OPINION: EJKs and the death penalty

Tin Bartolome

Posted at Mar 30 2017 01:30 PM

Sometimes, I marvel at how some humans are able to thrive as they do after major crises in their lives. Of course, I know that each of us have wounds one way or the other, but we have our own strengths and coping abilities. I marvel at those who seem to overshoot “coping” or “surviving” and become overbearing instead. These are the people who inflict themselves on others, especially when they are given the chance by unsuspecting “victims”.

I understand how it feels to survive life’s trials, to finally be liberated and begin moving on. Often initially euphoric, I guess those who are able to survive the trials also have what it takes to make the positive feelings last longer. I do not know how it happens though that sometimes, they forget that we are all unique and that what worked for them may not work for others. Other times, maybe they simply are not conscious that what they say may imply the same thing: that their standards are high and that we should aspire to be like them or that they’re such proud parents, they ought to let everyone else know their children’s achievements.

Positive psychology emphasizes the importance of wellness and suggests ways of staying well and helping those around us prolong moments of happiness. I think I can practice positivity only with some people and for a definite period. There are ethical issues when the recipient of your good news has no choice but to be positive about it—like when you are a subordinate, a student or someone whose status is lower—especially if that is how the sharer of good news regards the relationship.

Let me explain by way of examples. Teachers, superiors (immediate boss, owner of company, anyone with a rank higher than the captive listener or audience) and older people sometimes forget that students, subordinates, employees—anyone who perceives his stature to be lower than the person seeking an audience—sometimes do not really care about other concerns and that it is not their primary duty to make the listeners feel good. Can you imagine if a President does that on national television? Of course, you can!

I just thought that surviving a crisis does not give us the license to impose our beliefs on others and assume that they have the same strengths we do. It’s one thing to encourage and inspire—but imposing our decisions on others is entirely different!

I think it’s all in the nature of assuming that surviving a crisis endows one with everything, from bragging rights to the authority to impose ideas and opinions. Those who impose their ideas on others as if they had the monopoly of correctness eventually believe that this also gives them the right to decide who should live and who should die. Dangerous, isn’t it? Is this not what extra-judicial killings and the death penalty are about?

Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.