Words +==>

Kartilya Katipunan Primer Flag Bonifacio Shrine Kalayaan

Photo Credit: JL 09, http://www.aijc.com.ph/pccf/mediamuseum/images/ang-kalayaan.jpg, Ramon FVelasquez

From reading Bob Ong‘s books, specifically Bakit Baliktad Magbasa ng Libro ang mga Pilipino? (English: Why Do Filipinos Read Books In Reverse?), I became acquainted with the Kartilya ng Katipunan (English: Primer of the Katipunan) written by Emilio Jacinto.  I am amazed by how profound it is, as well as the beauty of the Filipino language in this guide for the revolutionary society of the Philippines.

I love all the teachings so I will include all of them on this post, but I have provided my own English translations for Nos. 3 and 6 only as they involve the subject of this post:

    1. Ang buhay na hindi ginugugol sa isang malaki at banal na kadahilanan ay kahoy na walang lilim, kundi damong makamandag.
    2. Ang gawang magaling na nagbuhat sa paghahambog o pagpipita sa sarili, at hindi talagang nasang gumawa ng kagalingan, ay di kabaitan.
    3. Ang tunay na kabanalan ay ang pagkakawang-gawa, ang pag-ibig sa kapwa at ang isukat ang bawat kilos, gawa’t pangungusap sa talagang Katuwiran.
    4. Maitim man o maputi ang kulay ng balat, lahat ng tao’y magkakapantay; mangyayaring ang isa’y higtan sa dunong, sa yaman, sa ganda…; ngunit di mahihigtan sa pagkatao.
    5. Dangal at hindi ang pagnanasang makasarili ang inuuna ng may dakilang kalooban; pagnanasang makasarili at hindi dangal ang inuuna ng may hamak na puso.
    6. Sa taong may hiya, salita’y panunumpa.
    7. Huwag mong sayangin ang panahon; ang yamang nawala’y mangyayaring magbalik; ngunit panahong nagdaan na’y di na magbabalik.
    8. Ang mga taong matalino’y ang may pag-iingat sa bawat sasabihin, at marunong maglihim ng dapat ipaglihim.
    9. Sa daang matinik ng kabuhayan, lalaki ang siyang patnugot ng asawa at mga anak; kung ang umaakay ay tungo sa kasamaan, ang pagtutunguhan ng inaakay ay kasamaan din.
    10. Ang babae ay huwag mong ituturing na isang bagay na libangan lamang, kundi isang katulong at karamay sa mga kahirapan nitong kabuhayan; gamitin mo nang buong pagpipitagan ang kanyang kahinaan, at alalahanin ang inang pinagbuhata’t nag-iwi sa iyong kasanggulan.
    11. Ang di mo ibig gawin sa asawa mo, anak at kapatid, ay huwag mong gagawin sa asawa, anak at kapatid ng iba.

My English Translation for #3:

True virtue lies in acts of charity, loving one’s neighbor, and every action, deed, and word to be fit for the purpose.

My English Translation for #6:

To a person with restraint, words are binding.

Of all the teachings from the primer, the two written in Tagalog pierced my heart.

Teaching No. 3 left a mark on me because of what it said about “every action, deed, and word to be fit for the purpose.”  This means that we have to think carefully before acting, speaking.

Teaching No. 6 reinforces that for words.  We should be careful with our words because words have power.

Arab manuscript Aristotle Plato SocratesArab manuscript Aristotle Illuminated Headpiece

Photo Credit: Walters Art Museum: Nuvola filesystems folder home.svg Home page

But I feel that words wouldn’t have this power without the invention of paper.  Before the knowledge of paper-making spread outside China, text was written on brittle papyrus or expensive animal skin.  And for a long time, most text was written by hand.

How long would it take to finish one book by hand?

Nevertheless, thanks to all the Arab and Christian scholars who painstakingly copied down the works of Ancient Greece and Rome, they were not lost.

If one does not realize how crucial this is, one need only to read Cicero’s The Republic to be constantly interrupted by [page missing] [page missing] [page missing] [page missing].

That’s how important it was to keep preserving text on paper.  Because of words written down on paper, we have vast bodies of knowledge.  Also, knowledge could be carried great distances and shared with more people.

Then, in the mid-15th century, Johannes Gutenberg invented an improved mechanical movable type printing system.

Gutenberg Printing Press replicaPhoto Credit: Graferocommons

Because of the printing press, words became even more powerful.  Now that we have the Internet, our words can be preserved in cyberspace and spread with ease.

How much power do words have now?

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Photo Credit: Willi Heidelbach & The Opte Project

Sources:

http://www.msc.edu.ph/centennial/kartilya.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movable_type

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