By Jagath Asoka –
The actual events that are happening in our political realm are constantly distorted and disguised on TV, radio, newspapers, Facebook, and webzines; therefore, we cannot recognize the truths. When we see or hear the distorted and disguised events, we feel that we have been deceived; our distrust of the crooked politicians and our refractoriness are fully justified. So, if you are a politician or a sycophant, do not distort and disguise the truth.
This article is about the archetypal characters in politics; you will recognize these characters in other endeavors as well.
You have probably seen the following characters in Sri Lankan politics. These characters are not unique to Sri Lanka or to politics; they are universal and archetypal. I think, if you are interested in your own well-being—in politics—knowing these characters and their motives will help you understand this fiasco. I have seen people blindly follow politicians and treat them like gods, thinking that they are the true Saviors. A janitor who cleans toilets is worthy of veneration and respect, not some politician who plays the role of a hero. When a politician plays the role of a hero, most people mistakenly identify him with the archetypal hero in their own psyche.
A Hero is willing to sacrifice his or her own needs on behalf of others. Who is your hero in Sri Lankan politics? If you think a politician is a hero, has he or she sacrificed his own needs on behalf of others? Was he or she willing to sacrifice his or her life to save our country or save you? Self-aggrandizement is not a heroic act. Your hero is probably exploiting the current situation to aggrandize himself; he is trying to enhance this own power, wealth, and position, while pretending to be a sage. I have not seen a political hero in Sri Lanka. It is a grave mistake to worship a demagogue, thinking that he is a legendary figure, a mythological figure of divine descent endowed with great strength and ability to save our nation.
A Mentor is a character who teaches and protects a hero and gives him or her gifts. Can the Supreme Court judges be mentors in this fiasco? Can the Supreme Court judges protect this tormented nation?
A Threshold Guardian is a menacing face to the hero, but if understood, he or she can be overcome. In this fiasco, who are the Threshold Guardians? Can they be overcome?
A Herald is a force that brings a new challenge to the hero. Every day, our nation is faced with new challenges. The only problem is that there are no political heroes to face these challenges.
A Shapeshifter is a character who constantly changes from the hero’s point of view. In Sri Lankan politics, Shapeshifters are a dime a dozen; in Sri Lanka, they are the political frogs who jump from one side to the other at the first sight of money.
A Shadow is a character who represents the energy of the dark side. We have seen the dark side of our politics. Why do we need a true leader? The most general picture of our politics is an association of competing interests, with constant rivalry and alliances. A country is a collection of competing interests. Only a true leader, not a demagogue, has the vision and the skills to harmonize the abundance of competing political interests and provide coordination to the plethora of competing forces within our country. Only an organizing idea—a dominant master idea that forms the living center of the nation—can provide this coordination. An organizing idea arranges the plethora of competing interests in a nation in such a manner that allows all citizens to strive with single-minded devotion toward a goal which gives pride, meaning, and a sense of belonging. Where is the leader with a vision? What is the organizing idea of our nation?
An Ally is someone who travels with the hero through the journey, serving a variety of functions. Just like in your own life, in our country’s political life, there are allies. Who are the true allies of our tormented nation?
A Trickster embodies the energies of mischief and desire for change. Do not confuse political jokers with Tricksters. Trickster of our nation yearn for change, but the change they desire seems like a mirage.
Perhaps the hero of this fiasco is you. If you are living an honest life, doing the right thing under any given condition, facing challenges every day and struggling every day to raise your children, then you are living a good life. Each day, each new challenge, there is the same problem: Do I dare? If you do dare, your life is in peril. There is always the possibility of peril; there is also the possibility of bliss.
Most of us accept prevailing beliefs, moral standards, and political leaders without questioning them and fear challenging our beliefs, moral standards, and our political leaders.
At the center of each nation, there is something unteachable, some granite of spiritual fate of predetermined decisions and answers to predetermined questions. Whenever a cardinal problem is at stake, there speaks an unchangeable “this is I,” “this is us.”
When the ruler is ethical and whole, the country is also. When the ruler has become mentally sick from greed, hatred, sloth, and envy, then the land falls into despair; frogs and reptiles rain down from the skies. Everyone turns on one another, and nothing new can be born.
Even a blind person can see what is happening in our nation. Can you?
As a nation, our question is very simple: How do we become what we are? What are we?