Archive | September, 2013

Meet a Freethinker: Sass Rogando Sasot

No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Sass Rogando Sasot. Currently based in the Hague, Netherlands, Sass is one of the founders of the Society of Transsexual Women of the Philippines (STRAP), the pioneer transgender rights and advocacy organization in the Philippines; a student at the international honours college of Leiden University, finishing a Combined Honours Degree in World Politics and Global Justice minor in International Development; and one of the recipients of the 2013 ECHO Awards, given annually to excellent migrant students in academic and higher professional education in the Netherlands.

photo1) How would you define a freethinker?

A freethinker is someone who takes freedom and thinking seriously. By seriously, I mean three things. First, being aware of not only the possibilities but, more importantly, the limitation of our own freedom and thinking, i.e a profound level of self-reflexivity.  Second, basing belief and action on that awareness, i.e using our freedom and thinking in a responsible and accountable manner. And third, understanding that thinking is a process, it is a conversation that never stops. This implies having the humility to accept that what you have thought is not something you generate yourself alone. Thought is a product of an endless conversation that preceded you, and it will continue to persist even when you’re gone. Kenneth Burke put this point more beautifully:

“Imagine that you enter parlor. You come late. When you arrive, others have long preceded you, and they are engaged in a heated discussion, a discussion too heated for them to pause and tell you exactly  what it is about. In fact, the discussion has begun long before any of them got there, so that no one present is qualified to retrace for you all the steps that had gone on before. You listen for a while, until you decide that you have caught the tenor of the argument; then you put in your oar. Someone answers; you answer him; another comes to your defense; another aligns himself against you, to either the embarassment or gratification of your opponent, depending on the quality of your ally’s assistance. The hour grows late, you must depart. And you do depart, with the discussion still vigorously in progress.”

2) What belief system do you subscribe to?

My political conviction is very eclectic. I draw on insights from different thinkers. However, at this point of my thinking process, my political conviction is highly influenced by realist political philosophers, specially Raymond Geuss, Judith Shklar, Chantal Mouffe, and Bernard Williams. I even appreciate insights of philosophers of conservatism, specially that of John Kekes.

My religious belief is informed by the idea that there is a force greater than ourselves, but that doesn’t mean believing in a God. It means coming to terms with our own insignificance, i.e. the overcoming of the self. And if there’s any book that can sum up my religious beliefs, it’s Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra.

3) What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

I didn’t “come out” as a freethinker to anyone. If there is one, I would probably find it a very, very strange thing to do. For me, one starts being a freethinker by adapting one of the greatest thinking tools: critical thinking. Critical thinking is a very laborious thing to do. The most interesting reaction I got is the same reaction we get from those who don’t challenge their own thinking (i.e. not used to self-reflexivity): They shut us off with “This is my opinion, respect it.”

4) In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

It made me more deeply aware that pluralism is, as what Hannah Arendt would say, the inescapable fact of the human condition.

5) As a founding member of STRAP, what do you think is the biggest challenge that transgender persons face today? How can it be addressed?

The challenges transgender persons face today exist in a vicious circle. Each point in that circle feeds on each other, giving this cycle a momentum that is very difficult to counteract. One crucial point in that circle is the internalized transprejudice of transgender people themselves. Transprejudice is a set of practices and beliefs whose underlying assumption is that transgender people are not human beings, therefore they don’t deserve the treatment reserved only for human beings. The danger starts when transgender people start acting on that assumption by engaging in reckless, irresponsible, and self-defeating behaviour. I have struggled with this myself – and it is still hunting me.

How can it be addressed? There are institutional and personal ways of addressing it. The primary institutional means of addressing it is through the most basic institution, the family, where transprejudice begins. Every child, no matter who they are, should be treated as a human being. Treating someone as a human being is respecting their own uniqueness and accepting the manifestation of that uniqueness. Then, the next important institution is our schools and universities – they should endeavour to support the flourishing of everyone’s uniqueness.

As for the personal way, transgender people should start being aware of how they have internalized the prejudice and bigotry against them. When one becomes aware, one can be able to arrest the damaging effects of internalized transprejudice. We transgender people cannot stand up and claim our rights, or even love wholeheartedly, without first reclaiming ourselves from prejudice and bigotry.   This is a difficult and long process, but it needs to be done so one can fully live.

6. What’s the most memorable country you’ve been to, and why?

Denmark – it’s where I first met my partner. It was a very romantic and serendipitous moment.

Posted in Meet a Freethinker1 Comment

Filipino Freethinkers Meetup, Sunday, September 29, 2013

 

935943_10151610369410423_811931348_n

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Location: Holy Trinity Church, 48 Mckinley Road, Forbes Park, Makati
Date: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Time: 2:30pm – 5:30pm

Google Map: http://goo.gl/wCMAl

Topics
– Euthanasia [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/10315476/We-dont-let-animals-suffer-says-Prof-Stephen-Hawking-as-he-backs-assisted-suicide.html]
– The Pope on Homosexuality and Abortion
– Generation Y and our Unhappiness
– Raunchy topic: Public masturbation: would you do it?

After the meetup we usually go for dinner and drinks somewhere nearby. If you’re not a meetup regular and can’t make it for the meetup but would like to go for the post meetup, please indicate on a post in the wall or comment so we can contact you.

Got questions about the meetup? Contact us at 0927 323 3532

* Newbies are welcome.
* Look for the FF sign (or the group of smart, sexy people).
* There is no required age, religion, philosophy, or IQ level.
* Discussions are informal yet intelligent (most of the time).
* You don’t have to talk; you can just sit in and listen

RSVP here: https://www.facebook.com/events/540455772693953/

Posted in Meetup0 Comments

Meet a Freethinker: Marcelle Fabie

No two freethinkers are exactly alike; a group of freethinkers contains a great diversity of perspectives, so there is no one, official perspective shared among all of them. This makes the freethought community a truly vibrant source of ideas and opinions!

In this light, Meet a Freethinker is our series featuring freethinkers of all backgrounds and perspectives. We want to introduce you guys to the people who make up the proverbial melting pot of this growing movement.

Our next freethinker is Marcelle Fabie. Marcelle is the head writer for the 8List, part of the Rowdy Empire on WAVE 89.1, a host, magician, mentalist, and comedian.

Behind the Mic1) How would you define a freethinker?

A freethinker is someone who questions before accepting: someone who is guided by reason rather than dogma when it comes to believing or not believing in something.

2) What belief system do you subscribe to?

That’s hard to answer, in all honesty. There are days I wake up feeling I’m an atheist, or days I feel like I’m a hardline Catholic. Other days, I feel like a deist. Even calling myself “agnostic” in the face of that realization doesn’t seem to make sense to me.

I guess what I’m trying to say, is I’m pretty bad with labels.

3) What was the funniest or most interesting reaction you got from a person after you told him or her that you were a freethinker?

“Huh. But why are you celibate and straight-edge?” Because obviously, being a freethinker means being a hedonist, right?

4) In what way has being part of a freethinking community benefited you?

It has opened my mind to other points of view that wildly differ from mine, especially when it comes to ethics. For example, if I never heard Red Tani describe his reasons for being pescetarian, I would still probably roll my eyes at the very concept of veganism to this very day.

 

5) How did you become a magician/mentalist? Did it influence you as a freethinker somehow?

I was Grade 3 when I gained an interest in magic beyond single tricks, and ironically, it was a nun, Sister Angie, who taught me most of my first routines. It was an on and off hobby for most of my life, until 2006, when in an effort to perform a killer show for a surprise party for one of my then best friends, I seriously took up magic.

At some point, I noticed I was pouring in thousands of bucks into the endeavour already, so I just started announcing at large that I can be hired for magic shows. While learning the ropes that way, I developed an affinity for mentalism, and even took up a few psychology units just to get the right feel for the act.

So no, I don’t have powers, much less have I sold my soul to the devil to do what I do. If I had the smallest notion that doing so would be possible, though, I’d have done it to really make sure my standup comedy act or radio career really takes off from this point on.

As for freethinking, in studying secrets of magic and the way mentalism achieves its results, I’ve become wary of people who claim they have powers, yet are using the exact same methods I use. Hence, the Mindmaster article I wrote for you guys.

I come from the Penn and Teller school of thought when it comes to magic and mentalism. Both being freethinkers as well, they influenced not only my style but even my mentality as a performer. Of course, the traditional magicians frown upon exposure of magic wholesale, but my opinion of exposure is a bit more nuanced by that, having been tempered by Penn and Teller.

 

6) What is your favourite list on the 8List website so far?

Aside from the lists I wrote poking fun at Youtube music videos, I’ll have to go with 8 Mind-Blowing Instances of Pinoy Outrage (Aside from Dan Brown).

I think it’s no secret that my writing style for the 8List has been heavily influenced by Cracked. That being said, this list would have almost fit right in with Cracked, and I’m pretty happy about that.

As the kicker, the list’s comments also contained instances of my pet peeve: people asking me why there are only 8 items on the list. In a site called the 8List. This almost directly gave birth to one of my lists that was so controversial that it was taken down from the 8List: 8 Mind-Blowingly Stupid Comments I See on List Sites.

Yes, I’m fond of the word “mind-blowing.” Why do you ask?

 

7) The 8List piece on atheism was pretty successful. What’s the most important thing you learned from publishing it?

I would have to say that I learned people tend to see an “agenda” when they see something on their favourite website that they don’t like. Write a single pro-LGBT list, a pro-RH list, and a list that explains what atheists are, and the 8List suddenly has a “liberal agenda.” That’s funny, because nobody’s stopping anyone from writing a list that is anti-LGBT, or anti-RH, or anti-atheist, so long as it’s not bigoted or sexist.

Oh, right.

Posted in Meet a Freethinker0 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 015: Raising Politicians’ Salaries and Internet Justice

FF Podcast (Audio) 015: Raising Politicians’ Salaries and Internet Justice

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.20.58 PM 1

This week we talk about Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s suggestion to raise politicians’ salaries to dissuade them from corruption. Then, we talk about the ethics of Internet justice mobs.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Media0 Comments

FF Podcast 015: Raising Politicians’ Salaries and Internet Justice

FF Podcast 015: Raising Politicians’ Salaries and Internet Justice

Screen Shot 2013-09-19 at 12.20.58 PM 1

This week we talk about Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s suggestion to raise politicians’ salaries to dissuade them from corruption. Then, we talk about the ethics of Internet justice mobs.

You may also download the episode file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Podcast, Politics, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 014: Carlos Celdran Convicted and Offending Religious Feelings

FF Podcast (Audio) 014: Carlos Celdran Convicted and Offending Religious Feelings

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 2.04.00 PM

This week we talk about Carlos Celdran’s conviction for the crime of “offending religious feelings.”

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Media, Politics, Religion, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast 014: Carlos Celdran Convicted and Offending Religious Feelings

FF Podcast 014: Carlos Celdran Convicted and Offending Religious Feelings

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 2.04.00 PM

This week we talk about Carlos Celdran’s conviction for the crime of “offending religious feelings.”

You may also download the episode file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Podcast, Religion, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast (Audio) 013: Is Gender Equality Against Freedom of Religion? Plus—Soylent!

FF Podcast (Audio) 013: Is Gender Equality Against Freedom of Religion? Plus—Soylent!

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.52.06 AM

This week, we talk about the claim by Couples for Christ that gender equality in the RH Law goes against their religious freedom. Then, we discuss Soylent, the food replacement drink.

You may also download the podcast file here.



Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast (Audio) on iTunes

Posted in Audio, audio podcast, Media, Politics, Religion, Science, Secularism, Society0 Comments

FF Podcast 013: Is Gender Equality Against Freedom of Religion? Plus—Soylent!

FF Podcast 013: Is Gender Equality Against Freedom of Religion? Plus—Soylent!

Screen Shot 2013-09-07 at 8.52.06 AM

This week, we talk about the claim by Couples for Christ that gender equality in the RH Law goes against their religious freedom. Then, we discuss Soylent, the food replacement drink.

You may also download the episode file here.

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers Podcast feed

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Filipino Freethinkers podcast on iTunes

Posted in Gender Rights, Podcast, Politics, RH Bill, Society0 Comments


Facebook.com/Freethinkers