Philosophies in Life
PHILOSOPHY may be defined as the study and pursuit of facts which deal with the ultimate reality or causes of things as they affect life.
Rizal’s concept of the importance of education is clearly enunciated in his work entitled Instruction wherein he sought improvements in the schools and in the methods of teaching. He maintained that the backwardness of his country during the Spanish ear was not due to the Filipinos’ indifference, apathy or indolence as claimed by the rulers, but to the neglect of the Spanish authorities in the islands. For Rizal, the mission of education is to elevate the country to the highest seat of glory and to develop the people’s mentality. Since education is the foundation of society and a prerequisite for social progress, Rizal claimed that only through education could the country be saved from domination. Rizal’s philosophy of education, therefore, centers on the provision of proper motivation in order to bolster the great social forces that make education a success, to create in the youth an innate desire to cultivate his intelligence and give him life eternal.
Rizal grew up nurtured by a closely-knit Catholic family, was educated in the foremost Catholic schools of the period in the elementary, secondary and college levels; logically, therefore, he should have been a propagator of strictly Catholic traditions. However, in later life, he developed a life philosophy of a different nature, a philosophy of a different Catholic practice intermingled with the use of Truth and Reason.Why the change?It could have been the result of contemporary contact, companionship, observation, research and the possession of an independent spirit.Being a critical observer, a profound thinker and a zealous reformer, Rizal did not agree with the prevailing Christian propagation of the Faith by fire and sword. This is shown in his Annotation of Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas.Rizal did not believe in the Catholic dogma that salvation was only for Catholics and that outside Christianity, salvation was not possible even if Catholics composed only a small minority of the world’s religious groups. Nor did he believe in the Catholic observation of fasting as a sacrifice, nor in the sale of such religious items as the cross, medals, rosaries and the like in order to propagate the Faith and raise church funds. He also lambasted the superstitious beliefs propagated by the priests in the church and in the schools. All of these and a lot more are evidences of Rizal’s religious philosophy.
In Rizal’s political view, a conquered country like the Philippines should not be taken advantage of but rather should be developed, civilized, educated and trained in the science of self-government.He bitterly assailed and criticized in publications the apparent backwardness of the Spanish ruler’s method of governing the country which resulted in: 1. the bondage and slavery of the conquered ;2. the Spanish government’s requirement of forced labor and force military service upon the n natives;3. the abuse of power by means of exploitation;4. the government ruling that any complaint against the authorities was criminal; and 5. Making the people ignorant, destitute and fanatic, thus discouraging the formation of a national sentiment.Rizal’s guiding political philosophy proved to be the study and application of reforms, the extension of human rights, the training for self government and the arousing of spirit of discontent over oppression, brutality, inhumanity, sensitiveness and self love.
The study of human behavior as to whether it is good or bad or whether it is right or wrong is that science upon which Rizal’s ethical philosophy was based. The fact that the Philippines was under Spanish domination during Rizal’s time led him to subordinate his philosophy to moral problems. This trend was much more needed at that time because the Spaniards and the Filipinos had different and sometimes conflicting morals. The moral status of the Philippines during this period was one with a lack of freedom, one with predominance of foreign masters, one with an imposition of foreign religious worship, devotion, homage and racial habits. This led to moral confusion among the people, what with justice being stifled, limited or curtailed and the people not enjoying any individual rights.To bolster his ethical philosophy, Dr. Rizal had recognized not only the forces of good and evil, but also the tendencies towards good and evil. As a result, he made use of the practical method of appealing to the better nature of the conquerors and of offering useful methods of solving the moral problems of the conquered.To support his ethical philosophy in life, Rizal:1. censured the friars for abusing the advantage of their position as spiritual leaders and the ignorance and fanaticism of the natives;2. counseled the Filipinos not to resent a defect attributed to them but to accept same as reasonable and just;3. advised the masses that the object of marriage was the happiness and love of the couple and not financial gain;4. censured the priests who preached greed and wrong morality; and5. advised every one that love and respect for parents must be strictly observed.
That body of knowledge relating to society including the wisdom which man's experience in society has taught him is social philosophy. The facts dealt with are principles involved in nation building and not individual social problems. The subject matter of this social philosophy covers the problems of the whole race, with every problem having a distinct solution to bolster the people’s social knowledge.Rizal’s social philosophy dealt with;1. man in society;2. influential factors in human life;3. racial problems;4. social constant;5. social justice;6. social ideal;7. poverty and wealth;8. reforms;9. youth and greatness;10. history and progress;11. future Philippines.The above dealt with man’s evolution and his environment, explaining for the most part human behavior and capacities like his will to live; his desire to possess happiness; the change of his mentality; the role of virtuous women in the guidance of great men; the need for elevating and inspiring mission; the duties and dictates of man’s conscience; man’s need of practicing gratitude; the necessity for consulting reliable people; his need for experience; his ability to deny; the importance of deliberation; the voluntary offer of man’s abilities and possibilities; the ability to think, aspire and strive to rise; and the proper use of hearth, brain and spirit-all of these combining to enhance the intricacies, beauty and values of human nature. All of the above served as Rizal’s guide in his continuous effort to make over his beloved Philippines.
The Many-Sided Personality
Filipinos and foreigners alike have paid tribute to Jose Rizal claiming that his place of honor in history is secure. It was his Austrian bosom friend, Professor Ferdinand Blumentritt, rector of the Imperial Atheneum of Leitmeritz, who said "Rizal was the greatest product of the Philippines and his coming to the world was like the appearance of a rare comet, whose rare brilliance appears only every other century." Another German friend, Dr. Adolf B. Meyer, director of the Dresden Museum who admired his all around knowledge and ability, remarked "Rizal’s many-sidedness was stupendous." Our own Dr. Camilo Osias pointed to him as the "versatile genius."His precocity since early boyhood turned into versatility in later years. Being curious and inquisitive, he developed a rare facility of mastering varied subjects and occupations.
Actor-Rizal acted as a character in one of Juan Luna’s paintings and acted in school dramas.
Agriculturist-Rizal had farms in Dapitan, Zamboanga del Norte (1892-1896) where he planted lanzones, coconuts and other fruit-bearing trees.
Ambassador Of Good Will-His friendliness, goodwill and cultural associations with friends entitled him as one.
Animal Lover-As a small boy, Rizal loved animals including birds, fish, insects, and other specimens of animal life. Fowls, rabbits, dogs, horses, and cats constituted his favorites. As much as possible, he did not wish fowls to be killed even for food, and showed displeasure in being asked to eat the cooked animal. The family garden in Calamba abounded with insects galore and birds native to the Calamba environs. He wrote about and sketched animals of the places he had toured.
Anthropologist-He made researches on the physical and social make up of man.
Archeologist-Rizal studied monuments and antique currency everywhere he went. He drew most of the monuments he saw.
Ascetic-Rizal always practiced self-discipline wherever he went.
Book lover-He had a big library and brought many books abroad.
Botanist-Rizal maintained a garden in Dapitan where he planted and experimented on plants of all kinds
Businessman-He had a partner in Dapitan in the Abaca business there (1892-1896).
Cartographer-He drew maps of Dapitan, The Philippines and other places he visited.
Chess Player-He played chess and bear several Germans and European friends and acquaintances.
Citizen of the world-His extensive travels and multitude of friends in Europe, Middle East and Asia made him one.
Commentator-Rizal always expresses and published his personal opinion.
Conchologist-He had a good shell collection in Dapitan. An American conchologist praised him.
Educator-Rizal taught in his special school in Dapitan.
Ethnologist-In his travels, Rizal was able to compare different races and he noted the differences.
Father of community school-He proposed college in Hong Kong and his special school in Dapitan made him a father of community schools.
Fencer-He fenced with Europeans and Juan Luna and other friends in Europe.
Freemason abroad-He was member of La Solidaridad Lodge in Spain.
Horticulture and farmer-He experimented on and cultivated plants in Dapitan.
Historian-His annotation of Antonio de Morga’s Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas entitled him as one.
Humorist-There are many humorous incidents in the Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo.
Ichthyologist-He collected 38 new varieties of fish in Dapitan.
Japanophile-His admiration of Japanese traits and his knowledge of her language proved he was one.
Journalist-He authored the published many articles in Spanish and English and London.
Laboratory worker-He was employed in the clinic of Dr. L. Wecker in Paris.
Linguist-He spoke over 20 foreign languages.
Lover of truth-He chided Spanish writers for not writing the truth about the Filipinos. He was always truthful since boyhood.
Musician-He played the flute and composed pieces of music and cultivated music appreciation.
Mythologist-Rizal used mythology in his Noli and Fili.
Nationalist-He gave full expression of the native spirit strengthened by world civilization and loved and defended everything Filipino.
Newspaperman-He wrote and published articles in many publications and was one of the organizers of the La Solidaridad.
Ophthalmologist-He graduated in an ophthalmologic college in Spain.
Orientalist-Rizal admired the special characteristic and beauties of Oriental countries peoples.
Pharmacologist-Rizal treasured and popularized the usefulness and preparation of cures for treatment of his patients.
Philologist-Rizal loved of learning and literature is unequalled.
Philosopher-Rizal not only loved wisdom but also regulated his life and enjoyed calmness of the life at all time
Physical culturist-Rizal maintained a good health by exercising all parts of his body and eating proper foods
Physician-He treated several patients afflicted not only with eye diseases.
Plant lover-As a child, Rizal spend most of his time in the family garden which was planted with fruit trees,Shrubs and decorative trees. His diaries contained detailed description and sketches of plants, flowers and fruits he saw in the places he visited. He wrote poems on flower he like very much as his poems To the Flowers of Heidelberg.
Poet-Rizal wrote over 35 poems including his famous Ultimo Adios.
Politician-Although Rizal did not engage in Politics, he exposed the evils of the political activities of the Spaniards in the Philippines through his writing.
Polyglot-Rizal spoke and wrote in 20 languages.
Proofreader-In Germany, He worked as a part-time proofreader of his livelihood.
Propagandist-As a reformer, Rizal encourages the recommendation of improving the government entities and discourage abuses publishing articles.
Public relation man-He worked for better cooperation of rulers and subjects in his country.
Reformer-He published the modern methods of government administration, so changes could be made.
Researcher-Being a wide reader, he compared the old and new practices in life.
Revolutionist-Rizal encouraged reforms, discouraged old, impractical usage, and desired new and useful laws to benefit his countrymen. He desired changes for the better.
Rhetorician-Rizal has always practiced the art of persuasive and impressive speaking and writing.
Rural reconstruction worker-He practiced rural reconstruction work in Dapitan in 1894 and succeeded.
Sanitary engineer-His construction of a water system in Dapitan exemplified this practice by Rizal.
Scientist-Rizal’s practice of many sciences here and abroad made him noted scientist.
Sculptor-His works of his father and of Father Guerrico, S. J. typified his sculptural ability.
Sharp shooter-He could hit a target 20 meters away.
Sinologist-Rizal’s ancestry and his ability to speak Chinese made him one.
Sociologist-In Rizal’s study of Philippines social problems, he always encouraged and introduced solutions.
Sodalist-He always joined fraternities, associations and brotherhood, for self-improvement.
Sportsman-He engaged from a surveying class at the Ateneo after passing his A. B. there.
Tourist-He was considered the foremost tourist due to his extensive travels.
Traveler-He traveled around the world three times.
Tuberculosis expert-For having cured himself of this disease, he became and was recognized as an expert.
Youth leader-He considered the youth as "the hope of his Fatherland."
Zoologist-He was fond of pets. He researched later on their physiology, classification and habits.
Rizal, the Romantic
There were at least nine women linked with Rizal; namely Segunda Katigbak, Leonor Valenzuela, Leonor Rivera, Consuelo Ortiga, O-Sei San, Gertrude Beckette, Nelly Boustead, Suzanne Jacoby and Josephine Bracken. These women might have been beguiled by his intelligence, charm and wit.
Segunda Katigbak and Leonor Valenzuela
Segunda Katigbak was her puppy love. Unfortunately, his first love was engaged to be married to a town mate- Manuel Luz. After his admiration for a short girl in the person of Segunda, then came Leonor Valenzuela, a tall girl from Pagsanjan. Rizal send her love notes written in invisible ink, that could only be deciphered over the warmth of the lamp or candle. He visited her on the eve of his departure to Spain and bade her a last goodbye.
Leonor Rivera, his sweetheart for 11 years played the greatest influence in keeping him from falling in love with other women during his travel. Unfortunately, Leonor’s mother disapproved of her daughter’s relationship with Rizal, who was then a known filibustero. She hid from Leonor all letters sent to her sweetheart. Leonor believing that Rizal had already forgotten her, sadly consented her to marry the Englishman Henry Kipping, her mother’s choice.
Consuelo Ortiga y Rey, the prettier of Don Pablo Ortiga’s daughters, fell in love with him. He dedicated to her A la Senorita C.O. y R., which became one of his best poems. The Ortiga's residence in Madrid was frequented by Rizal and his compatriots. He probably fell in love with her and Consuelo apparently asked him for romantic verses. He suddenly backed out before the relationship turned into a serious romance, because he wanted to remain loyal to Leonor Rivera and he did not want to destroy hid friendship with Eduardo de Lete who was madly in love with Consuelo.
O Sei San, a Japanese samurai’s daughter taught Rizal the Japanese art of painting known as su-mie. She also helped Rizal improve his knowledge of Japanese language. If Rizal was a man without a patriotic mission, he would have married this lovely and intelligent woman and lived a stable and happy life with her in Japan because Spanish legation there offered him a lucrative job.
While Rizal was in London annotating the Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas, he boarded in the house of the Beckett family, within walking distance of the British Museum. Gertrude, a blue-eyed and buxom girl was the oldest of the three Beckett daughters. She fell in love with Rizal. Tottie helped him in his painting and sculpture. But Rizal suddenly left London for Paris to avoid Gertrude, who was seriously in love with him. Before leaving London, he was able to finish the group carving of the Beckett sisters. He gave the group carving to Gertrude as a sign of their brief relationship.
Rizal having lost Leonor Rivera, entertained the thought of courting other ladies. While a guest of the Boustead family at their residence in the resort city of Biarritz, he had befriended the two pretty daughters of his host, Eduardo Boustead. Rizal used to fence with the sisters at the studio of Juan Luna. Antonio Luna, Juan’s brother and also a frequent visitor of the Bousteads, courted Nellie but she was deeply infatuated with Rizal. In a party held by Filipinos in Madrid, a drunken Antonio Luna uttered unsavory remarks against Nellie Boustead. This prompted Rizal to challenge Luna into a duel. Fortunately, Luna apologized to Rizal, thus averting tragedy for the compatriots.Their love affair unfortunately did not end in marriage. It failed because Rizal refused to be converted to the Protestant faith, as Nellie demanded and Nellie’s mother did not like a physician without enough paying clientele to be a son-in-law. The lovers, however, parted as good friends when Rizal left Europe.
In 1890, Rizal moved to Brussels because of the high cost of living in Paris. In Brussels, he lived in the boarding house of the two Jacoby sisters. In time, they fell deeply in love with each other. Suzanne cried when Rizal left Brussels and wrote him when he was in Madrid.
In the last days of February 1895, while still in Dapitan, Rizal met an 18-year old petite Irish girl, with bold blue eyes, brown hair and a happy disposition. She was Josephine Bracken, the adopted daughter of George Taufer from Hong Kong, who came to Dapitan to seek Rizal for eye treatment. Rizal was physically attracted to her. His loneliness and boredom must have taken the measure of him and what could be a better diversion that to fall in love again. But the Rizal sisters suspected Josephine as an agent of the friars and they considered her as a threat to Rizal’s security.Rizal asked Josephine to marry him, but she was not yet ready to make a decision due to her responsibility to the blind Taufer. Since Taufer’s blindness was untreatable, he left for Hon Kong on March 1895. Josephine stayed with Rizal’s family in Manila. Upon her return to Dapitan, Rizal tried to arrange with Father Antonio Obach for their marriage. However, the priest wanted a retraction as a precondition before marrying them. Rizal upon the advice of his family and friends and with Josephine’s consent took her as his wife even without the Church blessings. Josephine later give birth prematurely to a stillborn baby, a result of some incidence, which might have shocked or frightened her.
Rizal's Last Hours
Dec. 29, 1896. 6:00 – 7:00 a.m.
Sr. S. Mataix asks Rizal’s permission to interview him. Capt.
Dominguez reads death sentence to Rizal. Source of information: cablegram of Mataix to EL Heraldo
De Madrid, "Notes" of Capt. Dominguez and Testimony of Lt. Gallegos.
7:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Rizal is transferred to his death cell. Fr. Saderra talks briefly with Rizal. Fr. Viza
presents statue of the Sacred hearth of Jesus and medal of Mary. Rizal rejects the letter, saying , "Im little of a Marian, Father." Source: Fr. Viza.
8:00 – 9:00 a.m.
Rizal is shares his milk and coffee with Fr. Rosell. Lt. Andrade and chief of Artillery come to visit Rizal who thanks each of them. Rizal scribbles a note inviting his family it visit him. Sources: Fr. Rosell and letter of Invitation.
9:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Sr. Mataix, defying stringent regulation, enters death cell and interviews Rizal in the presence of Fr. Rosell. Later, Gov. Luengo drops in to join the conversation. Sources: Letter of Mataix ti Retana Testimony of Fr. Rosell.
10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Fr. Faura persuades Rizal to put down his rancours and order to marry josephine canonically. a heated discussion on religion occurs between them ion the hearing of Fr. Rosell. Sources: El Imparcial and Fr. Rosell .
11:00 – 12:00 noon.
Rizal talks on "various topics" in a long conversation with Fr. Vilaclara who will later conclude (with Fr. Balaguer, who is not allowed to enter the death cell) that Rizal is either to Prostestant or rationalist who speaks in "a very cold and calculated manner" with a mixture of a "strange piety." No debate or discussion on religion is recorded to have taken place between the Fathers mentioned and Rizal. Sources: El Imarcial and Rizal y su Obra.
12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Rizal reads Bible and Imitation of Christ by Kempis, then meditates. Fr. Balaguer reports to the Archbishop that only a little hope remains that Rizal is going to retract for Rizal was heard saying that he is going to appear tranquilly before God. Sources: Rizal’s habits and Rizal y su Obra.
1:00 – 2:00 p.m.
Rizal denies (probably, he is allowed to attend to his personal necessities). Source: "Notes" of Capt. Dominguez.
2:00 – 3:00 p.m.
Rizal confers with Fr. March and Fr. Vilaclara. Sources: "Notes" of Capt. Dominguez in conjunction with the testimonies of Fr. Pi and Fr. Balaguer.
3:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Rizal reads verses which he had underlined in Eggers german Reader, a book which he is going to hand over to his sisters to be sent to Dr. Blumentritt through F. Stahl. He "writes several letters . . . ,with his last dedications," then he "rest for a short." Sources: F. Stahl and F. Blumentritt, Cavana (1956) – Appendix 13, and the "Notes" of Capt. Dominguez.
4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Capt. Dominguez is moved with compassion at the sight of Rizal’s kneeling before his mother and asking pardon. Fr. Rosell hears Rizal’s farewell to his sister and his address to those presents eulogizing the cleverness of his nephew. The other sisters come in one by one after the other and to each Rizal’s gives promises to give a book, an alcohol burner, his pair of shoes, an instruction, something to remember. Sources "notes" of Capt. Dominguez and Fr. Rosell, Diaro de Manila.