TURNING POINT: The Power of Symbolic Reality

NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 30 Nov) – Material existence is not the only reality. In many occasions the symbolism of an act turned out to be more “real” than what actually happened reckoned on how it impacts on the lives of humans.

The symbolism of an act more than the act may tell a value-laden story of immeasurable dimensions and consequences. For instance, how do you think the President would react if his life-size image with the Filipino flag were together trampled upon and shredded into pieces by Islamic militants? Do you think he would simply say “no problem; it’s just a tarpaulin and a piece of cloth?”

What would be your pleasure if while on the way to church someone grabbed your Bible and spit on it?

I don’t believe you would simply react saying “go ahead; it’s just a book anyway” and simply walk away.

Symbols are real by themselves. They divide mankind; drive nations into senseless, devastating wars; and push individuals to committing atrocious acts.

Burying the world-known thief, plunderer and human rights violator Marcos in the nation’s heroes cemetery doesn’t make the villain automatically a hero. But the act is pregnant with symbolism. It is one successful giant step of the Marcoses in rewriting history projecting their patriarch into the future as a hero which by any standard he never was. Worse is that it sends wrong signal to the youth and future generations that crime does pay. Moreover, it makes us Filipino a laughingstock in the world community for what would appear as our stupidity and twisted sense of justice.

(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan is a retired professor and former chancellor of the Mindanao State University Naawan campus in Misamis Oriental.)