Woke culture a threat to society, truth —Thomasian priest

Photo by Raymond Vince Manaloto/THE FLAME

THE RISE of woke culture is threatening the search for truth as its adherents base their arguments on emotions, a priest said.

Fr. Al Vincent Tumlos of the UST Faculty of Philosophy said truth has become relative because of “feelings-based” definitions of equality.

“Equality can be based on feelings and thus, the once-argued call for equality with its long history, even only in its association with the word ‘woke,’ becomes a mere assertion of feelings,” Tumlos said in a forum held last Nov. 24.

“With the aim to separate the oppressed and the oppressors and to conceal its usage in the meaning of language by using an emotive tone, woke does not only endanger society but also endangers the truth,” he added.

Tumlos noted that while wokeism was initially centered on racial oppression, it has evolved to perceive oppression more broadly, resulting in multiple interpretations of who are considered oppressed and who the oppressors are.

According to the priest, the call for equality on issues such as income, legal, gender and sexuality has resulted in a “multifaceted equality.” Cancel culture, irrelative politics and relativism have also emerged due the woke culture’s view on equality which has been “stretched far beyond its original meaning,” he added.

“Without knowing such a background, anybody can appeal for a kind of equality whenever they can see or even experience what they consider as oppression,” Tumlos said.

Tumlos urged Thomasians to understand the woke culture but warned them against relying solely on emotional reasoning and bias when engaging with it.

Br. Siddhartha Chiong, O.P., also from the UST Faculty of Philosophy, said Thomasians could be involved in woke culture by “genuinely empathizing” with those who feel oppressed.

“This requires considerable philosophical imagination and stamina to understand the internal logic of their ideology…and to genuinely empathize with their lived experiences, or at least, try to understand the experience of those who call themselves oppressed,” Chiong said. 

“Present how our tradition may have the intellectual, the practical, the political or the existential resources to adequately overcome the difficulty which they face within their ideology,” he added.

Organized by the UST Faculty of Philosophy Students’ Forum, the roundtable discussion on post-truth and woke culture was held at the UST Ecclesiastical Faculties Martyrs’ Hall. It was part of this year’s Alexandria Week in honor of the faculty’s patroness Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who was known for her knowledge in natural philosophy and languages.

The event ran from Nov. 19 to 25 under the theme, “Philosophizing Together: Traversing Uncharted Pathways.”F – Ma. Alyanna Selda and Carlo Jose Ruga

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