The Tainted Wisdom
A Reflection Paper on the essays “Veneration without Understanding” and “Anatomy of the Anti-Hero”
“The ink of the scholar is more sacred than the blood of the martyrs.”
When I speak of Rizal using my elementary and high school orientation, I see him as someone who embodies the exceptional characteristics that no other heroes have. Other than the fact that Rizal is known for his universally acclaimed works, he was introduced to me and to others as well, as someone who shows compassion, patience, love and respect for his country and his countrymen. As to what my teacher told me, “pen is mightier than sword” and that peace is more acceptable than war. But what was beyond the cliché personality of Rizal in me was never really touched ever since.
“Art is a lie that makes us realize the truth
Reading the articles “Veneration without Understanding” by Renato Constantino and “Anatomy of the Anti-Hero” by Nick Joaquin, the Rizal that has been residing in me is slowly being defamiliarized. I was, at first, hesitant with the new ideas (some controversies) that boomed before me given the fact that some Filipinos are known for their “crab mentality.” But reality doesn’t always bite, they sometimes sting. As their ideas slowly copulate with my own, I myself started to think critically of the worthiness of Rizal in the pedestal that he is in right now. Looking at it, I imagined my ‘elementary and high school’
Rizal as a picture perfect painting that doesn’t reflect anything about his real image. It seems that I had to rediscover who Rizal “is” and forget my idea of who Rizal “was”.
Guerrero in the article “Anatomy of the Anti-Hero” claimed that Rizal is destined to be great
because he had all the advantages that he could have. In Guerrero’s point of view, Rizal was designed to be great through his middle class status in the society. Guerrero exploited the point that Rizal would be a different Rizal if he was raised the other way. Supporting ideas in the article “Veneration without Understanding” says that Rizal speaks on the point of view of the middle class. He sees and talks about the scenario in the eye and lips of an ilustrado
. That is why the Creole, the mestizo, and the wealthy Chinese characters in his novels are portrayed with mastery but he settled for hazy descriptions to his characters belonging to the masses (Veneration without Understanding). The fact that he was discouraging the revolution because of his “the right place in the right time” idea is something to also look into. Is Rizal really inconsiderate? That while he was enjoying his travel across Europe, his countrymen back home suffer denial of human rights. Or is he empathic to his countrymen? That in pursuing the idea that liberty cannot be secured at the sword’s point; he is also concern of the welfare of others.
Radaic in his view point said that Rizal was very “unprivileged” and very inferior but he was able to overcome the disadvantages and rose to the pedestal. Rizal had to overcome, being small and timid during his early years, all his inferiorities to be able to excel. The point as stated by Joaquin “Rizal’s career was an effort to reduce the discrepancy between the interior image he carried of himself and the image he saw in the mirror” (Anatomy of the Anti-Hero). Because of mere determination to prevail over his inferiorities, he is now put in the pedestal where he is right now. Radaic’s inimitable anatomy of Rizal gives me an idea of a different Pepe
. It’s just that often times, it’s “our present that has been distorted by a faulty knowledge of our past” (veneration without understanding).
“Once integrity is lost, the rest is a piece of cake”
--Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing
The two essays presented a critique of Rizal’s life. Given these, I now can believe that Rizal really exists as a human. “Veneration without Understanding” taught me that history cannot be regarded as the product of gifted individuals. The wrong connotation that we perceive our heroes as saints is very evident in each one of us. It seems that we are able to concentrate more on putting fragrance into our heroes name because we wouldn’t want our heroes to be persecuted. Before really accepting the ideas being shared to us, I guess it will be much better if we stop and think about it and be critical. Let’s face the reality that these heroes, indeed, are human that can commit mistakes, have unpleasing personalities or characteristics and can lack the necessary traits to be a hero. And by that, heroes must be scrutinized, even Rizal, our “Nation’s pride.” “The Anatomy of the Anti-Hero,” taught me that Rizal can be viewed differently by various individual. It all depends on how we will treat the controversies surrounding the hero. It is important that we be critical with the thoughts that surround our history. It’s better to be careful because once the integrity of the hero is lost; the rest of his personality can easily be deteriorated.
written by A(email@example.com)