By beginning the book with this quotation Ramos makes it clear that he does not

By beginning the book with this quotation ramos makes

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By beginning the book with this quotation, Ramos makes it clear that he does not intend simply to re-present Philippine folklore and mythology. Rather, Ramos is concerned with evaluating the contribution of local folklore to Philippine life and with presenting a systematic account of that folklore and mythology as a means of promoting its use in the classroom. Here, it may enhance artistic and creative pursuits while ensuring that practices associated with beliefs in mythological creatures and spirits and in witchcraft are challenged and shown to be without foundation, a project deemed necessary to improve standards of education and to enhance national solidarity. As such, a significant portion of the text is concerned with education, and the necessity of providing the requisite instruction in the classroom so that, for example, explanations of sickness in terms of the activities of malevolent spirits and witchcraft are replaced by scientific explanations: “The persistence of obsolete folk beliefs and practices is abetted by people’s believing that the creature fabricated by their imaginative forbears actually exist. Teachers of science and health should show that while these beliefs enrich men’s mental and emotional lives, they have no factual basis.” Page 11 of 16 DISKUS 28/07/2010 mhtml:
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<28> To this end, Appendix B of the book is entitled ‘Suggested Exercises to Counteract the Belief that Creatures of Lower Mythology Actually Exist’. <29> The appendix consists of a series of questions and exercises for teachers and students designed to draw a distinction between empirical reality and reality as it is portrayed in myth and folklore. Ramos’ account relies rather heavily on a distinction between two kinds of knowledge: a rational-scientific corpus of statements and propositions that are held to accurately describe reality and which encourage forms of social action that are efficacious precisely because of that correspondence, and a religious or traditional corpus of knowledge which while signifying a cultural richness that must be preserved, is out of synch with the real. Its proper place is therefore the library and museum as it cannot serve as an effective guide for living. This opposition highlights a central problem in the study of religions: are the statements and claims of co-researchers to be interpreted as threads in a web of meanings whose sense derives from the fact that they are embedded in specific forms of life, or, is there a need for some principle of verification in order to measure or evaluate such statements and claims? <30> Advocates of the phenomenological approach to religion would no doubt argue that Ramos’ account is at best uncharitable and at worst unethical, precisely because of its orientation towards generating cognitive change in the believer and the general objective of transforming local myths and folklore into state or national property. Yet, Ramos clearly demonstrates – and my own research in the
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