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Tsunami Focus Point - Tsunami information at One PointMihintalava - The Birthplace of Sri Lankan Buddhist Civilization

It's whether you win or lose and not how you 'play the game'

Ringside Review by Afreeha Jawad Being both bane and blessing of man, language today has come to stay as that part of modernism working more towards spiritual degeneration far removed from its earlier position of soul elevation for those were the days when great literary works flourished and the arts that galvanised people into moral enrichment.

Facilitating moral degradation was the communication tool - all part of State-of-the-Art technology which itself was part of modernity until it was misused under modernism. That's so far as language misuse goes with technological advancement.

Partial social frustration on the loss of values and norms is widespread - a temporary phenomenon till that social breed accustomed to such sublimity moves off the screen. Time is running out and that day and age is not far away. Loss of values - generally attributed to the celebration of the market - has, among other things, the misuse of language.

For instance, there was this Sri Lankan Professor, now a Malaysian resident honoured by that State with the famous Dato title for his intellectuality who had this to say:

"Accordingly, in language learning one finds the cognitive, affective and psycho-motor components shaping and influencing the young mind all along."

In cognitive learning, he says, one learns only to identify. A for apple, B for ball, C for Cat and there it goes. Thus in the affective stage the child comes to be devoid of value orientation and at psycho-motor state both identification and valuelessness are in the genes.

Instead, the Professor was at hand with what he saw as a value-motivated mechanism. "Why not have A for Allah, B for Buddha, C for Christ and similarly the rest?" he asked and continued, "The child then would learn what the great teachers stood for - of beauty of caring ways, K for kindness, L for love and so on."

Certainly he could not have uttered anything better. Come to think of it his alternative offering led this writer deep down to an exploration of status quo of why and what has gone wrong in the resultant social chaos.

International organisations gloat over world literacy rates while countries' boasting knows no end to such achievements. How far will merely learning to read and write only help in arriving at social good? If literacy is the yardstick to overall development how much such success is visible? How much of social well-being do we see?

Cognitive learning does not in any way subscribe to value-centredness except identification, as is my kick-off point. More so it has dulled creativity and lacks perception. It only knows the difference between objects and has lost grasp on sublime objectives. As a result, we know only of winning and losing, missing out on how we played the game.

It concentrates only on the end achievement and not the means while the means almost always do not justify the ends. Also we know only of who a terrorist is, an insurgent, a fundamentalist, a black sheep, a misfit, a stubborn child, but never ever perceived the causes leading to such renderings.

Star class manipulation, grave insincerity, ruthless opportunism is rampant - all of such deceit when (to use Susil Sirivardana's word) - 'technocratised' - brings in a state supposedly of make believe - the existence of which is mistaken reality.

Cognitive learning alone, bereft of aligning such learning with a higher purpose, remains on the sensual plane, for one identifies with sensory help while the other moulds a refined human being with noble values. So then, how far has exploding literacy levels helped in arriving at the latter?

Pre-nation state environs led to charismatic leaders. Literacy and the alphabet's grasp, it knew not. Yet those leaders led exemplary lives and even were seen as saintly kings, healer kings, and philosopher kings.

Has the post nation state literacy achievements produced such personalities? If not, why then the loud crowing over high literacy levels? Doesn't all this point towards one eternal truth - the failure of high degree literacy to produce men and women of integrity and wholesomeness.

The much celebrated market itself - people of a particular generation believe, is responsible for eroding values. But then that glorified market itself is an outcome of cognitive learning based only on perception free identification.

Over to you, the education authorities.



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