"Walang himala. Ang himala ay nasa atin..."
Elsa spoke atop a hill, before hundreds of devotees who braved the rain-soaked road to that desolate area. Faith brought them there... the only thing they have in the face of all the greed paraded on this world.
Elsa is right. There's no such thing as a miracle. Everything is a construct of the mind--and miracles are no exception.
What we see is what we want to see. What we hear is what we want to hear. And every chance chance we get, we try as much as possible to feel what we want to feel.
Man determines his fate. Man has the power to create, and to destroy. There is no such thing as a miracle, for man controls everything--consciously and unconsciously.
Didn't get that passing grade? It is either your fault or your professor's whim. Didn't make that guy or girl fall in love with you? It is either you're plain ugly or he/she clearly likes someone else.
Didn't graduate in time? It is not the collusion of forces beyond your control. It is just the result of either wasted years or regrettable decisions.
If we choose to ignore the myriad of contexts we find ourselves in, then we'll never know our real situation. Ignorance of the law, however brutal it may be, excuses no one.
However, as a people, we always choose to ignore. Whether one is the President of the Republic of the Philippines or Chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines, as Filipinos, we are prone to be blinded by the seeming realities that attack us every second of every minute of every day.
There is no such thing as a miracle, as Elsa in the movie "Himala" would say. There is only change--change that comes from within. But how can we change if there's no consciousness at all?
How can we accomplish something as a people if just two, or four, or even a thousand people are doing the repairs to make this country work?
How do we fly on our wings, run on our own feet, talk with our own voices? When will this happen?
Some writers have given up on the Filipino, so much that they have renounced their citizenships. Some writers have done the ultimate sacrifice, which Ninoy Aquino thought of as worthwhile for the Filipino. But with the way things are going, we might be on our way preparing mass graves for writers.
However, it is not only the issue of being a Filipino. We must focus our sights on the issue of change--about the immense and immeasurable power to create.
This power must be realized within us all, and must be harnessed to effect the necessary changes in Philippine society--the destruction of patronage politics, the prevention of graft and corruption, the protection of the environment, the dispensation of social justice, the distribution of lands to farmers, the emancipation of workers, the recognition of women's rights, and the freedom of the youth.
As a people, we have expressed this power thru massive demonstrations--the series of People Power stagings. But after three EDSAs, the problems besetting our society remains the same.
F. Sionil Jose is right--we have no collective memory. All we have is corrective memory.
As writers, we can rant on and on and on about social consciousness and change. But all of our efforts will go down the drain if we fail to educate, to arouse, and to mobilize Filipinos towards change. As writers, we have the creative option to leave the Philippines rotting in its vicious cycle of poverty and ignorance, and to enjoy the warm comfort of our own creativity.