Ralph DLG Torres


Folks were in their black fineries, except mine that I thought was silk but turned out to be worse than acrylic, as Eloy Inos was laid to his eternal repose at CK. It is now the day after, Ralph’s turn in the spotlight.
I won’t focus on the man or his office. Others will do that. I enumerate what I am sure he already discovered, that the island life he presides over shares a number of perspectives inherited from many traditions.

There is the perspective of One among the plenty, symbolized by the chant of Om/Aum by those influenced by the Indo tradition, with some ritualizing Dharmic understanding not too far from Sister Remedios Early Childhood Development Center at CK. Sister Remedios arises from the dogma/doctrine from the books (Biblia) unified in the teachings of the Church.

Muslims took the book and made it sacrosanct, with no one but Allah, and Mohammed his prophet!

The Buddhist took that ethos of One and made it Two, understanding that two opposing forces are in nature and it is best to contain it in a circle of One in the Yin-yang making the balancing act the profound human activity. The traditions of Sinosphere, prevalent on this island with the Shinto and the Tao, attest to these practices. Even Mao Zedong in his Contradictions, attempting the Marxist triune dialectic, could only get past the individual and the commune into the rule of the Communist Party, forgetting the grace of China’s tradition of group dance like the once I witnessed performed in Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Sichuan, and Chongqing.

The Persians and Egyptians took the Two that perpetually clashed, Good and Evil, the temporality of the here vs. the eternity up-there, along with Augustine translating the thesis-antithesis-synthesis process into the personal level and pitted inadequacy and guilt against wholeness and salvation, locating the union of a third force in the divinity of the Christ-word, and the Trinity of the One.

Thomas Aquinas built a theological edifice of faith that made Three perpetually a force of nature in the Summa Theologica with Providence as supreme and sovereign, marketed by the Jesuits who romped around the known and unknown worlds with the assurance of the enlightened in the name of the Roman Pope.

In is on this three that Ralph would have been schooled as the Europeans colonized a planet that insisted their ways were superior to the native pagan, bringing with them the analytical structure of Aquinas but married to the scientific ethos of discovery and exploration, later incarnate in the works of gents like Luther and the Reformation, Copernicus and Galileo, Newton and Kepler, Edison and Freud, and the modern Einstein who completed the liberation of economic, political and cultural control from religion to the secular world. The Institute of Cultural Affairs encapsulated this wisdom in its social process triangle.

Four as the quad of lower arms holding each other’s wrists to form a square is present in the ways of the Sierras, the Yucatan and the Andes. The participatory method captured in the Base Communidad of South America is an example, and the Institute of Cultural Affairs out of Chicago formalized the method in its Technology of Participation (ToP@), now an independent offshoot, by relying on group brainstorm.

First to be identified is the playful naming of ISSUES that has impinged on anyone, however it is described, though preferably the description is grounded at the basic sense level of what folks see, hear, smell, taste and touch, so everyone can understand. The input is then gestalted so a plethora is manageable in chunks.

Next comes the identification of blocks on the road, constraints if one wanted to deal with the ISSUE, and the output is grouped into the more emotive but abstract language of CONTRADICTIONS.

On the CONTRADICTIONS, one then submits PROPOSALS to deal with them, this time going from the fuzzy and numinous to the concrete actions, transformed into either strategies, maneuvers and IMPLEMENTARIES, ensconced in timelines (when), location (where), roles (who), and story (why).

The Five is the mindset of the Pentagon, or, what would be a combination of the above for the thinking ones but ours is a strategic military location definitely entrenched in the Korean peninsula and after ‘53, with the sole purpose of containing China, or more ideologically, defending democracy from the encroachment of communism.

Were I to use the Social Process of economic, political, and cultural, the political pole being that of order, justice, and welfare, our Pentagon boys zero in on the foundational ORDER pole (for a copy of the SP triangle, email the author), heavy on military defense. But it is there, thinking in fives. Mine takes the economic and political as defined by the cultural, the meaning pole of wisdom, style, and symbol.

My symbol is that of the planet Earth, earthrise and earthbound.

Jaime R. Vergara | Special to the Saipan Tribune
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at pinoypanda2031@aol.com.

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