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 (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.


7 Responses to “Nalin De Silva”

  1. Bardo Says:

    To be honest, my attempts to understand his cyclical/cyclonic/cyclic/cycle thinking philosophy have been fruitless as well. But similarly, I find it difficult to understand the multiverse theory or quantum physics.

    I don’t think Dr De Silva is original as he claims to be. I’m sure he’s been influenced by many anti-Western non-Sri Lankan philosophers. He’s not the first one to talk about the world being a subjective construct in our mind. Most of us don’t have the intellectual/academic background to fully understand these complex philosophies, and attempting to do so in a blog post is a futile exercise.

    I can see that you’re engaging in a reductio ad absurdum argument to belittle Dr De Silva. My advice to you is to leave it. If you really must persist, invite yourself to one of those Sanhinda meetings. I’m sure you can find one or two of his golayas in the Sinhala blogosphere.

  2. lefroy Says:

    He has certainly been influenced by Kuhn. He’s the guy who introduced the idea of paradigms and paradigm shifts.

  3. ranuka77 Says:

    Prof Nalin is certainly genius, all though I don’t think all his theories are original (I don’t know if he claimed them as original either). Sadly though, he has created more havoc & violence within the university community rather than inspire thinkers.

    His Jathika Chinthana Viaparaya destroyed the education of many. When I was at university they were not the force it once was, but still managed to instigate a lot of violence. There were several clashes. I had a few friends (one of them close) from the chinthana side who got suspended and one guy from the junior batch got kicked out of the university for life, for verbally abusing the dean.

    Myself and few other (alayas – the opposing camp) arranged some legal help to our close friend to get a reduced suspension which we succeeded.

    Nalid Silva is a wasted talent in my opinion. For a long time he couldn’t get a teaching post in any university as the administration was aware of his past. However he won some court case and got back in.

    • Bardo Says:

      This is interesting. I thought only the JVP supporters were Welayas and the rest were Alayas. I had no idea that the Chinthanayas were a violent lot.

      I understand that he’s a Mathematics professor. Does he give lectures on mathematics, or is it all about his Chinthanaya as well.

      I think we can all agree that the man’s quite brilliant.

  4. Prof. Naleen de Silva is not original. He is influenced by Buddhist philosophy. The first person to talk about there is no objective truth is Load Buddha.

  5. prabath Says:

    hey no one in this world has built so called original theories.. everyone somehow has been influenced by other philosophies or theories….
    This is what was done by the westerns at the time when they were absorbing eastern knowledge into their culture.
    What is important here is not where those knowledge came from but whether the creator of the new theory has done the job correctly and absorbed the knowledge from the surrounding cultures into our own culture in a unique way… I think professor has done a remarkable job at this point…

    What I think about circular thinking is that it is all about processes without a beginning and not about never ending processes.
    So some one can tell that the concept of THE GOD can be explained in the same manner.. But professor has given a clear answer to that issue too. you can find it from site.

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