When we evolved as human beings, we learned to perceive things in two distinct ways. According to the constructivist theory made popular by the Italian scientists Victor Guidano and Guiseppe Liotti in the 1990s, the older way of knowing is by finding the similarities or tacit knowing. The newer way is by finding the differences or the explicit knowing.

Like the Tao, human understanding should be the blending of the tacit and explicit knowing. Most of us, however, sought for differences to show that they are more civilized. Right or wrong. Good or evil. Heaven or hell.

The older form of knowing – harmonic assimilation of opposites – is what defines kapwa psychology. People who share themselves are propelled by emotion, imaging and tacit or intuitive knowing.

Filipino culture-bearer artists, like the people of Living Traditions who inspired them, are guided more by intuition. They find orderly patterns in a sea of diffused complexities. Rather than following rules and regulations, they move through the world by sensing cues or tuning into a shared inner perception (pakiramdaman).  They also communicate through metaphorical language, dreams and images (talinhaga).

Constructivist theorists would define these culture bearers as the “Homo Symbolicus” or “Symbolic Man” who understands humanity by tapping into the deeper, older memories of mankind.