March 2003 Vol. 3 Issue 3

An Internet Newsletter publication of the American Society of CIM Alumni, Inc.


Dominador Ong, M.D.
Maida Antigua, M.D.
Dolores Lao, M.D.
Gloria Lao, M.D.
Assistant Treasurer
Epifania Aranas, M.D.
Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.
P. R. O.
Anita Avila, M.D.

Board Members:

Horace Cabasares, M.D.
Perry, GA
Ramiro A. Cadag, M.D.
Kings Point, NY
Mike Espiritu, M.D.
Okeechobee, FL
Teresita Varona, M.D.
Oakbrook, IL
Bradford Tan, M.D.
Chicago, Illinois
Tanny Aranas, M.D.
Columbus, Georgia
Rosario B. Gonzaga, M.D.
Cumberland, Maryland
Elie Gonzales, M.D.
Oswego, NY
Cecilio Delgra, M.D.
Charleston, WV

CME Coordinator:
Rise Faith E. Dajao, M.D.
Portsmouth, VA

Ways and Means Committee
Diana Amores, M.D.
Charleston, WV

Lagrimas Sadorra, M.D.
Charleston, WV

Maria Luna Tan-Navarro, M.D.
Charleston, WV

Ma. Teresita Antigua-Martinez, M.D.
Charleston, WV

Judith Nacua-Bacalso, M.D.
Markham, Ontario

Ailyn U. Tan, M.D.
Chicago, Illinois


Editorial Board:

Maida Antigua, M.D.
Boston, MA
Horace Cabasares, M.D.
Perry, Georgia
Marie Belen Rosales, M.D.
San Diego, CA

Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.
Petersburg, VA

Staff Correspondents:
Ernesto Yu, M.D.
Buffalo, New York
Wilmo C. Orejola, M.D.
Pompton Plains, N J

Marie Belen Rosales, M.D.
San Diego, California

Thelma Fernandez, M.D.
Cebu, Philippines

Guest Correspondents:
Anny Misa-Hefti
Bern, Switzerland
Deo Delfin
Los Angeles, California

Send news, articles, pictures, announcement, obituary, etc.,

Editor's Column

Pride and Prejudice - a Philosophical Thought (Part 1)

A Misconception
     Too much pride, if there is ever such a thing, is often mistaken as something to overcome, for it could lead to a potential bad outcome. It's a feeling that should not be allowed to surge and show and therefore should be minimized as much as possible if not suppressed, disclaimed or denied. While many of us consider humility as a virtue, we often consider pride as a vice. All because as we grew up, we were taught and encouraged to have the virtue of humility, and that pride particularly if allowed to surge and show off, is equivalent to arrogance, conceit and egotism. Thus when we achieve something we worked hard for, we often keep it to ourselves, or we hesitate to show it off and share it with others. It is as if when we're proud to share it with many others, we are inviting some kind of a curse that would lead to some kind of bad luck that may only humiliate or humble us down later on. Somehow we have harbored a feeling of fear, worry or insecurity and we would start asking what if?....

    Growing up in a culture where we've learned to suspect or doubt that other people including our own friends would take pleasure on our downfall, we retain a sense of uneasiness or discomfort that holds us back from claiming and sharing credit of what we or our children have achieved and deserved. For good reason, because that's how we sometimes feel for others' downfall too, particularly the ones we don't like or who don't like us. We must have heard or said these words before: "Mirisi! Higaba-an, kay garboso! Sobra ra ang garbo.." Sound familiar? These words are not humbling; they are humiliating. They are intended to make you feel small as if they make the one who said them feel bigger and better. They cut you down to nothing. But no one gets any better by making judgment and humiliating comments on the bad things of others. The bible itself has taught us to think twice before we "cast the first stone."

Pride and Cultural Discipline
    During our childhood and even until now, one of perhaps the most essential parts of discipline in our culture, was to inculcate guilt and fear that were utilized as psychological tools to make us behave, obey or to keep us in line. In short, to control us. In our adulthood, many of us have continued to accept or yield to this guilt tool in particular even if we know that we don't have to because we really don't deserve it. But many of us are also utilizing this tool as an emotional blackmail to our own family, friends and others to get what we want. Guilt is still the most common and a very effective weapon of emotional torture. Too many people have been driven and are being driven by this weapon to a psychiatrist's couch babbling and blubbering, or chirping and chattering. The torturing effect of this weapon can sometimes last a lifetime. It's this unearned guilt or the fear of it that makes us suppress, not express our pride, disturbs our peace of mind and even destroys our happiness, if not our life.

    But pride, rational pride, is the recognition of the fact that you value yourself highly and thus you don't allow others to tell you that you don't deserve what you want. When you value yourself, you fight for your right to existence, for your happiness with the loyalty and gracefulness of an orchid flower on your bay window and the courage and determination of a weed growing through a concrete crack, reaching for the sun. A value is defined by philosophers as that which you act or work to gain, keep or achieve. A virtue is the act by which you achieve, gain or keep. If you value your life highly, you work in the service of success in your life. You maintain a high moral standard, a standard that is based on honesty, integrity and rationality. If your moral standard includes cheating, lying, or manipulating others to gain that which you value, then you work in the service of destruction in your life.

The Importance of Pride
    A person requires a sense of self-value in order to live according to his or her moral standard. If you don't value yourself, you won't be able to establish your own moral standard, and without moral standard, your life has no definite value, no purpose, only chaos. It's because of our own moral standard that we all have moral ambitions, the desire for the best in all things because the value of our life depends on the ambition or desire we achieve. But if we claim credit on something we haven't really earned, let alone deserved, it's not pride. It's fraud and pretension. It doesn't give us a sense of self-value; it gives us a sense of self-contempt.

    Moral standard is like your own bylaws and procedures - a code of values to guide you for your choices and actions - the choices and actions that determine the purpose and course of your life. Only a proud person desires to be moral because he or she desires to live a life with the highest value. He makes his choice, not being forced to make one; he understands his choice, not just obey; he is determined to achieve it according to his moral standard, not deterred by guilt or fear; he is prepared to take responsibility, not hedged himself from the possibility of blame. Whether we are aware of it or not, pride always makes us value our life above all else. It is when you learn to consider pride as a virtue that you'll learn to live like a man. It is when you lose that pride that you live to blame, to obey others against your better judgment, to sacrifice your principles for fraud just to get what you want, and to coerce and manipulate others to control and make them do what you want them to. Pride, writes Aristotle - a rational pride in oneself and in one's moral character - is, when it's earned, the "crown of the virtues."

Modesty or Naivete?
     Modesty is admirable because it's politically correct. A modest person doesn'tt claim credit on that which he or she is not perfectly sure he or she deserves it. But all too often we become too eager to be too modest to the point of being naÔve, just to avoid being considered as too proud. Modesty, if overdone, makes you value your life or your achievements a lot less than you deserve. An overdone modesty is not an expression of humility that many of us would rather do. It is an expression of stupidity because you know you are selling yourself short. You deliberately shortchange yourself, all because you want to avoid feeling guilty if you show and share the pride of your achievements with others.

     But the main reason why many of us often shortchange ourselves with regards to our achievements or those of our family, is because we have always been taught that the highest virtue is not to achieve, but to give. Thus we admire or praise an act of charity, and frown at an act of achievement. But the fact of the matter is - you cannot give that which you donít have. Achieving comes before giving, or you will have nothing to give. So you've got to achieve something before you can give or share anything. And yet, we are taught to admire the giver, not the achiever, when it takes a lot of thoughts, time and energy to achieve, while it takes basically nothing to give solely because whatever you want to give has already been achieved or is already yours. You don't have to struggle or fight for it anymore. So it's not surprising that many of our kids these days particularly the bright ones, are less interested in achieving or making money, and more interested in giving, serving and saving the world. And it's not easy to argue with them because that's what schools, society and religion are emphasizing - to give - as though giving must come first, for achieving is not possible without it.

The Beauty of Giving
     For giving or sharing to be meaningful and sincere, it must only be voluntary. You give or share what you have, not out of guilt feeling, but out of pure charity and compassion, or out of simply being nice and friendly. There is no hesitation, let alone reluctance. You give not because you want to be appreciated for your act of charity, but because you are proud of having achieved a lot more than others, and thus you feel grateful and charitable. You become compassionate because you know how hard it is to achieve, and you understand that others are just less fortunate than you are, or are not just as intellectually and professionally skillful as you are. You give because you are happy to give, not because giving will make you happy. Your act of giving comes solely from your heart, not from the twists and turns of your subconscious that coerce you to give. Charity, if you have the money or the means, is a personal choice; if expected or compelled by any means like emotional blackmail, then it is simply a polite word for slavery.

    That's why I never set any deadline for the staff correspondents of Brain Waves, nor suggest a theme of what to write about, because I'd like for them to write not because they have to, but because they want to. Any article will do. And that's why it has never fazed me even if only one or two of the alumni can help and send their articles, because I'm happy giving what I have for Brain Waves. As long as I'm happy doing it and I get a help or two, I'll continue on until perhaps my interest shifts to something else that I may not be happy doing it anymore. But that shift is not anywhere in the horizon yet.

    Life is sacred not just because it's a gift from God, but mainly because it has the highest value. Without life, nothing else is of value. Money is useless if you don't feel good or your life is lousy. When you lose your pride, life loses its value. You would then lose your desire to produce material values to sustain a life of comfort, and to acquire the values of character that make life worth living. You would be readily tempted to rationalize cheating, lying and losing respect for the truth. Thus I personally believe that this is actually what the bible meant with "Pride goeth before the fall." When pride is gone, your life will be in spiral.

    Pride requires honesty, integrity and rationality to maintain. And pride is required to achieve happiness, for the achievement of happiness is man's highest moral purpose. Happiness is a state of consciousness that comes from the achievement of that which we value highly. But our values differ from each other. A priest, for example, values his profession in the service of God to guide people to heaven. We, physicians, value our profession in the service of man to keep people in earth. We read books and journals to keep up with the medical knowledge and information that serve our purpose. The priest reads psalms and delivers sermons to remind people of the Kingdom of God. We order the last medicine or make the last cut, the priest says the last prayer and gives the last rite. But just the same, our moral purpose is to achieve that which we value highly.

(First of two parts)