumbabang mag-aaral ng pilosopo, mas mapagkalingang guro, mas mapagtiwalang Kristiyano, at mas mabuting tao.

Future reads.

Fareed Zakaria's book. I read his column weekly (and don't always agree with him). I wonder what he said in this book.

Something about Keynes.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Deng Xiaoping, Asian Filipino Values

A theme which was present in both my colleague's and my presentations at the last Colloquium was the notion of creating a social justice framework that springs from our own culture (rather than imposing foreign--whether capitalist or socialist--models that might be incompatible with our culture).

Tonight I was reading about Deng Xiaoping on Wikipedia, and I came across these paragraphs:
Unlike Hua Guofeng, Deng believed that no policy should be rejected out of hand simply for not having been associated with Mao, and unlike more conservative leaders such as Chen Yun, Deng did not object to policies on the grounds that they were similar to ones which were found in capitalist nations.

Although Deng provided the theoretical background and the political support to allow economic reform to occur, few of the economic reforms that Deng introduced were originated by Deng himself. Typically a reform would be introduced by local leaders, often in violation of central government directives. If successful and promising, these reforms would be adopted by larger and larger areas and ultimately introduced nationally. Many other reforms were influenced by the experiences of the East Asian Tigers.

For all of Deng's faults, his pragmatic way of approaching reforms--not immediately accepting or rejecting them simply because they fit or didn't fit the ideology--interests me.

The Arendtian in me finds that very practical. (For Arendt the fundamental error of the totalitarian governments was their insistence on forcing reality to fit the closed logic of their ideologies.)

Hmmm. While "Asian values" as defined by Lee Kwan Yew are actually Confucian values (and not Filipino values), I'm interested in how a debate on "Filipino values" in national economics would go.


Reading a Wikipedia article can be quite funny. Most of a paragraph seems to flow quite well, then suddenly you stumble upon a sentence in a different voice that was obviously added by someone else.

I wonder what would happen if Wikipedia were aural instead of written. Imagine if each person who contributed to a Wikipedia article actually read what he/she contributed in his/her own voice. That would be quite interesting!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

There's no such thing as a free lunch.

Sorry, but I'm going to make a quick rant.

Sometimes I wonder ....


At yesterday's talk, one of my colleagues said that education in Germany is free.

Later, during the discussion, I said, "Education in Germany is not free. You pay for it through your taxes."

Another colleague, who had studied in Europe said, "Oh but when I was there I was as a student so I didn't pay taxes."

I was puzzled. But you did pay taxes! Every time that you went out and bought food at the grocery or ate at a restaurant or paid your bills, a significant percentage of that went to the government coffers which provide for, among other things, the education of the populace.

Second anecdote. Many months ago I was at a meeting about social justice at school. A colleague recounted to me the story of a friend of hers, a lawyer, whom she was trying to get involved in some manner of political action. My colleague was annoyed at her friend for "not being involved" in nation-building. Her friend said, "I am involved. I pay my taxes in their entirety, and religiously. Almost forty percent of my income goes to the country." My colleague was recounting this story with incredulity, as if to say, "I can't believe that she thinks she's doing something for the country simply because she's paying her taxes!"

Well, duh. I do think it's noble to be involved politically in a way that transcends paying one's taxes but at the same time, her lawyer-friend did have a point.


Of course I'm aware that corruption in government muddles the whole discussion of taxation. But the fact of corruption shouldn't impede us from talking about the extremely basic issue of taxation.

Social services don't grow on trees.

Monday, November 20, 2006

New Atheism

I'm surprised that Arts and Letters Daily didn't pick up this essay on the so-called "New Atheism."

Our department chair forwarded us the link to the essay a few days ago, but I didn't read it until after my husband prodded me to listen to a Wired podcast that was made as a follow-up to the article. Interesting stuff. Now I have something to discuss with my classes on Wednesday.

Social Justice in the Philippines

I was one of three presentors at today's Philosophy Department colloquium entitled "Social Justice: A European-Philippine Dialogue." My Swiss colleague talked about the German economic system; another colleague talked about a conference he attended in Spain which explored third world conceptions of social justice.

I asked the question, "Ano ba ang kahulugan ng 'katarungang panlipunan' para sa mga Pilipino?"

My discussion had three parts.

Una, sinabi ko na ang mga pamantayan natin ng katarungang panlipunan ay pawang nagmumula sa mga dayuhan. I mentioned the Philippine poverty threshold and the UN measures as examples. I qualified this, of course, by saying that I agree that these are useful indices. However, I also asked whether Filipinos are actually able to articulate why these indices point to an "injustice" and what ideal of "social justice" they really desire.

Second, I proposed that we academicians should strive to articulate the Filipino understanding of "katarungang panlipunan." I shared my own initial reflections on the topic by going through a quick review of Philippine history of the last 120 years and by articulating four themes which I feel Filipinos have identified as their conception of a just society. (1) The revolutionary movement of the late 19th century equated social justice with anti-colonialism. (2) The influx of Marxist ideas beginning from the 1940s with the PKP and renewed in the 1960s with the foundation of the CPP introduced the concept of social justice as economic equality. (3) The changing global economic landscape and local political landscape of the 1980s shifted the concept of social justice from economic equality to upward social mobility. (4) Globalization and the expanding diaspora beginning from the 1990s shifted the attitude towards other nations from anti-colonialism to the desire to be able to compete globally with other nations not only economically but culturally as well (hence the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon?).

Third, I criticized the shifts in conceptions of social justice as being historical accidents rather than products of critical thought. I pointed out how, in the last decade, there has barely been any debate or discussion in our dominant public spheres that has explored whether upward social mobility and global competitiveness are the best standards of social justice; and what measures ought to be taken to achieve authentic social justice. Political punditry in the last decade, I pointed out, has largely been limited to reactions to scandals and events involving individual persons, and has not expanded into a more critical discussion of economic systems and policies. I mentioned some possible reasons for this (e.g., the collapse of communism and our personalist political culture), and said that we academicians should take on the task of transforming the kind of political discussion that takes place in the public sphere.


Monday, November 06, 2006


I had a few interesting thoughts over the week.


A few days ago, I was at a meeting with some colleagues and we began discussing technological advances. I began to notice that my colleagues were much more suspicious about "progress" than I was. I myself recognize that not all scientific and technological progress is used in a helpful manner; I recognize that it can be and has been distorted and has harmed humans in many ways. However, I do not think this distortion is innate to technology; I do feel that on the whole scientific and technological progress opens up potential for the good, and that, if harnessed properly, can be helpful rather than harmful to humanity.

This led to my question: Why do I appear to have a more optimistic view of progress and history than many of my colleagues do?

My tentative answer, after some reflection, is this (and don't laugh): I truly think it's because I'm a woman. Woman's history is a history of progress: Women have fought for emancipation and they are finally, little by little winning. Very few women can honestly say that it was better to be a woman a hundred years ago, or three hundred years ago, or five hundred years ago, than it is today. I think that men view history differently, however.


Over the weekend, I read up a little on the Waldorf educational system, prompted by a discussion with a colleague who was Waldorf-educated all through elementary and high school. There are aspects of the Waldorf educational system that I find very attractive--the respect for each child, the emphasis on art and on holistic development, etc.

However, one aspect of the Waldorf educational system that I am less comfortable with (and this is where my discussion with my colleague headed) was (again) the very high levels of suspicion regarding technology. I tried to understand more the rules in Waldorf schools about not allowing children below the age of seven to look at "moving pictures" (such as television or videos) and the hesitation even that they look at pictures at all (such that stories are recited orally to students). My colleague explained that this had to do with Steiner's concern that moving pictures would hinder the child's development of his imagination.

On the one hand, I do understand Steiner's point, but I also wondered whether there was a uncalled for bias against pictures. Might it not be possible, I suggested, that pictures also help to stimulate a different kind of imagination? Perhaps an emphathetic or emotional imagination?, I suggested.

The other thing is not being allowed to read until you're seven. I can't imagine that.


I worked in broadcast journalism for a short time, and I can clearly pinpoint in my mind the two moments in my life when I first felt the compulsion to do so.

The first when I was around six or seven years old. I was living in Singapore at the time, and I watched a documentary on television about child abuse in Singapore. I remember being extremely affected by what I had watched, and to this day, the images I saw on television and the interviews with child abuse survivors that I listened to stand out among my many memories of being a child in Singapore. I feel now as I did then that that watching that documentary: (1) exposed me to an issue I had no other way to learn about as a six-/seven-year-old child, (2) was a moment that helped me to develop an empathetic imagination for people in a situation different form mine, and (3) made me believe in the power of mass media to expose, to educate, to inform, and most of all, to open people's minds.

The second moment was when I was around eight years old, in the midst of the Ethiopian famine. Again, the images of the Ethiopian famine that I saw on television altered the way that I looked at the world. To this day, they remain the archetypal images in my mind of how dire poverty can be, of how forgotten certain sectors of the human race can be, and also of how much power mass media has to bring to light problems and issues that demand our attention.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Does Wikipedia work?

Here's an interesting story. A SUNY Buffalo academic wrote various bits of false information on Wikipedia, some easier to fact-check than others. Guess how long it took before the information was corrected?

Take a guess ... then read the article to find out if you were right.

What makes the Internet different from traditional tri-media?

- No single entity owns it; no single entity controls it. There are no programming managers or station owners to decide what gets "aired" and what doesn't. And it eludes censorship more than any other medium.

- Related to the previous point, the amount of "airtime" is infinite. Infinite viewpoints. Infinite voices. A teenager's blog can exist side by side with BBC News.

- More conducive to interaction and discussion. (Compare any bulletin board with any phone-in radio or TV show.) In some ways it allows for more discussion than even face-to-face meetings, because it transcends geographic limitations (more than all other media as well), and people don't even have to be in the same time zone.

- It'll only get cheaper and more accessible, while TV spots are only getting more expensive. In major cities in the Philippines, it now only costs P15 for an hour of high-speed broadband Internet use in an Internet cafe, and that price is only going to go down.

- The number of people that access tri-media is going down. The number of people using the Internet is going up. The most recent McCann study shows that urban Philippine teenagers don't read newspapers or watch traditional TV as much anymore; they get both their news and entertainment from the Internet.

- While it is currently limited by mobility (up until now you still need to be in front of a computer to use the Internet), as the technology improves, it will only become more mobile.

Of course it has it's limits. For the most part, it's only available where the necessary infrastructure (electricity, for example) is available. But similar limitations affect traditional tri-media as well.



My husband is one of the country's experts on Internet marketing; he is also one of the founders and the current GM of the most successful Internet bulletin board in the country, that also happens to be the most succesful non-news Philippine website. He is, in addition, in charge of ad sales for the Filipinos' favorite social networking site.

Both of us are fascinated with but realistic about the possibilities that the Internet provides. As an economics graduate who is very much interested in culture, he's been spending the last five years or so observing and analyzing how the Internet is gradually transforming the marketplace. As a political philosopher who is also very much interested in culture, I've been wondering what effect the Internet might also have on our public spaces.

The Marketplace

My husband, of course, has already accumulated lot of data about how the Internet has already been transforming the marketplace. Neither of us think that the Internet is going to make brick-and-mortar stores obsolete any time soon (as some people have exaggerated). However, the way that commerce on the Internet works does seem to be somewhat different from the way it works in the brick-and-mortar world. Instead of only buying the most popular, the most marketed, the most advertised goods online, people appear to take a relatively more active role in purchasing and looking also for books that might not necessarily be on the bestseller list, looking also for films or video that did not have the same multi-million marketing budget that Hollywood films had (a phenomenon that has launched an interesting debate about "The Long Tail", the shift from mass markets to niche markets--a view that I think is a little extreme in some respects but quite insightful). Instead of being taken just by the flashiest ads, consumers use the Internet to look for information and reviews about the computer, the car, the gadget, or the cellphone that they're interested in. And in that way, more power is put into the hands of the consumers; the most famous story is of how a defect in a Pentium chip was discovered by a consumer, how information about the defect was spread through the Internet, and about how this forced Intel to launch the first mass recall of computer chips in the history. Ethically-minded consumers in the UK visit Ethiscore to find out information that will not be voluntarily provided by companies: how they do in terms of fair trade, animal welfare, and environmental responsibility.

The stories abound, and most of you are probably familiar with them. One of the most viewed You Tube videos are home made videos made by a pair of Japanese teenagers in their college dorm. You Tube itself and Google before it, are stories of how the little person with limited resources can become a major player in the Internet marketplace. And then of course, there is my favorite story of all, the story of Open Source. (Mozilla rules!)

This is not to say that the Internet is a magical balm for the problems of the market. But to brush aside the very real changes in the marketplace that the Internet is introducing would be foolish.

Public Space

Which leads to my own question, regarding the Internet and public space. There are quite a lot of problems with viewing the Internet in this light, because, first of all, it is not one space, but a multiplicity of spaces where people congregate among other users with similar interests. For the most part, then, the Internet is actually a multiplicity of largely private spaces: a small group here of online friends who read one another's blogs, a small group there of World of Warcraft fanatics who frequent the same bulletin board, and so forth ....

But there are a few phenomena that I want to think about which I think point to the possibilities of how the Internet might affect our public spaces.

One is the rise of the public blogger. A few weeks ago, a book was published of the collected blog entries of "Batjay", a rather popular blogger who writes about his experiences being an overseas Filipino, first in Singapore, now in the United States. Several months ago, the Philippine Star introduced their new regular columnist, "Sassy Lawyer", a lawyer and mother who was "discovered" through her popular blog where she comments on news and public affairs. Both Batjay and Sassy Lawyer became popular bloggers not because of any social network of powerful people, nor because of any extraordinary educational credentials, but simply because, for whatever reason, people liked their blogs. More and more people linked to them from their own blogs. And then finally, the publishers of books and newspapers took notice. The rise of public bloggers is an interesting phenomena which is very different from the way that pundits ordinarily become public thinkers in the traditional tri-media.

There are other interesting phenomena as well, such as the increase of eyewitness accounts to newsworthy events. Just twenty years ago, when a big event happened--a bomb blast, for example--news organizations would send a single journalist to the site and the entire event would be reported from his perspective and the perspective of the few people that he had the chance to interview. Today, when a bomb goes off, what happens is you have hundreds of people directly affected by the bomb blast, all living within its locality, typing on their blogs their own eyewitness accounts, uploading their own videos to You Tube, uploading their own photos to Flickr. The news reports that do come out on official news websites are no longer dependent on the journalists who managed to make the trip to the site, but they draw also from accounts of bloggers, You Tube and Flickr users.

And there's more that I have yet to think about.

Again, I don't think that any of this spells the end of the newspaper or of the television news organization. But I think that there is something about the logistics of the Internet that does have some real impact on our public spaces.

(And if I may just add, I think that the whole radical postmodern deconstructionist reading of how the Internet is going to destroy the meaning of the "self" is just a little ... well ... silly. Gaya ng sinabi ni Padre Ferriols sa isang panayam, ang tao ay maaaring magpanggap kahit nasa harapan mo na siya. Even on the Internet, one isn't completely "disembodied." And deceptive portrayals of the self are a decision that a person makes whether he is sitting in front of you or communicating with you via YM; such deception is not a direct product of being in a "noncorporeal" universe.)

Thursday, October 26, 2006


If I were to teach history to undergrads, I'd teach classes by focusing on the development of one mundane item--like a class entitled "The History of Philippine Footwear," for example--and use that as a take-off point to discuss the changes in society through the centuries.

And that's why i really enjoy articles like this one entitled, The Invention of Shopping. It would be interesting to do a study like this in the Philippines.

I watched a Deutsche Welle program that was very similar: its hook was the competition in more and more German cities between the giant supermarket and the small neighborhood grocer's store. From there, it explored how economic changes in Germany in the last two centuries had affected grocery-shopping habits in the country.

Interesting, 'di ba?

Otto, Rational and Nonrational

I got myself into a little discussion about Otto's "rational" and "nonrational" categories.

I really love handling PH 103. I realized that during oral exams.

"Capital," 2

More disjointed, uninformed questions to betray my ignorance of Bourdieu. :)

It's a good thing that the Internet has some primary sources, as some of my questions in my earlier post seem to be answered in some of Bourdieu's essays, as well as in some secondary texts.

First of all, Bourdieu appears to use the term "capital" when referring to culture and society, not as a metaphor, but really "capital as capital," and that the "logic" of capital applies across the board. Moreover, he appears to say that cultural and social capital do emerge from economic capital.

On the one hand, I see how this might be helpful from the perspective of wanting to measure or empirically quantify cultural and social capital (assuming it's possible). I find it useful in the way that Bourdieu describes how one form of capital can be transformed into another form of capital (such as in the way someone spends money to educate himself and then uses that education to earn more money).

But I also wonder if problems might arise when culture and society are seen in this way. As I alluded to in my previous post, economic resources are finite, storable, and disposable. It does not appear to be completely accurate to describe cultural and social capital in the same way.

Case in point: the notion of "surplus." If we were to follow Marxist analysis (Bourdieu seems to be a neo-Marxist), surplus of economic capital is what allows exploitation to emerge.

This appears to be problematic whether one agrees and disagrees with Marx's initial premise. First, if we agree with Bourdieu's neo-Marxism it would seem that the weakness of the word "capital" when used to describe culture and society is that we cannot describe a "surplus." In classical Marx, the meaning of "surplus" is clear--it is the extra labor that a worker produces to raise capital for the capitalist. Coming from a classical Marxist perspective, then, there is a clear basis for what can be constituted as "exploitative" or "unjust." It appears to become problematic, however, when we talk about social and cultural capital, as there appears to be no measure for "surplus" in those realms. (Cf. Comments made in this paper.)

Now, if we disagree with the Marxist premise to begin with, then a second question emerges: economic capital can be quantifiably measured in terms of "more" and "less." Can the same be said, however, for social and cultural capital, and can we place the same on a hierarchy? Are we to immediately assume, for example, that the social and cultural capital that emerges from those with more economic capital is "higher" or "more" than the social and cultural capital that emerges from those with less economic capital? While that does often seem to be the case, is it really always necessarily so? Or does Bourdieu have a more relative view of culture and society, wherein different situations demand different kinds of cultural capital not lined up in a neat hierarchy(for example, being a wealthy Australian won't do much for me if I want to do business in, say, rural China, unless I learn to integrate myself better into rural Chinese society). (Cf. Comments made in this paper.) Leland mentioned that Bourdieu speaks of different fields where different groups are dominant and are dominated, but if that is the case, then it certainly does not correspond to a single hierarchy, in which case the flaws of using the term "capital" emerge.

I also have a question regarding Bourdieu's views regarding the transmission of cultural capital. I'm not sure how to articulate the question, but while reading Forms of Capital the picture of the "technological generation gap" emerged in my mind. Just ten years ago, video games were seen as a waste of time, animation was seen as "unserious," and the last thing that a parent would want his/her child to do would be to spend all his time playing video games. Today, in many societies, that has changed. In South Korea, video game has emerged as a "sport," and professional video gamers are wealthy celebrities. Children who spend all their time doodling and fiddling with Photoshop rather than reading books are not punished for their lack of focus, but encouraged to pursue very lucrative respectable careers in animation. In many ways, it is the youth that has changed the landscape to which their elders had been accustomed. Today, it is children who are teaching their parents how to be computer-savvy.

I suppose my question in relation to the above case is twofold: first, how much does the specific content of cultural capital change and become more or less valuable? Secondly, does Bourdieu talk about the transmission of cultural capital being "two-way"; for example, not just from parent to child, but also from child to parent?

Anyway, sumasakit ang ulo ko dahil maliit lang ang tanghalian ko kanina, kaya magpapahinga muna ako, bago ko ipagpatuloy ang pag-compute ng mga marka.

Planned projects (all Arendt-related)

- Something on Arendt's critique of the consumer society/waste society. I'm fascinated that Arendt was so prophetic about this. And again, I find it interesting how Arendt directs a common criticism against two seemingly opposite ideologies: in Origins of Totalitarianism, she had done it with fascism and communism; in The Human Condition she did it with capitalism and communism.

- Storytelling, still. A continuation of what I've already written. This time I may include a comment on her biography-writing.

- The parvenu/pariah distinction.

- Political judgment. I've been planning this for a few years, but I just can't get around to re-reading Kant. Aargh.

*And aside from all this writing, maybe I should suggest to my colleagues that we teach an undergraduate elective on conceptions of power. We could do Foucault, Arendt, Nietzsche ....


So in between computing final grades for my various classes, I've been reading up a little more on Bourdieu, guided by Leland's comments to my previous post. Today, I read up a little more on the different forms of capital. I wonder why Bourdieu chooses to use that term--"capital"--when discussing the non-economic elements of one's habitus, such as cultural and social capital, and I wonder what the merits of using this analogy are.

Forgive me for jumping in immediately with an Arendtian comparison, but since I know Arendt more than I know any other thinker, it's really the only point of reference I can begin with. One of the central and most original features of Arendt's thought is her distinction between "work" and "action." She used the term "work" to refer to the human's activity on the material, tangible world that fabricates durable objects (such as when a carpenter makes a table or an artist paints a painting). She uses the term "action" to refer to humans' activity among one another (such as discussion or debate). (A third category is "labor" which refers to the human's activity for the purpose of biological survival.) The confusion of the categories of "work" and "action," she says, has sometimes, in the past, been fatal. When human history--that is, the stories of human action--is seen as a "work," as an object to be fabricated, then several presumptions are made: history is then something seen as something that can be "shaped" through an act of violence (in the same way that a carpenter must do violence to a tree in order to turn it into a table), and history is seen as something that can be "finished." The consequences of such a view of history is clear: a Utopian vision that must be "engineered" where humans are mere cogs in a machine to create that vision. Humans are seen as machines whose behavior can be predicted absolutely and controlled. Thus, the grand totalitarian experiments disasters of the first half of the 20th century (parallels of which are still visible today). This is at the heart of Arendt's analysis of totalitarianism.

[Of course there are difficulties with the rigidity of Arendt's categories. Newspapers, for example, are products of work, because they are reified texts, but they are also where discussion and debate--action--take place. What, then, do we do with Arendt's categories in reference to such examples?]

So does all this have anything to do with Bourdieu? I don't know yet. Maybe not, heheh! :) But I wonder what the effects are of using language that sees culture, and social networks as "capital." Does Bourdieu emphasize that unlike economic capital, social networks and linguistic symbols cannot be "possessed,"' cannot be stored and depleted, and cannot be produced in an objective sense (cf. the section entitled "Forms of Capital" in this Wikipedia entry)? And if he doesn't, is there important merit in not making that distinction, and in maintaining the parallel among cultural, social and economic capital? Or does it, insofar as Bourdieu's thought is concerned, not even really matter? Am I merely unnecessarily quibbling with semantics?

Of course, maybe the question is larger than that, in that Bourdieu is a sociologist and Arendt is a philosopher (and a postmodern one at that), so they are speaking from two different sets of presumptions to begin with. Is it correct to assume that as a sociologist, Bourdieu has to speak with the presumption of predictable human behavior and action reified in artifacts? Whereas as a 20th century normative philosopher, Arendt has to begin from the recognition of the free individual human person. If this is the case, then maybe I'm making something out of nothing, and the only reason for his choice of words proceeds from the necessary presumptions of his discipline.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Internet reading list for the week

- Arendt, "Ideology and Terror" (also available on JStor)

- Arendt, "Karl Marx and the tradition of Western political thought"

- George Kateb, Ideology and Storytelling (I think I will like this)

- Jerome Kohn, introduction to the Summer 2002 issue of Social Research

Anti-essentialist political/social philosophy

The most popular post-Heideggerian philosopher in the department is Emmanuel Levinas. I do think that Levinas' language of totality and infinity is very helpful. And I have no complaints about Levinas as a philosopher of the human person.

The reason why I myself never pursued Levinas as much as some of my colleagues have is because I was not content with just a philosophy of the human person. Marx translated his philosophy of the human person into a political philosophy, and it was imperative for me to find a philosopher who did the same. And this was how I discovered Arendt.

The health of a political philosophy depends on a thinker's philosophy of the human person. I realized this vaguely when I was studying Marx. For my undergraduate paper on Marx, I did something that surprised even myself. For many years, I had been reading Marx's political and economic philosophy on my own, outside of class. But when I had to finally submit a paper on him, I didn't turn to any of his later works; instead, I went to the heart of Marx--his philosophy of the human person--and that is what I wrote about. That writing experience startled me. Inasmuch as Marx's historical analysis had fascinated me, his philosophy of the human person disappointed me with its narrow conception of the human.

Only now, in hindsight, do I realize how important that discovery was. The causes of all my disillusionment with Marx in succeeding years, as I moved into graduate studies, could be traced back to the narrowness of his conception of the human. Marx, for all his intelligence, was a materialist, through and through. (Perhaps it was my faith--I mean, my religious faith--that was the final line of defense against Marx.) My infatuation with Marx turned into a sense of betrayal as it began to dawn on me that Marx's faults were not merely the sorry shortcomings of an ivory tower scholar, but had directly translated into the mass murder of millions of people throughout the world in nations that had exalted him as their messiah. Many Filipino pundits want to brush over that fact, that Marx's mistakes led to totalitarianism. But the reality is there for all to see, and it happened not just once or twice but over and over again. Again, I repeat what I said in a previous post: The author is not, should not be dead, in philosophy. Every philosopher writes out of a unique historical context, and the validity and strength of his/her arguments spring from that unique historical context. Philosophy is meaningless without history. (Later, I was astounded with Arendt's brave assertion of a parallelism between two ideologies that, at the time of her writing, seemed diametrically opposed to each other: Fascism and Communism.)

Discovering Arendt was like having the shuttered windows of my mind finally opened to the brightness of the sun. So many of the questions that had been simmering throughout my college life suddenly found articulation and insight in Arendt's work. I devoured The Human Condition like I had no other book in my undergraduate years, and I pencilled in exclamation point after exclamation point in the margins of her work. I was floored, flabbergasted, amazed.

Nobody could accuse Arendt of writing ahistorically. She wrote from her heart, from her experience, from her observations, from her marriage, from her love affair. She wrote reacting to the Nazism that had sought to annihiliate her Jewishness; she wrote as a German who had been displaced from her home; she wrote as a political prisoner; she wrote as the wife of a Communist philosopher; she wrote as the lover of the most brilliant mind of the 20th century who ironically could not see what was wrong with Hitlerism; she wrote as a journalist watching Eichmann's facial expressions; she wrote as friend and colleague of Benjamin and Jaspers and Auden.

And she wrote with a philosophy of the human person that I agree with. She wrote understanding humans' Weltanschauung, but believing strongly in humans' freedom. What makes as humans, and not animals, she said, is that we can begin things entirely anew. We are unpredictable, never tied to the behavior of the past. But at any moment, we can initiate something that has never been seen before. It is this initiation that allows us to promise, and that allows us to forgive. It is this natality that makes our history not one unbroken account by a meta-author, but a fabric of millions of interwoven stories, each unique and valuable.

And--perhaps the most feminine thing about her, in comparison with all the noisy, ranting masculine thinkers of the 19th and 20th century--she believed in the sacredness of life. Of each individual life. She believed in the value of each unique story. She spoke of infancy, of babies. She wrote biographies, not just of famous men, but of a dispossessed woman, a parvenu and pariah. She believed that the dispossessed, the marginalized, the small, the meek had stories just as valuable--possibly even more valuable--in the fabric of stories that form our history.

"It's ideas that change the world," a colleague of mine said many years ago. I agree to a certain extent, if we understand, by "ideas," not just the systematic ideas of foundationalist thinkers, but the Weltanschauung, the language, the principles, and yes, the individual stories.

Bourdieu, Heidegger, History

Serendipitously, my last two points come together in my discovery of this--

-- a book written by Bourdieu on Heidegger, published before Heidegger's Nazi involvement was revealed.

The Common Knowledge review states: “[Bourdieu's] short book on Heidegger, published before the recent revelations of the philosopher’s devoted commitment to Nazism through and beyond the defeat of the Third Reich, is a brilliant contribution to what is now called ‘contextualization’ (i.e., of Heidegger’s thought). Richard Rorty dismissed Heidegger’s Nazism on the ground that it had nothing to do with his philosophy; no reader of Bourdieu’s book will be able to continue to believe this for a moment.”

Yes yes yes. Shucks, biglang na-curious tuloy ako sa aklat na 'to.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Heidegger (again) and history

I'm amused that my last two posts have mentioned Martin Heidegger.

I read somewhere that part of the reason why Heidegger's philosophy didn't spread as quickly in the United States as it did in Europe was because a lot of Americans were uncomfortable with studying the philosophy of a card-carrying Nazi. Could Heidegger's philosophy be separated from his Nazism?, a lot of people wondered.

In our department, the majority would shout a resounding "Yes!" to that question. I think we have more scholars of Heidegger than we do of any other philosopher, and very few of them talk about Heidegger's political inclinations.

I took my one and only Heidegger class as an undergraduate ten years ago, and back then, I agreed with many others in the department that given the brilliance of his insights, Heidegger's Nazi involvement could be relegated to a footnote in his biography. However, as time has passed, I've changed my mind about that.

One of his best students, Emmanuel Levinas, didn't think that Heidegger the philosopher could be separated from Heidegger the Nazi, and he spent his entire philosophical career trying to rectify the ideas that he felt Heidegger had gotten so hopelessly wrong.

Last July, at an Arendt conference in Sydney, I watched a video of Kate Fodor's stage-play Hannah and Martin. The play is fictional, but watching it made me rethink a lot of Arendt's writings as explicit struggles not just to come to terms with the historical fact of Nazism, but to come to terms with Heidegger's Nazism.

Which leads me to my point. The author is not, should not be dead, in philosophy. Every philosopher writes out of a unique historical context, and the validity and strength of his/her arguments spring from that unique historical context.

Not that we shouldn't study Heidegger. I do think he is the most influential and ground-breaking 20th century philosopher. But genius doesn't make a person infallible. Nor even necessarily moral.

Unmeditated (and possibly completely wrong) first impressions of Bourdieu

A colleague from school encouraged me to read Bourdieu, so I've been spending the past two hours trying to gather what cursory knowledge I can of him from--how else? hehe!--clicking on links from Google and Wikipedia.

My first impression of Bourdieu is that his concept of habitus sounds very Heideggerian (not surprising for any 20th century thinker, really), so that part I liked. I also like that he disagrees with a purely rationalist understanding of action (which is the same problem I have with Habermas).

One thing I'd like to find out more about, however, is how central is the concept of "class" in Bourdieu's analysis of what shapes one's Weltanschauung (to use the Heideggerian term). My initial scan of the commentaries about Bourdieu seem to imply that class is very central to his thought. I do wonder how I'm going to react to that; my guess is that I'm going to be ambivalent.

On the one hand, I like that Bourdieu seems to broaden the concept of class beyond materialist notions. Very important.

However, despite that, if I do find that the class rhetoric is the central hinge of his critical theory, I think I'm going to be slightly bothered. You see, one thing I've been wondering about these past few years (since beginning work on Arendt) is whether class ought to be our central way of understanding societies; the reason for this is that such frameworks seem to make the notions of power and violence overly, um, essentialist notions. (E.g., At the risk of oversimpliyfing it, I have problems with the notion for example, that, "Regardless of the kind of a person I am, by virtue of living in a third world country, or by virtue of being a woman, I am immediately a 'victim' more than anything else; and regardless of the kind of a person a white American man is, by virtue of his living in a first world country and being a white man, he is automatically an 'oppressor' above all else.") Any essentialist notion of power or violence in my (or should I say, Arendt's) book is dangerous and potentially totalizing (case in point: NPA purges). Following from Arendt, then, I would tend to have a more flexible view of it, making the class-based critique just one among many critiques.

In a similar vein, I do get uncomfortable (and I'm no longer talking about Bourdieu here; I'm not even sure if this applies to him), when anyone carelessly appropriates Marx's theory of class as an absolutely universal, universalizable idea, when I do think that it should also be nuanced by a more particularized understanding of what Marx was saying. To put it simply: the realities that Marx was writing about are no longer the same realities present today, and I do think that any good scholar should adopt theories carefully, testing their validity against contemporary realities. I get a little uncomfortable, for example, the way that some Filipino pundits talk about Marx as if Marx had been referring to the Philippine situation, when any reader of Marx will know that he was reacting primarily to the industrial society of 19th century Europe; the "Marxian" critique within primarily agricultural societies wasn't Marx, that was Mao's appropriation of Marx. Again, not that Marx isn't useful; I do think he is one of the most important philosophers of the 19th century, but at the same time he is one philosopher among many, and I think we need to be more faithful to the text and to the context of the text.

I haven't read Weber, but I imagine Weber's notion of social class might also sometimes be misappropriated in a similar way.

At the end of the day, it's the postmodern philosopher in me speaking. I suppose I really have taken Arendt to heart, and I do believe it's the essentialism of the political theories of the late 19th and early 20th centuries that led to the most horrible atrocities of the last century and I'm very wary of essentialism in any social or political theory.

Anyway, these are all just primary impressions and seeing that I've only read two hours' worth of Internet commentary on the guy, I've likely completely missed Bourdieu's point, and I may later have to retract everything I've just written. So don't quote me on anything!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Technology, Heidegger, Women

I was thinking of the housework that awaits me, and I found myself thinking that technology has been so crucial in women's liberation: whereas women's bodies once were the "machines" of society tasked to cook and clean and keep house, those bodies have now been replaced by, well, real machines: Roombas to vacuum, dishwashers to wash dishes, microwave ovens to cook ... all which have aided in the process of allowing women to realize themselves in the world.

As soon as I said that I realized I was saying something related to Heidegger, but I'm not sure in what way. It's been 10 years since I read "The Question Concerning Technology" closely, so I can't really remember what Heidegger said about technology except that there is something about it that's bad. ([Technology --> Enframing = Bad] --> That's about all I remember.)

For Arendt, technology may be good because it is what liberates people from poverty.

And for me, technology is such a wondrous thing, as long as people keep it in perspective.

So I may be onto something here, but I won't know for sure until I, well, read up on Heidegger again.

Maybe I can write about how Heidegger is coming from a very masculinist (and therefore very Bad, hahaha!) perspective. That would be cool. Maybe in my old age (hahaha!) I will finally find a feminine voice in my philosophizing.

Okay, Rowie, stop counting chickens.

Idea Blog

As part of my blog restructuring program, I've decided to divide my online posts among several blogs--one for academic stuff, one for spiritual stuff, and so forth. This one here is my academic nerdy blog. Please understand that all entries here refer to works in progress, thoughts in the process of being thought. :) Enjoy!