Sunday, January 15

the good and the bad.

i read something recently that struck a nerve, and of all places, i had to read it in facebook. it was a status message of a cousin who is smitten, bluntly put, by alcohol and momentary euphoria.

she declared for all the netizens to read: i just don't know what's right and what's wrong anymore.

instinctively, i left a comment: you probably need to rest for a while so you can have your sense of perspective back. because through time, and once you've become numb to making the wrong decisions over and over and over again, the line that separates what's right from what's wrong becomes so thin, it's virtually not there anymore. you just need to recoup and rest for a while, and in no time, you will find your center again. it's quite helpful, trust me.

this got me thinking:

why is it that sometimes, nothing seems to be 'wrong' anymore, and everything that we do can be rationalized as the 'right' thing to do? for in the absence of a dualizing standard for our actions, and with the normalization of what we used to think of as 'bad', everything can pass off as good -- for as long as it makes us happy.

happiness, after all, is the ultimate pursuit of man, or at least, according to my standard of what constitutes a happy life. (yes, i am both epicurean and an escapist -- a fatal mix, i know.)

but it has not always been like this.

when i was still a sheltered and pampered young boy who was spoonfed with religion classes and catechism seminars, i knew that premarital sex was bad, smoking was taboo, beer was a form of enslavement, and cursing was the habit of uneducated people.

but as i got broken to the world, i realized that the very concept of morality is fluid, and for as long as you are capable of dealing with the consequences of your actions, then you can do whatever you want to do. you are your own master, and for so long as you do not hurt anyone, and you are in the company of people who share the same worldview as yourself, then society has no right to intrude into your affairs.

naturally and in no time, i discarded my erstwhile notions about the dichotomy of good and bad.

i smoked like a chimney, drank like a fish, and cursed like a maniac. at first, i have to admit, i felt liberated, because for once in my life, i was no longer constrained to be 'conventionally' good. but of course, i would later on learn that that was a false sense of empowerment, because in just a matter of months, i would be weighed down by the repercussions to my overindulgences.

i lost my center, my sense of self, and to a certain extent, even my self-respect. for in the blur of intoxicated nights and days of abandon and mayhem, i've learned to cut classes, kiss total strangers when intoxicated, and perennially use the blanket excuse of drunkenness when my actions would no longer be acceptable even to my friends.

sometimes, and at the expense of being cliche, i shudder at the person i see in the mirror. i no longer recognize the boy who stares back at me during mornings when my head splits from a nasty hangover, or during nights when i am certain i will be possessed by drunken stupor.

someone once told me that in case we lose our sense of self, we need to go back to what's familiar. he made perfect sense, but then again, i thought, with the fluidity of life, even the familiar can be deconstructed -- and sometimes, when you are in a place that is unfamiliar even to you, your sense of familiarity dissipates into something that once was, but has ceased to be.

although i am grateful that my sense of perspective has taken flight from once being so rigidly dichotomized, there are times when i wish i am back to my old self: certain of the divide, and even more certain that the good can be separated from the bad.

11 comments:

ram said...

happy new year.,.

claudiopoi said...

at sayo din @ram. :)

glentot said...

Who's to say what is bad and what is good? Hasn't it always been the question... My Ethics instructor taught us that people made up rules and decided what's bad and good. If it feels good, it must be good LOL.

Tim Smithson said...

Really bad yeah.. Beer made us confess.. Sucks..

ahmer said...

i agree w/ glen =D

claudiopoi said...

@glentot,

bakit parang bastos ang statement na: 'if it feels good, it must be good?' o baka dahil galing sayo. :D

@tim,

uhm, confess sir?

@ahmer,

pero hindi ba sometimes, it feels good, but it's so wrong? lol. parang kabastusan na naman ito.

Spiral Prince said...

i think we agreed on something over beer at Bordz: ignorance is bliss and knowledge/awareness has a steep price, although we used different words then. :)

McRICH said...

i think its better to just do what you want to do and just dont be too complicated if its good or bad, as long as youre happy and doesnt affect others in a bad way. napadaan po :)

ןıuǝ oɟ ɟןıƃɥʇ said...

consciousness comes at a tremendous price. in some cultures/religions, it is something to be avoided and feared (eve/snake). in others, it is to be celebrated (Hinilawod epic).

Jake said...

It's "we" who draw the line between the good and the bad.

Soar high companero.

Nice to know a fello lawyer-blogger. :)

Anonymous said...

Everything is relative -- lies and truth, good and bad. And popcorn. -Mingkay