November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Virtue and value

The rainy season exacerbates the sweltering heat. It’s time for the flu shots.

A hostile strain of a malingering disease is resistant to nay vaccine.

The perennial malady has familiar symptom -- thickening of the facial skin, skull swelling, vision distortion, vertigo, loss of balance, selective memory, instant ego inflation, and hallucinations.

Physicians are puzzled.

There seems to be no specific bacterial source. But armchair psychologists trace the fever to a serious virtue or value deficiency triggered by shock trauma of sudden good fortune, fame, and power.

Where there is a solid foundation in the form of a strong value system, the deforming effects of the sickness may be prevented or controlled.

What are the essential elements of the value system? Discipline. Courtesy. Respect. Delicadeza. These timeless values seem to vanish in the post-modern cyberspace era.

Man has become obsessed with his ego and material gain. Profits, the bottom line, self-indulgence have overshadowed everything else. In the mad race to glory and grandness, he tends to overlook the basic values that anchor him to reality.

In decades past, we were taught to observe traditions and rites. Children were taught proper behavior (good manners and right conduct) at home and in school. This is hardly done now.

An old admirable custom is the mano (hand blessing), a gesture of respect for one’s elders. This form of greeting is fading from the consciousness of the younger generation. The “hip/rock/cool” millennials would call it obsolete. They miss the whole point.

Discipline, as a character virtue, is scarcely found in the current environment.

Well-trained children obeyed without question. They were seen and not heard. They deferred to the elders, teachers and persons with authority. They respected institutions and their rules Otherwise they took the consequences of disobedience.

The strict training reinforced the importance of being well-bred, well-mannered. Form was important in the context of decorum and etiquette. But substance mattered more.

One underlying motive for the exercise of discipline was to instill thoughtfulness and consideration for others.

We need discipline in our personal and professional lives, as much as we need talent, hard work, patience and determination.

A crisis or disaster brings out the best and worst in people. The individual’s behavior under pressure reveals he is true worth. Put to a test, the disciplined individual would instinctively follow the rules. He would consider what is appropriate.

As a leader, he would think of the general good above his self-interest and would act accordingly. The presence of this quality is critical for any career or profession. Especially for public service.

Peer pressure, trauma, or an emergency may cause a temporary deviation. Human nature has its limitations, after all. Knowing and doing the proper thing at all times.

Discipline may vanish when people are caught in extreme circumstance such as natural disasters, strikes, blackouts. Gentle people, when stressed out, may become rude, war-like or go on a rampage. This explains the mob mentality wherein emotions run wild. There is road rage due to the stress of driving, congestion, traffic, and moving around the urban jungle. Drivers become bullies. Violence erupts.

One thing that is more precious than gold is the sense of delicadeza. Integrity of character.

To illustrate. It would be giving up a desired object or declining a favorite or desired position -- if it means compromising one’s principles. It also signifies avoiding situations where there would be a conflict of interest.

The greater good should prevails over personal gain.

What is vital, at this point, is to reflect, assess, and move on. What matters more, in the long term, are the non-quantifiable values and principles.

What weighs more than wealth, power and fame is being true to oneself.

The women of Zonta Club of Makati City and Environs have made advocating for the welfare of all women their lifelong pursuit.

“All our programs, from women’s health services to livelihood generation and more are centered on uplifting women’s lives,” remarked Zonta president Armita B. Rufino.

The theme highlights the true potential of a Filipina and “her capacity to go beyond beauty and generate impact through compassion.” It will present exquisite crafts in art, jewelry and fashion. The curated cultural fund-raiser “FilipinaZ” will be held on July 28-30 at the Penthouse, 8 Rockwell, and Makati City.

Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.