The Indolence of the Filipino by José Rizal

This essay is a study of the causes why the people did not, as mentioned, work hard during the Spanish era. Rizal pointed out that long before the coming of the Spaniards, the Filipinos were industrious and hardworking. It is important to note that indolence in the Philippines during the Spanish era was somehow a disease. The truth is, before the Spaniards arrive on the islands, the natives are already making business with other countries such as China, Malaysia, Japan, and some countries in the Middle East.

The reasons for the said indolence were clearly stated in the essay, and were not based only on presumptions, but were grounded on fact taken from history. In the essay, Rizal described the tropical and non-tropical countries stating that people from tropical countries tend to not work a lot when the weather is hot. On the other hand, people from countries with four seasons have to worj much during the fall and spring season.

Another thing that can be added that caused the indolence, is the lack of unity among the Filipinos.

Without unity, the people did not have the power to fight the hostile attacks of the government and the other forces of society. As Rizal stated in the conclusion of the essay, “a man in the Philippines is an individual; he is not merely a citizen of the country”. Back in those times, when Filipinos wanted to learn and study, there were not a lot of schools available, if there were any, they lackd resources and did not present more useful knowledge.

When the Filipinos wanted to build their own business, there wasn’t enough capital or protection from the government and if they wanted to cultivate their lands and establish industries, they were made to pay huge amounts of taxes and were exploited by the foreign rules. It is not only the Philippines, but other countries as well that may be called indolent. One cannot blame a country that was deprived of its dignity, to have lost its will to continue building its foundation upon the backs of its people.

Maybe as of today, the indolence and hopeless mentality stays toward the masses. Many corrupt officials, unsettled reforms, poverty, misdistribution of taxes and money, poor tenancy, slow progress, etc. are still there. History really repeats itself. That is the importance of education and studying from the past. If these traits and systems continue, then as history says, we will suffer again and again.

Rizal’s essay is really excellent in describing the situation in the Philippines and is really enlightening. I hope that a lot more people would read this essay because of the issues and realizations that we can get from it. Though I believe that the present Philippines is far from what Rizal saw as indolent back in those days. Today, many Filipinos are more motivated by their will towards the accomplishment of their objectives and work harder than ever to make their lives better.