I remember Garrick and I already having this debate before — about how their ‘freethinking’ really isn’t thinking that is ‘free’ as it hails from a rich tradition of thought that finds its roots all the way to the Renaissance. Thus it comes with certain pre-notions and political predilections, and this is how the members of the Filipino freethinking community found each other and became a robust, thriving presence online and offline.
There is really nothing more I have to add to this discussion on Pisay. I do think Garrick and I converge on the critical issues, though we come at it from different perspectives. Perhaps my only defense, if I could call this one, is that I didn’t realize there was a bandwagon, Garrick. Any ‘uncharitable reading’ of the text is all on me, though I was genuinely worried about the tendency to conflate various issues together. As such, I consider myself more of an intellectual recluse, really. I don’t thrive on comments, open fora, and public debates. I’m not a fan of group-think; I don’t need to have my beliefs affirmed — tested, sure, but not affirmed. I rather read, observe from a distance, listen, synthesize, and reflect. I’m pretty secure, thank you very much, but I would always welcome any opportunity to widen my own horizons.
Thus, I return to my primary reservation about the ‘freethinking’ movement in general. While on all accounts I have much more in common with them — I guess I too am a ‘free thinker’ — if this were a romantic relationship then their stance on tolerance (as captured in the last four paragraphs of his piece) is a deal-breaker. Indeed, ideas have no emotions, but people do. If the question is about the moral imperative of pointing out where others are mistaken then I have a simple two-fold response: one, are you sure? Two, to what end? (Two standard questions I ask in class, really.)
A fundamental discomfort I have is that this zealousness reminds me of religion, somewhat. It’s just that in place of God is science (or worse, philosophy), an entity to which there is no altar other than the subjective construct of Truth we’ve subscribed to in our minds. The pursuit of clarity and truth is noble and important, definitely. But such is a statement of value. And values, well, we’ve established well enough that there isn’t only one.
I appreciate the exchange, Garrick. But I am sure we aren’t the only voices on this. Your article has spurred a discussion that must be had. I’ve already said my peace, but as a member of the PSHS community my work will continue now in the trenches, not just here.
More power to you, too!