Wake Me Up When Graduation Ends


“I dream of a speech that will shatter our graduates’ delusions. One that will slap them in the face: “you are not as good as you are” and perhaps, help tame their conceit long before they become monsters. One that will shatter definitions and re-imagine Iskolar ng Bayan as it must now apply to graduates: your success as iskolars are intimately tied to the success of our bayan—we fail every time this nation fails. “

Originally posted on Bootleg Philosophy:

Our commencement speaker sent me into comatose. From the flashes I remember, he was an important persons delivering unimportant messages. I cannot remember who he was much less what he said. What I do remember is that his speech was so dull reading a telephone directory would have been more engaging. I also recall it to be cruelly long that by the time it finished, we had already developed alzheimer’s. It was traumatizing enough to ruin the whole event for me.

In a way, it did. Because I think I’m still asleep and have yet to recover.

I am not sure if it’s a general sentiment but graduation speeches rarely work. Even with substance or depth or humor, no matter the eloquence or animation, most of them contain insights that graduates have already learned from years of schooling.  If graduation speeches were meant to serve as reminders, most of them do not capture the…

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“When silence happens, it means that certain discourses are privileged over the others. When voices are muted, it means that some voices are louder and being heard. When texts are obscured and hidden, it means that some texts are surfaced and dominant. When some opinions are oppressed, it means that the interests of those in power are advanced. When others are marginalized, it means that there is uneven distribution of power.”

– Exploring Discursive Silences in Online Discussions (PhD dissertation) by Joanne Serrano, PhD (Dev Com; top PhD graduate of Class 2013)

To all graduates: Your education really is the job of a lifetime (repost)

DRAGONFLY By Tisha C. Bautista (The Philippine Star) | Updated April 16, 2013 – 12:00am

March and April are the traditional graduation months in the Philippines.  It is that time of year when many witness a rite of passage as gown-clad graduates march to mark the end of a formal educational cycle and commence a new phase in their lives. Depending on how big a role you play in the event — a proud parent, a best friend or maybe just a casual guest — the afternoon will either be truly meaningful, or for some, a long, tortuous exercise.

Keynote speakers are selected for many reasons: their many accomplishments, their reputation, their point of view. Here is someone who, although no longer with us, speaks with a very special voice. His name is David Foster Wallace, award-winning American novelist, short story writer, and essayist. He is perhaps best known for his 1996 novel, Infinite Jest, cited as one of the best 100 English-language novels from 1923 to 2005 by Time magazine. Sadly, having suffered from depression for over 20 years, he took his own life in 2008. Despite this seeming tragic end, his commencement speech given at the Kenyon College in Ohio in 2005 speaks volumes of the depth of his own search for life’s meaning and highlights even more the urgency of his message.

Below are excerpts from his speech:

Greetings and congratulations to Kenyon’s graduating class of 2005. There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, “Morning boys. How’s the water?” The two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks at the other and goes, “What the hell is water?”

…. Again, please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it’s hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to. 

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends on what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down. 

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Not that that mystical stuff is necessarily true. The only thing that’s capital -T True is that you get to decide how you’re gonna try to see it.

This, I submit is the freedom of a real education, of learning how to be well-adjusted. You get to consciously decide what has meaning and what doesn’t. You decide what to worship.

Because here’s something else that’s weird but true; in the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual type thing to worship — be it JC or Allah, be it YHWH or the Wiccan Mother Goddess, or the Four Noble Truths, or some inviolable set of ethical principles — is pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It’s the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. 

On one level, we all know this stuff already. It’s been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness.

Worship power, you will end up feeling weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to numb you to your own fear. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart, you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.

They’re the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that’s what you’re doing. 

And the so-called real world will not discourage you from operating on your default settings, because the so-called real world of men and money and power hums merrily along in a pool of fear and anger and frustration and craving and worship of self. Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation. This kind of freedom has much to recommend it. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. 

That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had and lost, some infinite thing. 

I know that this stuff probably doesn’t sound fun and breezy or grandly inspirational the way a commencement speech is supposed to sound. What it is, as far as I can see, is the capital-T Truth, with a whole lot of rhetorical niceties stripped away. You are of course, free to think of it whatever you wish. But please don’t dismiss it as just some finger-wagging Dr. Laura sermon. None of this stuff is really about morality or religion or dogma or big fancy questions of life after death. The capital T-Truth is about life BEFORE death.

It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: “This is water. “ “This is water.” 

It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now. 

I wish you way more than luck.

Although David Wallace’s life ended the way it did, may the message of living mindfully in this life and choosing consciously what we give our attention to be the foundation of your real education — and may that education lead you to real joy.

Kudos to all new graduates!

Source: http://www.philstar.com/health-and-family/2013/04/16/930994/all-graduates-your-education-really-job-lifetime (Accessed: April 16, 2013)

“Research is always carried out by an individual with a life and a lifeworld… a personality, social context, and various personal and practical challenges and conflicts, all of which affect the research, from the choice of a research question or topic, through the method used, to the reporting of the project’s outcome.”

-Bentz and Shapiro (1998) as cited in Marshall and Reason (2007)

Indications of Hell Week in Elbi (Repost)

Mutteringus walkamus – students reviewing notes out loud while walking, eyes fixed on a point in the horizon. Feet programmed to lead their dazed owner to exam destinations. These walkers seem to know how to navigate thru bollards, trees, and other walkers. Drivers drive carefully around them, and if one rides their jeep, stops had to be hollered out loud, lest all find themselves back at the Univ Gates.

Props – those piles of papers that students carry around even to the toilet. These are referred to while in Mutteringus walkamus mode. Snatch these from its owner then all hell will break loose.

Group study – yeah this is how we refer to these meetings but it is more like updating notes by photocopying (during our time) or USB swapping/blu-toothing/file transfers (trend). The newer trend is the creation of an e-group for the class, for safer file sharing without the need for physical meet-ups. During Hell Week, your inbox could be flooded with messages in real time.

Boston Cafes (Grove and One Caldi) are full of deadline crammers, all outlets jammed with extension cords servicing 6 laptops each. Surprisingly, all Elbiccino varieties run out by 10pm, to be replenished again before midnight. Instead of monitoring for the time, one has to be aware what day it is.

Conference Halls are packed with well-dressed students, waiting for their turn to present manuscripts. And because most wait for the exact last day of defense, the lights shine bright well into 12:01 midnight.

Deadlines are sacred in Elbi, mountains are moved, dorm curfews are broken, friendships are put to the test, true characters are shown… just to keep the deadline. And when deadlines are met, only then can a student SLEEP to his/her hearts’ content.

Note: Elbi is a colloquial term for Los Banos, Laguna, or to the campus itself, University of the Philippines Los Banos

Author: https://www.facebook.com/brentianluis/about