The Philosophy Department of San Carlos Seminary holds its 6th annual Philosophy Week from Feb. 1 to 5, 2010, with the theme “Aletheia, Theoria, Sophia: Contemplating the Truth Toward Wisdom.”
Together with the students of San Carlos, Lorenzo Mission Institute, Our Lady of the Pillar Seminary, and Eymard Formation House, the celebration kicked off on February 1 with the Eucharistic Celebration presided by the Academic Dean, Fr. Lorenz Festin, Ph.D with Fr. Luis David, SJ, Ph.D, professor of Modern and Contemporary Philosophy, as homilist. It was followed by a ribbon-cutting ceremony and the blessing of the exhibits. At 9 AM, the first academic conference of the week was held at the auditorium, with the speaker, Fr. Maxell Lowell Aranilla, Ph.D, delivering his topic on “Kaisipang Pilipino. In the afternoon, the Mural Painting contest was held along the corridors of the Big Classroom.
On Feb. 2 were the Essay Defense and Impromptu Speech contests held in the morning and the afternoon respectively. For this event, the judges were Mr. Celso Cainglet, Ph.L. (professor, Philosophy of Science, Ancient Greek and Medieval Philosophy), Fr. Jose Vidamor Yu, LRMS, Ph.D (professor, Philosophy of Religion and Oriental Philosophy), and Fr. Isidro Puyat, Ph.L, (professor of Logic and rector of Maria Assumpta Seminary in Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija). For the Impromptu Speech Award, the theme was “Understanding the Filipino Mind,” and the judges were Mrs. Brenilda Medina (English professor), Mr. Edric Bedural, and Mrs. Tanya Namit, an English teacher at Our Lady of Guadalupe Minor Seminary.
The second academic conference took place in the morning of Feb. 3, with the topic “Understanding Belief: Metaphysics of Events and Religious Epistemology.” The speaker was Fr. Kenneth Masong, a Karlista priest of the Diocese of Iba, who holds a doctorate in philosophy from Louvain, and is presently teaching at Ateneo and Mother of Good Counsel Seminary in Pampanga. On Feb. 4 was the third and last symposium, delivered by the Chair of the De La Salle – Department of Philosophy, Mr. Napoleon Mabaquiao, Ph.D. His talk was on “The Computer Simulation of Human Thought,” which revolved around computationalism and philosophy of mind. Dr. Nap’s talk was graced by the presence of a number of students coming from the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Guiguinto, Bulacan.
The finale activity was held at the auditorium in the afternoon of Feb. 5, with seminarians wearing on their formal attire. The Film Contest was held, with Prof. Cainglet, Fr. Joselito Buenafe, and Mr. Medel Malonzo as judges. Awards were distributed to the winners of the respective contests, with the most-coveted Zwanepoel Award for Over-all Champion conferred to the seond year, the St. John of the Cross Class, for garnering the most number of awards. Fr. Lorenz and Reden Bides, the chairman of the Academic Committee, gave their thanksgiving speeches. The activity was concluded with the singing of Joe McElderry’s version of “The Climb” (a Miley Cyrus song) by Daniel Dominguez, Niku Vicente, and Jayvann Olaguer.
Aristotle Award for Essay Defense (for the Graduating Class)
1st – Jerome Jaime (“Truth as Aletheia, Sophia and Theoria: A Reconstruction of History as a History of the Vision of Truth”)
2nd – Knoriel Alvarez (“Photoalbum of Reality and Knowledge”)
Anthony Morales (“Truth: The Breakaway that Led to Other Breakaways”)
3rd – Ron Mark Elarcosa (“Socrates’ Dialectics: Pulling the Truth from the Abyss of Ignorance”)
Philosopher’s Stone for Essay Writing (for the Undergraduates)
1st – Jerome Bantog (C2) “Ventura”
2nd – Arisse Laurente (C2) “Seeking the Missing Piece”
3rd – Daniel Dominguez (C3) “Contemplating the Truth Toward Wisdom: A Lewisian Approach”
Homer’s Award for Poetry
1st – Mike Lauricio (C2)
2nd – Jerome Jaime (C4)
3rd – Kenneth Ascaño (C3)
Dialectic Award for Impromptu Speech
1st – Zernan Luna (C3)
2nd – Rone Locson (C3)
3rd – Jonathan Cañete (C1)
Mural Award for Wall Painting
1st – First Year
2nd – Third Year
3rd – Second Year
4th – Fourth Year
Techne Award for Film Making
1st – “Arbol” (second year)
2nd – “77th Floor” (fourth year)
3rd – “The Planner” (third year)
4th – “The Fall of A God” (first year)
BEST TRAILER: “The Planner” (third year)
ZWAENEPOEL AWARD – Second Year
My Essay: THIRD PLACE
This is my official entry to the Philosopher’s Stone Award for Essay Writing (undergraduate level), where I bagged the third place
CONTEMPLATING THE TRUTH TOWARD WISDOM
(A Lewisian Approach)
Truth is real. Truth hurts. Truth threatens. Truth frightens. Truth excites. Each one of us seeks the truth. In the media or in simple conversations, we yearn to learn what is true. We get frustrated when we are deprived of the truth. That is why, we exhaust all means to fight for it, even at the cost of our lives. True enough, the truth is immanent among us.
Truth is beyond the things we feel and see. More significantly, endeavoring truth is innate to us men. It encompasses the ultimate totality of things. Having a simple glimpse of reality does not constitute a total picture of it. We should not be superficial. In the long run, this truth that we yearn to know will enable us to have a better perspective of our lives. And this better perspective is what we call wisdom. But more than a better perspective, wisdom provides us the best framework to understand reality, and it subjects everything.
Allow me at this point of time to introduce a person who can give us hints as to how we can understand truth and its link to wisdom. I know that we have gone through a number of well-known philosophers who devoted their life and writings in the pursuit of truth. This time, the person I will mention has never been known, among his works, in his concern over the truth. Nonetheless, his thoughts can be useful in clarifying the relation of it to wisdom, which is our real concern. He is no other than Clive Staples Lewis.
Highly acclaimed for the children book series The Chronicles of Narnia, C. S. Lewis views truth as intrinsically important to human existence. On the other hand, he sees wisdom as one’s ability to appreciate the delineating interiorities of his existence. Just like the famous philosophers, Lewis explicitly defines God as the goal of human life. He did not tend to be pantheistic in his views, rather he maintains that man should live his life in a way that is patterned after the One who created him. Lewis identifies the perfect attributes of God, and thereby he understands the capacity of man to attain wisdom, in the same manner that he equates perfect wisdom with God. But he has a different notion of truth. The Real Truth for him is the truth that supersedes each and every kind of truth, which, for him, is no other than God. But how does Lewis articulate on the connection of truth and wisdom? If God embodies the Truth, does he immediately resort to God without giving due recognition to the perennial questions that bother him and all of us?
My central understanding of the relation of truth and wisdom will be based on the premises of Lewis and some of Oriental tradition. I will present my main points in the succeeding paragraphs of this essay.
Tackling the questions posed above, I believe Lewis was not speaking of truth as simply God. He has also a different perspective of truth. For him, Beauty is the other name of truth. Accordingly, things may not appeal to us in the way we judge them as either beautiful or not. In other words, what is indeed beautiful lies in the thing itself, regardless of what we say about it. We then come to a conclusion that all things are beautiful. As Lewis points out, beauty is one among the transcendentals, and as a transcendental, it is objective, universal, and cannot be otherwise. Lewis adds that we need to have this transcendental feature of beauty as our gateway to attain wisdom. Here do we have Lewis’ notion of truth. Truth is the vehicle for wisdom, and not simply a vehicle, but an object which I believe we can contemplate upon in order to attain wisdom.
The contemplation that we speak hereof is not simply an interior gaze at things or reality. I would like to equate contemplation with embracing. To embrace reality is to be able to identify ourselves with it, not just with its sophisticated web-structures, but with its simplest meanings. We must integrate ourselves with reality, in the way the Chinese thinker Lao Zi would suggest as a method to attain the wisdom. Again, this is truth in contemplation.
To sum up: contemplating the truth may enable us to attain wisdom. In doing so, we need to have a firm and unwavering resolution toward it. It entails radical transformation of our viewpoints and crossroads, so that this wisdom can be real and neither abstract nor mind-bound. Meaning to say, our disposition toward wisdom should be exemplified in our ideals and actions. It is not just the wisdom that Lewis strives for or the wisdom that the Chinese idealists yearn for, but rather a wisdom that characterizes a genuine, holistic approach to life and nature. But the question now is: how can we contemplate the truth in order to attain wisdom? First, we need to bring out of us our innate curiosity for things. Many times, we find ourselves trapped in the busy corners of our routinary activities. We are preoccupied by many superficial matters: ambition, materialism, power, and vices. As a result, we have lost track of the real essence of life. Hence, we should be aware of this: to be curious is to become conscious of our actions, our ideals, our attitudes, so that we can know more of ourselves, not just within the things around us, but also beyond them. It does not only imply questioning but open-mindedness, and a profound, realistic concern for the world.
Secondly, we can contemplate the truth by developing a critical yet reflective thinking over the events that take place in our life and the things around us as well. Lewis suggests that we need to employ logic in order to attain the truth. The real measure of logic is not knowing it, but rather, applying it evenly in our lives. We can go further this suggestion by means of having time for reflection, not simply a daydream or a time-killing endeavor, but as a necessity for self-evaluation and understanding.
Thirdly, we come across the most intricate yet satisfying dimension of contemplating: practice. Contemplating the truth is not only grasping mental truths that seem to be obscure unless we associate their relevance to our practical lives. This is what we call life of contemplation. We embody the principles of truth by practicing it in our lives. In this manner, we become ‘activists’ of truth, living it out by becoming models of it. Some Hindu traditions emphasizes this as the transformation of the self as Truth itself. Nothing more. Nothing less.
Truth hurts. Truth threatens. As the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize winner and former US Vice-President Al Gore would say: “truth is inconvenient”. It is more demanding to be wise than intelligent. Yet in the general scheme, wisdom transcends intelligence and even encompasses the totality of things. We ought to seek the truth in order to be wise, yet not only an ideological truth, but a pursuit which is evident in our lives. We need to incorporate this pursuit by means of active yet reflective contemplation. Undeniably, it is more comfortable to live casual and superficial lives, rather than to live for the truth, which can be pain-staking and even life-costing. To end, I would like to cite a memento of C.S. Lewis. He says, “If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end. If you look for comfort, you will not get either comfort or truth.”