Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Brain Drain or Heart Drain?

When God chose and anointed saints and prophets he had an entirely different set of criteria. His number one criteria was best described by Jesus to two disciples who unabashedly asked Jesus to assign them places of honour, one on his left and the other on his right. Jesus asked them, “can you drink from the cup I will drink from…the cup of suffering and death….?” He then adds, “Remember that the Son of Man came to serve and not to be served.”

The whole idea of genuine, self-less and unconditional service seems to be disappearing. Thus, we should not be surprised to find fewer and fewer saints and prophets in our midst. So many today seem to be in a hurry to overtake the other in the scramble for the choicest seats. The current flavour of the month is precisely the question of who will replace outgoing Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban. The name floating around is making hairs stand and sending nervous chuckles over the land. Chief Justice Miriam Defensor Santiago?

Senator Miriam Santiago is undoubtedly one of the more intelligent and articulate politicians in the land. Her rapid-fire speech is enough to rattle and disorient anyone less intelligent and articulate. Her wide grasp and command of the English language allows her to produce most interesting, picturesque and even picaresque imagery. A big brain and a glib tongue is a useful combination indeed. She has proven most useful as the Senate defender of initiatives coming from Malacanang. What if she continues that role elsewhere like the Supreme Court for instance? Already Senator Santiago has begun amusing herself with the possibility and the possibilities that go with the position of Chief Justice. Her mind has begun ticking and ticking really fast.

But is politics and governance only a matter of brains? Brains they have in Senate, Congress, Supreme Court, Department of Justice, Department of Education, etc. Brains that think and tick alike. Brains calculating moves as quickly and faster than everyone else complemented by the useful infrastructures of Government machinery. In fact the whole country has become that and only that, a brain, like a computers CPU constantly gathering and processing information both tactically and strategically useful to the “grand programmer.” And very much like a computer indeed, the “brain” moves without a heart.

The problem with computers and CPUs is the power requirement. Without electricity they go and if you forget to save a file you are working on, it also goes…

What is the Philippine political brain’s power supply then? Are you ready for a tautology? Power is its power supply. Holding the reins of power and ensuring ones tight and indefinite grasp on it is the whole point. Hungry brains, mouths, eyes, hands and feet grasping at power and more power is the very power source of this strange brain machine. The possession, ownership, entitlement to power and authority is its motive force.

Where is the heart in all these? All brains and no heart makes for a world of Emperors and Kings, Rulers and Despots. Power for its own sake. Power at all costs. Feelings cannot and should not be allowed to stand in the way. Political marriages then, political mergers now. No love, only power sharing and compromise. No hearts only brains at work in many parts of this world.

Recently, commentaries back home have lamented the sad “brain-drain” going on in the Philippines each day. It is time, it seems to develop a new category to better appreciate what is going on. There may be something that people who stay and people who flee the country have in common, not the lost of brain but the lost of heart. Shouldn’t we begin talking then of “heart-drain.”

Fr. Roberto P. Reyes
November 8, 2006


Post a Comment

<< Home