July 18, 2018, 6:35 pm
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Rizal and your future

WHAT good is this study of Rizal’s life, works and writings? Will it enable us to combat a Level Four Ectoplasmic Infestation? Will it help prevent a zombie apocalypse? Can it inspire you to lose weight, win friends and influence people?

Who knows for sure? Nevertheless, it is submitted that a familiarization with Rizal’s habits might turn up life hacks and strengthen your resolve for the New Year. Want to learn German? Then memorize five to ten words of the European language every night, and soon, you can write to your family: “The German language is becoming clearer to me. It no longer seems to me so obscure and difficult as at the beginning. I hope that within five months I’ll speak it like Spanish.” [Rizal’s letter to his parents and siblings, 12 Ludwigsplatz, Heidelberg, 11 March 1886]

More than New Year’s resolutions, outline the future Rizal did. Not via games of chance, as the girls in Chapter XXIV of Noli Me Tangere, “curious about the future, chose to put questions to a Wheel of Fortune.”

But through his novels, social and political. In “El Filibusterismo,” a youthful character envisioned: “Tomorrow we shall be citizens of the Philippines, whose destiny will be a glorious one, because it will be in loving hands. Ah, yes, the future is ours! I see it rose-tinted, I see the movement that stirs the life of these regions so long dead, lethargic. I see towns arise along the railroads, and factories everywhere, edifices like that of Mandaloyan! I hear the steam hiss, the trains roar, the engines rattle! I see the smoke rise—their heavy breathing; I smell the oil— the sweat of monsters busy at incessant toil.”

“The warships of our navy will guard our coasts, the Spaniard and the Filipino will rival each other in zeal to repel all foreign invasion, to defend our homes, and let you bask in peace and smiles, loved and respected.” [Chapter XXIV: Dreams]

And through his essays, particularly “The Philippines A Century Hence” – a reading of the destiny of a people. Here Rizal posed the portentous: “Will they be separated from the mother country to live independently, to fall into the hands of other nations, or to ally themselves with neighboring powers?”

Other nations like the United States of America? Neighboring powers like China? Following Rizal’s lead, we shall attempt to tag the drivers of the world of tomorrow:

(1) John P. Caves Jr. and W. Seth Carus: “By 2030, scientific and technical advances are likely to make available chemical and biological weapons with more useful characteristics than current versions.” [Center for the Study of Weapons of Mass Destruction. The Future of Weapons of Mass Destruction: Their Nature and Role in 2030. Occasional Paper No. 10. Washington, D.C.: National Defense University Press, June 2014]

(2) Vladimir Putin, 20 February 2012: “The military capability of a country in space or information countermeasures, especially in cyberspace, will play a great, if not decisive, role in determining the nature of an armed conflict. In the more distant future, weapons systems based on new principles (beam, geophysical, wave, genetic, psychophysical and other technology) will be developed.” [http://archive.premier.gov.ru/eng/events/news/18185/]

(3) Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman of Alphabet, Inc. and Chair of the Defense Innovation Advisory Board): “I’m assuming that our lead will continue over the next five years, and that China will catch up extremely quickly.” [Keynote Address at the Center for a New American Security Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit, Washington, DC, 01 November 2017]

(4) New Year’s Resolutions 2087: “Maybe get a pet! A little doggie to keep me company wouldn’t be so bad. And the rumors of the rabid canine mega-packs devouring everything in their path are just that, rumors. Of course, that could be because all eyewitnesses get stripped to the bone.” [http://dailysciencefiction.com/science-fiction/future-societies/mark-cowling/new-years-resolutions-2087]

(5) Sue Burke (novelist, Semiosis): “I expect some sort of life will continue until the Sun goes nova, at least bacteria. As for humans, we’re resourceful and adaptable—but history tells us we avoid change until we have no choice. I’m sure our species will survive, but I’m not sure how many of us.” [http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/burke_interview/]

(6) Samuel Bendett (Associate Research Analyst with the Center for Naval Analyses’ International Affairs Group): “In 2014, Russian Ministry of Defense developed and approved a comprehensive target program called ‘Creation of Prospective Military Robotics through 2025.’ The Ministry also formed a commission for the development of robotics, headed by the Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu. To formulate battlefield needs for the next 10-20 years and to justify developments of military robotics, Russia launched an annual conference in 2016 called ‘Robotization of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation’...Russia also launched its own version of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) called Foundation for Advanced Studies, tasked with working on various unmanned and robotics projects for the military.” [https://thestrategybridge.org/the-bridge/2017/12/12/red-robots-rising-behind-the-rapid-development-of-russian-unmanned-military-systems?rq=%23WarBots]

(7) Richard A. Clarke and R.P. Eddy: “The Cassandra problem is not only one of hearing the likely accurate predictions through the noise, but of processing them properly once they are identified. To successfully navigate a Cassandra Event, an organization or society must move through several stages. First we must hear the forecast, then believe it, and finally act upon it. In practice, these steps are each individually challenging. Moreover, executing all three sequentially is often immensely difficult. In particular, the ability to get it right is exceedingly rare when the prediction varies substantially from the norm, from the past, from our experience, or from our deeply held beliefs about the way the future should unfold. Add a significant financial cost as a requirement of acting on such a warning, and the probability for action often approaches zero. If, however, we ignore a true Cassandra, the cost of not acting is usually far higher than the cost of dealing with the problem earlier.” [http://observer.com/2017/05/why-visionaries-who-can-accurately-predict-looming-disasters-are-often-ignored/]

(8) Dave Baber: “Desynchronization between population and health resources will create new markets...For example, autonomous (self-driving) vehicles promise less auto fatalities, which could lead to a shortage of organ donations.” [https://www.tofflerassociates.com/vanishing-point/7-key-disruptions-for-2018]

See you tomorrow.
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