INTRODUCTION

 

In the life of every person and every people there are points of high hopes and grim disillusionment. It is good that we tend to define ourselves in terms of the former, for this gives stimulus for achievement and progress, whereas the latter would kill initiative and expose us to despair. A certain disillusionment can be helpful, however, if it enables us to appreciate better the challenges we confront and the seriousness of the effort we must make in order to advance--or even to avoid falling further behind. The papers of this volume reveal the strength of hope vs despair in the hearts of the Filipino people and the need for a wise understanding of values and education if hope is to prevail.

A. Bonoan points to three defining moments: the Philippine revolution of 1896, the First Quarter Storm in the 1970s, and the February Revolution of 1986. This volume reflects the hopes which the latter generated for national renewal. Yet, in concert with the nations of Eastern Europe and throughout the world, the preface acknowledges how very difficult such renewal is proving to be. In order to take effective part in the great campaign that is the life of a culture, it is necessary, first, to analyze carefully the hopes of that culture and especially the values upon which they are built--commitment to these values is essential for any program for the progress of that people. Second, it is important to appreciate the possible ambivalence of such values, for tragedy is less something that befalls us from without, then inadequacy from within by which our strengths turn into weaknesses and we are rendered incapable of the achievements we most desire. Hence, love of family can degenerate progressively into a debilitating nepotism, a lack of public spiritedness, and even destructive rivalry. Thirdly, ways must be found to overcome such ambivalence in order for both the individual and the national characters to be strengthened for the difficult tasks ahead. Finally, through education and social reformation and restructuring, we must undertake the great work of building a new generation internally motivated and externally coordinated for a life worthy of the legacy received from the generations which have gone before.

The chapters of this volume face this challenge--not definitively for they acknowledge how much there is to be done--but so well that their work constitutes a volume of lasting importance to their people, and to others throughout the world who are concerned with the quality of life in our times. Though individually the chapters often are too rich to be reduced to only one of the above four steps, together they trace out the overall dynamic of the effort of the people of the Philippines to perfect its culture and to make its contribution to future generations. Hence, this volume is organized accordingly into four corresponding parts.

Part I concerns the values inherent in the culture. The first chapter by M. Dy looks into the nature of values. In doing this he confronts the tendency of much modern thought to reduce the real to the ambit of rational intellect and the objective, forgetting human subjectivity where reason opens onto human freedom, with its allied affectivity and creative action. He soon makes manifest that the challenge of this volume is nothing less than to open a new dimension of human life and to consider it critically. Toward this goal chapter II proposes a project of, and for, a Philippine axiological ethics founded in the Holy and marked by non-violence, human rights, justice and solidarity.

Chapter III by R. Bonoan provides additional structure for this effort by pointing out its key historical moments in the life of the Philippine people and underlining further values of particular importance for our day: peace, social justice, economic self-sufficiency and patriotism.

In chapter IV P. Licuanan brings to this effort rich content from the patrimony of values in the Filipino tradition. Her moral recovery program catalogs the strengths of the Philippine character with its family orientation, adaptability and faith. At the same time she does not hesitate to recognize the weaknesses which impede progress. In this combined light she is able to detail a set of realistic goals for moral education in the Philippines today.

Part II takes up the ambivalence of character patterns where strengths also entail weaknesses. Chapter V by E. Quito does this in detail, enumerating the Filipino character traits and showing how each has positive, but also negative, aspects.

Chapter VI by V. Gorospe shows how this translates into values and disvalues, and how, together, they form a typical constellation. For example, the bahala na mentality provides the self-reliance and risk-taking required for creativity in public life, but it can also open the way to resignation and apathy.

In chapter VII B. Tolosa indicates where to look for the key to such ambivalence and hence the true battle ground for any effort toward progress. He shows how even such seemingly physical and material forces as those of the economic order are not necessitated, but depend upon human choices and social preferences, for the economy is set in an ideology, behind which lie value preferences. This suggests that the above ambivalence is not something fated by history, but is subject to human choices. By these persons and peoples shape their competencies for good acts, and hence the ability to carry out the good that they will. This is a matter of developing the virtues which correspond to a person's or peoples' values. Virtues are so essential here that it is surprising that in this volume there seems to be relatively little explicit reference to them, to their development and promotion, or to education as training in virtue, though this may be implicit in much else that is said regarding moral education.

Part III takes up the challenge inherent in the acknowledgement of value ambivalence. It looks for the elements which open the way to the negative or to disvalues, and thereby for the foundations of the positive choices required for personal and national resurgence.

The masterful chapter VIII by F. Hornedo initiates this task by identifying the interweaving pattern of cultures and values, clarifying the processes of enculturation and exculturation, and relating these to the hermeneutic dynamisms of the search for power. In this light he analyses the three dimensions of language, fact and synoptic interpretation required for the social sciences, the pattern of values they presuppose, and the history of its emergence.

In Chapter IX D. Fernandez carries further the consideration of culture by showing its deeper relation to human identity which is precisely beyond power relations which make of people mere instruments of self-interest. In this light cultural rights become basic, perhaps even the basic, human rights. This is an important corollary to the work done in the previous chapters. It means that the wealth of the human potential of a people lies in their culture, that to destroy this is to destroy a people; conversely it means that for a people to build its future it must find the way to draw upon the wealth of its cultural tradition, overcome its ambiguities, and point it into the challenges to be faced.

C. Montiel in chapter X also shows the inadequacies of the notion of power considered in the restricted terms of self-interest by focusing upon the importance of symbols for coordinating and directing human life. Through the example of the decisive role of the conjunction of religion and symbol in the revolution of 1986 she shows love and its correlative, freedom, to be stronger than what is generally meant by power.

This is more than a matter of mobilizing people, for if the challenge is to overcome the ambiguity of a national character then it is necessary to look more deeply into the roots of its negative potentialities. As Chapter XI by Ma. D. Astorga reveals, religion can play a crucial role in this, for it deals not only with human perfection, but with its weaknesses. Merely identifying weaknesses and exhorting to strength will not suffice, however. The extreme difficulty and pain of the process of overcoming sinful weakness is manifest dramatically in the cross of Christ. Thus the religious context of a culture is foundational for national renewal in identifying, not only the nature and dynamics of sin and death, but the transcendent source and direction of resurrection to new life.

This chapter is important in reading deeply into the dynamism of the human drama. But much remains to be done. All our humane and scientific competencies will be needed in order to identify the concrete details of this process in the varied and increasingly complex sectors of modern life; all our creativity and generosity will be needed in order to prescribe effective responses and to promote their realization in the free choices of persons. This is an ongoing challenge which must be addressed in all dimensions and all moments of our life.

Chapter XII by J. Roche begins to identify ways of approaching the pedagogy involved in this work by pointing out the new awareness of human development and the related programs of values education proposed in recent times. He notes their frequent failure adequately to integrate the philosophical and religious dimensions which regard the basis and meaning of life. This suggests the positive potentialities which could be unlocked by a combination of philosophical, psychological, sociological and pedagogical efforts which are open to the transcendent dimension of human life and directed to the development of a sense of values and of moral commitment. Indeed, the Council for Research in Values and Philosophy has carried out just such a coordinated effort. The work of its four teams constitutes the volumes: Philosophical Foundations for Moral Education and Character Development: Act and Agent edited by George F. McLean and Frederick E. Ellrod; Psychological Foundations of Moral Education and Character Development: An Integrated Theory of Moral Development, edited by Richard T. Knowles; The Social Context of Values, edited by Olinto Pegoraro; and Character Development in Schools and Beyond, edited by Kevin Ryan and Thomas Lickona. This work was part of the context for the roundtable discussion referred to in the Preface, which, in turn, evoked much of the work of this present volume.

Part IV constitutes a survey of the different disciplines or fields of education, noting the way in which values can emerge in, and from, the teaching of each discipline. To the degree that this is so values education is not an external addition to the curriculum, but rather a deepening and humanizing of the entire educational process. Indeed, unless one is ideologically and unquestioningly committed to the Western mindset, one should not exclude entirely the possibility that the present educational process, as it reflects the pattern of modern rationalism, is itself the basic dehumanizing force of our times--such is the ambiguity that pervades even our efforts to educate and form the children whom we most love. If a truly humane life consists essentially--not accidentally--in making the difference between good and evil, moral and immoral, value and disvalue then the chapters of this concluding section are important in reviewing the sciences and arts from the point of view of their potential for values and value education and for the view they imply regarding the nature and goals of the educational project as a whole.

Chapter XIII by Talisayon looks into education in the physical sciences to find bases for value formation, creativity and critique. Chapter XIV by Professors Cuyegkeng and Dayret shows the potentialities of education in the sciences and technology for developing sensitivity to such issues as social justice and land reform.

Chapter XV by B. Lumbrera shifts the focus to literature, illustrating through an analysis of two prominent texts its powerful potentialities for values education through an analysis of two prominent texts. In Chapter XVI S. N. Tiongson identifies the way in which the arts can contribute to the development of a creative imagination. This is required not so much for general ethical decisions of right and wrong, but for the more important basic issue of how life can be lived concretely in such ways that high human and religious values are realized in daily life. This is the real challenge. In chapter XVII A. Gonzalez suggests that there is some truth to the position that the structure of a language shapes our understanding and sensibilities. From this it follows that we need to understand the character of a language in order to be in responsible control of its formative influence in our lives. Rhetoric and debate can provide also a context for teaching and learning many issues of ethics and values.

When this content of Part IV is added to the rich materials in the earlier chapters regarding teaching in the social sciences and religions studies, there emerges a sense of how education can overcome the danger of being used as an instrument for reducing persons to the state of servants to the machine at its various levels: mechanical, economic or political. Instead, to the degree that education is consciously, even basically, concerned with value formation, it can enable the Filipino people to undertake the arduous task of realizing the hopes of its Revolution of `86 for national resurgence in dignity and love.

George F. McLean