THE existentialist Kierkegard says there are two ways to be fooled: One is to believe what isn't so. The other is to refuse to believe it is so.
Take the environmentalists so-called who are opposing the ongoing road widening project on the old Manila north road (MacArthur Highway). I refer to the Angeles-San Fernando stretch, a vital road artery between Pampanga's "twin cities."
The trees that stand on the way of the road widening job must give way sooner or later to facilitate the smooth and seamless roadwork. That's the inconvenient truth.
I admire the idealism of the green group and will not debate with the need for oxygen from trees and their water holding capacity to mitigate floods.
While the human need for oxygen is a constant, civilization moves with change. As we say, there is nothing more permanent in this world than change.
Pamcham president Rene Romero summarizes it as progress. With our galloping population, there is the imperative need for faster and efficient mode of transporting goods and people.
Romero argues well on the pragmatic aspect of doing away with one good (the trees) and replace them with a better good (a wider road).
Mang Rene must have schooled himself with Aristotelian rhetoric which rules that "thing productive of a greater good than another is productive of itself a greater good than that other."
Philosophically, gold is a better thing than iron, though less useful. In this sense while the trees provide oxygen and are flood retardants, the freedom of people's movement in a safe, ample and smooth thoroughfare appears to be the greater good.
I hope the environmentalists will see wisdom into this and view their predicament in the principles of "relative goodness and relative utility."
I am an oxygen person myself and like fresh and clean air. But I do not use the Angeles-San Fernando road to get my share of oxygen breathed out by the trees on the roadside.
I use that way to travel and get to my destination fast and safe. Preserving the environment is a remarkable undertaking, we all agree. In this particular project, I am certain that a great majority of residents approve of the road widening. Our people see a greater good in cutting down the trees to give way to a shaping boulevard.
In effect if the road widening will result to a greater good for a greater number, it becomes more justified as it is democratic. More people can all share in a better good. That is the measure of its value.
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A corollary victim of being fooled "by refusing to believe it is so" is DPWH-3 Director Alfredo Tolentino. Despite the permit given by the DENR to cut the trees Tolentino is paralyzed by his own choice and fear. He should be relieved by one with willpower and not buckle down before a handful of ecologists.
A second subject who belongs to the Kierkegardian fools of not believing what is so is boxing champ Manny Pacquiao.
In my judgment -- and those of many fans -- the Pacman lost his second bout against Juan Manuel Marquez. Badly outfought and mauled by the wily and hard-hitting. Marquez, Pacquiao emerged bruised and groggy after the last round. Gazing around, while waiting for the announcement of the verdict, he was jolted in surprised disbelief upon hearing he was the winner.
The boxing syndicate in Las Vegas thought it wise not to put him out of the ranking as Manny was a bankable, revenue-producing talent. The ring bosses were right.
A few months later Juan Manuel Marquez flew to the country, sought out Pacquiao, and challenged him to another rematch.
In so many words, Marquez provoked Pacquiao's machismo and courage. Pacman did not stand up for Filipino pride by the simple motion of accepting the challenge or even considering it in a later date.
Pacman is willing to fight any other challenger, except Marquez. His promoter Bob Arum, coach Freddie Roach and his trainers were deathly afraid that Marquez can outfight Pacman anytime, anywhere. They witnessed how Pacman failed to hurt and take out Marquez in l2 rounds.
Instead of choosing Marquez as the best and ablest of his challengers for a world title fight, Arum and company selected less dangerous opponents. They were proven correct -- the Pacman beat them all.
Pacquiao's handlers had picked Floyd Mayweather not only as easily beatable but also for the astronomical purse of the match.
They refuse to believe that Marquez had beaten the Pacman in the last bout. They swept the bad memory under the rug.
Despite the clamor of boxing fans worldwide, a Pacquiao-Marquez rematch was a no-no -- and deliberately forgotten - by the Pacman's camp.
Mayweather feels he is the real underdog in a fight with Pacman. That is the reason he puts up many excuses not to give the Filipino the privilege of a fight.
Floyd, unlike Pacman, cares less for the big money in the match. He wants to retain his status as unbeaten champion.
"Para sayo ito, mga kababayan ko!" is Pacquio's trademark rally cry. If he wants indeed to defend Filipino pride, and his personal honor, specially, the Pacman should fight Marquez who had the guts and manhood to come here and confronted our own boy to a fight.
Unless he makes a closure to the Marquez insult -- the Pacman remains an idol in question. Also as the poster boy for cheap gin, SMB and Alaxan, opiate of many Filipino losers.