POSTSCRIPT / October 22, 2009 / Thursday

By FEDERICO D. PASCUAL JR.

Philippine STAR Columnist

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Restore the balance in Man and Nature

EQUILIBRIUM: The climate change and geologic shifting we are witnessing around us are mere manifestations of Nature moving to restore the balance that has been disturbed.

Balance, also called equilibrium and at times harmony, is the stabilizing principle of Nature. It is a self-correcting mechanism of this well-ordered universe.

The earlier we realize that Nature is continually moving to maintain the balance, the better we would understand such cataclysmic phenomena as typhoons, cyclones and floods – and adapt to them with least harm to us.

We dare to disturb, or violate, the equilibrium in Nature — sometimes by defiling it — and we provoke counter-forces that are just too much for our puny pretensions.

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RUSHING REPAIR: A storm starts as a low-pressure area, a near-vacuum vortex. The equilibrium or the presence of uniform air pressure all around has been disturbed — and Nature moves to correct it.

The high-pressure air around the low-pressure eye rushes in to restore the balance. In so doing, it whips up whirling winds that suck everything, including water if it is at sea or sand if it is in the desert, in their cyclonic path.

Man has attempted to interfere in the buildup of a low-pressure area into a typhoon or a tornado — often with disastrous consequences.

Many times it is best to just understand and respect Nature, prepare for its upheavals, adapt to it, and live in harmony with it, rather than test its power as it moves to restore the equilibrium.

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RAIN & FLOOD: Water vapor rises to form clouds. When the condensation becomes too heavy, the water precipitates — it rains — to restore the balance, to relieve the tension between the rising convection current and the downward pulling gravity.

Rain falls, sometimes in torrents whipped up by gale-force winds. Falling on plains, mountain slopes, rooftops and wherever, the water builds up and yields to gravity leading it to its lowest level.

Rainwater rushes — the bigger its mass the more ferocious it surges, the steeper the slope the faster it flows. It keeps rampaging until it settles into a catch basin or flows out to the rivers and then out to sea where it finds equilibrium or balance.

Understanding rainwater behavior, riverine current and the topography of the land improves our chances of preventing floods, mitigating destruction and safeguarding the environment.

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SYMBIOSIS: The symbiotic relationship of humans and other organisms in our ecosystem is another illuminating picture of balance.

The vegetation, especially the trees, gives off oxygen that we humans breathe to stay alive. We in turn exhale carbon dioxide that the trees use in their own life processes.

It is a beautiful balance, a harmonious coexistence between vegetative and human lives, as well as all living things.

Destroy our forest cover, block natural waterways, release more freons and halons, disturb the symbiotic balance, and we humans and all fauna and flora depending on the ecosystem will perish.

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HEAVENLY ORDER: In the cosmos, where our solar system is just a speck, balance also rules. We see the planets rotating on their axes and revolving around their sun in flawless rhythm and harmony.

While the planets’ speeding around the sun generates a centrifugal force that could make them fly off to outer space, gravity exerts a balancing centripetal force to pull them back to their sun at the center of the system. The balance of forces keeps all the pieces in their appointed places.

Going micro, we see the same harmony in the movements of the nuclei, electrons and other particles of the atoms in an exquisite balance so similar to the macro solar system.

What wondrous creation, what equilibrium!

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SOCIAL TIES: Human relationship is another realm where balance is of utmost importance. Social harmony is an outward extension of the internal serenity that man must allow to permeate his entire being if he desires personal peace.

We live positively by the dictum of give and take, of reciprocity and continually adjusting to one another, of loving our fellowmen as our Creator has loved us.

The Golden Rule tells us to do unto others as we want them do unto us. Matthew 7:12 says: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”

Applying the same interpersonal rule in the convention of nations, we strive together for universal amity, reciprocity and mutual respect. We work hand-in-hand in harmony.

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CHECK YOUR CAR: Reader Jose Sevilla shares this useful tip from the Land Transportation Office:

You never know when this facility will come in handy. Save it on your cellphone, but before you do, check if it works.

Key in this message: LTO (space) VEHICLE (space) XXX000, where XXX000 stands for your Philippine-registered vehicle’s license plate number consisting of three capital letters and three numbers. Send to 2600. (You will be charged P2.50 or P2 for sending the message.)

Example: Key in LTO VEHICLE XYZ123, send to 2600, and wait for the LTO’s auto-generated reply that gives these details: Car plate, Model, Year, Color, Date last registered, LTO apprehensions, and LTO alarm.

Send your car’s plate number, then save the LTO response on your cellphone for future reference. Who knows, some kotong cop might accost you one evening to say that your vehicle is not registered, or has been reported as stolen, or whatever.

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(First published in the Philippine STAR of October 22, 2009)

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