13 June 2011/ by Nirmalan Dhas
In General, The imposition of this leadership training program or any training program on the human community – with the exception of programs that train people to resist programming – is likely to interfere with the free evolutionary development of human being and therefore deserves to be resisted.
The education system has been a law unto itself in this respect, deciding what mental content and value systems the human species would be permitted to internalize, integrate and live by.
The concept of tolerance for alternatives and the creation of spaces for their emergence, consolidation and development has never been given serious consideration by the education system which has and continues for the most part to view such alternatives with fear and responded to them by doing its best to crush them.
The universities are now finding themselves at the receiving end of what they have consistently dished out to the human species for so long. I hope that this will be a learning experience for the education system and that it will lead to fundamental changes in this system which will be based on tolerance and the recognition and protection of alternative systems of learning, alternative mental content and values.
01. Crying out aloud at the ministries imposition of this training program rings hollow when those cries emanate from a system that has arbitrarily imposed its values and content on the human species leading to the current context where the human species is rapidly moving towards its own destruction precisely because of the content and values that have been imposed upon it by this education system that now cries out against such impositions.
The imposition of content and values is something that must be resisted but the education system cannot expect help from its own victims unless it is willing to engage in a serious effort to change its own ways. I see nothing of such a willingness expressed in this article.
Is the education system willing to enter into a dialogue aimed at changing its own autocratic and oppressive ways that are leading the human species towards its own destruction?
I would like to have a clear and unambiguous answer to that from those who have signed this document in order to decide whether their cause has any more merit than that of those who seek to impose this leadership training program upon the youth.
02 & 03 As far as I am concerned the accepted procedures referred to here are as oppressive as the imposition of this program and it is therefore a fight between pot and kettle as to who is black. Can either one of them explain why people should support one above the other?
04. What is being said here is essentially that leadership programs are acceptable as long as their content and values are determined by the education system and not by the Minister.
The dragging in of the concept of personality development only confuses the issue as personality development has nothing to do with leadership and in fact personality development is seriously hindered by leadership and the authoritarian tendencies and intolerance which are inherent to it.
Personality development also carries with it certain clinical connotations that are being widely used to marginalize certain perspectives and this is a weapon that going by its history the education system would love to wield.
All I see here is an attempt by the education system to preserve its hegemony over the definition, experience and expression of human being, which is to say what it is to be human.
05. Military training is founded upon physical regimentation and the training of reflexes – mostly functions of what can be called the animal and reptilian parts of our mental heritage. University training is funded upon the regimentation of ones mental content, perceptual parameters and values. One is in no way better or preferable to the other and in fact the two are complementary and have the same objective which is the limitation of the experience of what it is to be human and the extent to which human potential for evolutionary growth may be realized.
6. I have no idea how much “higher” the “seats” of learning to be found at universities are and what they are higher than. The very concept of a “seat” indicates a static state which totally contradicts the dynamic cosmic context we are generated by. I suspect that a considerable amount of energy is expended by universities to preserve the highness and heaviness of these seats and the heavy handed “learning” that sits upon them.
These high seats of the universities have indeed contributed greatly to what is going on and are directly responsible for leading the human species towards its own destruction.
7. The people who are responsible for challenging these fundamental rights are all products of the education system. The challenges that they mount against these rights arise from the values that they have integrated from the education system. Values are not necessarily communicated through text books and lectures. They are most often communicated through the way people live their lives and in this case especially those who occupy these high seats of heavy learning. I know for a fact that it is these people who occupy these high and heavy seats of learning who have created a generation of intolerant people by themselves leading intolerant lives.
The education system in Sri Lanka is one of the most violently intolerant ones I have ever encountered and not at all surprisingly it has generated a human community that values violent authoritarianism over tolerance.
8. Ragging is the outcome of the benevolence with which these high seats of learning encouraged the practice instead of engaging and transforming it. Thus leadership training will lead to a violent confrontation with raggers and then to forms of initiatory violence of its own which will be far worse than anything encountered in the form of ragging.
9. Discipline and self confidence will translate into a policy of violence against all opposition as it has always done and will continue to do. This is a poisonous seed of fascism and the high seats of learning that prepared the field for its reception are now becoming its first victims.
10. This is the kind of fundamentalism that is generated by discipline and self confidence
11. This is just an attempt on the part of the education system to preserve its hegemony over the experience and parameters of what it can be to be human and to determine and control the extent to which human potential may be realized.
This is not a project worth supporting.
Alternative systems of education
What will be worth supporting as far as I am concerned is the generation of alternative systems of education where there are no higher and lower seats and where there are no teachers and students but a common inquiry by interested persons into what is going on and what we may do within it all.
It is the identification, support and facilitation of the emergence of such alternatives that is required to respond to the emerging context and this is something that should and could have been done long ago instead of being pre occupied with the highness of seats and their occupation.
If this had been done we would have been spared the wars and the murders, the violence and the tortures, and the disappearances and destruction we have gone through. It is not too late to go beyond futile appeals to ministers to the patient and dedicated work that is required to find and nurture the seeds of change that can engage the growing authoritarian intolerance and generate a more creative context that will be a most effective response to discipline and self confidence and all the various types of fundamentalism – religious, cultural or ideological – that it generates.