Monthly Archives: June 2015

Finding your Genius

In a TEDtalk shared by Elizabeth Gilbert, she posed an interesting question about the nature of genius and artistry. According to the ever fascinating Greeks, genius stops becoming the little adjective we uttered out of reverence and admiration, but a noun, a subject that refers to that naughty little spirit which whispers words of wisdom and inspiration into your ears. It speaks whenever it wants and it remains silent even if you try so hard to make it talk. It has its own mind, and you have to cajole it to come out.

Sounds ehhh? Well, we’re in this world to listen and digest ideas so the more I listened to it, the more it actually makes sense.

Elizabeth Gilbert will convince you more than my words can ever do so here’s the clip for you to watch:

So according to Gilbert, a genius is a:

– creative spirit

– comes to you in a sudden moment, kind of like a sweet aroma of the blooming flowers or a rush of wind

– someone you have to listen in

– basically your partner in creating art

-the one supposed to take all the credit because it did all the thinking and you kind-of just plagiarized its ideas

As a writer (or someone pretending to be a writer, come on it’s time to give my genius a credit), relating the genius spirit to creating art and words like writing is easy. Writers, like musicians, have an instinctive urge to listen. We try to listen to the harmony of words when we read, we try to listen to other peoples’ conversations to make dialogues in our heads, we like to listen to other people and the way they talk, we like to listen to stories of other people even though we don’t know them and they probably live in another world beside ours and that explains why we love to read.

Great writers love to listen and somewhere out there, a spirit or a sprite or some supernatural force is driving them to create art. Oftentimes, they create art that’s completely opposite of what people perceived them to be. They create art that surprise the world because nobody expected them to take that risk and doing that is so unnaturally like them. It’s almost as if they are an another person.

And great artists acted like they hardly take the credit of what they created. It’s as if like it’s just another pot they molded out from clay and put it beside other ‘more ordinary’ pots they created while all the people around them are amazed with its beauty. It’s as if they are bored with their achievements and all they want is to return to the potter wheel, promptly going back to work.

As long as they work, as long as they create, something great will come out of that work. It’s like a supernatural force is driving them to work and be fair in everything they created.

It doesn’t mean that a genius or a creative spirit gets to pick the privileged, the most intelligent or the most educated…I believe it often picks the one who is most dedicated, the most committed and finally, a person who thinks that his life is not actually his, but it’s made for the purpose of creating things that will outlive him someday.

And even if you are pragmatic or you don’t believe in this genius, it’s funny to think that it somehow parallels the reality of creating art. Creative people are the most dedicated, the most committed and would always think ahead of their lives.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is creativity in a nutshell.


Why we need more engineers, architects, urban planners in the government

Seriously, just look at this picture.

To Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Bacolod, GenSan, Zamboanga, this is not how you Metro. (Photo grabbed from the Facebook of Daphne Osena Paez)

To Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Legazpi, Bacolod, GenSan, Zamboanga, this is NOT how you Metro. (Photo grabbed from the Facebook of Daphne Osena Paez)

For the past decades or so, the Philippines (or dare we say, Metro Manila) has suffered a great deal of mismanagement in urban planning. Ironically, I’m writing this in a small apartment caught in the urban gridlock where people are just free to live whenever they want (it’s a free country)

I guess this has gone far more than decentralization. I’ve repeatedly called on decentralization of Metro Manila in my other blog posts but hey, if other cities in the Philippines would turn out like this someday, might as well leave Metro Manila alone in its decaying urban state and let it die a natural death. Let its bones serve as a warning to other regions, maybe.

Let’s face it. Any city in this country is destined to be a Metro Manila, without proper management and cooperation of the people. For heaven’s sake, I don’t think we need any lawyers, economists or military men in the government anymore. What we need are planners. Visionaries. I’m not saying the next president or your next mayor should be an engineer; what I like to see is that this next leader will listen to sound planning and adhere to the practicalities of urban management. That he/she has a great respect on public space, urban greenery or to Nature’s territory.

Lest of all, I want him/her to stand by these principles no matter how much big-time corporations or conglomerates shine their flashy cheques to get him/her on their side.

It’s so sad that in this country, our planners are confined (made to think) to confine themselves in the field of research and corporate world only. Provided that we need good scientists and game-changers for engineering (still waiting for PHL to make its own big break on technology someday, or a decent internet connection at least), but we also need more brains on public policies. We need more rational, practical voices like yours in policy-making and law-making, and to be frank we are already tired of all the hot air coming from the government.

This would probably take a long while to be solved, since Metro Manila is the busiest and most commercially-industrialized city in the country, and having it to undergo a massive urban and industrial overhaul may be an expensive and lengthy investment. Yet bear in mind, it won’t be the same way forever. The shadow of the West Valley Fault, the threat of stronger typhoons to come, and the tendency of everything in this city to get caught in a fire that can kill dozens of families living on shanties loom just over the horizon (and don’t forget, zombie apocalypse!)

It may be too late for Metro Manila, but it’s never too late for other regions and cities. We don’t have to wait for a picture showing the devastation of the Big One to make this point. This picture is clear enough.

To be fair to New York City, they have the Central Park to make it tolerable. But here....nah

To be fair to New York City, they have the Central Park to make it tolerable. But here….nah


Image grabbed from Bisayaball

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