Join the campaign (Learn More)

The Manila Times - The empire will never strike back

News & Interviews
26 July 2020

By Rolly G. Reyes | The Manila Times

Just like Luke Skywalker and Chewbacca, President Rodrigo Duterte is now expected to swing his lightsaber to topple Darth Vader. What can he lose? The Chinese R2D2, Obi-Wan Kenobi and other Jedis are better than Otso Diretso or Antonio Trillanes 4th. Mr. Duterte will definitely not be antisocial especially when he claims that he will be the first “socialist” president.

Why commit to Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. or Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo? What is really so important to correct “n” and “ñ”? Smartmatic says no need to report the intrusion because “it is just a minor thing.” Really? If it is really a minor thing, why intrude to modify it?

Duterte’s tenure will be the shortest in history. After three to six months solving peace and order, he will just spend “happy-happy” time with his friends. The President may open a jobs fair at the Quirino Grandstand as jobseekers are starting to line up to join his official family. Let us just hope that there will be no job mismatches.

Duterte is right in saying he will be a unifying President. He will jail all his opponents under a single unified penitentiary. Population explosion will be solved under a Duterte presidency. “Duterminator” will diminish the numbers on a regular basis.

The main problem of our government is that anyone can run for any position. The bad news is not everyone can afford it. And this is the reason why we have a bigger problem.
Perhaps we also need to explain the role of “the idea” at this point: it can be as broad or as specific as the creator desires it to be. Descending hierarchy would suggest “object,” “man-made,” “transport,” “ground,” “wheels,” “enclosed” — that’s already quite specific — but perhaps “truck’” versus “hatchback” is more like it.

But today, I’d like to go further back than “object’” — to try and examine some of the motivations that make us come up with an idea at all in the first place. In each case, there is almost always a trigger that gets noticed and then it is processed at least at an unconscious level before we start actively thinking about that idea from an observational twinge.

I think of the whole group of those things as the process of inspiration. I realize even this terminology is contentious as inspiration by definition contradicts the idea of a “process.” We like to think of it as being spontaneous, but in reality, it isn’t. It’s not difficult to prove that all creative outputs are derivative unless the creator has been placed in 100-percent isolation from anything else. The creative part comes in either where all of those inputs are synthesized or combined in a way that hasn’t been done before, or are taken a step further. It’s entirely possible that the result has been gotten before independently of the creator, but I would still consider this a “new” output and development if the creator hasn’t seen it (and therefore isn’t plagiarizing).

I’m pretty sure that the self-aware are generally more receptive to inspiration, if only because they know what external inputs trigger the inspiration. Knowing what you like and what you don’t tends to make you seek out the former and avoid the latter. It can be good to immerse yourself in an environment that stimulates mental activity through engagement and interest, but also fatiguing, having experienced this myself. As a young watch collector, you might have the chance to see and handle a high-end complication perhaps once a year.

As a watch photographer, you get handed 10 variants on a tray with the brief of “front-side-back,” and no matter how rare those objects might be in the wild, your tolerance level before hitting “I’m interested” quickly escalates. In other words, the inspiration goes away again. It’s the same reason photographing in one’s home environment or city is very difficult: You see it all the time, to the point you no longer notice what’s “normal.” Yet the opposite is true when traveling to a foreign city; and the same would be true if a photographer from that city were to come and visit you. It takes a conscious and conscientious effort to force yourself to see beyond this and go out and actually find things that are interesting.

Perhaps one solution to subject fatigue is to take a step back. I can think of ways of making all of those concepts work with a wide variety of subjects, thus allowing for more direct compositional opportunities. Moreover, being subject-agnostic opens up more possibilities of serendipity. This requires some practice to rewire one’s brain, of course, possibly even the necessity of photographing your usual subjects of interest to the point that they’re no longer interesting.

Good work, good deeds and good faith to all.