Tuesday, May 12, 2009

On Science and the 14th Dalai Lama

A concerned member at proudlyfilipina.com recommended
Destructive Emotions:  A Scientific Dialogue with the Dalai Lama by Daniel Goleman. Having recently discovered the joys of the audiobook (and because I had lost my glasses once again), I got this.

The title states exactly what it is.  Briefly, the Dalai Lama initiated a forum with renowned Western scientists and philosophers. Buddhist spiritual practices and its effects were put up for scientific study. Acutely aware that majority would shun religious or moral doctrine, he espoused the findings of research to understand and counter destructive emotion. Can a Nobel Peace Prize recipient aspire for less?

I only recently found out that His Holiness kept up with technology, or the applied sciences. Last month, cyberspies were discovered to have infiltrated the computers at his Dharamsala offices. The 14th Dali Lama even has his own website! To find that even abstract science is of special interest leaves me in awe. Richard Davidson, a pioneer in the field of affective neuroscience had remarked, "[He had what seemed] an almost preternatural feel for data and the methods of science. I've seen His Holiness penetrate into the data when everyone else but the specialists are left behind."

More of this is revealed in the book's Foreward written by the Dalai Lama:
"Buddhism and science are not conflicting perspectives on the world but rather, different approaches to the same end: seeking truth. In Buddhist training, it is essential to investigate reality and science offers its own ways to go about its investigation. While the purposes of science may differ from those of Buddhism, both ways of searching for truth expand our knowledge and understanding.

"The dialogue between science and Buddhism is a two-way conversation. We Buddhists can make use of the findings of science to clarify our understanding of the world we live in. But scientists may also be able to utilize some insights from Buddhism. There are many fields in which Buddhism can contribute to scientific understanding...

"I have often said that if Science proves facts that conflict with Buddhist understanding, Buddhism must change accordingly. We should always adopt a view that accords with the facts. If upon investigation, we find that there is reason and proof for a point, then we should accept it."

Thursday, May 7, 2009

On Martin Nievera and His Ego

I've  posted about Lupang Hinirang sung at various boxing bouts.  I even have a dramatic video version of our National Anthem, meant more for reflection.  As a wannabe artist and Filipino, I recognize the respect due one's original work. One does not mess with Shakespeare, Vivaldi or the choreography of Giselle for example. So why should we consider the Lupang Hinirang fair game?  Or does Martin have the artistic freedom to change it up?  Is it true what he says that "we're afraid of change?"

I was a big fan of Martin when he first came on the Philippine music scene. I think it was on Pilita's show, and he sang with his father, Bert Nievera. Although you would have thought that they were patronizing this kid, he obviously had talent. It confused me a bit when he dissed Jackielou Blanco on national TV. I knew of her and found her to be a gracious and intelligent heiress who rather liked to work. Martin would show again later on that he generally disrespected women.

I cheered for the Pops-Martin tandem on Penthouse live. I think the end of the marriage started my dislike for him. (Fans CAN take it personally, you know). My ears began to ring with his American twang.  For those unaware, he was educated here. I cringe when he mispronounces Filipino words though I think he's recorded Filipino songs. It embarrasses me no end that Michelle van Eimeren and the Brazilian on Eat Bulaga! speak in the vernacular while Martin prattles like a Fil-Am who's never set foot in in the Philippines.

Why the rant?  I was worried about how he would sing Lupang Hinirang during the Pacquiao-Hatton bout last weekend. If you had to sing phonetically, the chances are you would commit a mistake or not give it the proper emotion.

Boy, was I mistaken! He pronounced the words right but that was all he did. He messed with the tempo and the original melody. And was that true emotion we see in his scrunched-up face? He's been doing that forever. Martin is pseudo-American rather than Filipino and I think he's rather proud of it. How did we expect someone without national pride to sing our National Anthem correctly? The song identifies our people but Martin is one of "them" people.