Nalin De Silva
First I must stress that this post is not an attempt to falsify Prof. De Silva’s Theory of Constructive Relativism (CR). Rather this is an attempt to understand his theory. So I want my questions answered. And oh, please don’t call me a NGO guy trying to destroy Sinhalese Buddhist Chinthanaya. I hate it because it’s oppressive. But this article isn’t an attempt to destroy it…. According to CR, the world is nothing but the creation of the observer, and the world is as same as the knowledge of the world. Here it isn’t assumed that a world exist independent of the observer who attempts to know or gather information of an already existing world relative to him. The observer creates knowledge of the world, and therefore the world itself. Obviously this means that there is no ‘objective reality’ in existence….. He has stated that Participatory Anthropic Principle, and every Anthropic Principle for that matter, is incorrect since the first-mind isn’t outside the system which is being observed, and the wave function of the system describes mind as well (Basically, PAP is a theory based on accepting an observer-centric interpretation of Quantum Mechanics. Here the universe exists as a superposition of number of universes, and matter evolves in these until the first-mind appears. I’m having a hard time in trying to understand what this implies. Do we have to keep on reproducing to save the physical reality? WOW)…….. So it seems to me that not only he rejects ‘objective reality’, but he rejects reality itself. In fact, in the article I downloaded from kalaya.org (nps070311.pdf), he writes that not only ‘reality’, but also what’s called ‘real’ is a creation. His own theory is a creation……. Now Prof. De Silva’s theory is based on Theravada Buddhism. Even though Buddhism doesn’t clearly define what’s right and what’s wrong like other religions do, certainly there’re Good Actions and Ill Actions (Kusala & Akusala Karma). Now if there isn’t an objective reality, then there also can’t be objective good actions and objective bad actions that affect everybody the same way. If the world is relative to the mind, what’s good and bad are relative to mind as well. There are similarities and differences between human minds. So what’s good for me (“me” in a Sammuti sense), may not be good for you (“you” in a Sammuti sense), and what’s good for you may not be good for me. Similarly, what’s bad for me may not be bad for you, and what’s bad for you may not be bad for me. I realise that it could be argued that since Nibbana is an absolute truth, or parama satthya, only certain actions will lead to it, and certain other actions will lead away from it. However since what’s good and bad aren’t absolute, I might or might not suffer if I kill a man….. Say I do suffer. You will suffer either more or less or as same as I suffer if you too killed the same man. Again, there’s no such unchanging, existing thing as good or bad. Nothing’s absolutely right and nothing’s absolutely wrong. Is this the case?……. The denial of objective reality leads to many questions. How can there be nothing out there independent of our minds? While writing about culture, Prof. De Silva writes that it’s possible for one mind to pass information (relative info) to another mind. This results in the similarities between human minds. We can do this through words and images and so on. But doesnt’t that mean that we can affect something that’s outside our minds? Say that the entire human race extict. But dogs continue to live. After several generations of dogs they evolve into an intelligent specie. They find DVDs humans had left and watch the movie “The Day After Tomorrow”. Doesn’t that mean we’ve had an effect on a physical world independent from our minds? We had affected the physical world. The physical world affected the minds of the dogs.