25 October, 2020

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The Four Societal Shields

By Arjuna Seneviratne –

Arjuna Seneviratne

The things that protect us and make us safe, we value over all else. The people that protect us and make us safe, we revere above all others.  There are four ways in which we are protected and there are four types of people who use them for our protection.

We are protected by knowledge, we are protected by the truth, we are protected by medicine and we are protected by the material requisites of food, clothing, shelter and security from physical attack. Not too long ago, these factors, also known as the four societal shields against disaster, were deemed so critical that they were provided to all for free. The first was provided by teachers, the second by the spiritualists, the third by healers and the fourth by the kings.

Those who extended that helping hand through one of those four activities did so at great cost to themselves and their wellbeing. They walked, mostly, lonely paths and they did what few people could aspire to do or wanted to do. They did it for gratis and they put themselves on the line at ever y turn, twist and eventuality that could have the slightest bearing on the wellbeing of the people they watched over. They did it simply because they had unique talents and skills and the emotional strength and fortitude to use them for the good of others. They heeded the calls because they had the ability to respond to them. Granted, such as those were few but merely by dint of superior abilities and commitment to sacrificing themselves for others, those few were quite capable of seeing to the protection of at least very large multitudes if not entire nations.

They could, because of this ability to respond, be rightly called responsible human beings whose footprint reached into each substratum of society, succoring, regenerating, restoring, establishing, consolidating. They moved amongst the multitudes, strengthening the people, their lives, their livelihoods, their belongings, their health, their understanding. They were in turn, given optimal leverage to engage in those activities and they were revered and worshiped by the people for what they did for them. Never claiming their actions as a livelihood, they were simply the custodians of the four shields and were showered with an excess of physical, social, emotional and intellectual requisites as a humble act of recognition of their effort on behalf of the people and not as a reward for what they were doing.  For the people, the very presence of one of two such supremely enabled beings assured the peace of mind of people and was cause enough for joyful celebration.

Things are far better these days. Now, we have hundreds of thousands of doctors, teachers, clergymen and leaders and wherever we look we see more and more of them being churned out by their hundreds. We should be swooning in exhilaration. We should be drowning in joy. We should be living so peacefully that even a sneeze should startle us. We should be sleeping so soundly that we should be able give Kumbakarna a run for his money and we should be dreaming so wondrously that we should be rejecting the lotuses of Odysseus’ crew as beggar’s fair. No? Not really? We are not happy? We are not peaceful? We are not secure? Oh, how sad. How very sad.

The explosion in our times of the practitioners of the big four “callings” has actually had the opposite effect to the one that originally created those callings. There is a simple enough reason for this. The big four are not longer “callings” but rather “livelihoods”. Those who engage in them, do so, not in order to protect others but to protect themselves. Desiring security for themselves, they offer it either conditionally or as a last resort when all else has failed them.

Kings have been replaced by politicians manipulating the fickleness of human emotion to become, not our protectors but rather, our leaders. Healers have morphed into doctors who, quite apart from being “dosthora” or “dosha-thora” (bereft of ills) are full of “dosha” (illnesses). Teachers have turned into educators who are desperately in need of being taught a few things themselves and the spiritualists have transmogrified into the clergy, who, instead of being disciplined and insightful enough to understand the truth are unable to even understand the fallacies under which they live.

More dangerously though, they are overarched by a business class that promotes politicians for their own advantage, decide who should be teaching what to whom, how many times, where and why, determine what sort of “truths” are sermonized by the clergy and what sort of illnesses get treated to what level. The needs of the people are not even on the radar. Profit is the sole reason for the exercise of these livelihoods. In cahoots with one another, one sees constant exchange (internal migration) of individuals between the business class and the four shield areas.

It is not to be wondered at that these people, collectively, are completely bereft of the “ability to respond” and therefore implicitly irresponsible by default. They would not think twice about throwing the people to the wolves to ensure their own profit, position, pandering, pimping. Unlike in the past, when shield custodians cared not for the type of legacy they created or what they gained from their actions or the type of recognition and respect given to them, the current crop demand, command and threaten people into giving them a respect they do not deserve.

The people in turn would be entirely justified in protesting the enforced presentation of dubious bouquets and the outright rejection of this band of misfit renegades who now hold monopolies on their peace of mind. But they don’t. They can’t. These manipulative thugs preempted that eventuality through a very simple, clever and diabolical strategy. They institutionalized the four shields and labeled them as “state”, “education”, “religion” and “medicine” and brought them, their instruments, their hierarchies and their rituals into a system bound over with either fear or legislative instruments or both. They made sure that the people no choice but to engage them, work with them and serve them. In the process, they created for themselves a very advantageous state of affairs where they can enforce recognition of their positions and power and expand the depth of their scope of control and their scope of effect without having to provide the type and quality of services that are deserving of such accolades.

So, apart from a few exceptions to the current rule, many ordinary citizens recognize the positives of optimizing gain while minimizing effort and, having conveniently converted these callings into careers, they fight each other to the death to come out on top of the dung heap of human non-achievement.  When one of these misbegotten critters takes a hike to hell, a thousand others are ready to step into its shoes and put on its mantle of dishonor.  Our institutions ensure that dishonor is worse compounded. Our practicalities confirm our resultant vulnerabilities. Our realities affirm our certainty of doom. Protection is damned in everyone’s future. We are kaput.

 

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Latest comments

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    Praise The Lord.. Their are still enlightened good men and women around.. Great article Arjuna.. Nothing else to add..

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      Many thanks for this! Quite true – Most of today’s leaders and knowledge producers are folk who ONLY know how to manipulate the media and the market for personal profit..
      They are, like Mahinda Rajapassa and his family of looters the creations of SPIN, media hype, while the genuine and honest thinkers, teachers, healers and knowledge givers are mainly unrecognized and unsung. Manipulating markets and media is the key to “success” that is today ONLY materially defined.
      The Current Rajapassa regime is mad about THINGS and material SUCCESS – Cars, casinos , BLING-BLING! Gaudy baubles – Dhammika Perera’s KINGSBURY life style of with gold fish stuck in glass pillars – and now they want the QUEENSBURY CASINO life style! This is why people who think, despise the uneducated Rajapassa family – the awful leaders of Lanka – MORAL and RACIST debacle of Asia!
      But most people who think, know who they respect, can and cannot trust – also to not steal their lands and homes in the name of “development”.. BRAVO!

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      Glad you like it Russell :)

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    Your Article Arjuna, was so good, except for One Point. A Spiritualist by definition, is One who dabbles in the Occult, so it is not correct to say that Spiritualists look after our Mental Well-being.
    Spirituality is quite the opposite, and means Development of the Mind by Religious Practice, not by Occult means.
    It is confusing, because these two similar sounding terms, Spiritualist and Spirituality, have come to mean two entirely opposite Concepts.

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      Apologies for what seems to be wrong labeling here Rationalist. I wanted a term that differed from the “religionists”. Perhaps “truth knowers” or “truth determiners” would have been better?

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    Thinking about the meaning of ‘Spiritualist’, it was very difficult to find the exact word that you meant. The nearest would be ‘Mystic’ which could also on the other hand, be ambiguous.

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      Rationalist, the differentiation that I wanted to make here was between those who became renunciates did so in order to either seek the truth or enlighten themselves and be able to transfer some of their insights to others. Christ, his apostles, his saintly followers etc. or the Buddha and his congregation of arahants… as opposed to those who constructed religions out of the truths that were practiced, lived and spoken by the former, called themselves the clergy and disanitized the world with fear, worry and every other form of human negative emotions. Would you think the word “renunciate” is a better label?

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        I know Arjuna, the English Language changes so fast that it is difficult to follow the latest connotations of words. You will have to invent a new word! Maybe that will change with time too!

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          Rational: I decided to go with “renunciates” so that’s how it appears on my blog post :)

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    Thank you Arjuna for this extremely informative article !

    Let me have a bit of fun at the expense of the ‘Business Class’ here,

    You, Arjuna SENEVIRATNA – Good Seneviratna,

    Paathala Rajapakaya’s [Edited out], Asanga SENEVIRATNA, EVIL Seneviratna !

    ha ha ha !

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    /* More dangerously though, they are overarched by a business class that promotes politicians for their own advantage, decide who should be teaching what to whom, how many times, where and why, determine what sort of “truths” are sermonized by the clergy and what sort of illnesses get treated to what level. */

    right.
    in the end people are made to think like Hambanthota water buffaloes.

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    Callings have been replaced by livelihoods, even more by commercial and political interests. Even at the back of politics is the commercial interests. To make money and enjoy life has become the prime objective of people in all walks of life, each for himself and none for all. In the race for money, moral and ethical values are thrown to the winds. The love for this world is the root of all evils.

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      /*The love for this world is the root of all evils.*/ Bingo! Safa!

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    You know sometime I think back to my IT days and a reboot solved 99% of the problems.. Perhaps all we need is a reboot of the whole world and go back to basic.. Then we would not need all this rubbish.. Government and Policing is a result of people having power wanting to control the less privileged to make sure they keep the power.. I say reboot the bloody system back to age where eating, shitting, f***ing and then dying is all what life is.. Of course life is a dance and you should learn about your true self along the way.. otherwise life has no purpose and you are just a fool following what your handlers tell you or what you learnt from your parents and confidants.. But who am I to say anything because how the hell do I TRULY what my conscience says is correct.. It’s all a messed up game… But I do know one thing politics is one bad ass idea that has taken over the world.. They are the true rulers and you have to give a clap to them.. They have seen some of the truth and decided to use it for themselves.. Good on them.. We are the real fools thinking our words actually mean a god damn thing to others..

    Lets reboot and bring back the style of hard work means prosperity and NOT I know how to make a deal and make sure I screw the little guy style.. What can we say to our children if 99% of the fing population are scared and playing the same song as the masters.. We really have lost the war and only through the masses changing can we even imagine to take a turn for the better..

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      You have a point Russell. A reboot is certainly a possibility – some might even go as far as to say, an inevitability. However, this is going to happen through a massive bloodbath. A lot of people (key program elements to use computer parlance) have to die (fail) before the system actually goes from saying “i am sick”…”i am sick”…”i am sick” (which people mostly ignore) to saying “i am sick of being sick” and keels over.

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