The Cain Identity

Dr. Ricardo B. de los Santos, PhD

The Cain Identity refers to person who is chosen from questionable selection process, especially because there are no more candidates available for recruitment by lowering the norms or standards of selection which we in turn call the Cain principle.

The Cain principle is taken from the Genesis story of the Adam and Eve sons, the siblings Cain and Abel. As one would recall, these brothers used to appease God in their respective altars, their gifts to Him for their blessings. Abel is able to please God because he would choose the best lambs from his herd with their corresponding fat as he was a shepherd. Cain for his past, can’t appease God because he would only offer the blighted and damaged fruits of his farm, and keep the best for himself as he was a teller of the soil.

Cain was envious of the blessings endowed by God on Abel and was jealous of him because he walked with God. Because of this he harbored hatred and was even rebuked by God for sulking with the angere which consumed him so much reminding him that such makes him more open to committing sin. Of course, God saw through him correctly because one day, the invited Abel into the field and murdered his own brother. Guilty with the first recorded parricide, God asked Cain where Abel was but instead of having remorse or repentance which could have saved him from God’s curse, he even answered insolently, “Am I my brother’s guardian? “

During the war, because of the lack of regular troops fighting against the Japanese, guerrillas filled in the shoes. My parents were guerillas and two of my spiritual brothers were guerillas, too. They all said the same gruesome stories of how cruel the guerillas were to the enemy and especially the collaborators, their Filipino brothers alleyed to have betrayed the country for being friendly with the Japanese. Perhaps, my mother theorized, it was this compensatory mechanism of trying to live me up as mandated soldiers because they were incidental soldiers, even accidental ones. But then again, she said, it must be the fact that those who collaborated had an easier life than those who resisted the empire.

Also, during the Vietnam war, many clever Americans were avoiding the draft with so many reasons so much so that there was a dearth, a scarcity of able-bodied men to meet the quota of war. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara deviously decided to lower the recruitment standards drastically. To meet the 1,000 men quota, he lowered the standards of recruitment such that even those with low intelligence quotient (IQ), those who could not even fill up the application forms were drafted. This is now known as Mc Namara’s fully as the title of the book written about it was published. Mc Namara’s bloody god, Lyndon B. Johnson needed to be appeased for he was quick to anger. He was even accused by Jacqueline Kennedy as John F. Kennedy’s mastermind murderer as daughter, Caroline disclosed to media through tapes. Shortly for one to understand, the difficulty this selection process has caused, imagine a five-year old (mental age) adult man being provided weapons to fight a war. Who is he going to shoot? His comrades, the civilians and remotely perhaps, the enemy. How is he going to throw his grenade. Won’t he be a greater burden for his war buddy? Am I my brother’s keeper? Can you imagine a man though an adult, with the emotion of a five-year-old child removed from the comfort of his home and his mom? This is indeed a cruel folly, which the Secretary still tried to parry through it is obvious. And then historians ask why a Superpower like the U.S. lose to the Viet Cong. However, the victims here are these innocent recruits. They are the Abels of the American War History.

But the field of Philippine education is different. While I was a cadet officer at the Lyceum, I used to meet with some cadet officers of TUP and we used to have lunch together. They would tell us about the gay cadets from PNC (now PNU) which cause them both fun and dismay. They were worried by the fact that these would be the future teachers of the country, in fact, the creme de la creme for they will graduate from PNC. Now, don’t be confused about this because PNC that time has no ROTC corps and had to refer cadets to neighboring TUP.

Why this story? Well, we go back to the teacher selection, my TUP comrades have in mind, the Cain principle. When the straight ones are scarce, DepEd had to take in the gay ones. Besides government GAD programs protest the gay rights more than the rights of straight men who are now the ones ostracized and bashed as outdated oppressors of the LGBTI+ community.

As a Lycean, I was preparing to become a psychologist. I made a mistake I thought the name Lyceum would mean that there is a course for a philosopher there and so I became a psychology major. And I never thought I would become a public school teacher. And speaking of teacher education preparation, I never thought I would become a member of the Selection Board and this is where I saw the Cain principle in operation more clearly.

It was never a question of the preponderance of gay applicants because as my ROTC comrades foresaw, they will dominate the field but it was the obvious lack of content knowledge that the candidates of both sexes manifested. Unwittingly, I become the terror among the interviewers because I have to lower my standards of questioning so as to get something out of the interviewee.

So if the English major applicant doesn’t know the difference between the picaresque and the novel, I have to ask if he knew the difference between a sonnet and a haiku. And there are Filipino majors who do not know the ambahan and the balagtasan nor did they hear of “ Walang Sugat” and “Mga Luha ng Buwaya” or social studies major who couldn’t differentiate between democratic and communist countries nor would they know about the archipelagic doctrine. There were biology majors who couldn’t tell what invasive species are and physics major who never heard of Einstein and his theory of relativity, as if mutation were green specks at the corner of the eyes when one wakes up. And there were MAPEH majors who will stare at you if you ask the national dance and sport and hello, we are a basketball country and you are relating travelling in basketball to tourism. She doesn’t even know that it takes two to tango and fence. And there was this T.L.E. major who didn’t understand what entrepreneurship means and the differences between the tools and equipments of his specialization. And also the mathematics majors who couldn’t explain eccentricities and when you took the pain to explain parabola, he still couldn’t tell what hyperbola is. Then you resign and simply ask for one measure of central tendency so that you can at least rate him and he takes a look at the center of the ceiling and gives you a nice smile. Or one that you asked about the Pythagorean theorem. Does he know Pythagoras or what a theorem means. Are you kidding? Why would he, he is a math major. But the values teacher makes your day, inspite of positive and negative values, and couldn’t tell you his opinion whether values are taught or caught. So you give a situational wherein should he fail or at least rebuke a student who is always caught cheating. And he tells you with a confident smile. “It depends, if he is nice to me.” See how relative, his ethics goes. This must be the special theory of relativity valued at being nice.

And when they are already in, despite your low rating (others find them cute). These are the “murderous” Cains who sees teaching as only bread and butter, no longer the noble profession. They would even exploit “nice” students and fail them if they resist. These are the ones who only have pictorials for documentation but wouldn’t even give a minute for a problematic child on the verge of suicide. But these are Cains who would try to appease their “gods” for promotion and influence. These are the very Cains who are envious of their co-teachers; “Why does she have a car, she’s only a teacher; and jealous, too ; “Why does she have the attention of the principal? Why is he chosen for demonstration teaching by the supervisor, and not me? “Then these Cains will try to “murder” to able Abels by spreading rumors about them.

For the Tagalogs would say and even their English counterparts, “The shallow brooks makes noise.” but “Silent waters run deep.” But the last quote could also provide a negative interpretation because people who sulk and keep their hatred so deep may be like Brutus who like Cassius contemplated on murdering Julius Caesar. In fact, their silence which also cause the lambs to be silent are brutal in their implementation.

So, may I advise. If you are a product of a Cain principle selection, why don’t you re-educate yourself and give yourself redemption. Therefore, if God finds you pleasing He will enable you to be an Abel, the best offering of one’s self to God.

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