Author Archive for R Chandrasoma

Ranil’s  Hobby-Horses

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

R Chandrasoma While hammering away at a few overworked themes is a cardinal feature of the ‘discourses’ of politicians in general, it is surely a sign of intellectual vapidity when a political leader acts like a ‘repeating groove’ in an old-fashioned phonograph. Let’s take some of his (RW’s) favourite themes that are repeated ‘ad nauseam’ […]

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Mind-Set of a Kalu-Suddha

Monday, October 30th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In the Late Colonial Period, that cultural variant known popularly (and graphically) as a ‘Kalusuddha’ dominated society and was accepted as the ‘avatar’ of future cultural greatness. When Sir Oliver Gunatillaka spoke famously on the future Sri Lanka as ‘a little bit of England’ he was the archetypal Kalusuddha. It was widely believed […]

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The Most Intolerant Wins: The Dominance of the Stubborn Minority

Wednesday, October 18th, 2017

R Chandrasoma ‘It suffices for an intransigent minority –a certain type of intransigent minorities – to reach a minutely small level, say three or four percent of the total population, for the entire population to have to submit to their preferences. Further, an optical illusion comes with the dominance of the minority: a naive observer […]

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The  Broken World  –  Buddhism and Existentialism.

Thursday, October 5th, 2017

R Chandrasoma Koswatte  Nawala  The renowned existentialist philosopher Gabriel Marcel used the memorable phrase ‘The Broken World’  to denote what he believed to be the cause of the ‘existential parlousness’  of mankind – the unremitting denial (or defeat) of  the  ‘ontological exigencies’ that irrevocably characterize his condition. Let us unpack the thinking behind this unsettling […]

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Strange Bedfellows – The Joy of the JVP and the Hurrah of the UNP

Saturday, September 16th, 2017

R Chandrasoma There is a long history of the Joy experienced by the elect on seeing the defeated ‘sinners’ being punished.  In the Holy Book of the Christians it is stated – Therefore the elect shall go forth…to see the torments of the impious, seeing which they will not be grieved, but will be satiated […]

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THE New Buddhism and its Eschatological Focus

Thursday, August 24th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In the exegesis of religion, the term eschatology refers to concepts and anticipations of things ‘post mortem’ – such as the immortality of the ‘soul’, rebirth, resurrection, metempsychosis etc. In most religions, the greater life lies in that which follows the extinction of this life and our current existence is thought to be […]

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WATER – The Existential Challenge.

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

R Chandrasoma It is pardonable to suppose that biggest existential threat to the peoples of this ancient Island comes from bungled politics and the incohesive social dynamic that is thereby entailed. While one must not underestimate the strength of these disruptive forces, there is a far more formidable threat that is hardly noticed by our […]

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Ranil Wickramasinghe’s ‘Pie in the Sky’ Economics

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

R Chandrasoma According to the wide-eyed prognostication of Mr Ranil Wickramasinghe, we in Sri Lanka are in a most fortunate position to secure that economic take-off that politicians of all stripes had dreamed of in Post-Independence Sri Lanka. His starting premise is that the ‘Centre of Gravity’ of global commerce and economic activity will shift […]

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The Pot calling the kettle black. A political simile

Sunday, July 16th, 2017

R Chandrasoma  The visiting United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Counter Terrorism – Ben Emmerson – is mightily aggrieved that Sri Lanka has been slack and legally incompetent in dealing with supposed cases of abuse arising out of the military action against the murderous Tamil Terrorists of Northern Sri Lanka. The issue which […]

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Free Trade and Open Markets have worsened the plight of the poor.

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

R Chandrasoma As part of the prevailing capitalist philosophy, the notion of nations trading freely in goods and services is seen as the panacea for all the economic ills that beset mankind. If we look around the world, do we not see a marked increase in material prosperity at all social levels in most countries […]

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Psychology trumps Politics in the Sri Lankan Electoral Process

Monday, June 19th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In Sri Lanka, the political behaviour of voters is largely governed by concerns rooted in their social identity. The latter – that which we call social identity – is a mind-set that is in place long before the challenge of political choice. This observation may seem counter-intuitive in the sense that the very […]

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Darwinian Fitness of the Tamils

Monday, June 5th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In Biological discourse, fitness is measured by the ability to overcome challenges and to expand into habitats heretofore unoccupied. This ‘Darwinian Fitness’ has little to do with intrinsic worth or elegance of organization. As an example, the Norway Rat has a world-wide distribution bespeaking its extraordinary Darwinian Fitness. In contrast, the Giant Panda […]

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Feasibility of Religious Cohabitation in Sri Lanka.

Sunday, May 28th, 2017

R Chandrasoma Issues relating to the desirability of things must not be confused with those concerned with their feasibility.  In the democratic pursuit of the ideal states of human well-being much is longed for but little attained. The Latin tag ‘Facile dictu, difficle factu’ is a pithy statement of this sad fact. The popular consensus […]

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Modi’s  Bonhomie and the New Machiavellian Twist in Indian Diplomacy

Saturday, May 20th, 2017

R Chandrasoma The accomplishment of strategic aims can – at times – be achieved by suavity and charm when a direct and blunt approach would make the opposition bristle in fear and anger. Let us take the overarching or grand strategy of Modi and the Indians in dealing with their historic neighbor Sri Lanka. There […]

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Education as Embodied Cognition

Saturday, May 13th, 2017

R Chandrasoma It is traditionally supposed that learning – education in its broadest sense – is an activity of the Mind and that the body is a mere appurtenance that works in the service of the mind. Indeed, the  traditional view is that the corporeal must be subdued for the ‘unleashing’ of the mental.  In […]

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Hegemony through Destabilization – the New Indian Political Strategy

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

R Chandrasoma Large and powerful countries live in fear of neighbours  – not because the latter pose a serious threat to their stability and dominance in military terms  but because of an atavistic fear that distant World Powers that do pose a challenge may enlist the support of the weak neighbours  to overthrow the local […]

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On Africans and Dravidians

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

R Chandrasoma The concept of ‘race’ has had a troubled history since both ethnographers and geneticists have difficulty in giving an objective definition of the supposed basic divisions of mankind. Certain human groups have clear-cut physical features that make their separation objective and socially acceptable. Thus the ‘mongoloid facies’ is very distinctive with such things […]

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Unhealthy fantasies of a Minister of Health

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In this prodigious (and Buddhist) country the Minister of Health is in an unhealthy state of un-supressed agitation when lambasting those he sees as enemies of the anointed government of which he is part – a government that (supposedly) ushered in the Age of Decency and Righteous Governance. It is known to science […]

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The Clarion-call for Unity while doing the damnedest to promote disunity

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

R Chandrasoma An extraordinary feature of the system of governance of the current ‘yahpalanaya’ leadership is the stark contradiction between word and deed. The word ‘Yaha’ signifies bondage or concordence – a declaration that the system of governance envisaged will be based on consensus. If this is truly the case, one would expect the Rulers […]

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Romanticizing the Past as a form of Political Deceit

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

R Chandrasoma It is a weakness of the system of memory-recall in humans that the good things that happened to us remain vivid in our memory while the misfortunes and travail that dogged our life tend to be pushed into oblivion. Nobody gets any joy in recalling an unpleasant past. Historians show the same weakness […]

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Infections of the Mind – Lies that work

Monday, March 20th, 2017

R Chandrasoma It is commonly assumed that a factual statement or a proposition of some importance is deemed true or authentic only if there is proof of its validity. In other words, a proposition – if acceptable – must rest on sound evidence. In the world of politics this wisdom is rarely seen. To be […]

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An Ancient Island in Dire Peril

Monday, March 13th, 2017

R Chandrasoma Ancient Sri Lanka paid heavily for its misfortune in being very close to that politico-geographic behemoth called India. Indeed, the history of our land is – broadly speaking – coterminous with our encounters with our dangerous neighbour. The fact that we are – to some degree – plagiarists in matters of culture and […]

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Optimal versus Stable strategies in the politics of devolution

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

R Chandrasoma In the study of the dynamics of complex systems a distinction is made between outcomes that are ‘optimal’ and those that are ‘stable’. The ‘optimal state’ is that which is most rewarding for all parties concerned. Unfortunately in many realistic situations, optimal states are unstable as they are vulnerable to ‘attacks’ from competing […]

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Buddhism and Transhumanism

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2017

R Chandrasoma According to some versions of Buddhist apocrypha, the condition of our species – mankind – varied tremendously across vast ages. We live in an age of decadence and finitude wherein life is short and mankind is inexorably menaced by pain and death. Under these conditions, The Compassionate Buddhas bearing a salvific message appear […]

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Schooling of the Young – Assessment of Costs and Benefits

Friday, February 10th, 2017

R Chandrasoma  Professor Susan Engel is a development psychologist and School Director in the USA. Writing in the Huffington Post she has this to say about schooling in her country.  Far too many children in this country spend their energy warding off the tedium, frustration and constriction of school. At worst, they end up dropping […]

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Troubled Future for our Species.

Wednesday, February 1st, 2017

R Chandrasoma Since his emergence as a semi-civilized species many thousands of years ago, the threats to human survival have been both severe and sustained. Throughout the ages Famine, Disease and War kept populations dynamically stable and environmental degradation was kept within sustainable limits. This ‘fortunate’ state of affairs no longer holds – for two […]

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Can the Science of the West be ignored in contemporary Buddhist thinking?

Thursday, January 19th, 2017

R Chandrasoma This question is asked because the expositions and exegeses of learned Buddhists – chiefly the Bikkshus – are time-shifted in the illustrative paradigms employed to bring out a religious truth. Thus India at the time of a great spiritual efflorescence about two and a half thousand years ago is the favoured background for […]

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The Worth of a Referendum  – Slow and Fast Thinking.

Monday, January 2nd, 2017

R Chandrasoma The Nobel-Prize winning psychologist Kahneman has identified two kinds of thinking as basic to knowledge-acquisition and decision-making – the Slow and tthe Fast.  Slow thinking is rational and tortuous – it involves cognitive operations that depend on a close survey of facts and logic that is  not easy to come by. In contrast […]

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Hysteria, Morals and Politics

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

R Chandrasoma Let us begin with a few words about Hysteria. This a conditon of trance or transient behavioural aberration induced by powerful external stimuli such as a deep rhythmic drumbeat with plaintive or emotional singing to a large and frenzied audience. Under these circumstance some young wome lose all sense f propriety and behave […]

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Is Patriotism the last refuge of the Scoundrel?

Sunday, December 6th, 2015

R Chandrasoma In an impassioned address to Parliament recently the President MS concluded his speech by quoting the words of that illustrious statesman Jawaharlal Nehru – that ‘Politics is the last refuge of the Scoundrel’. It was Samuel Johnson who first made this quip to his famous buddy Boswell and it  was said facetiously. Whether […]

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