Dissertation Abstract

Title: Life with Ease (Nakakaluwag): A Hermeneutic-Phenomenological Study Towards A Ped­a­gogy for Sus­tain­able Living

No. of Pages: 344

Researcher: Anto­nio Levy S. Ingles, Jr.

Adviser: Dr. Erlinda Natulla

School: Asian Social Institute

Year: 2011

Sub­ject Area: Applied Cos­mic Anthropology

Degree Con­ferred: Doc­tor of Philosophy

This study aims, first, to inves­ti­gate through hermeneu­tic phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal inquiry on how Fil­ipino value nakakaluwag: (a) pro­vides con­di­tions con­ducive[1] to live sus­tain­ably in view of holis­tic rela­tion­al­ity and (b) fur­nishes com­mon ped­a­gog­i­cal ground where top-down and bottom-up approaches to sus­tain­able liv­ing reach syn­the­sis; sec­ond, to intro­duce the Fil­ipino value nakakaluwag in view of holis­tic rela­tion­al­ity as a pedagogically-oriented frame for a sus­tain­able liv­ing; and, third, pro­pose sus­tain­abil­ity ini­tia­tives towards jus­tice, peace and integrity of cre­ation in view of the above frame.

This study involves four­teen (14) Co-Researchers (Co-Rs) who were pur­posely selected with the inten­tion to uncover the nakakaluwag lived-experience that are embed­ded in their shared-beliefs, and embod­ied in their shared-practices. They are the multi-sectoral rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the ter­tiary edu­ca­tional com­mu­nity of the De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde (DLS-CSB) who com­prised of the fol­low­ing: two (2) school admin­is­tra­tors, two (2) teach­ers, two (2) reg­u­lar staff, two (2) tuition-paying stu­dents, two (2) non-paying stu­dents, four (4) agency/concessionaire hired employ­ees. The meth­ods of data col­lec­tion used for this study were the fol­low­ing: (1) Reflec­tive Jour­nal Entries (RJE), (2) Nar­ra­tive Expe­ri­ence Accounts (NEA) and (3) Face-to-face Inter­view Exchanges (FIE). These meth­ods were cho­sen because the writer found them as appro­pri­ate with the the­matic analy­sis processes which entailed co-construction of the data with the Co-Rs engag­ing in a hermeneu­tic cir­cle of under­stand­ing. The Co-Rs went through three (3) dif­fer­ent stages, namely, (1) First Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Reflec­tive Jour­nal Entries (1st IDP: RJE), (2) Sec­ond Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Nar­ra­tive Expe­ri­ence Accounts (2nd IDP: NEA) and (3) Third Interpretive-Descriptive Phase: Face-to-Face Inter­view Exchanges (3rd IDPFIE).

The writer pre­ferred a hermeneu­tic phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal approach as a suit­able research method­ol­ogy for this qual­i­ta­tive study that sought to under­stand the Fil­ipino value nakakaluwag that are embed­ded in the shared-beliefs and embod­ied in the shared-practices of the four­teen (14) pur­posely selected Co-Rs. Laverty (2003) dis­tin­guishes the dif­fer­ence of phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal from hermeneu­tic phe­nom­e­no­log­i­cal approach with the fol­low­ing words:

a hermeneu­ti­cal approach asks the researcher to engage in a process of self-reflection to quite a dif­fer­ent end than that of phe­nom­e­nol­ogy. Specif­i­cally, the biases and assump­tions of the researcher are not brack­eted or set aside, but rather are embed­ded and essen­tial to inter­pre­tive process. The researcher is called, on an ongo­ing basis, to give con­sid­er­able thought to their own expe­ri­ence and to explic­itly claim the ways in which their posi­tion or expe­ri­ence relates to the issues being researched. The final doc­u­ment may include the per­sonal assump­tions of the researcher and the philo­soph­i­cal bases from which inter­pre­ta­tion has occurred (Allen; Cot­ter­ill & Letherby as cited in Laverty, 2003, p. 17).

Holis­tic Rela­tion­al­ity is the broad Interpretive-Descriptive frame­work that had taken a sec­ond look at the Fil­ipino value nakakaluwag at its locus and con­text (hori­zonal). This is a frame­work which com­prised the con­cep­tual ratio­nale and basis of this study to inte­grate the var­ied and related per­spec­tives into a cohe­sive approach. The Holis­tic Relationality’s per­spec­tive or the prin­ci­ples of the four­fold essen­tial rela­tions: God, one­self, fellow-human beings and cre­ation had evolved and fused into a frame­work that interpreted-described the phe­nom­e­non of the lived-experience of nakakaluwag by com­bin­ing and apply­ing the mod­i­fied ver­sion of Aronson’s (1994) five (5) steps of the­matic analy­sis: Step 1 Col­lect­ing all the data, Step 2 Iden­ti­fy­ing pat­terns of expe­ri­ences, Step 3 Cat­a­logu­ing related pat­terns into sub-themes and themes, Step 4 Obtain­ing feed­back from the infor­mants and Step 5 Telling the whole story. These five (5) steps were applied into the phe­nom­e­non of the lived-experience of nakakaluwag through the writ­ten reflec­tions (RJE), tran­scribed nar­ra­tions (NEA) and tran­scribed con­ver­sa­tions (FIE) of the four­teen (14) Co-Rs.

By the­mat­i­cally reflect­ing upon these, seven (7) prover­bial themes arose that even­tu­ally addressed and answered the research ques­tions of this study on the (1) sig­nif­i­cance of nakakaluwag lived-experiences with (1.1) God, (1.2) self, (1.3) fellow-human being, and (1.4) cre­ation; (2) the ped­a­gog­i­cal impli­ca­tions for sus­tain­able liv­ing and (3) the ethical-pedagogical com­mon ground or middle-in approach.

The writer’s hermeneu­ti­cal insight is guided by Gadamer’s notion on the rela­tion­al­ity char­ac­ter of the text as (1) belong­ing to a tra­di­tion, (2) hav­ing mean­ing in itself, (3) hav­ing an author, (4) hav­ing an orig­i­nal audi­ence, (5) hav­ing an inter­preter, (6) its inter­preter hav­ing a his­tor­i­cal sit­u­a­tion, (7) and hav­ing the total his­tor­i­cal sit­u­a­tion that encloses all.

Tay­lor & Bog­dan (as cited in Aron­son, 1994) clearly defined these themes as units derived from pat­terns such as con­ver­sa­tion top­ics, vocab­u­lary, recur­ring activ­i­ties, mean­ings, feel­ings, or folk say­ings and proverbs (par. 7). Notwith­stand­ing the fact that, on the one hand, Reyes (2002) says that Fil­ipino Proverbs or [Ang mga]Salawikain are say­ings that are steeped in tra­di­tional Fil­ipino cul­ture and wis­dom, [and] are force­ful expres­sions cloaked in poetry which can be used to empha­size a point.  On the other hand, del Rosario (2007) claims that like most proverbs around the world, [Ang mga]“Salawikain” impart a les­son which express a gen­eral atti­tude towards life and the laws that gov­ern life and also express gen­eral truths and obser­va­tions about life and human nature” (par. 1). He even enu­mer­ated what [Ang mga]“Salawikain are, namely: (1) part of one’s cul­tural her­itage which should not be for­got­ten; (2) they are good sources of infor­ma­tion about tra­di­tions, beliefs, and cus­toms; (3) they serve as guide to liv­ing, advice on social rela­tions and encour­age­ment in fac­ing life’s tri­als and real­i­ties; and finally (4) the main pur­pose of proverbs is to teach a les­son in life (del Rosario, 2007, par. 2). Both Reyes (2002) and del Rosario (2007) agreed that [Ang mga] Salawikain [are] our Fil­ipino cul­tural her­itage giv­ing us a glimpse of Fil­ipino tra­di­tions, beliefs, and cus­toms, which until today pro­vide us guides in liv­ing and in fac­ing life’s chal­lenges (de Leon, 2007).

Among these pat­terns that con­spic­u­ously emerge, the writer has unin­ten­tion­ally iden­ti­fied Salawikain as the appro­pri­ate mean­ing­ful pat­tern that pieced together the forty four (44) sub-themes that arose among four­teen (14) Co-Rs, which are then enclosed by the seven (7) prover­bial themes:  Theme 1 “Ang buhay ay parang gulong, min­sang nasa ibabaw, min­sang nasa ilalim addressed the (1.2) self;“Theme 2 “Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa addressed (1.1) God;” Theme 3 “Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahlia” and Theme 4 “Kung may isinuk­sok, may madudukot” addressed the (3) the middle-in approach; Theme 5 “Ang hindi marunong lumin­gon sa pinang­galin­gan ay di makakarat­ing sa paro­roo­nan” addressed the (1.3) fellow-human being; Theme 6 “Kung walang tiyaga, walang nilaga” addressed the  (1.4) cre­ation; and lastly, Theme 7 “Hang­gang maiksi ang kumot, matu­tong mamaluk­tot” addressed the (2) the ped­a­gogy for sus­tain­able living.

There is a demand upon us to be a per­son of God, for oth­ers and for cre­ation and there is a call to sac­ri­fice on their behalf, to put aside self­ish­ness and be com­mit­ted for the cause of what will truly bring more ease in their lives (nakakaluwag) because in the final analy­sis and reflec­tion: anu­mang nakapag-uugnay sa Diyos, sa kapwa, sa sar­ili at sa kalikasan ay nakaka­pag­paluwag (rela­tion­ships with God, oth­ers, one­self and nature make for a life of ease.) In other words, “anu­mang nakapag-uugnay ay nakaka­pag­paluwag” (rela­tion­ships make for a life of ease).

This study does not claim it has cov­ered every­thing nor exhausts all the facets with respect to the topic under con­sid­er­a­tion. The writer sees it fit to posit rec­om­men­da­tions in general:

1. For future and fur­ther study: The writer rec­om­mends to read the text on nakakaluwag phe­nom­e­non again and again now that we are back at the dawn of renewal so that we will see that phe­nom­e­non of nakakaluwag in many ways as a child sees it, then our under­stand­ing will be enriched, and we will dis­cover new aspects of the text that we never saw nor thought of before. While every­thing is mak­ing sense and the interpretation-description has stopped from what we have pre­vi­ously seen so far, this whole under­tak­ing has pro­vided the ini­tial glimpse of a clearer image and a bet­ter pic­ture of the phe­nom­e­non of nakakaluwag, where in the first place, we really do not have to seek too far as we will find them just right here.

2. For the con­duct of gath­er­ing data: The writer rec­om­mends to give lee­way in the con­duct of enter­ing into the Co-Rs’ lived expe­ri­ences and to be flex­i­ble with due con­sid­er­a­tion as to when will they make them­selves avail­able because their sched­ule varies due to the nature of their activ­i­ties (e.g., their work or stud­ies). While it is highly rec­om­mended not to rush things, it is still best to have a set dead­line in mind within man­age­able goals, so that the writer makes sure that the required data are all col­lected and noth­ing or less would be missed or lost. In this case, the 1st set of data was col­lected for a two month period from July 28 to Sep­tem­ber 28, 2010. The 2nd set was col­lected from the last week of July, 2010 until the last week of Sep­tem­ber, 2010. The 3rd set was col­lected between the 2nd week of August, 2010 until the 1st week of Octo­ber, 2010. Tran­scrib­ing and trans­lat­ing all the audio-recorded data which were done for a two month period from August, 2010 until Octo­ber 2010. All the data were col­lected, tran­scribed and trans­lated for a three month period.

3. For future and fur­ther explo­ration of Fil­ipino Proverbs (Mga Salawikain): The writer rec­om­mends for this recent under­tak­ing on the phe­nom­e­non of nakakaluwag, to appre­ci­ate Fil­ipino Proverbs (Mga Salawikain and be grate­ful for their nat­ural key artic­u­la­tion or re-articulation of any given lived expe­ri­ences. The writer also rec­om­mends to repli­cate their usage by interpreting-describing another set of lived expe­ri­ences through other Fil­ipino Proverbs because these say­ings are steeped in our tra­di­tional Fil­ipino cul­ture and wis­dom (Reyes, 2002) and they impart life’s lessons which express a gen­eral atti­tude towards and truths about our life itself (del Rosario, 2007).

4. For the appli­ca­tion of the Fil­ipino ethical-pedagogy prin­ci­ple: The writer rec­om­mends to intro­duce “Anu­mang nakapag-uugnay ay nakaka­pag­paluwag” as a new proverb born out of the Seven (7) Prover­bial Themes (Fil­ipino Proverbs or Mga Salawikain) nei­ther as a replace­ment of the proverbs pre­vi­ously men­tioned nor a sub­sti­tute for other Fil­ipino proverbs, but as a pre­cur­sor of a truly Fil­ipino applied ethical-pedagogy in view of Holis­tic Rela­tion­al­ity and at the same time as an inte­gra­tion prin­ci­ple that serves as a com­mon ground for sus­tain­able liv­ing. This study does not pro­pose a sys­tem or a pro­gram for sus­tain­able liv­ing, but it pro­poses itself as an ethical-pedagogy prin­ci­ple that any sys­tem or any pro­gram be it on sus­tain­able devel­op­ment, ecol­ogy, eco­nom­ics, pol­i­tics and soci­ol­ogy, ought to be rooted.

5. For the legal jus­ti­fi­ca­tion of the Fil­ipino ethical-pedagogy prin­ci­ple: The writer rec­om­mends to rec­og­nize and acknowl­edge that the Holis­tic Rela­tion­al­ity or the four­fold rela­tion­ships as embraced and prac­ticed by the fol­low­ing inde­pen­dent authors who are com­ing from very dif­fer­ent back­grounds and ori­en­ta­tions: Fuel­len­bach, 1998; Naga­hama, 2006; Hornedo, 2009 & Ramirez, 2009, includ­ing the writer him­self, Ingles, 2009 that all of them though work­ing sep­a­rately have one thing in com­mon: they are united with one motto based on the Repub­lic Act No. 8491, Sec. 25 (1998): MAKA-DIYOS, MAKA-TAO, MAKAKALIKASAN AT MAKABANSA.”  

6. For more Fil­ipino ethical-pedagogy bridges: The writer rec­om­mends estab­lish­ing or cre­at­ing ethical-pedagogical bridges in con­crete action or any sim­i­lar to which, where they serve as venues for pur­poses of val­ues re-orientation or for­ma­tion pro­gram for sus­tain­able liv­ing based on the prin­ci­ple of “Anu­mang nakapag-uugnay ay nakaka­pag­paluwag.” Respond­ing to this call, the writer has ini­tially estab­lished ARALPINOY.ORG INC. (August 11, 2010.), a non-stock, non-profit orga­ni­za­tion basi­cally as a tan­gi­ble and liv­ing proof of his sin­cere effort to make a real­ity this ethical-pedagogical bridge as a middle-in action.

7. For the more trans­la­tions in local lan­guages and inter­na­tional lan­guages of Nakakaluwag (Life with ease): The writer rec­om­mends to speak more and to trans­late more in var­i­ous local lan­guages and even in dif­fer­ent lan­guages spo­ken in the world the con­cept Nakakaluwag (Life with ease). The writer has man­aged to trans­late the term Nakakaluwag from Taga­log to Cebuano, Ilocano/Ilokano, Hiligaynon/Ilonggo, Pampangan/Kapampangan, North­ern Bicol, Pan­gasi­nan, Maguin­danao, Tausug, Maranao, Kinaray-a and South­ern Bicol. Trans­la­tions were done, and all these were made pos­si­ble through per­sonal com­mu­ni­ca­tions using Face­book, an online social net­work­ing site where peo­ple can exchange dig­i­tal mes­sages http://www.facebook.com/facebook. This time, the writer looks into the trans­la­tion of Nakakaluwag in dif­fer­ent lan­guages spo­ken in the world.

[1] This state­ment bor­rowed its con­cept from: “Life cre­ates con­di­tions con­ducive to life,” the exact words of wis­dom of Janine M. Benyus, a sustainability-minded inno­va­tor, Cofounder, Bio­mimicry Guild and Author, “Bio­mimicry, Inno­va­tion Inspired By Nature.” Source: http://michaelprager.com/node/504