Posted tagged ‘psychology’


May 18, 2011


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good morning from the Pearl of the Orient!

Manny ‘Pacman’ Pacquiao, world’s best boxer pound-per-pound and the greatest boxer of the century, just defeated California’s prized fighter Mosley. The fight didn’t only highlight the prowess of the world’s best—and that best could extend to being the world’s top athlete today—but more importantly it heralded Pacquiao’s vow versus poverty in the Philippines.

“Boxing isn’t the greatest fight of my life,” declared the Pacman in front of media. “More than boxing, the greatest fight of my life is to end poverty in the Philippines,” he succinctly proclaimed. For a man who originated from the ‘poorest of the poor’ and who rose like a phoenix in a meteoric ascent to global fame and glory, he knows what he is talking about.

I am optimistic the Pacman will give muscles to his words, walk the talk, and redistribute wealth through two sources: (a) the personal wealth he gained from boxing, entertainment, and modeling for commercial products, a wealth that will continue to accumulate in the years ahead; and, (b) national budgetary appropriations, which he will partly approve as a member of the House of Representatives.

Truly one of the most colorful personalities of this century, Pacman’s value formation seems to have molded him well. From out of his personal wealth, he shares bounties to the poor folks—from the athletes who became poor with their decline from fame, to the underclasses who receive benefits through his foundations. He is a compassionate fighter and citizen, making him one of the exemplars for our youth all over the planet.

Poverty and hunger are ailments that been badly addressed in the Philippines across the many decades of development (the development programs began in 1948 yet). Now a middle class economy, the Philippines just might be trapped in the middle class category as it continues to falter in addressing mass poverty.

The factors contributing to poverty & hunger are complex, as they range from the public policy through institutional strength factors. And there’s the demographic factor of rapid population growth, as 2,000,000 new babies are born each year in the country alone (that doesn’t include those born to the 10 Million overseas Filipinos). Such factors continue to drag down PH esteem as it suffers from unimpressive credit ratings, high corruption index, low global competitiveness, and related global ratings.

Sometimes a country would need some superhero types to shore up the drive to salve lingering ailments. And for the Philippines, luck had struck it as one such exemplary figure, the Pacman of the planet, is dipping his hands to enable the achievement by poor folks of the Impossible Dream.

[Philippines, 12 May 2011]

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October 9, 2010


Erle Frayne D. Argonza

Good day to all ye fellow global citizens, peace & development advocates!

I have just writ a series of articles about physical regimen and capacity-building. The topic stresses the central import of developing multiple intelligence to capacitate oneself for achieving diverse goals—from physical to spiritual. Let me then continue the trajectory of the topics to focus this time on emotional development.

To start with our discourse, high ‘emotional quotient’ or EQ contributes immensely to the building of our individual capacities. Conversely, low EQ determinately incapacitates us, thus disabling us from achieving our goals in life. This goes true for folks who aspire to graduate from low quality to high quality of life.

Emotional intelligence’s core is attitudes, which could be summed up as the integration of our capabilities to empathize, sympathize, and enact goals from an affective facet. Learning attitudes are particularly foremost in any change program. Good learning attitudes can lead one to succeed in achieving one’s goals, while bad learning attitudes could debilitate one from achieving short- and long-term goals.

Any person who aspires to be a change catalyst for whatever purpose should be equipped with the sufficient level of EQ, otherwise the person involved could be a liability to the change program. Not only should the catalyst be foremost in demonstrating good learning attitudes, the catalyst should also demonstrate the capacity for empathy that begins with good listening, and for sympathy that is exhibited by building sincere rapport and camaraderie.

A catalyst who demonstrates high levels of empathy and at the same time has the knacks for counseling—both the one-on-one and group levels—is a model for one who has high EQ. Such a person has unlearned a childish Attention Deficit Disorder or ADD, or has kept the latter weakness as residual if ever. S/he is sufficiently equipped to handle and manage a change program.

A catalyst who has weak listening abilities (low empathy) but who just the same counsels a client is a bad catalyst. The counsel could be psychosocial interventnion, or financial counsel for livelihood clients, or advisory to an entire poor village for community development, or pro bono legal counsel by grassroots paralegal. Counsel without sufficient listening (with sincerity, goodwill) is intrusive type of counsel.

The message of developing good EQ for grassroots clientele is equally important too. After doing grassroots work for so long a time in my life (beginning with my adolescent years yet), I could readily exhibit to you a long list of defects of the folks that are largely traceable to bad learning attitudes.

Take the case of marginal planters. I’ve heard too many complaints of marginal farmers about miserable living conditions, about inability to raise money to build a decent home, and so on. Yet I see the same folks smoking, drinking, and gambling! I could very easily demonstrate to any poor folk who is afflicted with those vices, that if s/he would take off smoking & drinking at least, s/he could save enough money to build a decent home and buy a service mini-truck.

I’d tell the folk that a Marlboro or equivalent cigarette which sells P35 a pack would total almost P500,000 in four (4) decades, assuming that the folk smokes a pack of cigarette a day, an amount than can build a decent and spacious low-cost house. Meanwhile, if the same person saves the P1,000 a month spent on beer/gin & delicacies, then in four (4) decades s/he could save P500,000, enough to buy a very decent service vehicle for farm use. [P44 is U.S.$1]

Not only are many poor folks afflicted with vices, they also don’t save money for the rainy days. Saving behavior is a huge development challenge in this country, in as much as Filipinos as a whole don’t save. The change is now moving towards the right direction, but the pace of change towards adopting saving is too slow. This situation partly contributes to the low level of national savings in this country compared to the East Asian neighbors.

Let’s take the case of a fisherfolk, who at the end of a fishing schedule offshore makes around P1,000 post-sales. Instead of saving part of the money for the rainy days, the same person would buy some gin & delicacies + cigarettes, calls on kins and pals, and play poker or so with the latter. Comes the start of schooling, the same folk would end up complaining of not having funds for the kids’ schooling needs. Well, what do you expect from a consummate spender!

If a change catalyst (e.g. social worker) would counsel the same folks to begin saving and deposit the same in the bank, the folks would grumble and exclaim “those banks would just rob our funds!” which is indicative of the low attitude for trusting financial institutions. Without extra funds on their account, the same folks would be at the mercy of usurers who charge 20% interest on short-term loans (it’s called 5/6 in my country). Charge it to bad learning attitude!

Now, just by reflecting on bad learning attitude (low EQ) as factor, you can understand why 33% of Filipinos are very poor. The figure was already down 28% in 2001 yet, then it went up again to reach 33% in 2006 (the last time we had systematic poverty studies nationwide). To factor government corruption alone as the cause of ballooning poverty—‘bad governance in public policy jargon—is utter non-sense to me.

There are variegated tools available today for improving one’s own emotional intelligence, and I do highly recommend such tools to catalysts and clientele. They’ve worked for so many people who tried them, so why not try them (again there’s the attitude question of whether to try or not).

If your emotional problems are deep-seated, or that they are of a dysfunctional level, then please consult a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist. It’s best to undergo testing, as the test tool can reveal the extent of dysfunctional syndromes. Anybody with deep-seated emotional or affective disorder syndromes is advised not to attempt at all to be a change catalyst.

To conclude, emotional intelligence is among the factors that contribute to capacity-building. Never miss out on the chance to fortify your EQ as this can capacitate you in no small measure to achieve your core goals in life. The tools are out there waiting for you from some sort of ‘fairy Godmother’ expert or specialist, please go for it for your own sake.

[Philippines, 28 September 2010]








June 4, 2008

Erle Frayne Argonza

The recent news about Watson, the American Nobel prize biologist, claiming that Blacks are less smarter than Whites due to genetic factors, comes as a real shock to me. I can’t believe that a 20th century post-war scientist would declare such highly destructive, bigoted contention.  

Not only that, Watson even pushed his racist theory beyond the limits by claiming that Blacks are hopeless, as genetics have doomed them to be mentally inferior to Whites. This accordingly explains why Blacks always end up with poorer aptitude and/or IQ points compared to Whites. Shocking! Really shocking!

Had Watson just dared to traverse outside of his own discipline (biology) and reviewed the latest studies in psychology and ‘new science’, he could have become better informed about the subject. And, hopefully, could have articulated his views with greater circumspection.

Among the studies done by psychologists in the past decades was the possibility of increasing intelligence through a variety of interventions. Some psychologists such as Jung and Maslow ventured into Eastern psychology, studied yoga and esoteric philosophy along the way. And many of their students, who are tops in both pure and applied psychology, have carried on the R&D in the field.

As a yogi myself, I was so surprised when, as a 20-year old boy at the University of the Philippines c. 1979, my first yoga lesson was to be taught right inside our classroom by a pioneer psychologist, Dr. Alfred Lagmay, rather than a long-haired Indian guru (I used to be long haired). Invited by his anthropologist wife, Dr. Leticia Lagmay, to her class, which was my formal class then, Dr. Alfredo agreed with gusto and taught us the basics of yoga breathing during one class session.

Dr. Lagmay originally had little fondness for Eastern psychology. Being among those trained by his American professors (first mentors and builders of the University of the Philippines) in the Philippines as well as in the USA (where he took his masters degree and doctorate), his exposure was in behaviorism,  experimental psychology, or in scientistic psychology. He then stumbled upon yoga in his studies, and then pursued it relentlessly. It was among his last passions as an actively engaged scientist.

Yoga, as far as the spiritual masters are concerned, is the chief science for increasing intelligence. And by intelligence I don’t mean ‘mental intelligence’ alone, but that of ‘multiple intelligences’. Being a yogi and mystic of long standing now, and already a spiritual guru in level of awareness, I can verily say, based on many accounts by practitioners, of the following intelligences improved by yoga meditation:

·         Emotional Intelligence: One becomes more emotionally stable, increases attitude for learning. Cures neurosis or affective disorder, including obsessive-compulsive disorder.

·         Social Intelligence: Improves ones capacity to harmonize with diverse peoples in diverse environments, stabilizes sociopathic (or psychopathic) tendencies and eradicates suicidal tendencies, and improves one’s chances for high leadership posts.

·         Mental Intelligence: Improves one’s IQ, capacity for analytical thought processes, linguistic ability, and makes one a better planner, tactician, and strategist. Stabilizes and cures manic-depressive disorder.

·         Intuitive Intelligence: Greatly improves ones creativity, thus transforming one from copycat artisan to original, high-creative artist. Also increase one’s extra-sensory powers.

·         Spiritual Intelligence: Greatly improves one’s wisdom, by improving one’s capacity to digest and absorb deeply esoteric and mystical lessons, and articulating the same before an enthused audience.

To claim that Black’s mental intelligence can never be altered is simply outrageous and fallacious. The contention reveals that Watson is now an old-fogey man, a ‘has been’ in the sciences given the new frontiers of research. He should better shut up a bit, as his words will be taken by White fascists who are up to clobber or kill every Black or Colored Man with whom they can effect a transference of their own sociopathic tendencies.

[Writ 03 June 2008, Quezon City, MetroManila]