Thursday, February 23, 2017

THE SUNNY PHILOSOPHER by Salvador D. Flor, Ph. D. | Your shrinking world


THERE was a time in the remote past when this planet appeared as limitless as a huge ball of creation, inhabited by a few hundred souls. The Bible tells us that it started with one man and one woman – Adam and Eve – enjoying life together in the company of furred and feathered friends.

From them came our ancestors, spreading far and wide.

The seven continents were separated by oceans and thee few early inhabitants were scattered all over the planet. They did not dream that a day would come when they could talk face to face even they were miles apart.

The magic of technology was unheard then.

In those olden times, crossing the coastal seas was full with danger. The oceans, particularly, teemed with monsters making breakfast of unfortunate seafarers straying into their lairs, according to stories of ancient mariners.

There was this ghost ship sailing the ocean with tattered masts and broken down hulls and manned by men long reported dead told in mariner’s storybook.

Another story tells of a terribly lonely youth who prayed to his gods, ‘ye gods, annihilate both space and time and make two lovers happy.” His girl was at the other side of the ocean, too far for him to passionately kiss.

In the youth’s era, travel was fraught with much peril. Even in a much later time, it was hard and costly. Spanish ships coming to the Philippines during the days of Magellan had found the travel nightmarish.

It is not true anymore. It takes only days for an ocean liner to safely cross the ocean. And it takes only a few seconds to keep in touch with someone at the other side of the globe.

There is the story of two brothers published in the Reader’s Digest who kept in touch although separated by oceans. They did it by each recording his thoughts and feelings in a tape recorder and sending the tapes to each other.

In the ‘60s, it was hard to get a short message to someone far away. When I was in Palanan, Isabela employed by a logging firm, I received a letter from an uncle in Caramoan, Camarines Sur almost two months after it was mailed.

Send by ordinary mail, it brought bad news: the death of my Lolo. I howled with grief upon reaching the boarding house to ease the pain of losing him.

Today, you do not need to write a letter. A text travels faster than sound.

My seaman-son almost nightly would make a call from his ship in Europe or Africa to tell us of new friends in his ship’s ports of call, his work, his fellow seafarers.

My 9-year-old niece, Kate, in the Middle East would nightly regale us with stories of her school life, her foreign classmates, her twin sister, Sophie and her one-year old sister, Victoria.

The world has become a village.

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