Briones: The importance of community

On the go

NO MAN is an island.

It’s a catchphrase many of you are familiar with. It basically means you should seek the company of others because being alone can and will eventually drive you bonkers.

So it’s not the best definition but hey, the gist is there. And that’s what counts.

You see, metaphysical poet John Donne wrote this as a reminder that being selfish--because, come on, that’s what being an island is all about, right?—is not good for the soul.

Okay, I just made that up.

But hey, he might have. That, or he wrote it to convince a young girl, or a boy, to accept his sexual advances.

Donne was born in 1572 in London, England. Right in the middle of Queen Elizabeth I’s reign.

A hundred years before that, the country was in the midst of a series of civil wars between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet.

It was called the War of the Roses because the symbol of House Lancaster was the red rose, while House York was associated with the white rose.

Now imagine if it had been Baby’s Breath.

Anyway, to those who are familiar with English history, a Lancastrian by the name of Henry Tudor assumed the English throne and became Henry VII. He was succeeded by his son Henry VIII.

Henry VIII, as you all know, later turned his back on the Vatican when it refused to grant his request to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, daughter of Isabela and Ferdinand of Spain.

Still doesn’t ring a bell?

He’s the guy who married Ann Boleyn. Ann bore him a daughter, Elizabeth, who later became known as the Virgin Queen, wink, wink. Alas, Henry wanted a male heir. And when she couldn’t give him one after three miscarriages, she was sent to the chopping block on trumped up charges. Of course, the king already had his eye, his nose and finger on another flower.

Henry died after having had six wives. Only Jane Seymour—no, not the “Somewhere in Time” actress--bore him a son, Edward, who would later became Edward VI.

I guess his only claim to fame was his abolishment of clerical celibacy, much to the delight of the men in frocks. I’m sure.

But Edward died young. Apparently, that’s what you get when you mess with Catholic dogma.

Mary, Edward and Elizabeth’s half-sister and daughter of Catherine of Aragon, soon seized the throne. Don’t forget, she was half-Spanish and probably brought up by nuns so during her five-year reign, in which she married Philip II of Spain—they didn’t have a child because she remained in London while he in Madrid so there was a big chance they didn’t, you know—she made England Catholic again.

A glorious time for the church, indeed it was, but it was a bloody one for those who had embraced the new religion.

So where am I going with this?

Cebu has seen a lot of deaths since the administration embarked on a war against illegal drugs and criminality.

And our society will probably have to go through many more upheavals to address its ills. But to overcome these, the citizenry must work to strengthen the community. Shred that crab mentality. Discard that feeling of entitlement.

“And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.”


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