Pilosopong Tibak Kasi!
During one of my classes, we discussed the love story between Jose Rizal and Josephine Bracken, who were married under Catholic rites two hours prior to his execution in Bagumbayan. One of my students asked, “Since Rizal was 35 years old when he met the 18-year-old Josephine Bracken, is it possible to love someone even though they have a large age gap?” I answered, “Of course – a qualified yes to your question.”
He then asked if it is possible and ethical for a teacher to fall in love with their student and, subsequently, begin a relationship. I laughed and answered, “We can say yes as there is no law that prohibits one to love, but, of course, we are governed by social norms, which dictate what is acceptable in our society.”
“However,” I added,” We can follow our heart as long as there is no harm done to anyone – even if the said actions seem unorthodox.”
The case reminded me of the Chua-Qua vs. Clave case from 1990, where 30-year-old teacher Evelyn Chua of Tay Tung School, Inc. married her 16-year-old student, which led to her termination. However, the Supreme Court of the Philippines sided with the teacher, deciding, “If the two eventually fell in love, despite the disparity in their ages and academic levels, this only lends substance to the truism that the heart has reasons of its own, which reason does not know.”
Why does the heart have its own form of logic unknown to reason? It is bizarre to think mankind has such a peculiarity. Why do we continue to love one who does not love us back? Why do we love despite the world being against us? Why does love make us less rational?
The greatest love of all is the ability to love despite the pain; love has its own reason and let the reason be love, according to pop music.
Complicated as it seems, society continues to bombard us with the idea that love has its own rules on who to love; meaning, we must love based on physical attributes, age, economic status, educational background, and even religion. It would appear love has its own standards, but reality reemerges when one in unable to find somebody to meet such standards.
How is love viewed by a philosopher like me?
Love is often viewed as the longing to find a companion. The experience of love begins at loneliness, which is part of the basic experience of being human, due to “self-awareness.” This mean, the “I” in each of us feels incomplete, which leads to the need for a lasting union with another, who fills the gap.
This can be traced to the earliest of myths, wherein gods punished human by breaking the self apart, resulting in humans left to find a partner in order to regain their self-identity.
When two people are in love, they are not one or two entities, but three. You are still the same person and you will yearn to be accepted as that person. The other will also demand as such. It is this insistence of “I” being reduced into what the other wants where conflict ensues.
Then, love creates a third entity – “We.” This is what two lovers must nurture and protect.
In marriage, couples are no longer judged as individuals, but as a union. Its failure is not a failure of one or the other, but of their love. If and when one desires to be judged on his or her own basis, then that individual has refused to abide by the requisites of a union of love.
However, there is no need to lose one’s freedom in love, they can still pursue their individual desires and the things that make them happy. Although, one must remember, while the pursuit of happiness is an individual thing, the pursuit of love is about “us” and making personal sacrifices. If that third entity of love survives, even beyond death, then one has found the true meaning of eternal happiness. Love is about finding happiness. When love is pure and not governed by lust, it is a love worth fighting for – the kind of love that conquers all.
I would like to greet my students who won the class debate contest, namely Jan Nicole Piansay, Aileen Baroy, and Allyn Gargaceran; also to Kate Iral, Dani Algara, and Donna Reynado. I am always proud of you all guys! Padayon lang!/WDJ