The Ubiquity of Short Memory

This is my comment on Fr. Edicio Dela Torre’s wonderful piece on his blogpost at concerning, among others, his interrupted stint as PUP OIC.


It makes me think that the over-all motif of your ‘light philosophical musing’, as you put it, tends to invoke the quiet possibility of a sort of justice “that was never meant to be,” for good or bad, but the same justice that quietly interrupts our unchangeable relation to the past—the past that we can’t change though we can put in brackets, as the saying goes in phenomenology about which I suppose you know much better than I do, given your extensive theo and philo background.

The pervasiveness of the “what ifs” in the post teases out a silent confirmation that reality had not been fair, or even still, had it been fair at least on the grounds that it satisfied an average expectation, tends to demand more, the more as the becoming-less of what had been the case against which the question of what-if is raised with a view to disrupting the unchallenged status of an antecedent (the denseness of its structure) that influences the present. What had been the case demands that it be treated as all, as everything, unquestionable, necessary. But the possibility of raising an interruption, such as a question in the middle of a conversation, say, a what-if interjection that breaks the linearity of a narrative, is guaranteed by time. If it is guaranteed by time, it is only a matter of time when justice is served. In the meantime, a TRO has interrupted this ‘only a matter of time’ with a view to permanent injunction, again, the point of pervasiveness belabored, against time.

What makes this post so interesting to me is its relevance to our local struggle in PUP where I teach (I teach philosophy) and to which you can concretely relate as our ex-OIC, as you put it. Your being our OIC: some kind of a justice that was never meant to be. But I take these ‘what ifs’ of yours in relation to what is happening in our university in the wake of the interruption of your ‘time-as-OIC’ as an opportunity to keep tabs on time-keepers, especially those whose interest in time suggests that they are out to erase memory, especially, historical memory. Memory is an important term here. Memory keeps the sense of justice alive. It keeps tabs on what had been, what needs to be corrected, what needs to be rooted out. Memory is the platform of justice that accommodates the question ‘what if’. Erase memory and everything will repose in evil, that is to say, the complete absence of memory.

It makes me think, despite my personal wish that this conflict would end soon, that it would be more desirable if this time-interruption takes longer than we can expect if only to give time an opportunity to resurrect a good memory. One reason PUP is vulnerable to the seductive appeal of political absurdity is that many have short memories, short of no-memories, which is not a good memory. Short memory guarantees the permanence of ebb in active and critical participation in the everyday conduct of academic life that should not be restricted to instruction. Instruction, without the support of re-search (in essence research is time-reckoning or the active memorialization of the universal precept that the good must prevail over evil, which is what educating ultimately means, hence, education is supposed to be the infrastructure of research), guarantees quite ironically the subtle permanence of ignorance. For many decades, PUP excels in instruction which is co-determined by short memory and the propensity for politicizing the academe.

Perhaps, we need another TRO, even more a permanent injunction, yet this time, and the time to come, a TRO or an injunction against the unchallenged ubiquity of short memory.


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