Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Computer Addiction Leads to Drug Use

  Dr Abe V Rotor 

Did it ever occur in your mind that drug abuse is connected with computer addiction?

      People, especially the young – children and adolescents - who sit before the computer hours and hours everyday – even before they start using drugs, are already potential drug users. This is a thesis which I shall try to present and defend in this article.

     These are premises of my contention.

        Computerizing whether for school assignment or just entertainment consumes precious time and energy.  Time for hobbies, rest, reflection, exercise, socialization, or for quiet and peace.  In short we have disturbed regular time management – the way our predecessor in pre-computer time made use of 24-hour cycle – so with 30-day monthly cycle and longer. In short the computer has not only reset, but tinkered with, the biological clock.

     What does this mean?

      We do not follow our regular sleeping habit, because the computer demands no strict time limit or schedule. Imagine also that a favorite program on TV is on the computer, especially DVD programs. Computer addicts may become night owls. Others have developed cat napping which can compensate partly lost sleep. Not following regular sleeping habits may lead to insomnia.  Many drugs today are for insomniacs.   Abuse of sleeping pills is reminiscent of some prominent victims, among them was Marilyn Monroe who died of overdose.

     The ever increasing features of the computer making today’s state-of-the art in computer shades the 1960 predecessor a hundred folds more proficient. Pretty soon we will be groping and grappling with artificial intelligence like dealing with a university professor, and a genius at that. Already chess games with the computer is like playing with Karpov or Kasparov. War games need the intelligence and skills of  Napoleon Bonaparte on land, and Horatius Nelson at sea. The computer does not only trace the campaign of Alexander the Great who attempted to create the largest empire on earth, but continue the campaign even after his death.

     Entertaining, isn’t?  Definitely yes, but at what price? Hear this. Hour-after-hour uninterrupted concentration.  Irregular meal substituted with fast, if not junk, food. Strained eyes (and also ears).  Sustained suspense leading to cold hands and feet, and increased pulse rate and heart beat, while the muscle contract – an antithesis of balanced exercise. Soon you need a drug to calm you down, such as valium and prosac. Headache and therefore you take analgesic. Hallucinations in your sleep which may lead to insomnia. 

     So what is the pre-occupation of the young today?  It appears to be a syndrome instead, a syndrome of three components, namely:

1.     Mental Concentration
2.     Social Detachment
3.     Physiologic Imbalance
4.     Time Waste
5.     Indeterminate Purpose


Pose for a moment before proceeding to read this article and imagine yourselves as a victim of this modern syndrome. 

“To Heaven and Back" - Auntie Doting's Story

Dr Abe V Rotor 


Towards the Light, painting by the author. Concept of the way to Heaven
based on Christian teaching

This is a true story - the story of Auntie Dorotea who went to heaven and returned for a second life.  

This is not an unusual story.  Many people I am close with have a story to tell about close encounter with death.

How close is this encounter? It is leaving the world of the living and going to the world of the spirits, of the saints and angels for those who led a life worthy of a place in heaven. In the process the traveler encounters a mysterious scenery, a realm strangely beautiful.  The spirits are simply suspended in place, they appear weightless, and have no mass at all.  Angelic notes pipe through the calm and fades out into the din. There are no boundaries, Nothing moves except the travelers, in slow animated pace, all toward the source of light. They are all in white, flowing white. They seem not to know each other as they traveled on the long, long road. 

Finally Auntie Doting reached the source of light.   It is a kingdom different from any kingdom. She saw her son who died when he was a young boy. She saw uncle, her husband.  She recognized others, relatives, friends, neighbors. But they simply look at each other. And nothing more.

"Did you see my mom?" I ventured to asked.  To which she readily answered, yes. I felt happy mom is in heaven, even if I knew by religious belief.  

I allowed her to enumerate all acquaintances she saw in her sojourn. I was expecting a very important name. My father’s.

She paused and thought deeply. "No, I can't recall," she said. She was drawing in the air  with her fingers.an imaginary map.

"Try to remember, Auntie," I pleaded. 

Silence. 

Auntie Doting and my dad were partners in business for years in Ilocos. When I went to college in Manila Dad entrusted me under her guidance, together with my two cousins who were then high school teachers. Had it not been for them I would not have made it to what I am today. I was a wartime baby, and mom died when I was two. Dad never recovered his health although he lived to a ripe age. 

As a farmhand I used to tell dad, "I can't leave you alone, I can help you manage the farm."  Dad would just remain silent. Dad graduated from De Paul University in Chicago during the Great Depression. He was among the bona fide balikbayan.  He returned and put up a mechanized furniture shop and bought some land.  Then the war broke, my mom died, so with my baby sister.  Slowly dad manage to put back what was left in his business which enabled us his three children to go through with our studies.  

Although I was the youngest I insisted to stay put on the farm.  Dad finally confronted me, "Is that  all you aspire in life?" Finishing a college degree was far from my dream. That was the time he sought help from Auntie Doting.   

Remembering the good old days and thanking people for all the good things they did, is perhaps the best offering one can give to someone who had "died, and came back."  It is a special way of expressing how grateful I am to my Auntie Doting. 

Days passed, Auntie's condition was fast deteriorating. At her deathbed she held my hand and whispered, "I saw your dad." ~



"Too many cooks spoil the broth."

Adapted from a popular story by Dr Abe V Rotor

A teenage son bought a pair of pants too long for him by two inches, he had to have it cut and sewed. Not having the skill to do it, and even if he did, some one can always accede to his request - he is the bunso (youngest) child in the family and the center of attention and service.


But on this particular day, at this particular hour, every one he approached to shorten his pants said, “Later, after I have finished what I am doing.”


His sister was cooking, his mother ironing clothes, his grandmother feeding the chicken. And when each one had finished her work, it was siesta time.


Porontong Bermuda 


But remembering her grandson's request, the grandmother took the scissor and cut the pants two inches off, sewed it and left for siesta.


Next, the mother remembered her son's request, took the scissor and cut two inches off, sewed it, then took a nap. The sister suddenly remembered her brother’s request, took the scissor and cut two inches off and sewed. When the teenage son woke up, he tried his new pants, now repaired to his expectation.


But alas, his pair of pants has become into a porontong (half-short half-pants)!


What is the moral of the story? ~

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Cumulus cloud hovers over parched field.

Cumulus cloud hovers over parched field. 
Dr Abe V Rotor


Cumulus cloud hovers over parched field. 

What promise has the sky to bring,
if cumulus cloud in the morning,
into wispy feathers die,
leaving the land bone dry? 

What promise has the land to the sky,
if  the first raindrops to vie, 
into a shroud of mist hang
and die with the rising sun?.    

What promise has rain to the earth
if flood by its very birth
destroys what it builds,
leaving but ruined fields.  

Promise a treaty in a duo, indeed,
yet paled by mutual bid;
and long before it's resolved
the world has grown too old. ~  

Acknowledgement: Lower photo from Grains by Nilo Manonsong, National Food Authority   

Respite with Nature

Respite with Nature

When city living becomes prosaic and dull in the midst of so-called progress measured by affluence.
Dr Abe V Rotor 

Respite with Nature in acrylic (24" x 48") AV Rotor 2015

 

A pair of parrots; a cottage in the forest. 



 Fishing as a pastime; a pair of hornbills (kalaw).

When city living becomes prosaic and dull in the midst of so-called progress measured by affluence; when the good life doesn't bring genuine freedom and happiness - have a respite with Nature;

When you have reached the peak of your career, but you're not in good health and cheerful disposition in life; when in the midst of company you feel all alone and a stranger;  have a respite with Nature;

When you are overtaken by grief and loneliness, stranded on the low ebb of life, rise up and continue on living, and when you shall have coped up with the pace of change, slow down, look back and  have a respite with Nature;

When responsibility and accountability demand your decision and action, and the consequences are the potential hallmark of your career and person, take it as a precious challenge, but first, have a respite with Nature;

When your prayers are getting fewer, so with the answers you expected, or prayers you cry out in times of distress; when hopelessness dims your faith not only towards your Creator but your fellowmen - have a respite with Nature;

When warned of the consequences of environmental degradation, like global warming and pollution, you look up to global policies and programs,  then ask what an individual like yourself can do - have a respite with Nature;

When you don't see fireflies anymore, when neon lights subdue the stars, sunset comes early and fades away unnoticed; when you don't hear birds that accompany spring, see kites in the summer sky - have a respite with Nature;

When you can hardly differentiate natural from cosmetic beauty, function from aesthetics, work from play, ethics from morals, rich from wealthy, humor from wit, important from urgent, it's time for a retreat with Nature;

When you can find love and care in the wilderness, unity in the diversity of creation, music and poetry by a living stream, science in a dewdrop, miracle in a blade of grass - rejoice and thank Nature;

When you aim to "catch the biggest fish" in your lifetime, you are blest and ageless like in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea ; and having caught one but receiving no trophy, found the biggest fish of all - Peace of Mind with Nature. ~

Light Moment - Picking Flowers

Dr Abe V Rotor
Mackie and Lolo, Tagaytay 2016

Picking flowers with the young and old, 
    a joyful time to spend and behold;
red roses, sampaguita, flowering weed,
all flowers are beautiful indeed.~

The Essence of Buddha's Teaching

Work on yourself - be engaged in appropriate self-improvement.
Dr Abe V Rotor
Reclining Buddha at Ayutthaya, Thailand


Preserved Buddhist temples and icons at Old City of Ayutthaya

Miniature Buddhist temples for offerings

Buddhist monks and tourists

I visited Thailand lately and had the chance to visit temples where Buddha is venerated, such as the Grand Palace and the Ancient City of Ayutthaya. I met Buddhist leaders and devout faithful as well. I look at the concept of Buddhism with awe and respect. It is indeed a great religion. (AVR)

Buddha set forth his teaching in the following doctrine.


The Four Noble Truths:


1. All things and experiences are marked by suffering/ disharmony/ frustration (dukkha)


2. The arising of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration comes from desire/ craving/ clinging.


3. To achieve the cessation/ end of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, let go of desire/ craving/ clinging.


4. The way to achieve that cessation of suffering/ disharmony/ frustration, is walking the Eightfold Path.


The eightfold path to the cessation of suffering:


1. Right Understanding of the following facts:


* the truth about suffering. (The Four Truths);

* everything is impermanent and changes;
* there is no separate individual self - this is an illusion. (We are one!)

2. Right Determination to:


* give up what is wrong and evil;

* undertake what is good;
* abandon thoughts that have to do with bringing suffering to any conscious being; cultivate thoughts that are of loving kindness, that are based on caring for others' suffering, and sympathetic joy in others' happiness.

3. Right Speech:


* Abstain from telling lies.

* Abstain from talk that brings harm or discredit to others (such as backbiting or slander) or talk that creates hatred or disharmony between individuals and groups.
* Abstain from harsh, rude, impolite, malicious, or abusive language.
* Abstain from idle, useless, and foolish babble and gossip. Abstain from recrimination and negative statements.
* Abstain from harsh speech—practice kindly speech.
* Abstain from frivolous speech—practice meaningful speech.
* Abstain from slanderous speech—practice harmonious speech.
* Speak the truth if it is useful and timely. Practice only necessary speech. Let your speech be filled with loving kindness. Speak that which alleviates suffering.

4. Right Action:


* Peaceful, honorable conduct; abstain from dishonest dealings; take concrete steps necessary to foster what is good.

* Do things that are moral, honest, and alleviate suffering. Do not do things that will bring suffering to others or yourself.

5. Right Livelihood:


* Abstain from making your living from an occupation that brings harm and suffering to humans or animals, or diminish their well being. This includes: activities that directly harm conscious beings, and activities that indirectly harm sentient beings, e.g., making weapons or poisons.


6. Right Effort:


* Foster good and prevent evil;

* Work on yourself—be engaged in appropriate self-improvement. The essence of right effort is that everything must be done with a sense of proper balance that fits the situation. Effort should be properly balanced between trying too hard and not trying hard enough. For example, strike the balance between excessive fasting and over-indulgence in food. Trying hard to progress too rapidly gets poor results, as does not trying hard enough.

7. Right Mindfulness or wakefulness:


* Foster right attention.

* Avoid whatever clouds our mental awareness (e.g., drugs).
* Systematically and intentionally develop awareness.

8. Right Concentration:


* Developed by practicing meditation and/or mental focusing. Proper meditation must be done continuously while awake, and should include work on awareness of body, emotions, thought, and mind objects.


Five basic precepts:


1. Abstain from killing living beings (from destroying/taking life)—or practice love.


2. Abstain from taking the not-given (from stealing)—or practice generosity, practice giving.


3. Abstain from sexual misconduct—or practice contentment.


4. Abstain from false speech (from lying)—or practice truthfulness.


5. Abstain from taking intoxicating drinks—or practice awareness and mental clarity.


Quotations from Buddha:


"Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. Do not believe anything because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything because it is written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and the benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."


The following prose, attributed to Buddha, is a poetic expression of the way he saw the world. Buddha said:


* I consider the positions of kings and rulers as that of dust motes.


* I observe treasures of gold and gems as so many bricks and pebbles.


* I look upon the finest silken robes as tattered rags.


* I see myriad worlds of the universe as small seeds of fruit, and the greatest lake in India as a drop of oil upon my foot.


* I perceive the teachings of the world as the illusions of magicians.


* I discern the highest conception of emancipation as a golden brocade in a dream, and view the holy path of the illuminated ones as flowers appearing in one's eyes.


* I see meditation as a pillar of a mountain, nirvana as a nightmare of daytime.


* I look upon the judgments of right and wrong as the serpentine dance of a dragon, and the rise and fall of belief as traces left by the four seasons.


Reference and acknowledgment: Lucidcafe's Library Copyright Robin Chew. Buddha's Lucidate Profile. Edited by Robin Chew - September, 1999