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Denken Ist Danken: A Tribute To Leonardo R.

Estioko, SVD Oliver Quilab, SVD While the Societas Verbi Divini (SVD) celebrates with joy and gratitude its 100th year of missionary presence in the Pihilippines, it solely mourns the passing of one of its illustrious sons, Fr. Keonardo Estioko, philosopher and educator. Some space as allotted here in his memory thanks to his colleagues in the academe and the editors of this respected journal. Not a few thinkers, Fr. Estioko included, contend that biographical anecdotes, while perhaps of personal interest, reveal nothing of philosophical consequence. Human interest stories such as contracting malaria in the bush mission, falling into a ditch, working in a monastery as a gardener, owning a pet dog, falling head over heels in love, working in the slums, rubbing elbows with the powers that be, or becoming mentally deranged, are the domain of the biographer or the historian maybe even the intellectual historian but not of the philosopher. Martin Heidegger drove to this point home by starting his lecture on Aristotle with three laconic sentences: He was born. He lived. He died. Finito. End of story. Obviously Heidegger was exaggerating here the ahistorical aspect of thought. I wonder though if we can fully understand his jargon of Angst, Eigentlichkeit, Enstchlossenheit, and Geschick apart from his personal life, his amorous dalliances and his political entanglement. But that is digressing a bit too much. Lets turn back to Fr. Estioko, whom his confreres, students and friends fondly called Fr. Nards. He was born. He lived. He died. Just like Aristotle. Just like any mortal being. I think Fr. Nards would have probably favoured such a terse description for his epitaph, knowing his proclivity for brevity. As our mentor in Christ the King Mission Seminary he repeatedly reminded us of the KISS principle Keep it short and simple as we were struggling with our term papers and theses. Gifted with a keen sense of humour he jolted us with flashes of insight that made the unbearable lightness of being a student slightly more bearable: A treatise could be likened to a skirt of a lady: it should be short enough to arouse curiosity, and long enough to cover the subject. Wading through the thicket of Kants Critique of Pure Reason many of us aspiring thinkers complained to him, We cant understand Kant! To our consolation he recounted Avicennas futile attempt at reading Aristotles Metaphysics 40 times, without understanding it until he found illumination from the little commentary by Al Farabi. Presenting Wittgensteins Tractatus to his senior class Fr. Nards quipped that concise and clear sentences demand more serious thinking than convoluted ones. In a manner of, a persistent refrain he quoted the sober line of the Viennese philosopher, What we cannot speak about, we must consign to silence. He was born. He lived. He died. Truth to tell, I have the nagging feeling that this sanitized formula does injustice to a life lived in full like that of Fr.

Nards. I hope he will not squirm in his grave when I breach the telegraphic formula and fill in the spaces with biographical anecdotes interwoven with the lives of his grateful confreres and students. What we cannot consign to silence, we may speak about, with due apologies to the author. As an educator and a preacher, Fr. Nards must have appreciated the pedagogical value of stories oozing with life. Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and departing leave behind us, footprints in the sands of time, as Longfellow waxes poetically in the psalm of Life. Indeed, life is far too complex a psalm to be summed up in three amputated sentences. Fortunately there is such a thing as an obituary, which does not fall under the genre of a philosophical treatise. An obit, to wit, allows a glimpse of the Lebenswelt of the man behind the thought. After all, it is the lived world of common human experience with its lights and shades that serves as the seedbed for reflection. Primum vibere, deinde philosophari. We join herewith the battle cry to rehabilitate the doxa of the Lebenswelt and to salvage it from the cold rationality of epistemic discourse. It was in the Lebenswelt of Urdaneta, Pangasinan that Fr. Nards was born on November 13, 1944 to Marciano Estioko and Leonor Reasonda. Growing up in a large family with 10 brothers and 3 sisters, Fr. Nards sensed at a tender age the call to serve Gods people as a priest. After finishing high school in Urdaneta he entered the SVD run archdiosecan seminary in Binmaley. Inspired by the dedication of the German missionaries, he decided to join the SVD and transferred to Christ the King Mission Seminary in Quezon City in 1963. It was in Lebenswelt of a religious missionary community that he nurtured his interest in philosophy and education. The regimented Teutonic curriculum and the communal spiritual exercises such as the celebration of the liturgy, consciousness examen, meditation and retreat strikingly echo the practices of ancient philosophical schools. As Pierre Hadot, the eminent French scholar on classical antiquity, puts it, philosophy understood in the classical sense as a Way of Life, rather than as a salaried profession demands a constant conversion and care of the soul. Such a way of life can be cultivated and exercised propitiously in a community of wisdom seekers. Fr. Nards religious formation led him to the major seminary in Tagaytay which may well be called the Hochburg (stronghold) of German philosophy and theology in the Philippines in the 1970s. There he wrote his masters thesis on Heideggers being towards death. In the course of his philosophical journey Fr. Nards must have realized that philosophy as a way of life is learning the ars moriendi, the art of dying gracefully. Later, the theme must have taken on an existential import as he wrestled with the possibility of the absolute impossibility of his Dasein. Towards the end of his battle with cancer he seemed to have mastered the art of befriending the inevitable, still teaching philosophy with his natural humor and Socratic Gelassenheit.

The SVD school of theology overlooking Taal lake and volcano became home to Fr. Nards until his ordination and onwards. It is the school that has produced contextual thinkers and theologians who have impacted the Philippine academia and society in general: Mercado, Miranda, Miranda Beltran and Pernia, among others. The same school proved to be a seedbed indeed, a seminary in the truest sense of the word for radical ideas mobilizing students to opt for the grassroots, to work with the Federation of Free Farmers and to join the underground struggle against Marcos dictatorship. The names of De la Torre, De Mesa, Balweg and Ortega come to mind. In 1072, the turbulent year of the proclamation of martial law, Fr. Nards received the sacrament of ordination. While some of his fellow confreres were sent to foreign missions, Fr. Nards was asked to remain on his home turf, the Divine Word Seminary of Tagaytay, to teach philosophy from 1972 to 1975. Thereafter, he was sent abroad by his superiors to work on his doctorate on John Henry Newman titled The Reasonability of Religious Belief at the Gregoriana in Rome. Cardinal Newman, whose story of conversion deserves another article, wrote an apologia for religious faith against the background of British empiricism. In his An Essay in Aid of the Grammar of Assent he sought to answer the questions: Can I believe what I dont understand? Can I believe what cannot be absolutely proven? These and other questions occupied the mind Fr. Nards for the next three years in the Eternal City. After successfully defending his dissertation in 1978, Fr. Nards returned to Tagaytay to serve as Dean of Studies at the major seminary until 1982. Subsequently he was transferred to one of the oldest schools in the country, the University of San Carlos in Cebu City, wherein he served as Vice President for Academic Affairs until 1988. In this capacity he immersed himself in the administrative side of education and forged friendships with educators from different faculties and universities. Open to all disciplines, his predilection though had always tended towards liberal arts education. His philosophy of education was deeply inspired by Newmans The Idea of a University, a series of discourses, which reinvented the idea of a Christian university in the 19th century and continues to spark discussions today. A university, according to the Oxford scholar, must cover a broad range of subjects, advancing from the purely technical to the philosophical and theological. Some issues that Newman raised the place of religion and moral values in the university context, the competing claims of liberal and professional education, the character of the academic community, the cultural task of literature, the relationship between religion and science have found their way into Fr. Nards Essays on Philippine Education. His concern about the misguided priorities of the Philippine educational system saw print in his History of Education A Filipino Perspective, a work which highlights the influences of previous systems and theories of education on the current Philippine situation and challenges the Catholic Church to maximize its potential to spearhead reforms that could lead to more humane educational institutions. It is

momentous that Fr. Nards pursued this agenda to the very end in his last work, published a few weeks after his death, entitled Philosophy of Education A Filipino Perspective. After the university stint Fr. Nards was assigned in 1988 to Christ the King Mission Seminary, back to the cradle of his SVD vocation. As soon as he took office as Dean of Studies he upgraded the quality of personnel and faculties of the school, seminary colleges in the Philippines. Aside from being a professor, he also held other positions such as the Rector of the mission seminary and Director of the Arnold Janssen Secretariat. About his different functions he said in a jest, Everybody can become a rector, but not just anyone can be a teacher. Teaching philosophy, playing a midwife to the birthing of our own questions, was a passion he readily shared with other institutions of higher learning in Manila. Fr. Nards knew well how to draw out the best from his students and accompany them in their own search for meaning. Despite his illness he once left the hospital before finishing his chemotherapy treatment and rushed to attend the thesis defence of a graduate student. To his friends he admitted that his dream was to die in the classroom teaching philosophy, a dream, which did not materialize as he passed away during the semestral break. While still alive, he was conferred the award as The Most Outstanding Filipino SVD Professor of Philosophy in August 2008 on the occasion of the Diamond Jubilee celebration of Christ the King Mission Seminary in recognition of his indefatigable efforts to enhance the quality of the philosophy department of the mission seminary. With his natural humility Fr. Nards accepted the accolade while in a wheelchair. On a lighter side, Fr. Nards sought diversion and comfort in the company of his dog Sacra for whom he had a soft spot. That dogs and philosophers click is anything but new in the history of philosophy. As we know, the Cynics were so called kynikos means dog like in Greek because of their affinity to dogs. The first Cynics, beginning with Diogenes of Sinope, embraced their title: they barked at those who displeased them, disdained Athenian vanity and hypocrisy, and lived from nature, independent of the luxuries of civilization. In this sense, there was something cynical, or prophetic if you may, about Fr. Nards outward simplicity, a kind of gentle protest bark he never did against the trivial pursuits of the world. Of course, the presence of the dog in his office and in the premises raised some eyebrows. I am sure Fr. Nards would agree with most canine lovers when they say, Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. We give dogs time we can spare, space we can spare and love we can spare. And in return, dogs give us their all. Its the best deal man has ever made. For the love of his pet he wrote Gone to the Dogs, a phenomenology of the dogs life touching on sexuality, birthing, parenting, growing, playing, communicating and parting. The book was a smash hit.

It must be said, however, that Fr. Nards affection for his dog is secondary only to his love for the Divine Word made flesh. The Divine Logos Incarnate was his raison dtre, the source and summit of his SVD vocation which he lived out in his commitment to scholarship (Scientia), his humanness and humour (Virtus) and his missionary spirit of self giving (Devotio). When he took over the Arnold Janssen Secretariat it was for him like journeying back to our SVD mother house in Steyl and drawing primal water from the spiritual wellsprings of our finding generation. In his 2 volume work, Witness to the Word, Fr. Nards reflected on the humble beginnings of our religious life and our missionary activity in the Philippines. With Fr. Nards, we SVDs look back with gratitude on the last 100 years of our missionary service in the country. Indeed, there is much reason to give thanks, to remember, to rejoice and to renew our commitment. As Fr. Nards marched into the Great Beyond to meet his Creator in the afternoon of October 21, 2008, he also advanced, so to speak, into the SVD Hall of Fame joining those sterling Witnesses to the Word worthy of emulation. We, his confreres and students, are ever thankful to him for his exemplary life, for playing the midwife to our fledging thoughts and for passing on to us the wisdom of the ages. As we grapple with our own lifes questions, we cannot but thank and honour Fr. Nards, our mentor, along with those Witnesses ahead of us who paved our way, Denken ist Danken, if I may borrow the pietist slogan which Heidegger loved to quote. To think is to thank. Fr. Nards was born. He lived. He died. He will be raised up on the last day. So be it. Dear Reader, The Members of the Philippines Academy of Philosophical Research Romualdo E. Abulad, Alfredo P. Co, Manuel B. Dy Jr., Leovino Ma. Garcia, Rainier R.A. Ibana, Leonardo N. Mercado, Josephine A. Pasricha, Emerita S. Quito, Tomas G. Rosario Jr., and Florentino T. Timbreza dedicate this issue to a beloved member of the Academy, the late Leonardo R. Estioko, SVD. The tribute to Fr. Nards was written by Oliver Quilab, SVD who is currently wrapping up his dissertation title, Transzendentale und Meditative Erfahrung bei Johann Baptist Lotz at the Jesuit School of Philosphy in Munich. We are grateful for this most unselfish tribute to an Academy member written by a most promising SVD philosopher. The lead article of this volume on Issues in Ethics, is a paper that explores one of the taboos in traditional ethics. Alfredo Cos Discourse on Sex, Metasex, Ethics and Human Sexuality opens a fertile open field for discussion, one very often ignored topic on morality and human sexuality. The author tells us right from the start that human sexuality is so influential in the maturation and socialization in an individual formation that ignoring that

aspect of humanity only deprives us the needed opportunity to understand him better. But while the issue was laid bare for open discourse, signalling the necessity of giving a tolerant space in judging the human sexual disposition he at the same time made it clear that it is too early to accept truism on the issues pointed out no matter what amount of persuasion the arguments carried. For him, the paper only serves as an invitation for other views to come to the fore so that a more constructive understanding can emerge in this often hidden problem of morality. Moreover, he was clear in saying that; the paper is not intended to interfere with the moral agenda of the religious who have succeeded in living life along their morally lighted path. Rather, the paper is an invitation extended to philosophers, who continue to engage in the uncertainty of reason. The article is followed by a timely debate on human reproduction. On one hand we see the initiative of the Legislative body, the Congress of the Republic of the Philippines the proposed bill entitled, Reproduction Health and Population Development Act of 2008 addressing the problem of population and reproduction. On the other hand, there is the Churchs Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines resistance to the legislation raising Pope VIs encyclical, Humanae Vitae. The article of Tomas G. Rosario Jr, The Reproductive Health Bill and the Humanae Vitae: Are they Simply Irreconcible? Takes the debate further by examining the document of the Humanae Vitae with the hope of answering his own question with tacit hope of providing light on the issue to the Catholic audience and the Legislative Body at the same time. His is an invitation for the two camps to come a dialogue so that the concern of the problem of population can be properly directed. The world economic crisis has made one guest article from two scholars from University of Calabar, Nigeria, Samuel Asuquo Ekanem and Raibito Ekpiken Ekanem. Their collaborative article Living with Oil: Towards an Ethics of Environment in the Niger Delta. The ethical consideration suddenly takes us to the issue of the morality of living with oil and living without oil. Florentino Timbrezas paper on Tailgating Erich Fromm Till the Crossroad of Belief and Unbelief takes us back to the past century existential question of the search for meaning. Timbreza starts by reminding us of the saying that human search for meaning begins from the cradle to the grave, from the womb to tomb to elaborate this creed, he takes us to a journey back to his rumination on the writings of Eric Fromm. In Wu Wei in the Global Era, Manuel Dy Jr. proposed to draw an Ethics of the Daoist notion of Wu Wei with the intention of countering the negative effects of globalization. He tells us right from the outset, his plantilla for his paper, I want to show that far from being passive inactivity, Wu Wei is a positive dynamic value that may serve as an antidote to the problems created

by globalization for the harmony of all beings. How successful this project leads Dy is an invitation to our reader to find out for himself. In Beyond Philosophy Towards Solidarity: The Controversial Rationality of Richard Rorty, Tomas Rosario Jr. pays personal tribute to a controversial but well admired American philosopher Richard Rorty who just recently died in 7 June 2007; Rorty, the other philosopher that preoccupies Rosarios scholarly pursuit. How a medievalist (Thomist) tries to compare contrasts the mode of philosophical articulation is always a wondrous reading for many. On one hand, we see the foremost metaphysician in St. Tomas, and on the other, a proponent of departure from metaphysics epistemology in Rorty. In The Challenge of Filipino, Leonardo N. Mercado the contributor takes us to his usual musing on the Filipino mentality lamenting on the dilemma between creative disposition and economic need, the inherent roots of confusion and cynicism of the Filipino, lack of confidence in the Filipino socio cultural institutions, the tension between the artist and the masses etc. Did he resolve all these points raised? Its for the readers to read. Josephine A. Pasrichas article A Comparison/Contrast of Metaphors of Change: Junzi of Confucius and Archetypes of Carl Jung in Bae Yong joon and the Winter Sonata is an expansive project with many topics followed by many sub themes. She starts her paper with what she claims as the new trend of using metaphor as instrument of change, they went on to take us in tow, to a historical rundown Paul Ricoeur, Jacques Derrida, Giambattistaa Vico, Immanual Kant, Geor Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ernest Casirer, Umberto Eco, Jacques Lacan, Maurice Merleau Ponty, Ludwig Wittgenstein; then traversed in time culture and space to discourse with Kong Zi of Ancient China and Bae Yong Joon of contemporary Korea. The expanse of her plan is at once mind boggling. Come follow Pasricha, and see where she will lead you. The final paper is a contribution by Rainier Ibana. He shares with our readers his paper delivered on the occasion of the twenty third World Congress of Philosophy held at Seoul National University in Seoul, South Korea last July 30 August 5, 2008 in order to show that a distinctive contribution to the world of Philosophy can be articulated by Filipino philosophers by elaborating on the philosophical implications of the Tagalog Prefix Ka.