Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Whatever may be said, who ever may say it - to
determine the truth of it, is wisdom - Thirukural

Reflections 2000 : Chinthanaigal

Reflection by Jayalakshmi Satyendra

Saturday, 30 December 2000

"Intelligence is just an openness of being - capacity to see without prejudice, capacity to listen without interference, capacity to be with things without any prior ideas about them - that's what intelligence is. Intelligence is an openness of being.

That is why it is so utterly different from intellectuality. Intellectuality is just the opposite of intelligence. The intellectual person is constantly carrying prejudices, information, beliefs, knowledge. He cannot listen; before you have said anything he has already concluded. Whatsover you say has to pass through so many thoughts in his mind that by the time it reaches him it is something totally different. Great distortion happens in him, and he is very closed, almost blind and deaf.........." - Osho

Saturday, 23 December 2000

"...One of life's great temptations is to yield to the popular side of an issue. When confronted with the prospect of standing firm and holding fast to a conviction at the cost of security, it is a temptation to compromise and to rationalise. Under pressure we often conclude that the cost is too great and the results too meagre to warrant the sacrifice. Indeed, it is often reasoned that the popular side is the winning side and that to follow the unpopular road of our inner convictions might place us on the losing side. The great Leaders of the world have always been true to themselves and have had the courage of their convictions... The challenge for us is not which side will win but how great a price are we willing to pay for our convictions? - Paul S McElroy

Saturday, 16 December 2000

"...All change involves risk, and many people commit only if they have confidence in those advocating the change. (Who ever the) advocates, ... their credibility and perceived integrity are inseparable from the credibility of their change aspirations. If leaders are not perceived as walking the talk, this will limit people's willingness to commit to any initiatives. Trust and shared responsibility built in difficult times carry over into the future. Strategies for walking the talk include: 1) develop aims and values that are credible; 2) build credibility by demonstration, not by articulation; 3) work with partners who help you see how your behaviour may communicate unintended messages; and 4) develop patience under pressure..." (Peter Senge - Author of  The Fifth Discipline : The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization)

"...Excellence demands the pursuit of seemingly unattainable goals. Those teachers and schools that truly succeed are those which inspire their students to move beyond the expectation of conventional wisdom..." (James D Watson, co-discoverer DNA)

Saturday, 9 December 2000

"....At the start of the 20th century there were roughly eight military casualties of war for every civilian one; at the start of the 21st century the ratio has been almost exactly reversed, so that eight civilians die for every soldier. In the most recent conflict in Palestine the ratio is at least twenty to one. In Iraq it can be counted in the thousands to one - and still counting. The Kosovo bombing was unique not because it was styled 'humanitarian' but because it was the first-ever major conflict with no military casualties at all on the winning side - absolute impunity made manifest, and a truly terrifying prospect.

Associated with this is a profound change in the nature of warfare. For the most part it's no longer fought between nation states and standing armies but within them, or between groups that straddle national borders. This, in turn, has made soldiers, police officers, private-security thugs and criminal hoodlums harder to tell apart. Their motives have changed, too. Where once military strategists set out to win 'hearts and minds', fear now rules the roost on its own... (David Ransom in the New Internationalist, December 2000)

Saturday, 2 December 2000

"... Excellence flows from many sources - a freedom of spirit that is often to both the old and the new, an attention to detail that shows respect for the often subtle and complex nature of the World, a willingness to learn and try again, a deep unease with things that are not right or which don't make sense, a capacity for introspection that leads to intellectual honesty with oneself and the World. Perhaps most important, true excellence is never tainted by incivility or arrogance towards others..." (Russell Hulse, 1993 Nobel Prize Winner in Physics)

Saturday, 25 November 2000

"...On the 14th of March, 1993, the people of Andorra, perched high in the Pyrenees between France and Spain and numbering 47,000, overwhelmingly passed a referendum granting themselves sovereignty. Now the new country of Andorra - about one-tenth the size of Delaware - can have its own international dialing code, Olympic team, stamps, currency, and a seat at the U.N. (which it got in July 1993, to become the 184th member). But didn't this assertion of independence occur at a time when European countries were marching toward greater union? ...

Actually, Andorra is much more in the direction the world is going than European union.... 

The world's trends point overwhelmingly towards political independence and self rule on the one hand and the formation of economic alliances on the other... 

The desire for balance between the tribal and the universal has always been with us. Now, democracy and the revolution in telecommunications (which spreads word about democracy and gives it urgency) have brought this need for balance between tribal and universal to a new level.... The tribes have returned. And the anguished drama of their return is most pronounced where they were repressed the most brutally. Democracy greatly magnifies and multiplies the assertiveness of tribes; repression does the reverse. Indeed, it could be argued that separate states are necessary if democracy is to flourish... The bonding commonality of human beings is our distinctiveness..." (John Naisbitt in Global Paradox - The Bigger the World Economy, the More Powerful Its Smallest Players, Published by Allen & Unwin, 1994)

Saturday, 18 November 2000

"...In 1997 the United States and Canada accounted for around 80 percent of total web user population. By 1999, the proportion of web users in the U.S. and Canada had dropped to 55 percent. It is close to guaranteed that the Web will achieve a 50/50 split between North America and overseas in 2000. The only question is whether this will happen early or late in the year. It is likely that the picture will have been reversed by 2005, with about 80 percent of users overseas and only about 20 percent of users in North America. Around 2010, I expect the Web to reach a billion users, distributed with about 200 million in North America, 200 million in Europe, 500 million in Asia, and 100 million in the rest of the world..." (Jakob Nielson - Designing Web Usability, New Riders Publishing, December 1999)

"...It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching..." (St Francis of Assisi)

Saturday, 11 November 2000

"...Yes, everyone agrees that leaders need vision, energy, authority, and strategic direction. That goes without saying. But we've discovered that inspirational leaders also share four unexpected qualities:

- They selectively show their weaknesses. By exposing some vulnerability, they reveal their approachability and humanity.

- They rely heavily on intuition to gauge the appropriate timing and course of their actions. Their ability to collect and interpret soft data helps them know just when and how to act.

- They manage employees with something we call tough empathy. Inspirational leaders empathise passionately - and realistically - with people, and they care intensely about the work employees do.

- They reveal their differences. They capitalise on what's unique about themselves. 

You may find yourself in a top position without these qualities, but few people will want to be led by you..." (Robert Gofee & Gareth Jones)

Saturday, 4 November 2000

"....An armed resistance movement takes shape in the womb of oppression. Its seeds are to be found in the eternal quest for equality and freedom. But, though born of natural parents it is at birth illegitimate - because it breaches the existing legal frame, and seeks to supplant it. And that simple fact has much to do with its subsequent development and growth. 

An armed resistance movement acquires legitimacy and becomes 'lawful' through its growth and success - not simply because the ends it seeks to achieve are just. 

 'Deniability' may enable it to engage in actions that are considered necessary to secure its continued growth and success - and in this way, secure eventual recognition, legitimacy and legality. 

The metamorphosis from 'unlawful' to 'lawful' is gradual (and many layered) and is related not only to the justice of the ends it seeks to achieve and the legality of the means it employs but also to the extent to which a guerrilla movement is able to secure and maintain permanent control of territory. It is not a case of 'one or the other' but a case of all three....

....In the end, a guerrilla movement derives its strength from the people whose cause it represents - and it will need to place its trust on the wisdom of that people. Indeed, if it is to succeed, it has no other option. If it seeks blind support, it may end up only with blind supporters. Unless the actions taken by the guerrilla movement are seen to be patently just, public support for the guerrilla movement may erode and the 'desire of waverers' to cross over to the enemy may increase. And the enemy will spare no effort to promote this movement - and in this way nurture 'factions'..." (Nadesan Satyendra in When Pirabaharan Triumphs, 22 October 1998)

''....Nobody involved in this war, in fighting it or in trying to stop it, was born yesterday. What matters most in any agreement, is territory, what matters secondly is international legitimacy, what matters thirdly are constitutional arrangements and what matters least are human rights provisions...' (Martin Woollacott  writing on the conflict in Bosnia in the Guardian, September 1993)

Saturday, 28 October 2000

"...The problem with the future is not that it is unknowable. The problem with the future is that it is different. If you are unable to think differently, the future will always arrive as a surprise. You know that old bumper sticker, 'Question Authority'? Well, the authority you most need to question is the authority of your own long held beliefs. This isn't about pricking someone else's conventions. We are all reassured when the World conforms to our prejudices. But confirmation of what you already believe is a complete waste of time. You must look for disconfirming evidence, for things that don't fit, for things that are ajar. This is hard, because it forces you to write off your depreciating intellectual capital - you must admit not only that you do 'not know' many things but that you 'wrongly know' many things...." (*Gary Hamel in Leadership of the Revolution, Harvard Business School Press, August 2000

"...The most important expression of excellence is excellence in choosing the actions in which to excel..." (Alvin & Heidi Toffler)

"....I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity, for I know that God is neither in heaven, nor down below, but in everyone..." (Mahatma Gandhi)

Saturday, 21 October 2000

"...We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community..." (Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam, Maha Veera Naal Address - November 1993)

"European Union poll monitors said the results of Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections reflected the voters' mandate, although the polls were marred by violence, fraud and intimidation. John Cushnahan, head of the European Union mission told reporters here: "There had been problems but it would have been  good if it were not so. The results reasonably reflect the political will of the people," he told a news conference. (AFP Report 12 October 2000) [see also Report by Centre for Monitoring Election Violence, 14 October 2000 and Democracy, Sri Lanka Style]

Saturday, 14 October 2000

"We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality... It is really a puzzle what drives one to take ones work so devilishly seriously. For whom? For oneself? - one soon leaves, after all. For one's contemporaries? For posterity? No, it remains a puzzle." (Albert Einstein)

"The only thing that separates any one of us from excellence is fear, and the opposite of fear is faith. I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for, perfection is Gods business." (Michael J. Fox)

Saturday, 7 October 2000

"....While accepting that uncontrolled emotion can be a source of irrational behaviour... reduction in emotionality may constitute an equally important source of irrational behaviour, as the data from prefrontal damage illustrate ...emotion is an integral part of what we call cognition. If there is an impairment in emotion, there is no rationality...

...What then was Descartes' error? His oft-quoted 'cogito ergo sum' suggests that thinking and the awareness of thinking are the real substrates of being. Descartes considered thinking to be an activity quite separate from the body. Thus his statement, 'I think, therefore I am' emphasises the separation of mind, the thinking thing (res cogitans), from the non-thinking part, which has extension and mechanical parts (res extensa). This separation of the operation of mind from the structure and operation of the biological organism is, in fact, the Cartesian error..." (S. Anandalakshmy in 'Thinking with the Heart - and Pillai Thamizh' - Fifth National Lecture in Child Development, Lady Irwin College, New Delhi, March 1, 1997)

(see also *Antonio R. Damasio - Descartes' Error : Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain ; *Daniel Goleman -  Emotional Intelligence; and *Charles Hampden-Turner - Maps of the Mind)

Saturday, 30 September 2000

"...I think the greatest victory of this period … (was) something internal. The real victory was what this period did to the psyche of the black man. The greatness of this period was that we armed ourselves with dignity and self respect. The greatness of this period was that we straightened our backs up. And a man can't ride your back unless it is bent... (Martin Luther King)

"....The age of the revolution requires revolutionaries. If you act like a ward of your organisation, you'll be one, and both you and your company (organisation) will lose. So if you are still acting like a courtier or a consort, bending to the prejudices of top management, buffing up their outsized egos, fretting about what they want to hear, getting calluses on your knees - stop! You are going to rob yourself and your company (organisation) of a future that's worth having. No excuses. No fear. If you are going to be an activist, these have to be more than T-shirt slogans..." (*Gary Hamel in Leadership of the Revolution, Harvard Business School Press, August 2000

Saturday, 23 September 2000

"...A middle aged woman who takes on the Marcos Oligarchy in the Philippines. An African-American woman who refuses to sit in the back of the bus. A group of mothers who press lawmakers to stiffen drunk-driving penalties. A 12 year old kid who founds an environmentalist group that ultimately attracts 25,000 members. A Czech poet who stands up to totalitarianism. These are the people who changed the World. And you can't change your own Company (Organisation)? Give me a break..." (*Gary Hamel in Leadership of the Revolution, Harvard Business School Press, August 2000)   

"...We will never have peace in the World until men everywhere recognise that ends are not cut off from means, because the means represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process. Ultimately you can't reach good ends through evil means, because the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree". (Martin Luther King)

Saturday, 16 September 2000

"...Throughout my life I have held in high regard all those who joined internal resistance movements during the Second World War and defied Nazi power. I have always asked myself: were I confronted with the same situation, would I be able to do what they did - to risk my life every day for the values I believe in.

To me, resistance fighters have always personified the highest standards of moral strength, courage, and fidelity to oneself, standards that have offered to me a permanent challenge.... They were well aware what they were risking, but chose to go into battle, all the same, being deeply convinced that evil had to be combated from the very beginning, regardless of the odds against immediate success.

It does not take much effort to arrive at the philosophic conviction that resistance to evil is never pointless. But it is not so easy to risk one's own life for that conviction and not to back down even in the face of death; in most cases, only a minority are able to take that course...

Resistance fighters were first and foremost bearers of light, founding fathers and mothers of a better future. To me personally, their endeavour serves as proof that the roots of a free, democratic, and equitable society lie deep in the sphere of morality - that such a society would in fact be unthinkable without a moral anchor.   I would  even go so far as to say that, if someone is prepared to risk his or her life in a fight whose outcome cannot he foreseen, to risk it not for his or her own sake but for the benefit that such an action may possibly bring to posterity, to humankind and human values as such, this decision emanates not from morality as mere human decency, but from morality as a metaphysical phenomenon..."  *(Vaclaw Havel, Founder Father of Charter 77 and President of the Czech Republic in The Art of the Impossible : Politics As Morality in Practice Speeches and Writings, 1990-1996)

- quote contributed by S.Sivakolunthu, Singapore

Saturday, 9 September 2000

"...Activists are the coolest people on the planet. They change big, complicated things with their bare hearts. They punch more than their weight And when they fail, they fail nobly. To be an activist you need more than an agenda and a clever campaign. You need a set of values that will set you apart from the courtiers and the wannabes.

Honesty: Activists are truth tellers. They are authentic. They don't sacrifice their integrity for personal political gain. Their views cannot be bought and sold in the marketplace for perks and prestige. They speak the "unspeakables"

Compassion: Activists love the entire community. They are not interested in securing narrow sectarian advantage. Their goal is to create as big a legacy as possible for as many as possible.

Humility: Activists are terribly ambitious for their cause, but personally humble. They are arrogant enough to believe they actually can change the world, but they're not glory hogs. Their egos never get in the way of making something happen.

Pragmatism: Activists are more interested in action than in rhetoric They're not searching for Utopia; they're trying to make stuff happen right here, right now. They prefer real progress to grand gestures.

Fearlessness: Activists are courageous. Their passion for their cause regularly overrides their sense of self-protection. They don't jump on land mines for the hell of it but neither are they afraid to do battle with the defenders of the status quo..."

(*Gary Hamel in Leadership of the Revolution, Harvard Business School Press, August 2000)   

Saturday, 2 September 2000

"...When it became necessary to develop a new perception of things, a new internal model of reality, the problem is never to get new ideas in, the problem is to get the old ideas out. Every mind is filled with old furniture. It is familiar. It is comfortable. We hate to throw it out. The old maxim so often applies to the physical world, "Nature abhors a Vacuum" is much more applicable to the mental world. Clear any room in your mind of old perspectives, and new perspectives will rush in. Yet, there is nothing we fear more..." *(Dee Hock, founder & CEO, VISA in 'Birth of the Chaordic Age')

"...There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more pendulous to conduct or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things..." (Machiavelli)

Saturday, 26 August 2000

"...Order is system and arrangement. Order is also 'first things first'. It is priorities (some things are more important than others). It is seasons (some things are more important now; some will be more important later). It is deferred gratification (some things need to be done now so that other things can be done later). It is preparation (some things need to be done ahead of other things). And it is position (some things, such as money, are servants and not masters)..."  (Roger & Rebecca Merrill)

"...We can smile, breathe, walk, and eat our meals in a way that allows us to be in touch with the abundance of happiness that is available. We are very good at preparing to live, but not very good at living. We know how to sacrifice ten years for a diploma, and we are willing to work very hard to get a job, a car, a house, and so on. But we have difficulty remembering that we are alive in the present moment, the only moment there is for us to be alive. Every breath we take, every step we make, can be filled with peace, joy, and serenity. We need only to be awake, alive in the present moment..."    (Thich Nhat Hanh)

Saturday, 19 August 2000

"We don't perform our best in isolation. We don't get extraordinary things done by working alone, with no support no encouragement, no expressions of confidence, and no help from others. We are often told: "Real leaders don't need love, affection and friendship", "it is not a popularity contest", "I don't care if people like me - I just want them to respect me". Nonsense. At the heart of leadership is a genuine caring for people... leadership is above all a relationship - with credibility as the cornerstone.."   (James M Kouzes and Barry Z Posner)

"..Only he who accepts that the essence or meaning of his life is not material but spiritual can be free... Loving your country and loving your family are good things; however, they can be both a virtue and a vice when they become overwhelming and violate the love for your neighbour..." (Tolstoy)

Saturday, 12 August 2000

"....Exile is not primarily a geographical location, it is a state of mind through which one becomes what one has left behind. In the Tamil case many actually become what they have fled from. Between the extremes of the warrior and the victim the refugee must carry out his 'bricolage', assemble the pieces and carry on. For many this life project takes the form of internalised martyrdom, the fight for Eelam being replaced by a longing for Eelam which grows into a constant part of the personality and becomes a counterweight, the counterweight, to the vicissitudes of exile. What is characteristic of the Tamil exile situation, therefore, is a blurring of 'here' and 'there'; the dismembering of social networks, the re-membering of an imaginary homeland, the attachment of an imagined community to an imagined place. It is that from which they are excluded which makes them not only 'refugees' but ' Tamil refugees'...

...The grand narrative of revolutionary nationalism is adapted, by refugees who accept it, to provide a genesis of the diaspora....'When the atrocities of the Sinhalese terrorists increased, to protect our lives we fled...' This explanation goes beyond scientific history and represents a 'mythico-history'. Not because it is untrue but because the Tamils as a people are here heroised and placed within a more encompassing moral ordering of the world  where relationships and processes are reinterpreted within a dichotomy of good and evil...." (*Ivind Fuglerud, Oivind Fuglerud - Life on the Outside : The Tamil Diaspora and Long-Distance Nationalism)

Saturday, 5 August 2000

"...The idea of hubris - excessive pride or self inflation - has deep roots. The myths and historical accounts of heroes who fell because they reached too high resonate through time. In Greek mythology, someone suffering from hubris aspired to be like the gods, an affront to those deities usually punishable by death. In classical Greek drama, hubris was the hero's fatal flaw..."    (John R O'Neil in * The Paradox of Success : When Winning at Work Means Losing at Life : A Book of Renewal for Leaders, 1994 and **alternate link to Amazon.co.uk)

"...I believe that you can bring your heart to work. Most of us spend most of our time at work. It is the place where we have our greatest daily contact with others, where we expend creative energy, and where we form relationships. For me, the workplace is an incubator for the human spirit. The workplace is where the compulsive search for connection, common purpose and a sense of friendship and neighbourhood can find a special place. It is where a continuous sense of spiritual education can take place, and where self esteem gives us the ability to express ourselves and to continue selflessly to a greater good..." (Anita Roddick, Founder of The Body Shop)

Saturday, 29 July 2000

"...Only as we focus more on contributing than consuming can we create the context that makes peace in all aspects of life possible. It's in leaving a legacy that we find meaning in living, loving and learning..." (Stephen Covey in *First Things First : To Live, to Love, to Learn, to Leave a Legacy )

"Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart … Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside awakens." (Carl Jung)

Saturday, 22 July 2000

"Training the intellect does not result in intelligence. Rather, intelligence comes into being when one acts in perfect harmony, both intellectually and emotionally There is a vast distinction between intellect and intelligence. Intellect is merely thought functioning independently of emotion. When intellect, irrespective of emotion, is trained in any particular direction, one may have great intellect, but one does not have intelligence, because in intelligence there is the inherent capacity to feel as well as to reason; in intelligence both capacities are equally present, intensely and harmoniously.

... if you bring your emotions into business, you say, business cannot be well-managed or be honest. So you divide your mind into compartments: in one compartment you keep your religious interest, in another your emotions, in a third your business interest which has nothing to do with your intellectual and emotional life. Your business mind treats life merely as a means of getting money in order to live. So this chaotic existence, this division of your life continues...  Until you really approach all of life with your intelligence, instead of merely with your intellect, no system in the world will save man from the ceaseless toil for bread..." (Jiddu Krishnamurti in The Book of Life, Daily Meditations - Published by Harper, San Francisco)

"...The rewards of the difficult life of honesty and dedication to the truth are continual growth, effective intimate relationships, and the knowledge that one has served as a source of illumination and clarification to the World.  (M.Scott Peck in the *Road Less Travelled)

Saturday, 15 July 2000

"...we in the Baluch movement have learned something... from the history of the Kurdish struggle. In this regard I refer to what occurred during the period of the Shah. The Shah once said that in his role as the gendarme of the region he had two main weapons for dealing with the revolutionary threat which existed in the region.

First, was direct intervention. This was applied in the case of Oman in 1973, and also in the case of Baluchistan when the Shah provided armaments and military finance for the Pakistani state's repression in the area.

The second weapon was internal subversion of the national liberation movements among the various nationalities. This method was applied in Kurdistan. The goal, of course, was to allow the national movement to grow in a particular direction in order to defeat it. The case of Kurdistan was classic. The Shah said openly that the Kurdistan operation was relatively cheap for him. With 30 million dollars the job was done. He simply supported Kurdistan in order to destroy it. Such a possibility always exists in Baluchistan..." (Murad Khan, Baluchistan People's Liberation Front, speaking to Raymond Noat - quoted in Can Pakistan Survive? by Tariq Ali, Pelican Books 1983)

"...The (US) President, Dr. Kissinger and the Foreign head of state (the Shah) hoped our clients (the Kurds) would not prevail. They preferred instead that the insurgents (the Kurds) simply continue a level of hostilities sufficient to sap the resources of our ally's neighbouring country (Iraq). This policy was not imparted to our clients (the Kurds) who were encouraged to continue fighting. Even in the context of covert action, ours was a cynical enterprise..." (US Congress Select Committee on Intelligence chaired by Otis Pike, 1 November 1975)

Saturday, 8 July 2000

"...Some mistakenly believe that leadership is only about creating change. Leaders do indeed drive change, yet in a world changing at warp speed, societies still feel they are missing leadership. The disconnect is that inspiration is also central to leadership. We are not missing change; we are missing inspiration, which provides the meaning of change...

...Metaphors for leadership are changing, from 'General' to 'Coach', from 'Charismatic Boss' to 'Orchestra Conductor'. ... leaders are trying not only to play the musical notes correctly, they are trying to create music that fills the room. In the fields of music and art and at the highest level of team sports, everyone can sense the difference between participation with energy and passion and just participation.

To be effective, .... leaders must now ask themselves, 'How do I tap into that passion?' 'How can I connect with the part of myself and of the other person that actually cares?' 'How can I inspire … them … and me?'..."    * (David S. Pottruck, President and co-CEO of Charles Schwab, in - Clicks and Mortar - Passion Driven Growth in an Internet Driven World)

"...If the other person laughs at you, you can pity him; but if you laugh at him you may never forgive yourself. If the other person injures you, you may forget the injury; but if you injure him you will always remember. In truth the other person is your most sensitive self given another body..." (*Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet)

Saturday, 1 July 2000

"...There is sufficient evidence to prove that in the early centuries of the Christian era the Dravidians helped to form the Sinhalese race... It is difficult to gauge the extent of Tamil blood among the Sinhalese, but there is no doubt that it is considerable. Otherwise it is difficult to explain why the Sinhalese language, not only in its vocabulary but also in its structure shows the influence of Tamils so strongly, and why the Sinhalese caste system is so similar to the caste system of South India..." ( Sinhala Historian, * G.C.Mendis in The Early History of Ceylon, Calcutta, 1946 pp.9-10)

"...on account of the influence of South (Indian) customs and manners, arts and crafts, forms of worship, food and clothing, systems of administration and medicine, and above all through court influence, numerous Dravidian words have been borrowed into the Sinhalese language. Besides such direct borrowings, Sanskrit or Prakrit words have been borrowed through Tamil, and words so borrowed bear the impress of the medium through which they have found their way into Sinhalese." (Sinhala Historian D. E Hettiaratchi in 'Languages of Ceylon: Sinhalese', University of Ceylon History of Ceylon, Vol.I Part I, Colombo 1959. p. 39)

Saturday, 24 June 2000

"... The digital revolution has had far-reaching consequences for almost every aspect of human endeavor in the late 20th century. Its impact is global and increasingly pervasive...

At the same time that these technological advances are occurring, the worldwide Tamil diaspora community has been growing dramatically both in terms of numbers and affluence. A large proportion of them are computer-literate and many have their own home computers.

In recent years there has been a growing awareness among the Tamil diaspora that, in the process of settling abroad and acquiring western education, tastes and lifestyle, they have been steadily losing their Tamil identity as embodied in the very Tamil language, culture, customs and way of life that their grandparents had cherished as dearly as life itself. It has become clearly evident to the Tamil diaspora that each successive generation is becoming more out of touch with its mother culture and mother tongue such that within only a couple of generations diaspora Tamil children are growing up without ever learning to speak or read Tamil language.

Having achieved economic well-being, they are increasingly anxious to reaffirm their Tamil identity. The Internet has become the preferred medium for the Tamil diaspora’s efforts to establish closer links to their mother culture and mother tongue. This is only natural since many expatriate Tamils are computer professionals who are at the forefront of their field. Over the decades they have begun to transform their yearning to propagate Tamil language and culture into an informal worldwide network of mainly expatriate Tamils, sharing a common interest in Tamil culture and literature...." (Patrick Harrigan  in Report to the High Level Committee, Tamil Virtual University, September 1999)

Saturday, 17 June 2000

"...The principles you live by create the world you live in; if   you change the principles you live by, you will change your world. We all want power. We may not want to rule nations or run corporations, but we do want to get results in our lives. We want our children to listen to us; we want our co-workers to work with us rather than against us; we want our friends to respect us. Many will tell you the keys to power reside in forcefulness, negotiation, compulsion, or compromise.

They're wrong! Though these tactics can help you get what you want in the short term, they do not create power that endures. True and lasting power doesn't stem from manoeuvres or tactics, negotiation or intimidation. It is at once more subtle and more complex than that. The key to power is something we all know and recognise. It is honour. That's right! Honour is power! When others honour you, you have sustained, long-term influence with them. This is the Power Principle...

Principle centred power is the type of power possessed by Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela; power that inspires loyalty and devotion and that transcends time and place. It is based on trust and respect and survives long after the death of the one possessing it.... To change the world, we must start with ourselves. Gandhi challenged us to become the change we seek in the world..." (*Blaine Lee on The Power Principle : Influence With Honor )

Saturday, 10 June 2000

"A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed...For every entry in the encyclopedia, there is now a Web site. For any idea you can imagine - and some you can't -  there are thousands of articles and images electronically swirling around the globe. But that's not the real story. That's not the big news. The word that's going around, the word that's finally getting out, is something much larger, far more fundamental. The word that's passing like a spark from keyboard to screen, from heart to mind, is the permission we're giving ourselves and each other: to be human and to speak as humans..." (The Cluetrain Manifesto - Published February 2000)

Saturday, 3 June 2000

".... in most cases the media present news and events in a manner that not only agrees with the views of the powerful, but actually supports their domination.... the maintenance of order is the key idea to be examined in the media...   in earlier times violence and the threat of physical force was used to maintain order. But today control is pursued through very different avenues; most effectively.... through cultural control, or ‘controlling the common sense’.... the dominated are encouraged to see the world as the powerful do, using the various media in this manner is obviously an excellent and efficient means of control...

...In our subjugation we don’t see that our values are in fact not our own, but we are continuously receiving the messages of the powerful and sublimating them to our conscious every time we consume a media product.... (Though, ofcourse) the media world-wide would find it hard to be so collectively manipulative...  it can still maintain order by ‘leading’ rather than ‘ruling’... (It) is hegemonic not so much to the extent that it is able to impose a uniform conception of the world on the rest of society, but to the extent that it can articulate different visions of the world in such a way that their potential antagonism is neutralised... " (The Media, Framing, and the Internet: Dominant Ideologies Persist, John Harrington)

Saturday, 27 May 2000

"... Sometimes, an important factor in changing the course of an international negotiation may be the introduction of a creative perspective, a new understanding of what may have seemed to be intractable conflict. Such a fresh idea will often provide the kernel of a new question that can be asked of someone who, up until now, has been saying 'no'...

Parties to a conflict tend to get stuck because they have been going back and forth arguing about the past and about the merits of their respective positions. The debate has taken on a stale quality, and new ideas are not being generated. Often, those involved simply see no need for new ideas. They know what they are opposed to. They see their primary concern as having their views prevail. New ideas are a threat to existing ideas. Inventing does not take place because parties are content with the ideas they have. Or emotional involvement on one side of a conflict makes it difficult to achieve the detachment necessary to think of solutions that reconcile the interests of all parties....

Perhaps the most serious constraint on creative thinking in a conflict is the official role of those involved in it. Having authority puts a negotiator in the position where a freely invented option may be mistaken by adversaries as an official position. There is a serious risk that she will be seen, at least personally, as committed to accept an idea that she created or helped to create. Something said in a creative context may later be treated as a concession by other negotiators or by critics at home..

....A final reason for not coming up with better ideas is that most us do not know how - we are untrained in the art of generating fresh ideas.... few of those involved in a conflict ever spend  much time trying to invent better solutions for all concerned. Parties rarely spend time consciously trying to invent original ways of resolving their differences or formulating principles that will appeal to both sides..."(Roger Fisher from Harvard Law School, Andrea Kupfer Schneider from Marquette Law School, Elizabeth Borgwardt from Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and Brian Ganson in Coping with International Conflict, Prentice Hall, 1997)

Saturday, 20 May 2000

''The public habit of judging the relations between states from what appears in the papers (and in the internet - interpolation by tamilnation) adds to the confusion. It must be remembered that in international affairs things are not often what they seem to be. .. A communique which speaks of complete agreement may only mean an agreement to differ. Behind a smokescreen of hostile propaganda diplomatic moves may be taking place indicating a better understanding of each other's position...

(Again) ...Foreign Ministers and diplomats presumably understand the permanent interests of their country... But no one can foresee clearly the effects of even very simple facts as they pertain to the future.

The Rajah of Cochin who in his resentment against the Zamorin permitted the Portuguese to establish a trading station in his territories could not foresee that thereby he had introduced into India something which was to alter the course of history. Nor could the German authorities, who, in their anxiety to create confusion and chaos in Russia, permitted a sealed train to take Lenin and his associates across German territory, have foreseen what forces they were unleashing. To them the necessity of the moment was an utter breakdown of Russian resistance and to send Lenin there seemed a superior act of wisdom...

... Sri Krishna, when he was being requested by Yudhistra to go as a special envoy to the Court of the Kauravas, was asked by Draupadi what his purpose was in undertaking so hopeless a mission. He replied,

'I shall go the Kaurava Court to present your case in the best light; to try and get them to accept your demands, and if my efforts fail and war becomes inevitable we shall show the world how we are right and they are wrong, so that the world may not misjudge between us.'

All the secrets of diplomacy are contained in this statement of Sri Krishna... 'If my persuasion fails', said Krishna, I shall proclaim to the world your innocence and their crime. I shall make the world understand that you are fighting only for your rights'...

There are but few cases in history where both the parties to a conflict do not claim to have been forced into a defensive war.Whether the world accepts such a claim depends entirely on the success or failure of diplomacy. In the case of the Pandavas, Sri Krishna's diplomacy was supremely successful even to the extent of causing dissensions among the Kaurava generals...'' (Sardar K.M.Pannikar, Indian Ambassador to China from 1948 to 1952, and later Vice Chancellor, Mysore University in Principles and Practice of Diplomacy, 1956)

Saturday, 13 May 2000

"The bombing of North Vietnam by the United States probably did more to convince the leaders of Hanoi that their economy could cope with the consequences than it did to make the costs seem impossible to bear. The threat of B-52 bombings was perhaps more awe-inspiring than the bombings themselves... (Also)... our adversaries may have forseen better than we what we would do. They are likely to think the worst of us.... Whilst the US was presenting the North Vietnamese with the vague threat of pain tomorrow if they did not change their mind today, the north Vietnamese had in fact already decided  not to change their mind even though the level of destruction increased substantially... The US should not have been surprised that it was an ineffective way of producing change in North Vietnam's conduct...

(Again)...since it is generally regarded as immoral to inflict pain simply to prove that you are willing and able to inflict it, we damage both our reputation and our self esteem. Deliberate pain whose only justification is to extort a decision bears too close a resemblance to torture. This immorality is so compelling we will always advance some other justification for an action threat: we refer to it as interdiction, or retaliation, or even self defence.

If the United States had not had the interdiction rationale for the bombing of North Vietnam - the contention that its bombing of the North was not only to exert influence but also physically to prevent military supplies from reaching the South - the bombing would have been intolerably immoral both at home and abroad. This necessary gap between the primary motive of threatening future costs and the alleged justification resulted... in an almost inevitable 'credibility gap', resulting from multiple and inconsistent explanations of military or other measures... (Roger Fisher from Harvard Law School, Andrea Kupfer Schneider from Marquette Law School, Elizabeth Borgwardt from Stanford Center on Conflict and Negotiation and Brian Ganson in Coping with International Conflict, Prentice Hall, 1997)

Saturday, 6 May 2000

"....The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather to what he does not say...  ....Frogs may bellow louder than bulls, but they cannot drag the plough in the field nor turn the wheel of the winepress, and of their skins you cannot make shoes... ...There is a space between man's imagination and man's attainment that may only be traversed by his longing... " (*Kahlil Gibran author of The Prophet)

“....I started to pay attention. I was succeeding by everyone else’s standards but my own. That became clear as each success was short lived and ultimately unfulfilling. I looked back on my life and took note of those times where I had felt real satisfaction and passion. I realised that variety, creativity, ideas and working with a blank canvas all mattered more to me than titles and salaries. I leaped off the elevator to the penthouse, expecting a free fall but finding wings. I set my own expectations, my own standards, expressed my own values. To my surprise, it worked. I was able to integrate who I was with what I did sufficiently to move from ‘Deferred Life plan’ to the ‘Whole life plan’. I just wish I had enough confidence to do it years ago....When all is said and done, the journey is the reward. It's great if you've made billions on the journey, but the important thing is that you do something you can truly throw yourself into.." (*Randy Komisar - Author of the Monk and the Riddle : The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur)

Saturday, 29 April 2000

"...The strong man holds in a living blend strongly marked opposites. Not ordinarily do men achieve this balance of opposites. The idealists are not usually realistic, and the realists are not usually idealistic. The militant are not generally known to be passive, nor the passive to be militant. Seldom are the humble self assertive or the self assertive humble. But life at its best is a creative syntheses of opposites in fruitful harmony.... truth is found neither in the thesis nor the antithesis, but in an emergent synthesis which reconciles the two... We must combine the toughness of the serpent and the softness of the dove, a tough mind and a tender heart...

...We do not need to look far to detect the dangers of soft mindedness. Dictators, capitalising on soft mindedness, have led men to acts of barbarity and terror that are unthinkable in civilised society. Adolf Hitler realised that soft mindedness was so prevalent among his followers that he said, 'I use emotion for the many and reserve reason for the few'.

In Mein Kampf he asserted:

'By means of shrewd lies, unremittingly repeated, it is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell - and hell, heaven... The greater the lie, the more readily it will be believed...'

There is little hope for us until we become tough minded... A nation or a civilisation that continues to produce soft minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an instalment plan...

But we must not stop with the cultivation of the tough mind... there are the hard hearted and bitter individuals among us who would combat the opponent with physical violence and corroding hatred. Violence brings only temporary victories; violence, by creating many more social problems than it solves, never brings permanent peace. I am convinced that if we succumb to the temptation to use violence in our struggle for freedom, unborn generations will be the recipients of a long and desolate night of bitterness, and our chief legacy to them will be a never ending reign of chaos...

....A third way is open in our quest for freedom, namely non violent resistance, that combines tough-mindedness and tender-heartedness and avoids the complacency and do-nothingness of the soft minded and the violence and bitterness of the hardhearted..." (Martin Luther King Jr. in the Strength of Love - A Testament of Hope : The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr..)

Saturday, 22 April 2000

"...When you get on the platform, the first thing anyone wants to know is why they should listen to you. What have you done? What have you accomplished? What are you accomplishing now? What do you radiate that confirms or negates your words? How much congruence is there between your behaviour and your words? That's what credibility is all about.  It is the example of your life that is the foundation for trust. Trust comes when others perceive the match between your words and your actions.

Have you actually done what you are inviting others to do? Have you been there, in the trenches, where they live and breathe struggle? Are you doing so now, under the same circumstances and in the same situations in which they must act? Have you earned the right to be listened to? Why should they believe you?...

A lesson many have not learned yet is that we spend too much of our time on appearances, the sound of things, the way we are quoted, the spin we  can put on events, and our ability to manage images rather than focus on realities. Credibility is not about looking good...

What is credibility? It is the capability or power we have to elicit the belief in others that we can be trusted. It is a direct function of trustworthiness.... It is always the life of the leader that gives credibility to the vision.... 'Walking your talk' is so obvious, it is common sense. But what is commonsense is seldom common practice... In critical situations, when you should speak up to stand for something, the words you don't speak may out weigh all the words you have ever deliberately spoken..." (*Blaine Lee on The Power Principle : Influence With Honor )

Saturday, 15 April 2000

".....I am convinced that (the war in Vietnam) is one of   the most unjust wars that have been fought in the history of the world.... It has put us against the self-determination of a vast majority of the Vietnamese people, and put us in the position of protecting a corrupt regime that is stacked against the poor. It has played havoc with our domestic destinies. This day we are spending five hundred thousand dollars to kill every Vietcong soldier. Every time we kill one we spend five hundred thousand dollars, while we spend only 53 dollars a year for every person characterised as poverty stricken in the so called poverty program...

...Ultimately, a genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a moulder of consensus. On some questions, cowardice asks the question, Is it expedient? And then expedience comes along and asks the question, Is it popular? Conscience asks the question, Is it right? There comes a time when one must take the position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must do it because conscience tells him it is right.....  "(*A Knock at Midnight : Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, 1998)

Saturday 8 April 2000

"...If you know anything about (Gandhi's) life, he didn't just one day say, 'I think I'll skip a few meals and change the world'. He practised, he disciplined himself for years, and when he walked into that fiery furnace of civil disobedience in the cause of Indian home rule, he knew what he could do. He knew what he was capable of. .... A wise man observed, ' I can't say to you I will be your servant unless I can say I am my own master'. And (Gandhi), as much as any man, was his own master. Independence precedes inter dependence. Independence is an achievement. Inter dependence is a choice that can only be made by independent people..." (*Blain Lee in The Power Principle : Influence With Honor 1997)

"Read, everyday, something no one else is reading. Think, everyday, something no one else is thinking. Do, everyday, something no one else would be silly enough to do. It is bad for the mind to be continually part of unanimity."  (Christopher Morley author of Where the Blue Begins )

Saturday 1 April 2000

"...We are not chauvinists. Neither are we lovers of violence, enchanted with war. We do not regard the Sinhala people as our opponents or as our enemies. We recognise the Sinhala nation. We accord a place of dignity  for the culture and heritage of the Sinhala people. We have no desire to interfere in any way with the national life of the Sinhala people or with their freedom and independence. We, the Tamil people, desire to live in our own historic homeland as an independent nation, in peace, in freedom and with dignity... This is our land, the land in which we were born, grew and live, the land which bears the foot prints of our forefathers, the land in which our culture and history are rooted...

...During our long journey towards liberation we have crossed rivers of fire. It is our commitment to the cause that has sustained us during these violent upheavals. The cause we have charted to fight for - the right to self-determination of our people - is right, fair and just. From the beginning up to now, we are resolutely committed to our cause. Our cause is our towering strength. It is because of our firm commitment to our cause that we have our importance, our individuality and our place in history..." (Velupillai Pirabaharan, Leader of Tamil Eelam, Maha Veerar Naal speeches)

Saturday 18 March 2000

"...By detachment I mean that you must not worry whether the desired result follows from your action or not so long as your motive is pure, your means correct. Really, it means that things will come right in the end if you take care of the means and leave the rest to him. But renunciation of fruit in no way means indifference to the result. In regard to every action one must know the result that is expected to follow, the means thereto, and the capacity for it. He who, being thus equipped, is without desire for the result and is yet wholly engrossed in the due fulfilment of the task before him, is said to have renounced the fruits of his action...."  (Mahatma Gandhi)

Saturday 11 March 2000

"One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.There can be no gainsaying of the fact that a great revolution is taking place in the world today. In a sense it is a triple revolution: that is, a technological revolution, with the impact of automation and cybernation; then there is a revolution in weaponry, with the emergence of atomic and nuclear weapons of warfare; then there is the human rights revolution, with the freedom explosion that is taking place all over the world. Yes, we do live in a period where changes are taking place."  (Martin Luther King "Remaining awake through a great revolution" delivered at the National Cathedral, Washington DC, 31 March 1968)

Saturday 4 March 2000

"...I say to you, this morning, that if you have never found something so dear and so precious to you that you will die for it, then you aren't fit to live. You may be thirty-eight years old, as I happen to be, and one day, some great opportunity stands before you and calls upon you to stand up for some great principle, some great issue, some great cause. And you refuse to do it because you are afraid. You refuse to do it because you want to live longer. You're afraid that you will lose your job, or are afraid that you will be criticized or that you will lose your popularity, or you're afraid that somebody will stab you or shoot at you or bomb your house. So you refuse to take the stand. Well, you may go on and live until you are ninety. And the cessation of breathing in your life is but the belated announcement of an earlier death of the spirit. You died when you refused to stand up for right..." (Martin Luther King)  

Saturday 26 February 2000

"In the torment of the insufficiency of everything attainable we come to understand that here, in this life, all symphonies remain unfinished..... The reason why we are tormented is not, first of all, because we are over-sexed, hopelessly neurotic, and ungrateful persons who are too greedy to be satisfied with this life. No. The first, and deep reason, is that we are congenitally overcharged and over-built for this earth, infinite spirits living in a finite situation, hearts made for union with everything and everybody, meeting only mortal persons and things. Small wonder we have problems with insatiability, daydreams, loneliness, and restlessness!

We are Grand Canyons without a bottom. Nothing, short of union with all that is, can ever fill in that void. To be tormented by restlessness is to be human. But in accepting truly, that humanity we become a bit more easeful in our restlessness. Why? .... in this life there is no finished symphony, everything comes with an undertow of restlessness and inadequacy. This is true of everyone.... Peace and restfulness can come to us only when we accept that fact.... " (Ronald Rolheiser in the Torture of Endless Desire, author of The Restless Heart, Dimension Books, New York, 1979)

- quote contributed by Deirdre Kelly, UK

Saturday 19 February 2000

"Do not accept what I have said to you because it has been so said in the past; do not accept it because it has been handed down by tradition; do not accept it thinking it may be so; do not accept it because it is also in the holy Scriptures; do not accept it because it can be proved by inference; do not accept it thinking it is worldly wisdom; do not accept it because it seems to be plausible; do not accept it because it is said by a famous holy monk; but if you find that it appeals to your sense of discrimination and conscience as being conducive to your benefit and happiness, then accept it and live up to it." (The Buddha)

"You cannot buy discernment; you can find it. Discernment lies somewhere between wisdom and judgement. Leaders are required to see many things - pain, beauty, anxiety, loneliness and heart break. Two elements to keep your eye on: the detection of nuance and perception of changing realities. What kind of antennae do you have?"  *(Max De Pree - Leadership Jazz Published 1993)

Saturday 12 February 2000

"...War is the final act of diplomacy. When all other means and methods have been exhausted, nations try to gain their objects by war. Essentially, therefore, it is an attempt to gain by force what diplomacy failed to achieve by peaceful action. It is, however, a mistake to think that diplomacy ends when war begins. No doubt normally one does not negotiate publicly with one's enemies when the fighting is actually going on; though recent experience in Korea where prolonged negotiations for an armistice were carried on without any slackening in military action would show that even this rule is not without exception. 

It would, however, be a great mistake to think that once two countries are at war, diplomacy merely sits back with folded hands to await the outcome of the conflict. Naturally every effort is made through diplomatic methods to weaken the resistance of the enemy, to bring about his defeat in war and if  possible to shorten the war by getting him to accept defeat. In the last two (world) wars there were unceasing attempts by both parties to appeal directly to the people over the heads of their governments...

Unfortunately the public habit of judging the relations between states from what appears in the papers adds to the confusion. It must be remembered that in international affairs things are not often what they seem to be. The language of diplomacy sometimes gives wholly wrong impressions.

A communiqu� which speaks of complete agreement may only mean an agreement to differ. Behind a smoke-screen of hostile propaganda diplomatic moves may be taking place indicating a better understanding of each other's position. Fire-eating speeches by statesmen may be meant wholly for home consumption and proper elucidation may sometimes have been given in advance to the states concerned. Mussolini was a specialist in this line. He was all the time making violent speeches meant to impress his own people, but at the same time assuring Britain and France that there was no necessity to take too tragic a view and that he was prepared, for a price, to come to an agreement...." (K.M.Pannikar, India's Ambassador to China and later Vice Chancellor of Mysore University  in The Principles and Practice of Diplomacy, Asia Publishing House, 1956)

Saturday 5 February 2000

"Once committed, Real Change Leaders have to work at building the ongoing conviction and credibility they will need as change leaders. Credibility comes from overpreparedness on facts, knowledge about the issues, and personal relationships developed with those whom they must influence. The harder that Real Change Leaders work at these three things, the stronger their personal convictions become - and the greater their credibility becomes with those they must convince and lead.

Change leaders know they cannot simply push others aside and rush forward to proclaim truth, no matter what their levels of personal conviction and courage may be. Instead, they understand that credibility comes from walking the talk, understanding the signals their actions give, and trying to learn from their people as well as helping them understand. Wherever possible, they also try to get the other guy in the limelight, either by giving credit to the ideas of others or by getting others to take center stage." - *(Jon R. Katzenbach author of  Real Change Leaders, Paperback / Published 1997)  

"...All men are interdependent. Every nation is an heir of a vast treasury of ideas and labor to which both the living and the dead of all nations have contributed. Whether we realize it or not, each of us lives eternally 'in the red.' We are everlasting debtors to known and unknown men and women. When we arise in the morning, we go into the bathroom where we reach for a sponge which is provided for us by a Pacific Islander. We reach for soap that is created for us by a European. Then at the table we drink coffee which is provided for us by a South American, or tea by a Chinese or cocoa by a West African. Before we leave for our jobs we are already beholden to more than half of the world." - (Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King - Words of Martin Luther King Jr)

- quote contributed by Andrew Horton, United Kingdom

Saturday 29 January 2000

"A nation is an imagined political community - and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow members, meet them or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion... The nation is imagined as limited because even the largest of them, encompassing perhaps a billion living human beings, has finite if elastic boundaries, beyond which lie other nations... it is imagined as sovereign... (because) nations dream of being free, and if under God, directly so. The gage and emblem of this freedom is the sovereign state.

Finally, it is imagined as a community, because regardless of the actual inequality that may prevail in each, the nation is always conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries, for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willingly to die for such limited imaginings. These deaths bring us abruptly face to face with the central problem posed by nationalism: what makes the shrunken imaginings of recent history (scarcely more than two centuries) generate such colossal sacrifices? I believe that the beginnings of an answer lie in the cultural roots of nationalism... My point of departure is that nationality, or, as one might prefer to put it, in view of that word's multiple significations, nation-ness, as well as nationalism, are cultural artefacts of a particular kind...." *(Benedict Anderson -Imagined Communities : Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism)

Saturday 22 January 2000

"...Your time here on Earth is brief. Time passes and things change. You have options and choices in which to make your wishes, dreams, and goals become reality. When you ask yourself "Why am I here " or "Why is this happening to me?" or "What's it all about?"... Ask yourself "What is the lesson'".  If you hear a defensive reaction using the words 'never' or 'always' in your response, you haven't yet learned the lesson. Next, go a little deeper and ask, "What is there for me to learn from this experience".  

Each time you view your circumstances as possessing value, regardless of the apparent confusion or hardship, you grow. Your personal evolution will depend on how readily you embrace your lessons and integrate them into your life. Remember, the only consequence for resisting lessons, is that they will keep repeating themselves until you learn them... When the lesson is learned... you then move on to more complex and challenging ones....Wishing that you had already graduated from the school of life does not accelerate your progress or make the lessons any easier. Examining the situation for the real lesson is the scavenger hunt..." *(from If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules : Ten Rules for Being Human, As Introduced in Chicken Soup for the Soul Cherie Carter-Scott, Jack Canfield)

‘...each experience in your life is a classroom...each experience is created and born of your own strength... any lesser experience would have meant little better than nothing to you because no lesson would have been derived from it...when we go to kindergarten we are taught gently...when we go to the university, we are taught in the language of the university...the teachings of life only come to us in a way in which we can best understand and benefit from them...and experience is a strict instructor... when your subconscious mind has been fully reconciled to everything that has happened in your life until now, and when you have fully realised that everything you have gone through is nothing less, or more, than just an experience, and that each experience is really a classroom, you will have then absorbed within yourself all the negative reactions to all the experiences of the past and be at peace...we have to terminate the reactions to each of these experiences in understanding so that the universal love of Lord Siva abides within us . . . (Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, Saiva Siddhanta Church, Hawaii in the San Marga Master Course)

Saturday 15 January 2000

"Principle-centered people are constantly educated by their experiences. They read, they seek training, they take classes, they listen to others, they learn through both their ears and their eyes. They are curious, always asking questions. They continually expand their competence, their ability to do things...  Those striving to be principle-centered see life as a mission, not as a career. Their nurturing sources have armed and prepared them for service... (They) savour life. Because their security comes from within instead from without, they have no need to categorise and stereotype everything and everybody in life to give them a sense of certainty and predictability..

Synergy is the state in which the whole is more than the sum of the parts. Principle-centred people are synergistic. They are change catalysts. They improve almost any situation they get into...

When (they) negotiate and communicate with others in seemingly adversarial situations, they learn to separate the people from the problem. They focus on the other person's interests and concerns rather than fight over positions.

Gradually others discover their sincerity and become part of a creative problem-solving process. Together they arrive at synergistic solutions, which are usually much better than any of the original proposals, as opposed to compromise solutions wherein both parties give and take a little..." *(Stephen Covey in Principle-Centered Leadership, Published by Simon & Schuster, 1991)

Saturday 08 January 2000

"A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies."- Martin Luther King

"Nature knows no mercy in dealing stern justice. If we do not wake up before long, we shall be wiped out of existence…… Is it impossible to multiply the exceptions so as to make them the rule?…… If we are to make progress, we must not repeat history but make new history."- Mahatma Gandhi

Saturday 01 January 2000 - the dawn of the 21st Century


- from Mannikavasagar's Thiruvasagam 

("It has been repeatedly asked, 'Of what possible use can the republication, translation and editing of books like Thiruvasagam be?' - and 'Who can be expected to desire make themselves acquainted with such works?' ... If the Tamil people and the English are ever in a degree to understand one another, and to appreciate each other's thoughts and feelings regarding the highest matters... our English people must have the means of obtaining some insight into the living system which exercises at the present day such a marvellous power over the minds of the great majority of the best Tamil people. .." - from Rev. G.U.Pope's Preface to his  translation of the Thiruvasagam, published in 1900, at the beginning of the 20th century, one hundred years ago)

"In modern times there is no lack of understanding of the fact that man is a social being and that 'No man is an Iland, intire of it selfe' (John Dunne, 1571-1631). Hence there is no lack of exhortation that he should love his neighbour - or at least not to be nasty to him - and should treat him with tolerance, compassion and understanding. At the same time, however, the cultivation of self knowledge has fallen into virtually total neglect, except, that is, where it is the object of active suppression. 

That you cannot love your neighbour, unless you love yourself; that you cannot understand your neighbour unless you understand yourself; that there can be no knowledge of the 'invisible person' who is your neighbour except on the basis of self knowledge - these fundamental truths have been forgotten even by many of the professionals in the established religions. 

Exhortations, consequently, cannot possibly have any effect; genuine understanding of one's neighbour is replaced by sentimentality, which ofcourse crumbles into nothingness as soon as self interest is aroused...

Anyone who goes openly on a journey into the interior, who withdraws from the ceaseless agitation of everyday life and pursues the kind of training - satipatthana, yoga, Jesus Prayer, or something similar - without which genuine self knowledge cannot be obtained, is accused of selfishness and of turning his back on social duties. 

Meanwhile, world crisis multiply and everybody deplores the shortage, or even total lack, of 'wise' men or women, unselfish leaders, trustworthy counsellors etc. It is hardly rational to expect such high qualities from people who have never done any inner work and would not even understand what was meant by the words..." *(from E.F.Schumacher, A Guide for the Perplexed  - Harper & Row Publishers)

Continued - Reflections 1999..........



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