A Zhuangzian Ethic of Openness and Hospitality for Contemporary Filipino Society
In this article, I wish to show that Dr. Agustin Rodriguez’s idea of how government institutions in Philippine society should practice “hospitality” towards the marginalized Other, resonates with and can be complemented by a personal ethic of openness and hospitality drawn from the Daoist work
Zhuangzi. According to Rodriguez, poor Filipinos living in urban areas, tend to be misunderstood and marginalized by the rest of the well-to-do class. The reason for this is that these poor live out an alternative rationality or way of life as compared to that of the elite. This marginalized rationality
finds it difficult to fit in the systems and institutions of the city, which belong to the dominant elite rationality. For Rodriguez, this state of affairs is unjust and cannot continue if Philippine society is ever to achieve wholeness. He thus recommends that the governmental institutions of the country practice
hospitality towards the marginalized Other. This means that these institutions should provide space for the Other to be genuinely heard and be given a chance to substantially affect social policy. Now, the Zhuangzi also promotes openness and accommodation to the unconventional, and I believe that this can complement Rodriguez’s notion of hospitality. Specifically, I believe that whereas Rodriguez’s hospitality applies to the institutional level, Zhuangzian openness and hospitality applies to the personal level, or to the level of an individual’s own attitude and dispositions.
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