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Taking philosophy as it is commonly understood in academic circles, the Philippines does not have a tradition of philosophy. However, as in all human beings, there is an experience of self within the horizon of reality and the urge to understand and to shape this experience. This can be called the drive towards wisdom. It comes from an innate desire to discover and to create meaning. It is never ending. It is helped by dialogue with outside influences, with other cultures and peoples.
This dialogue becomes problematic when there are colonizers bent on owning and directing the innate drive towards wisdom. The colonized can choose between complete surrender and complete rejection. Or the colonized can develop the art of seeing the colonizers as just one more outside influence: to be eschewed in so far as it blocks insight, to be used in so far as it helps insight.
This then is the horizon within which the drive towards wisdom unfolds. It unfolds in meditation. In the classroom it unfolds in the interaction between the meditation of the professor and the meditation of the students. The professor strives to create an environment that awakens the students to the realization that they have an innate drive towards wisdom, that they can think, enter into insight, seek truth, shape their lives. Through philosophical meditation, profound thinkers of the past become companions and helpers in the present drive towards wisdom.
Companions also in this
drive are the crowds of anonymous people who have created and left us an abundance of
Philippine languages. The philosophical attitudes embodied in these languages contain a
rich potential for philosophical meditation. One can mention: the philosophical attitude
that created a multitude of suffixes that call attention to the constantly recurring
mutuality between people, between things, between people and things, the distinct way of
referring to persons as different from things, the referring to people as human beings
without discriminating between male and female.
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Updated last 04 October 2003