Asian inferiority complex—the ‘killer disease’, In way of responding to Rhsuperfly (Part 16-I of II)
Posted on January 24th, 2011

Geethanjana Kudaligamage

 Rajapakse, regional politics, “Eurocentric Developmentalism” and the western hegemony

 Despite the fact that the article, THE MYTH OF A NEW ASIAN CENTURY-WHY IT IS WESTERN NOT ASIAN by Dr. Janaka Goonetilleke has already been pushed into back pages, I thought the comment of Rhsuperfly that advised Asians to get over their “ƒ”¹…”inferiority complex’ certainly deserves a discussion. However the content of Rhsuperfly’s and PrabasFlaccidHead’s  comments had derived  from the same epistemological position, in this article, I tried to address issues related to the comments of both writers. With utmost respect to their intellectual capacities, I would humbly invite them to engage in this dialogue in order to share their views. The reason is that we must accept the fact that we all are pupils when it comes to the subject of third world development. There must be some concrete reasons behind this persistent failure in the third world. Let us see if there is any role of western knowledge, its roots, production, catering specific groups and types, structures, distribution and hierarchies have anything to do with this failure. 

 Mr. Rhsuperfly says that, “I think Asians should just “get over” the Asian inferiority complex (many have) and then they can see the “world” or “life” in more objective and historical terms, instead of “us vs. them”. The Asian inferiority complex (as with all the other non-Caucasian inferiority complexes) is tends to cause the victim of the complex to idealize their own culture’s past, and demonize Caucasians or Westerner”¦. Anyway, I am not going to recreate the history of the world here, I am only wanting to emphasize that thousand of clever individual efforts are required for any civilization to rise and keep rising so as to tame nature and make life easier and more comfortable.”

 He advocates to be open minded to learn from west in order to achieve progress, because thousand of clever individual efforts are required for any civilization to rise and keep rising”¦be prepared to learn from the west without being alienated by self inflicting segregation; instead, make friendships across borders) That was the thesis of Mr. Rhsuperfly’s argument in his critique.

 No doubt he must have said so in good faith and with utmost compassion toward Asians. As a Sri Lankan, I am writing this article in response, not for criticizing him for the sake of criticism, but to my view, his comment deserves a greater deal of ideological discussion. Under this circumstance, I also write this article in good faith like Mr. Rhsuperfly, hoping to see others also engaging in order to transcend into a better future of Asia. Therefore please take my article as an attempt to maintain this debate in our quest for a reasonable outcome for our development/liberation ideology.

 I think his observation is correct, but the question is how and by what means we can “ƒ”¹…”get over’ this inferiority complex. In over all, it is a good advice and becomes very sensible if his assessment is correct in regard to the existing trajectory between third world societies and the west. But to my mind, his representation of this trajectory is far from reality. At glance, this comment suggests unwillingness of Asians to learn from the west, in a situation where west standing piously with their virtuous knowledge willing to help a wretched, but the “ƒ”¹…”miserable’ stubbornly resisting to it glorifying his own cultural past, yet his past is dead and gone. But it is not the actual scenario we are living in. Then what is the real one?

 The real one is gruesome and bloody, in which there is no angelic west stretching helping hand with their virtuous knowledge to a wretched in good faith to get over his poverty. And on the other hand there is no a stubborn miserably resisting to knowledge and the progress that freely flowing toward him. Instead, there is a west with all their financial, political and military institutions working hard on daily basis to drag this wretched to a structure sealing him there for another five hundred years with a knowledge as the center piece aptly creating a ground situation for the said project.

 Even under this circumstance I wouldn’t say that Asia must be cutoff from the west by self inflicting segregation. Instead Asia must deal with this entire “ƒ”¹…”game’ exploding this game within, and seek appropriate path to its liberation. But we wouldn’t be able to do it by complete submission to western political economic structures well sustained through western knowledge. Therefore our passage to liberation located in the difficult path somewhere in the middle, requiring critical assessment and caution in her decision making. She must be independent of her policy planning, selecting what is good for her and discarding what is detrimental to her objectives; because western knowledge is not a sanctimonious entity as it claims to be.   

 Yes, I agree with him. We Asians are suffering from acute condition of inferiority-complex, so do the Africans and the Latin Americans. Rightfully he has identified the disease. Through a painful study, I also had identified the same disease as the cause of our persistent failure in our effort to progress. That is the reason why I criticized servility of the ruling class of Colombo in my earlier articles. Yes this inferiority-complex is the greatest impediment to our progress. But with utmost respect to his opinion, unfortunately still I will have to say that his suggested remedy for the disease, although this remedy has been suggested indirectly, eventually will kill the patient or if not, at least further paralyze him in this complex.

 Why I say that? Because this is a deadly “ƒ”¹…”killer disease’ with a colonial poisonous germ required immediate ideological quarantine. But instead of quarantining the germ and its source of origin; he recommends cohabitation with the germ which eventually pave the way to grow this “ƒ”¹…”killer disease’ within the biological and pedagogical body of the Asiatic, resulting him to be entrenched deep and deeper in the existing quagmire of motionless position in the arid region of absence in creativity; in the intellectual dumbness, a location of the cultural void of colonial knowledge. That is the dominating knowledge that we think capable to deliver us progress. However widespread epidemic of this disease in the entire colonial world is something worth to pay our attention. Why this killer disease epitomizes only in colonial world? Why not out there in the west?…Because west overcame it through equally sickening superiority complex, the sister germ of the “ƒ”¹…”killer disease’. (We will come to that later)

 Why I call this as a “ƒ”¹…”killer disease’?  Because this disease places our creative urges contingent to western initiatives. The pedagogical traditions of colonial education have created this uncreative beast who only knows faithful imitation of the west. But as we all know, faithful imitation along cannot build civilizations.

 The reason is clear. Civilizations are not built by heavenly orders of western metropolitan centers, IMF or WB, but by imagination, meticulous planning, creative ideation and decision making by peoples who work hard to build their civilization. That is the reason why animals working with sheer instinct like “ƒ”¹…”bats’ cannot build civilizations, because they do not posses intellectual faculties for imagination and wonder. This killer disease not only hiding the fact that bat is a bat, but also makes the lemming to jump over the cliff as the only way to search its economic liberation without wondering; because wondering is the enemy of this killer disease. Now IMF and WB want us to do the lemming. Let us see how many we’ve got. The sad fact is that the lemming will never live another day to tell the story to his next.

Faithful imitation is the symptom of the killer disease that kills critical investigation. When a man is lacking critical faculties, eventually his creative faculties will die. Then his learning will become limited. This is true even in regards to learning from the west. If the killer disease kills our critical capacities and creativity, and then it advocates only imitation, then we can realize that the cognitive structures of creative faculties will have nothing to do here.

 The cat can make mistakes, because it’s only toying its prey. But mouse cannot, because his quota of mistakes has been exhausted. That is the exact reason why he has been ended up in front of the cat now. If mouse lives by any chance, then it is because it is smarter than the cat. Our “ƒ”¹…”Kossata meeya’ (tiny little mouse) of Asia has demonstrated that it was smarter than the cat by winning the battle of death through its spontaneous astuteness; not the educated or intellectual side of the mouse saved its life, but the one with natural wisdom. Now the sad fact is, although the mouse of natural wisdom managed to save its life, the so-called intellectual/educated part of the mouse is knocking the door of the cat again now in this post-war era, voluntarily wanting to get into the trap of the cat, from which once he escaped though battle. Why? Why mouse of natural intuition wins and educated mouse fails in defeat? That is the question we must ask. That means the education must have a specific problem. It must be defaulted to deliver failure. Western knowledge we are talking about here is the specific variety distributed in their colonies defaulted to end us in failure, submission, servility, despair and abasement.

 Western knowledge is not only about mathematics and sciences, but is also about control and articulation of power serving a specific interest under a specific hierarchy. It is not about a problem of calculation, but about an economy of calculation, a problem of distribution in the calculation. Colonial knowledge gives us hope of a delightful message knowing very well that there is nothing in the mail to come to reach us.       

 Colonial knowledge is contingent to western initiative. Western initiatives are designed to marginalize indigenous creativity and to condition our thinking to live under western approval. While acknowledging the existence of a non-Caucasian inferiority complex, I must say that this complex is nothing but another Caucasian construction, largely due to European colonization. This construction was a complex project undertaken by Caucasian western colonialists in their colonies for last five hundred years. Now we know that this inferiority-complex has been the greatest impediment for our development. That has been our “Killer disease”, murdering our entire creative powers without even letting them to set out of their labor-rooms.

 Caucasians are maintaining this inferiority-complex through various forms of craftily formulated Eurocentric western knowledge and its representations, at times even using media and literature solely to serve western interests. Under such mechanism, colonial education is not only educating mathematics. Mathematics on the other hand not solely western either. Instead western knowledge creates this obedient servant. Hence, their pedagogical traditions become a tool of conditioning and funneling entire global knowledge to serve specific purposes set forth by global centers in the west. So high achievements of colonial education paves way for the west to demand highest level submission, faithfulness and most certainly, “the ethical obligation” of the “ƒ”¹…”Other’ toward fulfilling western interests. This will make a larger part of the global humanity to be subservient to western narration of civilization/development/evolution trio. It mercilessly demands our obedience to these grand western narratives of universal history, universal knowledge, universal this universal that. But when we dig deep, we will realize that this universality has nothing to do with universe but a lot to do with the west.

 Under this condition, it must be clear by now that, IN ORDER TO ASCERTAIN WESTERN GLOBAL DOMINANCE, OUR INFERIORITY-COMPLEX IS A NECESSARY CONDITION. Therefore, blaming victim while standing by the perpetrator of this entire project wouldn’t be a productive pursuit for our progress. Such blame game only put one in par with people like Immanuel Kant and whose infamous blame game, in which once he said that”¦ “Enlightenment is the exit (exodus) of humanity by itself from a state of culpable immaturity….Laziness and cowardliness is the causes which bind the great part of humanity in this frivolous state of immaturity.”  Here he blames the “ƒ”¹…”Other’ for being lazy and cowardice to be remained in “ƒ”¹…”congenital idiocy’ denying the fact that this idiocy is another construction of his own people’s global exploitative apparatus that spreads the above said “ƒ”¹…”Killer Disease’.

 It’s true that science and math, including their applied versions are not developed in the west along, but becomes universal by their universal involvement of inventions and development of concepts. The hegemonic aspect of western knowledge cannot be reduced to math formulas or chemical formulas in chemistry. It is all about praxis, a hierarchy, oligarchic hegemony of western knowledge centers that marginalize knowledge of the periphery; even the knowledge of the old world like South Asia. These hierarchies in tern demands our “ƒ”¹…”ethical obligation’ in every turn we take; because we are under their rule. Third world development is not an exception, and it remains under this power structure as far as we accept to be dominated.

 The peculiarity of the western version of knowledge is that its tendency to marginalize other versions of knowledge and its denial to acknowledge the existence of other interpretations of knowledge while maintaining above said hegemonic, oligarchic apparatus. To create this oligarchic center-periphery duality in knowledge, Europe even went further to the extent of rewriting history, articulating a complete different story of European man. In which he demarcated the geography of European center, amalgamated it with some parts of traditional Asia, such as Greece for filling the blanks of the cooked up story of Europe. But they knew the actual Europe was located further north of Magna Graecia of Italy. (Reed Dussel’s The semantic slippage of the concept of “Europe”  and

 The world dialogue between philosophical traditions )

  http://www.scribd.com/doc/6513001/Europe-Modernity-and-Eurocentrism

 Not only Asians but also entire world has embraced the western knowledge. Western knowledge itself has become the “ƒ”¹…”priori’ of larger part of colonized populations of post Columbus era to say the least. The pre programming of colonized classes begins from our nursery school that inaugurates this “ƒ”¹…”priori’ under a specific colonial design. The sole objective of this programming is to keep the faithful obedience of the colonized to maintain western control over 80% of world population who are living outside the Caucasian domain of Europe. When it comes to development, although we can see the clash of interests between our priorities and that of Europeans, the problem will be resolved by our obedience governed by above said “ƒ”¹…”priori’. Currently, although we consider Hambantota port project as a product of natural wisdom of ours, and our jewel in the entire development concept, west has been deeply upset about it. During last three or four decades above said obedience managed to keep us away from this development program. Then how can we glorify western knowledge as a practical instrument to follow blindly without critical assessment of such knowledge instrumental to our development?    

 Political and pedagogical exteriority of the Asian.

Rhsuperfly say that “A huge number of Asians have embraced so-called Western Knowledge, which is not Western, but universal, based on math used to model the physical world in order to tame it. Math is a firm sort of knowledge because every person has the basic understanding of it embedded in their psyches “a priori”, which means the brain is pre-programmed to understand math, categories, etc. Math is a universal language.”

 I agree with him, but how if this “ƒ”¹…”priori’ has been the target of the killer disease from the day one? For an example, how can one explain Ranil Wickramasinghe’s political decisions in relation to this “ƒ”¹…”priori’? His priori convinced him that the “ƒ”¹…”safety net’ will save the nation even though a demilitarization of a nation at war had been conducted by him. That means, his “ƒ”¹…”priori’ is lacking critical tools to asses the situation objectively, but his “ƒ”¹…”priori’ demands him to be blindly faithful to the western formula of peace which had been made prerequisite to our development. This is the colonial legacy of western knowledge. Do you know why “ƒ”¹…”Kossata Meeya‘ defeated the cat and won the war?… because he was not a Harvard or Cambridge graduate, that’s why.

 Let us start from a child. Child is a product of his/her parents and the society. The society is a pool of knowledge systems intersected with many other systems of internal and external knowledge.  When it comes to Post-colonial societies like Sri Lanka, this natural meeting point of internal and external knowledge will be weakened and the entire knowledge system will be reduced to a receiving point of external knowledge of the center. This process was consciously conducted by British colonial administration on the sole purpose of creating above said intellectual obedience in future Sri Lanka. The alteration in the “ƒ”¹…”priori’ had to go under severe procedure of destruction of traditional knowledge centers like Pirivena education. That was the way how they sealed the natural growth of the knowledge in colonies. Gradually the passage for revisiting internal knowledge had been sealed off and marginalized. Centuries of such marginality eventually will make to disconnect societies from the cultural knowledge of their own. So it will pave the way to lose its natural connection of growth in knowledge accumulation.

India has been disconnected so far, so that it has been very difficult to revisit and reclaim their traditional knowledge systems again. Arab world is the other example, although they were the pioneers in mathematics and astronomy. Now the west identifies them as dead civilizations although they were murdered ones. Our intellectuals must undertake research into this area of investigations.

 Although peripheral nations in Asia have been reduced to remain in the exteriority of the reigning system of the western center, the Asian cultures have their own values and their validity which have never been understood by or incorporated into the hegemonic school of western thought dominant in the society of this above said child of Asia, because they are scorned as none-culture, barbarism, illiteracy, witchcraft by this hegemonic school. They are interpreted by the reigning of the rationalistic, so called representation of’ universal knowledge’ of European knowledge system branding the knowledge of others as nothing, non-being, chaos, irrationality. So the above said child, as a product of such society, remains in this pedagogical system, and such pedagogy shapes his “ƒ”¹…”priori.’ Under such condition, even his experience, may it be physical or mental, still won’t make him to rationally analyze his surround due to his preconditioned mind set of his colonial inheritance. We meet millions of them in Asia in daily basis. Ranil’s inability to understand the heartbeat of Sri Lanka is the best example.

 So this child will be programmed to perceive the world through the key hole of the “ƒ”¹…”imperialist culture’ of the center.’ That is the culture dominates in the present order. It is the refined culture of European and North American elites. This is the culture that all other cultures are measured against. The Mona Lisa and Picasso or American X or European Y critiques all other paintings. They set standards and will then measure others. In regard to Beethoven, not only Japanese will love Beethoven. His fifth symphony will measure all other compositions in India or China. But the point is when Indians invented the concept of music, European man even had not come out of Lascaux and Altamira caves. This oligarchic culture of dominant groups of the center will exert their power through their subordinate groups in dominated cultures of the periphery. This culture will constitute the system to admire and imitate west; marginalize what is indigenous, they will be fascinated by the artistic, scientific, technological progress of the center. These elite groups will alienate native creativity in their own nations. So the development will be something completely alien to the native masses ruled by these elite groups of the periphery. Under such version of development, the concept becomes suicidal to the local masses, an act of voluntarily alienation. 

 In bureaucratic professions, or the profession of politics, especially positions as lucrative as economic policy planning, these alienated ones will be positioned to exercise institutional power and their policies in the periphery. These elitist groups who habitually hold these positions have become progressively corrupt and lethargic to development of their countries. The failure of these groups on the other hand will be marked by their faithful beliefs in western grand ideas alien and impractical to their own societies and communities.       

  Going back to the “ƒ”¹…”Asian tendencies of becoming victims of the (inferiority) complex and to idealize their own culture’s past, and demonizing Caucasians or Westerners’ are concerned, my answer is this. We must take account of our successes and failures through the reassessment of our present. This reassessment will be constituted in revisiting, remembrance and recollection of our ideological fundamentals of Asian cultural wisdom in par with their current western ones. This process never denies the learning from others. But it widens that learning process by opening a doorway, a passage that had been sealed for centuries without letting access for the Asians by rigid controlling traditions of colonial education. In that way this new vision becomes universal in oppose to the existing monolithic-Occidentalized version.

 As far as demonizing westerners and Caucasians are concerned, I must say that Asians can add nothing new to demonize the westerners since they have demonized themselves to the maximum extent, without leaving room for us to add anything new to it; and they still are doing so. In this regard, Arundathi Roy, an Indian writer who considers herself as an enemy of Sri Lanka says”¦ “Exposing western hypocrisy””‚how much more exposed can they be? Which decent human being on earth harbuors any illusions about it? These are people whose histories are spongy with the blood of others. Colonialism, apartheid, slavery, ethnic cleansing, germ warfare, chemical weapons, they virtually invented it all. They have plundered nations, snuffed out civilizations, exterminated entire populations. They stand on the world stage stark naked but entirely unembarrassed”¦.personally, I would say it is arrogance more than hypocrisy”.   

(To be continued)

11 Responses to “Asian inferiority complex—the ‘killer disease’, In way of responding to Rhsuperfly (Part 16-I of II)”

  1. nandimitra Says:

    After 200 years of violence perpetrated by this so called western civiisation with destruction of the enviorment, an economic system that is not beneficial to the many, bringing humanity to the brink of destruction it must be deduced that westernisation is modernity is only a myth. A radical change in our vission and a devolepmental programme that is sustainable is essential. Asian civilisation that evolved over many centuries has been arrested by western imperialism 200 years ago. A civilisation characterised by harmony ,ecofriendliness is a philosophy from which we can learn a lot. The only hinderance is the servility of the ruling classes to the western model.

  2. Geeth Says:

    Please be advised that this sentence itself is a link to another article “The semantic slippage of the concept of “Europe”

  3. Ben_silva Says:

    The Asians and may I add the Sinhalese, also need to dump the inferiority complex and learn to be competitive and win in a global economy. Nirvana seeking suicidal culture may hinder the will for survival and the competitive spirit needed to survive in the world, with a rapidly growing population and declinining resources. We have to recognise te external threats we face and develop strategies to deal with external treats, rather than live like frogs in a well.

  4. gunarat Says:

    Ben, aggressive competition is the hallmark of Western capitalism, which is the cause of misery in two-thirds of the world. Excessive indulgence in ceaseless accumulation of profits has brought the world to near-collapse.

    The path that Ben advocates shows how the West-centric ideas have brainwashed us. Moderate competition is compatible with Eastern thinking. Excessive competition will only bring about ‘tanha’ (endless greed) and misery for the majority.

    We have to discard Western social sciences, including economics, to de-Westernize ourselves. Science is the Trojan horse that the West has successfully deployed to perpetuate the Occidental domination of the world.

    The Orient has to recycle and re-invent its own fields of knowledge to cover not only epistemology, but also ontology and axiology.

    Cooperation, rather than competition, should be a principal criterion in our new intellectual framework. I mean the Middle Path of cooperation, not the mouse willingly cooperating to be devoured by the cat.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks to Geeth for addressing an important topic.

    Whilst I agree with most of Mr Ben Silva’s comments, I disagree that we must kick out seeking Nirvana. Seeking Nirvana, whether one is rich or poor, keeps the individual & therefore society in a state of balance and free of violence. Whether we like it or not, we are all unconsciously seeking Nirvana/God while we alive.

    In Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, after the material needs (food, clothing, shelter, job etc.) are met, spiritual needs (seeking Nirvana/God), comes in. Placing Competitiveness & Material Achievements too high on the list may bring in high suicide (South Korea) & violence (gun culture in America), in society. It is not the way Nature built the human being. Co-operation is better than Competition. Some European countries such as Germany & Sweden have very good social system that we can take some ideas from.

    In seeking Nirvana, Meditation is a must. Through Meditation comes the Calm, Happiness & Creativity that we all seek. Through Creativity we will succeed in material creations and life supportive life styles for every citizen. Through Meditation comes Discipline, Kindness, Philanthropy & Compassion, so essential in a poverty and trouble ridden world today. When the Self in the individual is fulfilled, then Society itself is fulfilled. When Society is fulfilled, then Peace & Prosperity follows in the whole Nation.

    Pardon me if I say that what is not right is that Buddhists of today do a great deal of ritual & chanting, without the Bhavana (as in Dhana & Seela, Bhavana), whilst the other two main religions in Lanka, Islam & Catholicism do not have Meditation built into their religious systems

    Correct me if I am wrong in these assumptions.

    Watch ww.wopg.org for more on this interesting topic.

  6. Ben_silva Says:

    Let me answer Gunarat and Diaz and clarify what I meant. I am also opposed to excessive greed. However, if you look at most, if not all development of new technology and systems, the innovation came about because of peoples desire for profit, or greed. Let me give a few examples, railways, transport system, shipping, communication systems, computer systems all developed as individuals or companies wanted to nake a propfit. A vedor sells food, not to satisfy hunger, but to make a profit. We also have to recognice that most scientific discoveries and inventions have been made in the West.
    The problem with Nirvana is it will condition our mind to give up desires, making us less competitive. If we are not competitive, have the desire to survive and win, we will not survive.I If you look at n my view, one has to be very competitive to survive. Communism is now recognised as a failed system. Uncontrolled Capitalism may equally be bad, Regulators are needed to keep Capitalism under check.
    Although I do not promote excessive greed, i would promote compititiveness, in order to survive, as only the fittest would survive in any system.

  7. nandimitra Says:

    dear ben,
    Freedom from greed gives clarity of thought and creativity for the greater good. Greed and competition is related to the western philosophy of objectivism or planning all geared to the benefit of self at the expence of others.THe result is the enviormental catastrophe that has been the most characteristic feature of the western economic model. The path we are on at the moment is wrong.

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    While I agree with Mr Ben Silva’s intent in his views, I would like to add the following :

    We personally know many wealthy people who are Meditating. They have made money through various professions, or inventions, ownership of property, or merely playing the stock market, etc. Meditation has helped them in their endeavors and they do not go off the deep end if there is loss of some wealth. Generally, they are quite sensible people. They share their earnings or winnings in a fair manner. But they keep the Meditation as their main focus which keeps them sane in a mad world and are able to make decisions in a sensible and aware fashion. Some have children and they usually make really good parents. They also enjoy better health than most people and keep out of trouble. They are a plus in any society.

    We do recommend Meditation as the key to knowing the Self. It does not in any way deter Creativity – on the contrary, it enhances Creativity, without going off the rails ! It helps people survive in a dangerous modern world. Meditators face death (which comes to us all), quite calmly.

    It is not Meditation that ruins a society – it is bad leadership/government, bad company, liquor & drugs, guns, untrue belief systems, bad parenting, among a host of other reasons.

    I think the people of the West became innovative due to Need. The European World Wars and events of illness like the Plague, the Great Fire of London, brought about many material and medical inventions & discoveries. The spread of the British Empire and the English Language & computers resulted in widespread knowledge of these discoveries and promoted new means of transport. Similarly, the Spanish & Roman Empires brought about trade & exchange of cultures and ideas. From India we received the greatest gift of Buddhism. Also, most of the inventors revel in their creativity with absolutely no greed.

    The Greed factor is due to insecurity of poverty, or wanting to prove oneself to society “I have arrived”, or the excitement of chasing a dream. But, if a Philanthropist offers a reward of One Million Rupees for the best idea on how to cool a building in Sri Lanka using Solar Power, then there may be lots of competitors !

    We of Lanka are products of many world events. So maybe we will always have a mix of various events pushing us to perform.

    In letting go the Teachings of the Great Teachers, Buddha & Jesus, we will have to let go our Value System. What can take its place ?

  9. Ben_silva Says:

    I never said meditation is bad. I fully recommend meditation and compassion. My main point is have clear objectives to win and survive. Aiming for extinction (ie Nirvana) should not be the main aim, when everyone else want to maximise achievement. If we want to survive in the world, we have to be prepared to fight and defend ourselves. If not we end up like Nalanda Buddhists or Native Americans, wiped out by competitors.

  10. Andare Says:

    I see a very lively discussion going on so here is my two cents worth. Creativity is it’s own reward. Those who have experienced the moment of creativity know that there is such a joy in creating. If Sri Lanka can create the right environment then the creativity will happen. Like in the film the “Field of dreams” when the grounds are ready they will come. We should have national competitions for ideas necessary to improve life in Sri Lanka. In the Ancient Sri Lanka when Buddhism and the Sinhalese flourished creativity was at its peak. The Buddhism did not discourage creativity. It actually enhanced the creativity as can be seen even today in the ancient ruins, paintings and the writings in the Mahavamsa etc., Even in India during King Asoka’s time the civilization flourished. We need to bring back the real Buddhism, not the rituals which pass for Buddhism today. The priests are content to get a Benz car and then chant slokas. Instead they should be actively involved in society.

    Regarding Nirvana it is a state of being, of high awareness and stillness. Buddha who had achieved Nirvana state, was always full of joy, compassion and action. He was asked why he was so joyous by King Kosala and he said he and his followers were experiencing a Transcendent joy which is not through the senses. (See “What the Buddha taught by Dr. Walpola Rahula”). In Nirvana like in Transcendental meditation we tap the very source of all ideas and creativity. Buddha has described Nirvana in this book.

    The inferiority complex among the Asians has been created by clever marketing of the Western life style by their media which has been swallowed hook, line and sinker by our people. It is only those who have lived in the West who see the realities of the Western life style and how hollow it is for the people. The symptoms of the lie they are living are now becoming evident in the form of drug abuse, high divorce rates, gun cultures, fraud at the highest levels leadership in the countries, low morality and lack of ethics and values, etc.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    Addressing Mr Ben Silva’s concerns on the issue of “win & survive”: Our Ministry of Education should lay emphasis on a Science education for our children. An Arts Degree is suitable for the talented in those fields. Usually, an ordinary Arts Degree is not a practical approach to getting a job or be creative to the needs of our people. Even a good ‘A’ Level Science education is better than an ordinary University Degree in the Arts. No offence meant here – just that the market forces demand it.

    A Science education will help our people to think logically, and less emotionally about the problems that beset our country.

    Armed with a Science education, students could look to solving problems using local material. We will be better equipped to handle the environmental problems, engineering problems, food, shelter & clothing problems, cooling of buildings, transport etc. In this manner, we will be not be harassed by external forces and we will be competitive in the modern world. We will be self sufficient in our needs and not have to depend on external forces to prop us up.

    I agree with “Andare” that various National Competitions should be held to solve local problems.

    An attitude of Patriotism is a must from every citizen of Sri Lanka.

    We must learn to make the best of every problem we are presented with, and grow united as a Nation.

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