Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A Lesson in Humility

Who are we? We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star lost in a galaxy tucked away in some forgotten corner of a universe in which there are far more galaxies than people. - Carl Sagan

We’re driving one early morning and have to pass by a road construction. A gap was excavated perpendicular to the street and steel planks were put to cover the opening, wide enough for two vehicles to pass thru. Cars were queuing on both side of the traffic when suddenly a car appeared on my passenger side. Inched his way to insert him self in the line. I blow my horn to warn him of a collision and he relented. But that’s not the end of it. After we passed the construction, that very same car came abreast me, horn blowing and the teenage driver was giving me the finger. I just look at him but didn’t react. Reason dictates I have more important priorities than to engage on his antics. I have to consider my family is with me and I’m in a foreign land where logic is not the norm. If that same incident happened some twenty or so years back, may paglalagyan kami.

I’m what you’ll consider a “hot-head” in my younger days. My fist was quick to settle any quarrel or perceived affront. But most of the troubles I got into wasn’t of my making but that of my “barkadas”. I was a “bad boy” enough that my wife’s relatives were dismayed when they heard I was their niece’s fiancĂ©e. They were even in disbelief when they found out I’m an engineer and working abroad. First impression always last. I guess they’d think I’ll end up to nothing.

My temperament mellowed as I grow older. Reading books in philosophy and science gave me understanding about human nature. Visiting and working in foreign lands taught me humility and different cultures. It is not tolerance, as what most people advocates, that create a harmonious environment. You may tolerate another person’s behavior, but deep inside prejudice still exist. “Humility” and “acceptance” are the seeds of co-existence and the nutrient needed for these to grow is “understanding”. Understanding that no two people are alike. Understanding that no two cultures are the same. Understanding that our arrogance, wealth and power are inconsequential in the vastness of the universe.

If only people understand and heed what Carl Sagan said here...

It’s a universal appeal to the human specie. Part of that message is one of humility and understanding. If we learn to be humble and understand one another, then perhaps, nobody got hurt in that VGCC incident. No lives lost on insignificant quarrel at road traffics. No clash on religious differences and no ugly wars like the one we are witnessing in the Middle East.


  1. Give yourself credit for maturing emotionally and intellectually from a teenage "hot-head". to what you are now. Not many people changed the way you did as they grow older. Kudos to you!

  2. True, we are a speck of dust in this universe. Pero kahit ituro mo sa bata yan, they will not understand.

    only through experience will we realize how little we are in comparison to the whole universe. and so we become more understanding of others, we become more patient, more mature.

    and after we've learned everything, we die.

    a...yan ang misteryo ng buhay.

  3. thank you for sharing this.para kang wine habang tumatagal ay nagiging masarap at mahal.

  4. Wow, very nice post, ganda naman saka ganda din nung vid na kasama.
    Tama naman lahat ng sinabi mo, hot headed din ako nung araw but as we grow old and becoming matured we realize things in the past na naiiling na lang tayo pag naaalala natin, thanx for this nice post, nagkataon lang ba o sinasadya mo na ang mga posts mo e napapanahon para paalalahanan kami?haha mapa joke o mapa serious mas palaging kasamang paalala.
    Thanx again.

  5. Humility is the most important aspect in living everyday life. God himself humbled before His Father, and humbled before men, that he became human in order to be among us. In this case, we must accept our humanity and the humility we must attach to our being humans is a major value we must practice. Thanks for this reminder.

  6. thanks blogusvox, i mean 'dun sa comment mo and to almost all your post... it really boost and enlightens me.. nice seeing you and your family kabayan... i'll gonna put you on our list.. God bless..

    note: why it's so hard to place a comment on your blog? and is that you who made that caricatures and comic strips? hope you could make one out of one of my family photos too, i mean the caricature.. thanks..

  7. I used to be really impatient. But experience teaches, and it really pays to be humble and patient. If only people are in the same page, things will be more peaceful. Nice reflection here. =)

  8. bertN, thank you. I think it also has something to do with testosterone (joke lang). : )

    Nebz, as the saying goes "Experience is the best teacher". But it also helps if you read philosophical books.

    mightydacz, maybe it has something to do with my being "lasingero" nuong araw. : )

    TZ, isn't it nice if you read something and picked some lessons from it? Parang mga sinulat ni Aesop.

    sheng, true, it's important to practice what you read from the good book.

    2L3B, thank you for appreciating what I do.
    re: comment. Try "previewing" your comment before "posting" it. Maybe it will help.
    re: comic. Yes, I do all the drawings but it's only a hobby.

    Ms.Jo, parang "Imagine" ni Lennon. We could only dream and wish all people will be like us.

  9. Im having problem like 2L3B dont know why....

  10. ed v., I reverted back to my previous comment set-up. Hope this work.

  11. Ako noon sa Pilipinas wala rin akong pinapalampas. Hindi naman 'yong nakikipagbugbugan ako, pero talagang hindi ako papayag na hindi ako makabawi kapag iniinsulto ako. Naghahanap talaga ako ng paraang makaganti. Whew!

    Pero nagbago ang lahat simula nu'ng dumating ako rito sa Au.

    Mas iminulat (?!) nyo pa po ang aking mga mata sa isyung ito ngayon. Salamat.

  12. RJ, may bentahi rin yung makalabas ka ng bansa ano. Makikita mo ang kaibahan, sa tao man o kultura, at lalawak ang iyong pananaw.

  13. thank you,medyo yata nakasanayan ko na ang dating format he he.. Well anyway when I moved here in Korea years back I was so frustrated because of the clash in culture and language that I retreated back and became angry to anybody at a click of a finger. But then as time goes by I began to learn the language and deeply understand the culture I became my old self again.

  14. ed v., I think that's what they call "culture shock". I'm glad it's temporary and you learn to cope with it. In my almost twenty years of stay here, language is still my problem. Not only Arabic is difficult to learn, I talk with Saudis who knows and forced by their superiors to talk in English. So my arabic is only good in what we call "pang palengke". : )

  15. At some point in our lives we need evolve into a more enlightened human being else we won't appreciate our journey in this world. Regretably, some people fail and others even retrogress.

    "No clash on religious differences and no ugly wars like the one we are witnessing in the Middle East."

    Alas, some cultures haven't left the medieval ages :(

  16. I think as we mature, we tend not to yield easily to our emotions more so in the company of family members.

  17. The business of life is to go forward. Like you, I was a hothead when I was a lot younger. I've mellowed quite a bit too although such hotheadedness still erupts every once in a while.

    We're human and what sets us apart is our power to think and act in a civilized manner even when our instincts tell us to do otherwise.

  18. bw, your comment reminds me of an old book: "Jonathan Living Stone Seagull". : )

    Mari, to do otherwise, will show our weakness. And we don't want that imprinted in our offsprings' mind.

    Panaderos, true, I once read somewhere to the effect "What sets us apart from other animals is our ability to control our instincts".