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FRAME OF REFERENCE



By Jorge D. Lomboy
July 23, 2016

 
 


When we speak of a university, we have in mind an institution of higher learning providing facilities for teaching and research, and authorized to grant academic degrees.  Specifically, it is one made up of an undergraduate division which confers bachelor degrees and a graduate division which comprises a graduate school and professional schools, each of which may confer master’s degrees and doctorates. 

 Not many of us ever thought that life itself is a university that is much bigger and older than all universities, schools and colleges put together.  It is a world university as its students come from the entire human population struggling to learn from one another 24/7.  The university of life is where everyone is a student for life in the open outdoors of human activity and Mother Nature.  It embraces all vocations, callings, occupations, professions and trades.  It is the only educational institution that is global and yet there is no faculty other than persons in authority.

Persons in authority have high levels of proficiency.  They speak different languages and dialects and are better known for their calling, title, power and position.  To the best of my knowledge, the university of life’s persons in authority consist of five groups.  Parents and teachers are persons in authority by reason of their superiority.  Graduates from schools, degree holders and professionals licensed to practice their profession are persons in authority by reason of their calling.  Public officials and politicians in government are persons in authority by reason of their power. Employers and supervisors in the workplace are persons in authority by reason of their position.  Clergymen and preachers are persons in authority by reason of their devotion.  We look at them for guidance and instruction.  They supervise everything we do with their pain of punishment for defying their authority.  We defer to them for the rest of our lives as they take turns to mold our values in the firing lines of exposure and experience.

The university of life is a school of hard knocks as we transition from the academics of theory we learn from books to the realities of life we learn from experience.  We are met with problems to no end and we depend on persons in authority who not only give us fish for a day's meal but also teach us how to fish for a lifetime.  For every health problem, doctors are persons in authority.  For every legal problem, lawyers are persons in authority.  For every structural problem, engineers are person in authority.  For every spiritual problem, clergymen are persons in authority.  For every motor vehicle problem, mechanics are persons in authority.  We deal with real problems in the university of life and these persons in authority are our frame of reference for they are in the best position to solve our problems or offer solutions to our day to day problems.

Every human being is a student in the university of life and everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  But the opinions of persons in authority weigh heavily especially when they are qualified to give expert opinion.  The reason for their being persons in authority is because in case of doubt or disagreement we defer to their frame of reference to clear our doubts and settle our disagreement.  We have to postulate their frame of reference for being axiomatic and vested once someone is reputed as a person in authority.  In brief, a frame of reference is a set of ideas, conditions or assumptions that determine how something will be approached, perceived or understood.  How something is approached is delineated by legislation.  How something is perceived is determined by public opinion and public policy.  And how something is understood is cleared by interpretation.  Legislation, public policy and interpretation are resolute frames of reference coming from government in the exercise of sovereign power.

Everyone who is entitled to their own opinion is required to give in to legislation, public policy and interpretation of duly-constituted authorities in government.  The most powerful frame of reference comes from public officials for they act in behalf of government which is the biggest institution in the university of life.  There is immunity for anyone who defies the frame of reference of non-governmental persons in authority but there is no impunity for anyone who defies the frame of reference of government persons in authority.  Government is the center of power with conclusive authority to prescribe limitations, restrictions and inhibitions upon every person in its jurisdiction.  To the extent every trade or business is subject to government regulation, the situation begs the question whose frame of reference will be upheld incase of disagreement between persons in authority.  This question draws the line between private agenda in government service and official agenda in public service. This question could be answered in many ways but insofar as reality is evidence of truth, the frame of reference drawn from private agenda prevails.

There is an empty pride in being the only Christian nation in Asia knowing that we have a government whose official agenda is torpedoed by the private agenda of the powers that be.  It is a shame that a very religious nation defers to politicians whose frame of reference is in the ways of cutting corners behind closed doors.  It is ridiculous that despite a high level of discernment, self-enrichment is tolerated as way of life among untouchables and freeloaders in government.  It is very embarrassing that leaders with the best credentials made a mess of the pork barrel instead of having the decency to admit their wrongdoing.  If there is anything wrong, it is not government but with the people who run government for they drove us to live from bad to worse because of private agenda as their frame of reference.  It is preposterous claiming to be a sovereign nation when people are afraid to charge topnotchers of self-enrichment in plundering public funds.  Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty just as every right ends where abuse begins.

Everything is going the wrong way with our leaders because the politics of self-service overthrew the spirit of public service where official agenda is cast aside by private agenda.  Oligarchy among family dynasties explains why the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. Oligarchy that upholds private agenda made every official frame of reference designed by politicians as mere pieces of paper that when properly recycled makes good toilet paper.  The politics of self-enrichment made a mockery of public service and this pattern of behavior gave us reason to distrust our politicians and take their word with a grain of salt.  Editorial after editorial, probe after probe and election after election failed to change the way it is to the way it should be.  The same faces, the same names and the same gimmicks have covered up shady deals and dirty transactions in public life.  With power as usual, it is business as usual and change no change.  This is what we see and hear every day in the university of life.

Change no change will rule us to eternity when people are paralyzed by a crisis instead of being mobilized.  The regret of yesterday and the dread of tomorrow are the two thieves that crucified our destiny.  The clarion call of the hour is to get rid of the oligarchy to redeem a nation from the quagmire of dissolution.  With the assistance of the Almighty we will not fail and without His assistance we will not succeed.  No government could stop people power from turning a moment into a momentum and turning a momentum into a movement and a mission.  It behooves us to strengthen the weakness of our cause and not run the risk of weakening our strength in freedom of choice to divide and rule us.  The nation asks for action now or never knowing that talking it over is a redundant exercise in futility.  We cannot change the shattered past but we can use the lessons we learn from the past to fortify our future with a more militant frame of reference.

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