batang pinas’ at ang ‘exhibitionista’

Here’s an idea I’ve been wanting to write about. Another theory one can neither prove nor disprove. Am not sure I make sense but it is nevertheless intriguing. Here goes.

Carl Jung says that everyone harbors within himself certain ‘archetypes’—or primal characters, simply put that have existed throughout the history of mankind. And he claims that these are embedded now in every human being’s collective consciousness. As examples, we carry within us the archetypes of ‘prostitute’ (which takes over every time we negotiate money), ‘saboteur’ (the one who warns us against our own plans–our caution mechanism), ‘hero’,’ teacher’, ‘child’, etc.. There are millions of archetypes actually, and each one of us is a jumble of archetypes-in-line waiting to express themselves though our personalities and actions. This is a really fascinating concept which a lot of other writers have explored. Among them is Ms. Caroline Myss who has written a lot about this in Sacred Contracts.

One of the things that intrigues me is this: Is it possible that countries, nations, peoples can also be dominated and thus carry and act out the patterns attributable to certain archetypes at different times in their history? During WW2, wasn’t Germany for example the strict, obsessive-compulsive disciplinarian who was obsessed with ‘order’ and wanted to rid the world of ‘imperfection’ (Jews) and establish the perfect race (the aryan race)? The Germans went along with it since Hitler promised and delivered. He got the trains running on time and there was law and order. He appealed to the Germanic obsessive penchant for efficiency.

What about America? Isn’t Hollywood’s projection of America that of a vibrant, rugged individual nation with lots of spunk, recklessness, youthful chutzpah, a know-it-all with no long memory to temper itself? Isn’t America the source of rock’n’roll, James Dean, the atom bomb and the Vietnam and Iraq? Look at japan. Didn’t Japan on the other hand seem to come on as a warrior-samurai complete with hara-kiri and kamikaze suicide bombing?

I sometimes ask myself, what about the Philippines? What archetype dominates or rules us today? What can we observe from the way we as a people behave? Don’t we always say that we are still a young country to explain why we are in the mess that we are in? Hmm. I’d say that from all indications, we seem to be ruled by the ‘child’ archetype. Consider the following:

-We love partying—fiestas, salo-salo, the longest Christmas season in the world, etc..

-We have very short memories. We are not great fans of history and we never seem to learn from it.And even when we act out great historical events like the 2 EDSAs, it’s a PARTY!

-We have an even shorter attention span. We never hear of any institution, (government included) that looks twenty years ahead. And even when other nations plan for 50 to 100 years ahead, we never go beyond the ‘5-year plan’. We seem to like everything ad hoc. Bahala na si Batman.

-We seem to just go merrily along unconcerned about our serious problems. In every survey the past few years, we have always seen ourselves as ‘the happiest people in Asia.’

-Our favorite religious icon is the Santo Nino–the depiction of Jesus as a child. We like a lovable, cute God—a ‘wonder child’, combination of someone like a cute child star (with His curly locks and white skin) and the Promil baby who is also a ‘gifted child’, can perform miracles and who at a young age could preach at the temple.

–We love entertainment, Little Miss Philippines, telenovelas about young love, fantaseryes, etc. that are mostly about the young..

But then, even when we do see the child archetype kicking in us, a question to ask is, what are the characteristics of this child? Is the archetype that characterizes us ’the golden child’?, The ’meek and quiet child’? The ‘spoiled brat’? Are there other child archetypes to choose from?

Consider the following:

-A lot of Pinoy children grow up these days with just one parent because many of their dads or moms are working outside the country. In one class I spoke to a few years ago, 47% of the entire class had only one parent at home.

Could we be the ‘orphan child’?

-We seem to show quite often through mass media children in ‘adult’ roles or situations. Our telenovelas like to depict children who cry a lot because they are saddled with the problems of the family and the world. In singing contests, it is not unusual to hear kids sing My Way, or The Greatest Performance Of My Life or She Bangs’. Or what about the phenomenon of very ‘child-like’ dancers, the Sex Bombs, and the like who project an overt sexuality fit for adults?

Could we be the ‘precocious child’?

Our politicians, familiar with our child-like ways give us entertainment in place of substance. And as if to exploit the ‘orphan’ in us like to project themselves as ‘Ama ng bayan’ (Erap and Marcos), Ina ng bayan (Imelda).

My own interpretation in archetypal terms of Erap’s fall and GMA’s ascension to power can be seen as something like this;

Nagwala si tatay. Napasama sa masamang barkada at bisyo kaya si Ate ang naatasan mag-alaga sa atin.

Where’s Nanay? In the Middle East, or London, or America making money as an OFW, of course! GMA is too young looking to be an ‘Ina’, di ba?

I am an exhibitionist

OK, I’ll desist for the meantime with the psycho-sociologist musings.

I am putting on this blog the media release concerning my exhibit. Pardon the ‘shameless’ plug.

‘To see a world in a grain of sand
And heaven in a wild flower
To hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour.’

-By William Blake

That pretty much sums up Jim Paredes’ guiding philosophy and describes his acute awareness and state of mind when taking pictures. Everything in sight is potentially fascinating and/or inspiring and can be captured as such. The world is an infinite place of wonder and awe.

Jim of APO Hiking Society fame, started getting into photography about 12 years ago and turned professional in 1997 when he did his first photo cover for Metro Magazine. In the following years, he shot for many other publications, and did commercial work which included brochures, calendars, albums and billboards. Jim has had two solo exhibits in 2003 and 2004 at the EPSON Gallery. He has also had the honor and pleasure of sharing photo space with his idols Jun De Leon and Raymond Isaac for a mini-exhibit at Cinderella’s store..

Many people have seen glimpses of Jim’s works in magazines which featured mostly semi-nude, portraits or fashion themes. For this collection, he has decided to present something different. Jim immersed himself in what initially seemed to be very random subjects but when summed up, actually presented themselves under the themes of AIR (clouds, mist, fog, horizons), WATER (boats, beaches, water itself) and EARTH (landscapes, hills, leaves, flowers, sand, and some of the other Ten Thousand Things that comprise it). “ I was not aware at first that an inner direction was guiding me’, says Jim. ‘But after a while, I really caught on and began to really see and focus on the beauty of everything I pointed my camera on’. Thus, the title JIM PAREDES in A.W.E. A Photographic Exhibit is only fitting!

“I’ve been on a creative streak for some years now’, explains Jim who surprised himself by getting into teaching at the Ateneo University, giving lectures and creativity workshops, writing books –doing all these during the past 6 years and excelling even as he continues to tour abroad with APO. “I just jumped into the pool and learned how to swim, so to speak. Photography, apart from music and writing is one of those activities where I am a natural and feel I can express myself eloquently’, says the renaissance man.

Jim Paredes invites you to view his pictures and be in awe. It is his hope that his photos will awaken your dormant connection to the world and will make you in awe of things around you.

FROM DEC. 8 TO 15, 2005
Renaissance Gallery
4th Floor, Building A
Megamall, MM