It is one thing for Dr. P. B Jayasundera to continue in office, after being convicted by the Supreme Court of filthying whatever public trust in the civil service there may have been. But it is another thing altogether for him to have gone on a high profile pleasure expedition on the heels of his conviction, at the expense of the government of this poverty-stricken society which is on a war footing. By arrogantly electing to do what he did, he made a complete mockery of the inviolable principle of modern liberty that the judiciary is a coequal branch of the government, and thereby, either knowingly or unknowingly, he filthied the concept of moral personality on which the rule of law is grounded.
But did he knowingly cause the moral defilement he caused? This is no genius writing, however, it does not take much to realize that the society to which he, both natively and devoutly, belongs is concerned more with saving face than being good, that it has but a mechanical concept of soul or moral personality. Although he most likely lacked the awareness of the obscenity of his own action, nevertheless, when a coequal branch of the government is filthied upon by the society’s chief mandarin with impunity, the society is made to look as if its reversion to barbarism is all but certain.
The society to which he and we belong is obsessed with the fear of losing face, and with mitigating any loss of face by acquiring the trappings of power and status. This defines what we are. We do not seek to redeem ourselves in this country when we are forced to confront our own depravity. Our own depravity hardly ever bothers us. We are only bothered by the public exposure of it and the consequent loss of face, which we have customarily tried to mitigate by acquiring power and status. Greater the public exposure of our depravity the keener we are to acquire status. When we are exposed, we do not ask for a second chance or try to redeem or transform ourselves; besides it is not our custom to give second chances to others either, because we believe human nature is totally depraved. But the depraved rise in our estimation if they persist and acquire more power.
For us arrogance is synonymous with pride which a good man feels about his truly good habits and the excellence of character which they entail. Where the concept of soul or moral personality is mechanical, and where men live like a custom-driven herd, the fear of shame is the quasi virtue that prevents the reversion to barbarism, as it is the fear which prevents children everywhere from being altogether unruly. But in a mature civilization to be a soul or person is not be a slave to appetite, instincts and emotions; but it is to use them in the service of ideal perfections inherent in nature.
However, who among us would have the courage to filthy a coequal branch of the government just to save face, except the one who presumes to be the most powerful man in the country. Dr. Jayasundera needs neither the president’s nor the cabinet’s consent to either withdraw from public life in the face of a damning judgement by the head of a coequal branch of the government, or to commit self-murder, if he feels his depravity is beyond redemption. All he needs is a soul – or at least the awareness of the feeling of being a person.
Puran de Silva Colombo 5.