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Ezra Harris
Ezra Harris

The Roots and Remedies of Our Shallowness: A Reflection on F. Sionil Jose's Essay | PDF


Why Are We Shallow? A Reflection on F. Sionil Jose's Essay




Why are we shallow? This is a question that many Filipinos might ask themselves, especially after reading F. Sionil Jose's essay on this topic. F. Sionil Jose is a National Artist for Literature, a renowned novelist, and a social critic. In his essay, he argues that we Filipinos are shallow because we have lost touch with our history, culture, wisdom, ethics, and spirituality. He also suggests some ways to overcome our shallowness and develop a deeper sensibility that will enable us to reject mediocrity and corruption in our society.




Why We Are Shallow F Sionil Jose 30.pdf



In this article, we will explore F. Sionil Jose's main points in more detail. We will examine the reasons why we are shallow, as well as the possible solutions to this problem. We will also provide some examples and analysis to support his arguments. By the end of this article, we hope that you will have a better understanding of why we are shallow, and what we can do about it.


Reason 1: Our educational system has diminished scholarship and excellence




One of the reasons why we are shallow is that our educational system has diminished scholarship and excellence. According to F. Sionil Jose, there is less emphasis now on the humanities and the classics in our schools. The humanities are disciplines such as literature, history, philosophy, art, music, etc., that study human culture and expression. The classics are works of literature or art that have been recognized as having lasting value or significance.


Why are these subjects important? Because they help us develop a broad and deep understanding of our past and our culture. They teach us about the ideas, values, beliefs, traditions, achievements, challenges, etc., that have shaped our identity and our worldview. They also expose us to different perspectives, cultures, and experiences, that enrich our knowledge and empathy. They also inspire us to create, to imagine, to question, and to critique.


Unfortunately, our educational system has neglected these subjects, and instead focused on more practical or technical subjects, such as science, math, engineering, etc. While these subjects are also important, they should not be the only ones that we study. We need a balanced and holistic education that covers both the sciences and the humanities, both the practical and the creative, both the factual and the interpretive.


F. Sionil Jose envies those Hindus and Buddhists who have in their religion philosophy and ancestor worship, which build in the believer a continuity with the past, and that most important ingredient in the building of a nation memory. He also notes that in many universities in Europe, Greek, Latin, and the classics in these languages are still studied. These examples show how other countries and religions value philosophy and ancestor worship, which foster a sense of continuity and memory.


Why are continuity and memory important? Because they help us connect with our roots, our heritage, our legacy. They help us remember where we came from, what we have been through, what we have learned, what we have contributed, what we have inherited. They also help us appreciate the diversity and complexity of human history and culture. They also help us avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, or falling into the traps of ignorance or prejudice.


How does our lack of historical and philosophical awareness affect our ability to appreciate and critique our own society and culture? It makes us shallow. It makes us unaware of the forces that have shaped us, the problems that we face, the opportunities that we have. It makes us uncritical of the status quo, the dominant narratives, the popular opinions. It makes us indifferent to the struggles of others, the injustices of society, the challenges of change. It makes us unable to recognize or create beauty, meaning, or value.


Reason 2: We are arrogant and ego-driven, mistaking knowledge for wisdom




Another reason why we are shallow is that we are arrogant and ego-driven, mistaking knowledge for wisdom. According to F. Sionil Jose, we are mayabang (boastful), ego driven, and do not have the humility to understand that we are only human, much too human to mistake knowledge for wisdom. He also observes that some of our public commentators and leaders display this attitude of know-it-allness and bluster.


What is the difference between knowledge and wisdom? Knowledge is information or facts that can be acquired or learned from various sources. Wisdom is insight or understanding that can be gained from experience or reflection. Knowledge tells us what is; wisdom tells us what matters. Knowledge can be measured; wisdom can be felt. Knowledge can be shared; wisdom can be applied.


Why is humility important? Because it helps us acknowledge our limitations and learn from others. It helps us realize that we do not know everything, that we can make mistakes, that we can improve ourselves. It helps us respect other people's opinions, perspectives, experiences, etc., even if they differ from ours. It helps us listen more than talk, ask more than answer, learn more than teach.


Unfortunately, we lack humility and wisdom. We think that because we have access to so much information on the internet or on TV, we can answer every question or solve every problem. We think that because we have a degree or a title or a position, we are better than others or above criticism. We think that because we have a strong opinion or a loud voice or a large following, we are right or justified or entitled.


Reason 3: We are enslaved by materialism and consumerism, losing sight of what truly matters




A third reason why we are shallow is that we are enslaved by materialism and consumerism, losing sight of what truly matters. According to F. Sionil Jose, we are obsessed with money and possessions, and we think that only the material goods of this earth can satisfy us and we must therefore grab as much as we can while we are able. He also notes that some of our politicians and businessmen exploit our resources and people for their own gain.


What is materialism and consumerism? Materialism is a value system that places a high importance on acquiring and owning material goods, often at the expense of other values or goals. Consumerism is a social and economic phenomenon that encourages the purchase of goods and services in ever-increasing amounts, often driven by advertising or social pressure. Both materialism and consumerism imply that happiness and success depend on having more and more things.


Why are these attitudes harmful? Because they corrupt our values and morals. They make us greedy, selfish, wasteful, and irresponsible. They make us forget or neglect the things that truly matter, such as our health, our relationships, our community, our spirituality, etc. They make us vulnerable to manipulation, exploitation, or deception by those who want to profit from our desires or fears. They make us insensitive to the needs or rights of others, especially the poor, the marginalized, or the oppressed.


How does our lack of ethics and spirituality affect our ability to care for ourselves, others, and the environment? It makes us shallow. It makes us unhappy, dissatisfied, restless, and anxious. It makes us isolated, lonely, alienated, and hostile. It makes us indifferent, apathetic, complacent, or cynical. It makes us unable or unwilling to contribute to the common good, to social justice, or to environmental sustainability.


Conclusion




In conclusion, we have explored F. Sionil Jose's main points in his essay on why we are shallow. We have examined the reasons why we are shallow: our educational system has diminished scholarship and excellence; we are arrogant and ego-driven, mistaking knowledge for wisdom; we are enslaved by materialism and consumerism, losing sight of what truly matters. We have also discussed the possible solutions to this problem: we need to educate ourselves, humble ourselves, and liberate ourselves from the shackles of materialism.


F. Sionil Jose's essay is a wake-up call for us Filipinos to cultivate a deeper sensibility that will enable us to reject mediocrity and corruption in our society. He challenges us to rediscover our history, culture, wisdom, ethics, and spirituality. He urges us to develop a critical and creative mind that can appreciate and critique our own society and culture. He inspires us to create beauty, meaning, or value in our lives and in our world.


Are you ready to take up his challenge? Are you ready to stop being shallow? Are you ready to start being deep?


FAQs




Here are some FAQs that address some common questions or concerns that readers might have about the topic.



Question


Answer


What is the source of F. Sionil Jose's essay?


The essay was published in The Philippine Star on September 12, 2011. You can find it online at https://www.philstar.com/lifestyle/arts-and-culture/2011/09/12/725822/why-we-are-shallow.


Is F. Sionil Jose an authority on this topic?


F. Sionil Jose is a National Artist for Literature, a renowned novelist, and a social critic. He has written many books and essays on various topics related to Philippine history, culture, politics, society, etc. He has also received many awards and honors for his literary works and contributions.


How can I learn more about the humanities and the classics?


You can start by reading some of the works of literature or art that are considered classics in your own or other cultures. You can also take some courses or join some clubs or groups that focus on the humanities and the classics. You can also visit some museums, libraries, or cultural centers that showcase the humanities and the classics.


How can I develop humility and wisdom?


You can start by admitting your limitations and learning from others. You can also seek feedback or advice from people who have more experience or expertise than you. You can also read some books or articles that offer wisdom or guidance on various aspects of life. You can also practice some meditation or reflection that can help you calm your mind and gain insight.


How can I free myself from materialism and consumerism?


You can start by evaluating your needs and wants, and prioritizing the things that truly matter to you. You can also set a budget or a limit on your spending, and avoid unnecessary or impulsive purchases. You can also donate or share some of your money or possessions with those who are in need. You can also cultivate some hobbies or interests that do not require money or things.


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