Sunday, February 06, 2011

The golden mean

I am surprisingly Zen (translation: deadma) about the Senate hearings on military corruption. I mean, I sympathize with Heidi Mendoza and would want nothing short of finding all of the accused rotting in jail, but I am justnotangry. (Examples of angry here.) My blood pressure is stable and normal; there's no vein deliriously pulsating on my forehead; I am calmly typing on my keyboard. Not even Merceditas Gutierrez's swipe at Leila de Lima got to the monastic calmness that is my nerves.

I thought this particular New Year's resolutionnot sweating the small stuffwould be my most difficult but it's a state I've found myself easily transitioning into. I've heard, read and been on the receptive end of (some) bad news the past month and I've found myself mulling over the information before tweeting, blogging, fuming or worrying:

  • Is the bad news confirmed, final or imagined?
  • Can I do something about it?
  • Does it affect me personally? Is it unique to me?
  • If I act, will it add to the noise or will it add value?
  • Nasa cast ka ba ng Black Swan? Kasi kung wala ka rin lang sa isang Oscar-nominated film, deadma na!
* * * *

On the other hand, too much Zen, or deadma, and you get apathy. That is a no-no. You will never win Miss Universe if you are apathetic. Or if you are gay. 

*Is the bad news confirmed, final or imagined? 
Can I do something about it?*

In philosophy, and I quote Manong Wikipedia, "the golden mean is the desirable middle between two extremes, one of excess and the other of deficiency." (Medyo stating the obvious din itong mga philosophers na ito, eh no? Ang dali siguro maging Philo major. Chos!) And there's a particular branch of philosophy that aims to achieve that golden mean between passion and apathy: Stoicism. 

... the Stoics sought freedom from all passions (apatheia). It meant eradicating the emotional response to external events—the things we cannot control. For the Stoics, it was the optimum rational response to the world, for we cannot control things that are caused by the will of others or by Nature, we can only control our own will. This did not mean a loss of all feeling, or total disengagement from the world. The Stoic who performs correct judgments and actions as part of the world order experiences contentment and good feelings.

So there. Don't sweat the small stuff! 

4 * :

gary said...

nagiging rational ka na. you have learned to view the forest from the trees.

aka tumatanda ka na. yun yun :D

Jason said...


Although nahihirapan pa din ako i-control yung pagtaas ng kilay ko & pag-roll ng eyes ko, haha!

midee said...

You know the Alpha Course? It's being offered in some Anglican Churches in the UK. Perhaps some don't realise that the Alpha Course is a program with scientology roots.

Jason said...

I wonder if that is the same type of course that Paul Haggis talked (and raved) about in the New Yorker piece on scientology. These counselling sessions seem to be the religion's main attraction.

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