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The great migrations

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Early this month, the National Geographic Channel launched the “Great Migrations“. It’s a “global television event” that featured a seven-part series about the “powerful stories of many of the planet’s species and their movements, while revealing new scientific insights with breathtaking high-definition clarity and emotional impact. The beauty of these stories is underscored by a new focus into these species’ fragile existence and their life-and-death quest for survival in an ever-changing world.”

This reminded me and Yeyette of a couple of photos that I took during one of my final days as a corporate slave. Yeyette fetched me that morning. We stayed for a while at my ex-company‘s pantry, twenty four storeys high. The glass windows had a wonderful view of Laguna de Bay (obstructed by some buildings), spectacular sunrises, and the busy City of Muntinlupà. One morning, while gazing at the lake and the city, I noticed something peculiar by the glass panels…

Spiders outside our building's glass panels! How could they survive this height (twenty four storeys from the ground)?

I didn’t know that there were spiders that could survive this height. Well, in the mountains, yes. But outside tall buildings such as Insular Life (it has more than 30 floors) exposed to the harsh elements? Wow. It really came as a surprise. One cold, smoggy morning, we even saw a praying mantis clinging on to the glass’s smooth surface! Sometimes, there are even moths.

But then I realized that these spiders, just like the rest of the animal kingdom, are losing their natural habitat faster than you can spell the words “Peter Parker picked a peck of pickled spiders”. Skyscrapers are not the natural habitat of these poor arachnids. But since they are losing their original homes (Alabang was heavily forested just a few decades ago), they have no other choice but to adapt to an ever-changing world. This reminded me of the first amphibians that were actually fishes to a certain extent. During the Devonian Period, these fishes were forced to migrate to dry land when much of the planet’s waters were drying up. In order to adapt, they evolved multi-jointed leg-like fins, enabling them to crawl on the ground underwater rather than swim. Later on, as the waters of the earth (particularly rivers and streams) were heating up and drying out, they learned how to crawl out of the water and breathe (this evolutionary process took thousands, or perhaps even millions, of years).

In modern times, there is the peculiar case of Britain’s peppered moth. It’s a white-colored moth with small black speckles. Over time, due to Britain’s industrial pollution, it was forced to evolve itself rather than die out: its white color became almost entirely black! Many scientists regard this as a classic example of Charles Darwin’s natural selection theory.

Could this be the case with these Alabang spiders? Perhaps. The nights and early mornings are cold, and when the sun rises, it’s sure torment for these web spinners. But somehow, they are able to adapt to their environment. Those who did not “choose” to die out gradually “accepted” change. So when the forests of Alabang gave way to the asphalt jungle, these spiders moved in with humans to their skyscrapers (yung ibá nga lang, nasa labás nacatirá). This change, however, is a kind of change that is not natural (like what had happened to those Devonian fishes) but is motivated by profit (Britain’s industrial smoke).

Pre-Magellanic/pre-Philippine cultures also adapted to a natural change, a change that is called by anthropologists as “cultural dissemination”. Thus, these numerous cultures belonging to various islanders “adapted” to a new kind of change instead of dying out. Besides, this change was positive as it enhanced their way of life. And that is the reason why we Filipinos still exist today. We pray inside churches. We eat using spoons and forks, plates and drinking glasses. We learned how to dress up like modern men (i.e., Europeans). We learned advanced concepts of time and space, of age and grace. We began to have a cultural swagger of our own, something distinct, something that we now call Filipino. This kind of change is acceptable.

However, when the minds of those men who we now consider as our heroes were engulfed with subversive and novel ideas such as liberté, égalité, et fraternité, a new change set in. Before, our nation was living in the realm of the supernatural, i.e., of spirituality, filled with love and hope. But when some of these heroes allowed themselves to become agents of change, a new era began of which unprecedented changes occurred. To the betterment of the Filipino? Look around you: you decide.

These agents of change brought about the downfall of spirituality. We now live in a consumer society, a society driven mad by profit. We Filipinos, as well as other nations whose sovereignty were grossly raped by the neocolonials, are like these poor spiders hanging on to dear life. These great migrations are also happening to cultures and nations.


The Underlying Order: Us

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To my fellow bloggers…

A fractal structure. Whatever that is.

A fractal structure. Whatever that is.

I once read a book which dealt mainly on evolution. The book made a bold theory that behavior, and not giant meteors, climate change, and the like, is mainly responsible for the extinction of dinosaurs. Such cataclysmic event naturally gave rise to a domino effect on the earth’s ecological equilibrium millions of years ago. The effects of mass extinction which happened during that time are, most likely, still extant in our era.

Behavior (and this pertains not only to human or animal behavior, but to other inanimate behavioral systems as well), scientists say, is crucial to survival and the orderliness of different organizational systems, be they natural or man-made. That is why mathematics, which is perhaps the most orderly and perfect of all sciences, deemed it necessary to put behavior under one of its spheres of duty: chaos theory.

Chaos theory deals with the study of calculating, analyzing, and interpreting turbulent and unpredictable systems such as the current of river assemblages, the stock market, rioting crowds, rage-crazed student rockers who ruin a concert (guilty…), and weather disturbances to name a few. As such, nonlinear mathematics is used since chaotic systems have irregular patterns unlike the regular ones that we have been studying since the advent of mathematics and logic.

But we’re communication brats, (i.e., bloggers). So let’s scrap mathematics from here.

The reason why I try to emphasize some of the nuances and idiosyncrasy of behavior is that we, the so-called “modern” or “online” journalists, have a very significant role in channeling the course of human behavior.

In whatever field a blogger (as mass communicator) must specialize in the acreage of mass media, he/she must always bear in mind the expansive responsibility one would encounter in dealing with mass communication. Information is gold. Therefore, we should inculcate in our minds what Peter Parker had learned from his Uncle Ben when everybody’s friendly neighborhood college kid noticed that he could stick his butt into walls and ceilings after being bitten by a radioactive arachnid: “with great power comes great responsibilities.”

So if a blogger prefers to barge directly into the world of information dissemination, i.e., news, then he/she must be as responsible as a public servant (I think that’s too much to hope for, LOL!!!). But having a role in the realm of the Fourth Estate is more prestigious than landing a spot in the doddering world of politics. News content tends to become hazy and distorted, thus losing much of its credibility. A communications practitioner should be very much aware of this circumstance, of course. In addition, one must possess intelligent views and discreet public opinion.

Oftentimes, a blogger has to deal with advertising (AdSense, anyone?). And when bloggers do enter this colorful world of online advertising, they should take notice of that field’s powerful influence towards the buying public. Responsibility and good taste (if morality is “too strong” a word for some people) must be in line with the goal of profitability. If this is not so, then expect to see more ads in the same tune as those explicit, sexually suggestive, and sometimes sadistic deodorant commercials (and they sell very well, unfortunately).

And so it is, too, with public relations. It would be very helpful to have an overview, as well as a review, of human socialization and the sociological processes that could help understand human behavior much better. That would help PR men in dealing with people of different behaviors. It might even help us understand why some Fil-Italians fall prey to congressional cretins (but I think psychoanalysis should be the one to handle that, if not parapsychology, LOL!!!).

In conclusion, let me share to you that it’s not all chaos in chaos theory. Scientists say that in every turbulent system, there is an underlying order affixed to it so as to keep it in a natural balance. That is why nature is perfect (an earthquake is even dubbed as a “natural” disaster).

So to all bloggers serving as mass communicators, I wish you all good luck in steering the course of human history through the intelligent management of human behaviorism.

See you ‘round the net. =)

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