Reaction Paper to the Inter-religious Dialogue: “Is God Dead? The Role of Religion in the Contemporary Public Sphere”

If you do not have an open mind, then you would find the lecture mainly entitled “is God dead?” belief-provoking. The lecture actually strengthened my belief in God, as a Roman Catholic, even if the part of Ms. Velasco moved me as she was discussing Buddhism in her lecture. The struggle of not being still is that you tend to forget that God is actually there in your anxious moments and you begin forsaking Him, as if He abandoned you in your time of need. Without being still, I tend to forget to walk the talk, as a Catholic, who is very active in his church’s renewal movement. What Ms. Velasco said about being still and you will find God, whatever you want him to be is what my group’s advisors would always tell me, as I am anointed as a mentor to the young ones. I cannot really bring those that I am leading, if I have not experience what they want to have from God.

At the end of the lecture, I find myself asking how to be still despite the turbulent circumstances surround our lives, and this is what attending the lecture has challenged me to find. In using what Ms. Velasco mentioned, it would allow me to become a better Catholic individual to others, even to those who do not share the same beliefs that I have. After all, in Christian dogma, we are made in the likeness and image of God, which in being still would allow to show that God is much alive in each of us. It depends on us, if we allow Him to find us in the stillness in our lives and use us in this world full of chaos.


Reaction Paper to the Big Lecture Series

The concept of work is something we are exposed at a very young age, whether we begin noticing this when our parents are not home or when our parents takes us to their offices since we cannot take care of ourselves just yet. Normally, we are often asked in our early schooling or by our relatives. What do you want to be when you grow up? How could something complex as the concept of work, be blindly made simple in the eyes of a child? In deciding what work we want to do, it begins in high school, and normally, we take our choices much seriously in this stage. As a consequence of making the wrong career choice would make us hate what we are doing in that field and become zombies because we would find what we are doing as unfulfilling and useless. We also start thinking of retirement, even if we just starting our careers, we think that we are “living in hell” due to the struggles that work unfilled brings. This is what society has failed to address or what it continues to perceive, as we fail to discuss philosophy in our everyday lives, so that we can see the beauty of things. In this case, the beauty of work is overlooked in our society, which is something we do not see in other progressed societies, as even blue-collared jobs are being done with empowerment. The concept of dignity in work comes into to play, which the first speaker exhibited in his life story, where his in-laws looked down upon teaching because it does not earn much and it was a waste of his skills. In connecting the first and third speaker, the former choose to experience life instead of being defined as a zombie like how the latter mentioned in his lecture. That is my takeaway from the lecture, as this academic term is supposedly my last, if I pass all of my subjects, but I have been struggling with seeing the beauty of the degree that I am finishing currently. Basically, I am a zombie currently, but I remain hopeful that I would get out of this zombie state and become human, despite the uncertainty of life, which is daunting since there are things that are beyond our control. That is what this term and the lecture has taught me to be human.

The Body “Knows”: Self, Identity and Body Awareness

The only recurring recollection of my awareness that I was born as a male is a funny story that occurred in kinder garden, and my mother would always remind of this story every time we were in our old village. It was a typical humid day and it was lunch time, which signaled dismissal from our teacher’s house. Normally, i would get picked up by my grandfather because the school was just 3 intersections up from where we lived in the village. It was a very different setup that day, as my mother was there with my ninong, and I did not have to ride the tricycle going home. As I was entering the car, i asked my mom if we bring home this girl whom I had a crush on back then. I cannot recalled if my mother refused or the girl along with her helper were getting a tricycle, but I cried loudly that I made a scene. Eventually, I got my request granted, and we were able to bring her and her helper home. I remember saying to my mother after that I wanted to bring that girl to our home and marry her because she was my crush. I just find this words so hilarious every time I think of it or reminded of it. Where did I get such an idea that early as a child? Is it because that I’m a guy that I should marry a girl or is it because that I see a couple in my mom and dad that a guy should marry a girl and a girl should marry a guy. Where did I even perceive this idea of love, marriage and settling down from? I remember in my other class that the world is made partly out of our perception, and what you experience helps you create that very perception of yours. It isn’t far-fetched that my prior experiences before this certain experience made me realized how a male should feel in that experience.

My belief is that I am just using the body as a vessel for experiences, personality, and reason. The self is defined by what the vessel/body is currently going through at that present state, which is how Damasio deduces that the body will act upon the most appropriately as the situation arises. For example, standing outside of a shaded area in the humid weather. In here, the body will process the information that it is getting from the heat or hotness of the weather, so that the body can act upon in which the self will feel that he/she been aware of what the body has gone through. We are not aware that this is happening inside of us until we start feeling the heat by sweating as consequence. The self continues to grow each day by the things that physical body has gone through, and that allows our experiences to shape how we identify ourselves. I believe also in the sentiments of Pert, where she mentioned that intelligence is not only location in the brain but in the different areas of the body. Clearly, our very own immune system improves itself whenever it comes from a sickness, so that it can keep the body in an optimal condition. This intelligence comes from the experiences that the body is exposed to, with that the body and its parts is capable of dealing such experience positively or negatively when the same instance arises.






Ramon Mikael S. Cabazor


I have to agree with Shokichi, the funeral director, that death is some gateway. It is a gateway to the next level of our lives, as no one has seen life after death. Regardless of religion, the journey to death, whether figuratively or literally,  would require us dying to ourselves in order to be reformed in a better way. I may not have near death experiences nor remembering of having one as such, but I am an active member in my church. To follow Christ, as it says in our bible, we should die to ourselves and commit to Christ. This is where the article claims that our experiences molds us to be a better form of ourselves by learning such experience, whether through belief or feeling. We enter a new level in our lives.


The view of the salmon struggling to return to their spawning grounds, including the dead fish floating by:

In life, we are committed to fulfill whatever purpose in life we may have for ourselves, even if the possibility of exhausting ourselves to the point of death. We are not deterred by how difficult the circumstances will be, but we continue to make an effort towards what we want to achieve in our own lives.

The scene involving the octopus which Daigo and Mika attempt to return to the sea:

  I like how this scene portrays that we do not have much control what our lives will be as we continue living. In the prior scene, the couple discover that the octopus is still alive and they plan to return it to sea, only to find out that it had already died when threw it in the matter. Sometimes, we want to be in control of our lives because if we leave up to chance, we get scared of the unknown. Like in this scene, the couple thought they were going a good thing, but maybe that was not the fate of the octopus. It teaches us to be open to the world, as you never know what the world may bring into your life.

The scene from Daigo’s boyhood in which his father gives him the stone letter:

 It is reminder how we associate people and memories with those people with things that they have given to us.  Despite Daigo is clouded with hate towards his dad due to the abandonment, he did not throw away or simply discarded the stone letter. With the stone letter, he is able to relive the memories he has shared with his father, even if he could not remember how his father looks like.

  The interaction with the funeral director who bids goodbye as he lights the fire that burns the coffin of Tsuyako the woman from the bath house:

 Despite it being a death scene, the idea of death should not hinder us from living our lives fully. Our lives right now, who knows, might be a preparation for the life to come after this one, whatever religion or beliefs you believe in.

  The collection of LP records that belonged to Daigo’s mother:

We tend to remember people and things through other things or experiences, I like how Mika pointed out, if Daigo’s mother simply did not care about Daigo’s father, then she would have simply thrown out those records. I have dealt with friends dying this couple of years back, but the experiences and moments I shared with them. It allows me to keep them living in my life, even if, they have gone ahead of me

  The room in which Daigo’s boss takes his meals:

It is kind of ironic that in order for us to keep living, we have to surround ourselves with our living things and consume them. It is sadly, as expressed in this scene by the boss, that we have eat something that was once beautiful and living in order to survive. The room itself is an example of how we surround ourselves with the beauty of living things, as it is a well-maintained garden as viewed in the scene.

  The Christmas celebration at the NK office:

Even if, they were working in such a depressing and taboo industry, they still found a way to enjoy the holidays with one another despite their circumstances and worries. That is how we should be living, we will never know when our day will be our last, so instead of worrying what we cannot control. We should enjoy the present and the beauty that it brings to us in our lives.


I would address a stone letter to the a crush I liked years before. The stone letter will be given, as how I have given her things in the past. Straightforward and Smiling with at least one of her favorite food to eat. The stone letter would be in a middle texture, not too smooth nor too rough, and this is how it will be initial address:

I know that we never ended up being together through some circumstances. I know that you are enjoying life together with your current guy; nonetheless, I’ll still be here in moments that you need someone to talk to and stuff. Thanks once again for being part of my healing this couple of years. Through thin and thick, still appreciate our friendship over the years.

I think my recipient would be dumbfounded at first, as she is the type who do not know how to reciprocate my acts of generosity well, but she will be still grateful nonetheless.