The Filipino as a Man
(Mercado, 1974, 1994, 2000)
A. The Filipino as Individual
Americans openly exchange insults in quarrels but are reconciled afterwards as if nothing happened at all. The Filipino may forgive and insult but he carries the wounds for a long time. That is why when Filipinos disagree; they would prefer to use intermediates or exchange indirect remarks rather than to be frank with each other.
The Filipino looks at himself as a self, as one who feels, as one who wills, as one who thinks, as one who acts; as a total whole – as a “person” conscious of his freedom, proud of his human dignity and sensitive to the violation of these two.
B. The Filipino as a Thinker
Filipino intuition is similar to what is called “poetic intuition” or “knowledge through connaturality”. This kind of knowledge, which has been known by masters of ancient Western and Eastern philosophy, is “another type of knowledge, entirely different, which is not acquired through concept and reasoning, but through “inclination” or through sympathy, congeniality or connaturality. The mystics, the ancient Indian philosophers, and poets have similar knowledge through intuition or connaturality.
Filipino thinking proceeds through concrete incarnational sysmbols, it is also inductive by nature. Induction begins with the particular in order to arrive at the universal. It is the opposite of deduction which proceeds the other way. On the other hand, western thought is characterized by deduction or logical thinking. This manner can be traced back to the Greeks who fathered western civilization.
The Filipinos thinking is subjective, concrete and imprecise; he has to reason intuitively and inductively. This psychological way of thinking is ultimately due to the Filipinos non-dualistic or systhetic world view wherein the subject is in harmony with the object. It is quite different from the dualistic view of the western which sees a dichotomy between subject and object, between mind and matter, between body and soul, between one and many, and between thought and reality.
C. The Filipino as a Social Being
The Filipino is less-individualistic because he wants to be in harmony with his fellowmen. Just as harmony with himself is behind many of his personal actuations, the principle of non-dualism or harmony also explains the Filipinos communitarian nature. It also explains the harmony sought between sexes. His “psychological” and concrete way of thinking also explains why he is person-oriented and non idea-oriented.
The Filipino looks at person or men from the viewpoint of harmony. He wants to be in harmony with his fellowmen just as he wants to be in harmony with himself. In this harmony, he notices the hierarchy and dichotomy of himself and of others, but the others or the “sakop’s” fulfillment is also part of him. Moreover, since the Filipino has non-lineal view of reality, the concept of “sakop” is also non-lineal.