Wednesday, September 14, 2011



Everytime there is conflict among politicians and business leaders, it is not difficult to notice who is telling the truth and who is lying -- especially among their respective spin doctors and backdoor operators.
It is not hard to decipher why the feud escalates and why molehills became mountains; why Lazarus came back to life in the new millennium; why Benito Mussolini, the bald and eagle-pated Il Duce has sniffed with gusto. Why oh why?
Sa'di in Gulistan said it long before Adolf Hitler and Joseph Goebbels: "To tell a falsehood is like the cut of a saber. For though the wound may heal, the scar of it will remain." Samuel Butler came close when he said: "The best liar is he who makes the smallest amount of lying go the longest way." And then the Frenchman Jean Cocteau: "Lying is the only art from the public sanctions and instinctively prefers to reality."


As a field reporter since the time of Tita Cory, I have seen how politicians and their so-called "shock absorbers" lie through their teeth when push came to shove, when pushed against the wall; how their faces turned red when caught twisting the truth and mangling the logic.
In the current imbroglio involving the mayor of Iloilo City and a rich businessman, a pack of lies has been unraveled repeatedly in the past months. I have been observing both camps as they threw mud at each other and how their respective loved ones and die-hards bellyache and seeth in anger as charges and counter-charges flew thick and fast.
Who is lying? Who is concocting stories and promoting falsehood? By their words -- and how they passionately hit their targets and use the hostility as bread and butter -- we should have a hint of what is going on and why the cauldron continues to boil hot.


Even Hitler once said, "The great masses of the people...will more easily fall victims to the big lie than to the small one." Just so his Mein Kampf message would swirl into the funnel of the Third Reich, Hitler appointed Goebbels as his public information and propaganda minister.
Between the two of them, they wrenched Germany from the Bible and the Holy Scriptures. They cultivated man no longer in the image of God but  that of the Superman, white, Aryan, imperious, sinewed, infallible, who could walk the face of the earth with the swastika and impale it as he pleased.


And so the Great Lie was made flesh and dwelt in the Third Reich as the supreme divinity of Nazidom. Tell a lie a thousand times and it will become the truth. 
As a result, six million Jews in Germany were identified as enemy and perished in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau and Sachsenhausen.
And so it was that Hitler's Reichwehr and his marshals goosestepped to Hitler's bloodcurling scream of anschluss and sought to conquer the world during the Second World War. All mankind hand to be liberated. God would continue to reign but his name was no longer Jesus Christ, or Allah or Mohammed or Buddha or Jehovah but Der Fuehrer. 
So, a lie repeated several times indeed becomes the truth. Beware!



WHEN I posted in the Facebook the photo of myself carrying Dr. Will Durant's "Caesar and Christ" book in the United States last year, I accompanied it with a caption that screamed, "The Search Is Over!" 
Indeed, the long search was over; the desperate search that began in summer of 2001 after I finished reading Dr. Durant's "The Story of Philosophy," which, according to many historians, social and political scientists that I have talked to, is the best book ever written about philosophy (I began reading Jostein Gaarder's "Sophie's World" in 2002 although it first rolled off the press in Oslo, Norway in 1991. Although I admit that I am a big fan of "Sophie's World," to me, "The Story of Philosophy" is the greatest ever book on philosophy next to the Holy Bible).
In the Philippines, I went from one bookstore to another and my desperate hunting expedition became an exercise in futility. I tried my luck to search the book abroad but my desperation grew even more intense when all I could manage to collect was "The Age of Voltaire" (A history of European Civilization from the French Regency to the Seven Years' War) or Part IX of The Story of Civilization, and "The Age of Reason Begins" (A history of European Civilization from Elizabeth to Galileo) or Part VII of the 10 volumes. 


Atty. Ernesto Justiniani Dayot said my only chance to even catch a glimpse of "Caesar and Christ" is to visit the library of the Lyceum University in Intramuros, Manila where I could find all the 10 volumes. I stopped my madness for a while and focused my wrath on the "Sophie's World." After "Sophie's World," my craving for "Ceasar and Christ" continued -- until I went to Canada and the United States where luck was waiting for me at the Goodwill department store in Lake Forest, California.
And, "Eureka," the search was over! God works in mysterious ways, indeed!
"Ceasar and Christ" is Part III of Dr. Will Durant's monumental survey of world history. The work on "The Story of Civilization" originated in 1914 when Dr. Durant first began to collect material. Fame--with "The Story of Philosophy" -- lay a dozen years ahead. 
More than 20 years later, in 1935, Part I, "Our Oriental Heritage," was offered to the public. This was followed in 1939 by the second part, "The Life of Greece." In 1944 came "Caesar and Christ," the result of 25 years' preparation and five years' writing. Like the earlier parts, this volume is an independent self-contained segment of a 10-volume cultural history of civilization. 


In this massive book, whose scope and wit recall the golden days of historical writing, Dr. Durant recounts the flaming pageant of the rise of Rome from a crossroads town to world mastery. 
He tells of its achievements through two centuries of security and peace, from the Crimea to Gibraltar and from the Euphrates to Hadrian's Wall, of its spread of classic civilization over the Mediterranean and western European world.
Dr. Durant tells of Rome's struggle to preserve its ordered realm from a surrounding sea of barbarism and of its long, slow crumbling and final catastrophic collapse into darkness and chaos.


Primarily a cultural history, Caesar and Christ lavishly discusses government, industry, manners, morals, the status of women, law , philosophy, science, literature, religion, and art. 
Besides the varied pageant of the Catos, the Scipios, and the Gracchi, of Hannibal, Marius, Sulla, Catiline, Pompey, Caesar, Antony, Cleopatra, and the Emperors, good, bad, and indifferent, we view Cicero (busy in all departments of life), Lucretius, Catullus, Virgil, Horace, Ovid, Tacitus, Juvenal, and such cultivators of latterday Hellenism as Plutarch, Lucian, and Marcus Aurelius. 
Dr. Durants accompanies us to watch the rise of temples, basilicas, and forums pass a day of games and spectacles at the Flavian amphitheater (correctly nicknamed the Colosseum). Turning to the eastern Mediterrarian, Dr. durant's book will make us accompany Christ on his ministry, witness the tragic scenes of the Passion, and sail and walk with Paul on his missionary labors.


The colors darken, Palmyra rises and falls. The Empire attains a new--and spurious--invincibility under Aurelian, declines, and finally stiffens into a bureaucratic mold.
Caesar and Christ contains many parallels to modern history, and Dr. Durant presents them with lucid authority. He believes that a reading of past events should illuminate the present. In the class struggles and jockeying for power that typify Roman history from the Gracchi to Caesar, he finds an analogue to the development of Europe and America from the French Revolution to the present time.
He reminds us that dictators have ever used the same methods. He tells us that the dole was restored to more than a century before Christ and that the first Roman labor union was established about 600 B.C. 
We hear of bank failures, pork barrels, depressions, governmental projects and regulations, State Socialism, war-time priority plans, electoral corruption, pressure groups, trade associations, and other phenomena of anciet Rome that might easily fit into front-pages headlines of our own era.



I stumbled into another self-help book copyrighted in 2000 which promises to multiply our mental power with "simple and enjoyable" exercises scientifically designed to make us smarter, more creative, more intuitive, and more successful in achieving our goals.
"Super Brain Power" author Jean Marie Stine explains that the readers will find exercises to help us: turn our mind into a mental tape recorder that captures every word we hear and read; jump-start our intelligence at will and leapfrog to logical solutions to the toughest problems.
Also, it will increase our creativity by pre-programming  our unconscious idea processor; win the enthusiasm and cooperation of others and form a personal championship team; learn physical tasks instantly by tapping into our physical intelligence; develop an emotional radar that automatically steers us toward success; and expand our vocabulary--without word-of-the-day lists or dictionaries.


Have we ever struggled to memorize a list of complicated names, dates, and rules for a forthcoming exam, or felt at a loss when unexpectedly called upon to provide the solution to a difficult problem during a company or group meeting?
Have we ever puzzled over a problem for hours or weeks without a clue and later realized the solution was right before our eyes all the time?
Have we ever been fooled by deceptive advertising, or been misled by a corporate prospectus, or overlooked an important flaw in our own or someone else's position -- and ended up feeling sorry for it later?
Have we ever longed for a creative way to tell someone we love them, needed a world-class inspiration to save a tottering business, or been challenged to come up with a new theme for the parish fundraising campaign?


Have we ever struggled to learn how to repair a drainpipe, master a tennis stroke, give a permanent wave, or work with an unfamiliar keyboard configuration?
Have we ever had an abrasive relative we just couldn't find a way to deal with, or been unable to figure out why we failed to "click" at an important job interview, or failed to see what was preventing us from welding a promising group of people into a team that realizes its potential? Of course we have. Everyone has.
Even Albert Einstein, possibly the supreme genius of the 20th century, wished he were smarter when he found the math underlying his Unified Field Theory, intended to explain and unify all physics, was wrong.  
Stine explains that the super brain program is designed to take much of the work out of expanding our six intelligences.


There are three ways Stine's program unlocks our brain power: 1. Only logical intelligence was developed and rewarded. 2. The other five intelligences were devalued and unexploited. 3. Those who did not excel at this kind of thinking saw themselves as less able and intelligent than others. 
Here are the power of our six intelligences, according to Stine: 1. The power of our verbal intelligence 2. The power of our visual intelligence 3. The power of our logical intelligence 4. The power of our creative intelligence 5. The power of our physical intelligence 6. The power of our emotional intelligence. 
Power professions where verbal IQ counts: Journalist, novelist, poet, playwright, editor, advertising sparkplug, sales rep, marketing director, spin doctor, stand-up comedian, humorist, news commentator.
Restaurateur, hotelier, publican, politician, clergyperson, motivational speaker, attorney, judge, paralegal, translator, diplomat, mediator, psychotherapist, counselor, facilitator, television anchor, disc jockey, talk-show host, publisher, printer, bookstore owner.


Power professions where visual IQ counts: Mechanic, inventor, engineer, electrician, sailor, pilot, astronaut, race-car driver, athlete, acrobat, jockey, daredevil, surgeon, paramedic, radiologist, paleontologist, anthropologist, geologist, photographer, sculptor, painter, architect, cartographer, genealogist, television, motion picture or theatrical director or producer; photographer; actor; lighting or scenic designer; cinematographer, photographer or video and film; fashion designer, hairdresser, makeup artist; guide, scout, soldier.
Power professions where logical IQ counts: Scientist: biologist, physicist, chemist, astronomer, zoologist; physician, medical researcher, laboratory technician, computer designer, programmer, repair technician, mathematician, statistician, accountant, CPA, banker, financial analyst, market-fund manager, stock broker, clerk, cashier, bank teller, time-management, performance, productivity or systems analyst, personal assistant, secretary, office manager.
Power professions where creative IQ counts: Enterprenuer, small-business owner, CEO, graphic arts: illustrator, photographer, designer, inventor, creator, idea person, manager and marketer of art and artists, electronic media: radio, television, cable, video; live theater: plays, performance art, improve comedy; music: singer, instrumentalist, composer, landscaper, architect, community planner, advertising, marketing, salesperson, fashion designer, cosmetician, coiffeur, toy and game designer, children's books and records artist.


Power professions where physical IQ counts: Singer, actor, "slaptick" comedian, craftperson, jeweler, computer repairperson, plumber, mechanic,  carpenter, butcher, gardener, anyone who works with his or her hands; chauffeur, truck driver, airline pilot; gymnast, ballplayer, swimmer, ice skater; sculptor, muralist; law enforcement officer, anyone serving in the military, firefighter, surgeon, nurse, paramedic; naturalist, veterinarian, animal trainer, anthropologist, archeologist.
Power professions where emotional IQ counts: Teacher, mentor, consultant, politician, attorney, minister, psychologist, peer counselor, social worker, marketing person, salesperson, public relations person, customer service manager, receptionist, greeter, negotiator, mediator, conflict manager, manager, administrator, team leader.



AS a journalist, I am addicted to books -- about history, philosophy, mythology, biography, religion, psychology, political science and astronomy. 
Since the early 90's, I have turned to a lot of authors, general encyclopedias, dictionaries, histories, geographies, and any other reference books available which could in any way be useful to my search for the best books that incorporate, in particular, the biblical and ancient history. 
I have also befriended a lot of senior writers, women and men known for being epitome of wisdom and knowledge; I have shared books, pamphlets, journals, newspaper clippings, among other printed materials with potential sources of historical facts and old books, and have raided major bookstores from Iloilo, Metro Manila, Cebu, Davao, Baguio to Tokyo, Moscow, Bangkok, Brisbane, Jakarta, among other cities that I have visited. 
I have been introduced to "Anna Karenina" by Leo Tolstoy, "Madame Bovary" by Gustave Flaubert, "War and Peace" by Leo Tolstoy, "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, "Hamlet" by William Shakespeare, "The Great Gatsby" by F. Scott Fitzgerald, "In Search of Lost Time" by Marcel Proust, "The Stories of Anton Chekhov" by Anton Chekhov, and "Middlemarch" by George Eliot.


In all of my collections, I find "Asimov's Guide to the Bible" to be the most fascinating general guide ever written on a book whose impact continues to be felt in areas as diverse as religion, history, archeology and mythology. 
Dr. Isaac Asimov's eminently entertaining yet historically accurate examination of the New Testament, verse-by-verse, clarifies such puzzles as the appearance of the Star of Bethlehem (was it Hailey's Comet?), the curious omission of Jesus in other books or records written during the same period, the Gospels' position on slavery and many other questions.
He removes many of the mysteries of the early Christian era and in a lucid style which blends scholarly research with layman's language, he has eliminated many surprising new facets of this inexhaustible source of knowledge.
Dr. Asimov did not intend this book to be scholarly compendium, and did not burden its pages with such extraneous appurtenances as footnotes giving sources. 
The sources that he used were very general and ordinary ones like various versions of the Bible: 
a) The Authorized Version, originally published in 1611 and familiarly known as the "King James Bible." This is the Bible used in most Protestant chruches. It is the version that is familiar to most Americans and it is from this version that he quoted, except where otherwise indicated.
b) The Revised Standard Version, Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1946, 1952, and 1959.
c) Saint Joseph "New Catholic Edition," Catholic Book Publishing Co., 1962.
d) The Jerusalem Bible, Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1966.
e) The Holy Scriptures according to the Masoretic text, The Jewish Publication Society of America, 1955.


Dr. Asimov has admitted he learned "particularly heavily on those volumes of the Anchor Bible (Doubleday) so far published, since these represent some of the latest and most profound thinking on the Bible."
Most of the Apocrypha is contained in the "New Catholic Edition" and, in addition, Dr. Asimov made use of the King James Version and the Revised Standard Version of these books.
He has also consulted, quite steadily, A New Standard Bible Dictionary, Third Revised Edition, Funk and Wagnalls Company, 1936, The Abingdon Bible Commentary, Abingdon Press, 1929, and Dictionary of the Bible by John L. McKenzie, S.J., Bruce Publishing Company.
According to Dr. Asimov, the period from the beginning of the earliest civilizations, say 4000 B.C. to A.D. 100, can be lumped together as "the Biblical period." Of this the period to 400 B.C. is "the Old Testament period," from 400 B.C. to 4 B.C. is the "inter-Testamental period," while the A.D. section is "the New Testament period."


The Biblical period can be broken down into smaller sections as follows: 4000 B.C. to 2000 B.C. -- The Primeval period; 2000 B.C. to 1700 B.C. -- The Patriarchal period; 1700 B.C. to 1200 B.C. -- The Egyptian period; 1200 B.C. to 1000 B.C. -- The Tribal period; 1000 B.C. to 900 B.C. -- The Davidic period.
Thereafter, it is most convenient, Dr. Asimov stressed, to name periods after the peoples who did, in fact, dominate western Asia. Thus: 900 B.C. to 600 B.C. -- The Assyrian Period; 600 B.C. to 540 B.C. -- The Babylonian period; 540 B.C. to 330 B.C. -- The Persian period; 330 B.C. to 70 B.C. -- The Greek period; and 70 B.C. to A.D. 100 -- The Roman period.



We can never agree on certain issues but we can reconcile our differences by using as guide the seven Hermetic Principles from the book "Silva Mental Dynamics."
The controversy generated by the placing of the "Lin-ay sang Iloilo" bronze statue atop the dome of the New Iloilo City Hall, among other issues, was the focus of the subject matter my philosophy sparring partner, Atty. Ernesto Justiniani Dayot, and I tackled over lunch last Sept. 5.
We connected the debate to the seven principles of Hermes Trismegistus, the messenger of the gods in the Greek mythology, who was called as Mercury by the Romans, pictured with winged shoes and hat.   
In Hellenistic Egypt, the Greeks recognized the congruence of their god Hermes with the Egyptian god Thoth. Subsequently the two gods were worshipped as one in what had been the Temple of Thoth in Khemnu, which the Greeks called Hermopolis.
Those who begrudged the prerogative of the mayor of Iloilo City to place the statue atop the dome of the New Iloilo City Hall during the unveiling ceremony last August 25 as highlight of the observance of the 74th Charter Day of Iloilo City, will continue to register their opposition even if Prof. Ed Defensor, the artist who designed the statue, will appeal on bended knees to spare the statue from criticism.


In Hermes' Principle of Mentalism as explained in a personal interpretation of the Hermetic Principles,  there is freedom of interpretation: one man's meat is another man's poison, so to speak. Dayot explained that this is the reason why religion, culture, state can not be dogmatic; there is always democracy of belief or practice.
The bronze statue can be a meat for proponents and can be a poison for critics. We have no debate here.
In the Principle of Correspondence, we believe it is not only the poor that steals; but the rich, as well.  This principle states primarily that "as above, so below; as below, so above. That victims are born; that's why swindlers, from the high to the low, vice versa, can spot the gullible easily." Status does not matter; a crime is committed. At all costs, justice must be served.


According to this principle, chain reactions and the domino effect play a great role in the playing field of life. Can an individual avoid the slings and arrows of outrageous misfortune? Yes, if the individual will learn not to be afraid and face reality, for there is nothing to fear`but fear itself. Likewise, the rain falls on the just and unjust.
In the Principle of Vibration, all things are in constant and never-ending motion. Every living species breathe; not to breath is death. Thus there is a high vibration for health; low vibration for the sick. Success brings high vibration; failure or fear acts like a dog, keeping its tail inside its legs. Thus life is vibrant and dynamic, it is vibration that is its own barometer.


In the Principle of Polarity, all things are dual. Everything has its pair of opposites and these opposites are identical in nature, differing only in degree. Abraham Lincoln, according to his biographer, was a man of "Steel and Velvet." Thus steel is harder than iron; iron is harder than stone, while velvet is soft and soft. When Lincoln declared the Emancipation Act that abolished slavery, he knew that blood would flow, but his granite character and political will displayed the steel in him. On the other side, he had the love for all mankind, regardless of color of skin, religion, wealth and power. That was the velvet in him.
In the Principle of Rhythm, all things have their low and high tide. All things have their rise and fall, including great religion and great political power. Thus a genius like Albert Einstein and Bill Gates or professional athlete like Manny Pacquiao and Rafael Nadal or anybody experiences slowdown of performance at times. But it is not a defeat or deterioration; it offers greater incentive, power and height of achievement.


In the Principle of Cause and Effect, every cause has its effect and every effect its cause. Every accident or coincidence is the result of unrecognized cause. Unfortunately, it contradicts a miracle. What about karma? As you sow, so shall you reap. Karma works both ways: it rewards or punishes as well. The past could be tragic, but it can be transcended by good and positive act, which can redeem and exalt wisdom to cancel karma.
In the Principel of Gender, all things have a masculine and feminine aspects. The Chinese called it the Yang and the Yin. By implication, we have seen a woman general, president, prime minister, the job reserved for men. But a philosopher-ruler is a man's world, with feminine love and compassion.



In all of our past coverage of Manny Pacquiao's world title clashes, we haven't heard the 32-year-old hard-hitting fisttosser from General Santos City gloat over his superiority against his rivals in square jungle.
He has faced the meanest and baddest prizefighters in the world like Agapito Sanchez and Nedal Hussein; he has crossed paths with the most loquacious and virulent ribcrackers in the universe in eight different divisions like Jorge Eliecer Julio and Hector Velasquez, but we haven't heard him utter statements that tend to belittle his foes and write their imminent obituary.
Not until last Saturday during the Manila leg of the kick-off media tour of his trilogy against Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5, 39 KOs).
Pacquiao (53-3, 38 KOs) surprised everyone when he minced no words in declaring that "there is no way" for the "smaller" Marquez, who turned 38 last August 23, to survive the distance when they fight for the third time on November 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.


"I was looking at his body and maybe he doesn't know the guys I've been beating up here," the part-time congressman and full-time professional boxer boasted.  
Pacquiao finds Marquez's frame "too small" and belittled the Mexican's "one style" which is his counter punch. 
“I know there have been doubts over the last two fights. There have been debates on who won them. This fight should end all doubts. This fight should end all debates," Pacquiao said. 
"I truly believe this fight will be the best fight we have ever fought and we will train harder than ever in preparation for each other. I began working out five days ago. The earliest I have ever started training. I want to seal the deal on this one.”
Among the Mexican warriors he had faced in the past, Pacquiao considered Marco Antonio Barrera as the hardest puncher. They rumbled twice and beat Barrera in as many encounters (TKO 11, Nov. 15, 2003 and UD 12, Oct. 6, 2007).


Pacquiao, the reigning WBO welterweight ruler, was referring to the 144 lbs "catch weight" where he and Marquez will square off for 12 rounds.
They first mangled each other on May 8, 2004 in the 126 lbs in a knock down-marred fight that ended in a split draw and on March 15, 2008 in the 130 lbs in a rematch that earned Pacquiao a controversial split decision verdict and Marquez's WBC tiara but not after Pacquiao's face had been cut to ribbons (I hold the exclusive photo of this "evidence.")
“Manny is not the same fighter I fought before. He is now a two-handed fighter. No longer left hand-crazy, Manny’s right hand is as dangerous as his left and I think his speed is better too," Marquez said. 
"I was not angry that I had to wait for this third fight because I always stayed busy, but I am very happy to have this fight now. I am fighting hard for my country and my fans.” 


For his part, Top Rank chief Bob Arum said: "The world of sports will see a classic, classic match. This match will be a credit to boxing and will be eagerly followed by all sports fans. Only an event this big would warrant a media tour this immense – one that not only includes the U.S. but the native countries of these two great champions. This will be Manny’s biggest pay-per-view promotion ever. I would especially like to thank Solar Entertainment for producing the Manila portion of this media tour. It was incredible and something none of us will ever forget.”