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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Kafka’s Dream and My Dreams

UTeachers 26/07/2011

“Mahththaya kohaatada ?” I was awoken by the “friendly” interrupt of the bus conductor. It took me few more seconds to realize that I was dreaming in a jam packed bus from Kandy to Penideniya, which was travelling at a speed bit faster than a snail in the heavy traffic. Although, I managed to give an
answer to satisfy the conductor, I am still trying to find an answer to that question. “Mahaththaya kohaatada ?” or where are we heading as academics.

Just before falling sleep, I had been reading the interesting article by Prof. Sumanasiri Liyanage on 05/06/2011 island titled “Kafka’s Dream”. In fact, I was trying to figure out the real meaning of the note by Kafka “The myth tries to explain the unexplainable. As it comes out of a ground of truth, it must end again in the unexplainable". Can I find an answer here to the unexplainable behavior of FUTA during last few days of a dedicated struggle for more than two months?

In one of my bus dreams, I was at the trial of Josef K explained in Prof. Liyanage’s article. Just after the verdict was given (at which point the Prof. Liyanage left the hall) there was a huge roar in the audience. Everyone started shouting for justice, as they felt that Josef K was arrested unlawfully and arbitrarily. Some has even gone to the extent of shouting that “We all go to the prison against this injustice”. The enthusiasm demonstrated by the audience was so high that the judge who was a monstrous insect-like creature seemed to be slowly transforming into its original form, the travelling salesman. He was able to finally mutter the words, “Ok, let’s negotiate on the fate of Josef K”. Then the long awaited process of negotiation began. At this juncture, Junger Habermas appeared on the negotiation table and insisted on using the so called Habermaian principle of communicative rationality [Habermas, J. (1992). Themes in post- metaphysical thinking (W. Hohengarten, Trans.). In Post-metaphysical thinking: Philosophical essays (pp. 28-57). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.]. Over a glass of whiskey, Habermas tells the travelling salesman, “Macho, We understand your problems of removing the death sentence on Josef K”. On hearing this travelling salesman had a hard time trying to hide his grin. “Ok macho, then we assure you that Josef K will not be killed as a dog (as initially planned). So, we can discuss different ways of killing him”. Thankfully, it was at this juncture I was interrupted by the conductor which prevented me from witnessing another appalling event.

In my next dream, I was in the battle field of Wadamarachchi in 1980s as a soldier. My immediate commander was ordering us to go forward without looking back. Dead bodies were piling up all around the place and the rusty earth wass getting soaked with red blood (irrespective of whether it was ours or theirs). But the thought that we were getting closer to Jaffna, moved us forward. We were almost at the end of war, when Sun Tzu appears in the battle field and ordered us to retract. He had seen the astonishment on my face and came near me. He whispered to me, “Putha, strategy was not planning in the sense of working through an established list, but rather that it requires quick and appropriate responses to changing conditions”. Suddenly, a shell had hit me and I could feel a severe pain from my forehead, when I heard someone shouting “Who gave a license to this mad driver ?”. Then, only I realized that the driver has suddenly applied the brakes and everybody in the bus were shouting at the poor soul. It is not only the drivers get blamed for applying sudden brakes. Isn’t it?

After getting down from the bus at Penideniya, while walking towards the faculty, I had my last dream. In that dream I was in the nineteen forties next to Vyacheslav Molotov, who was Soviet foreign minister. He was a shrewd man and a hard bargainer but worked for Joseph Stalin, who was the Boss. He was talking to Stalin by trans-Atlantic telephone during the course of some very intricate negotiations with the West. He said, "Yes, Comrade Stalin," in quiet tones, then again, "Yes, Comrade Stalin, and then, after a considerable wait, "Certainly, Comrade Stalin. Suddenly he was galvanized into emotion. "No, Comrade Stalin," he barked, "No. That's, no. Definitely, no. A thousand times, no!" Everyone in the room started whispering to each other "This man has real guts ! How can he disagree with Stalin like that". Within couple of seconds he became a hero to us.

After a while, he quieted and it was "Yes, Comrade Stalin," again. I was so excited by the fact that even Molotov was daring to oppose the dictator on at least one point. So, I approached Molotov and said as calmly as possible, Secretary Molotov, I could not help but hear you say at one point, "No, Comrade Stalin. May I know how you get courage to say no to Staling like that" With a grin on his face Moltov replied. "My dear child, Comrade Stalin asked me if there was anything which he had said with which I disagreed".

I was awoken from this dream (and in fact all the dreams that I was having during last two months), when I was splashed with mud thrown by one of the fleet of vehicles escorting a provincial council member, who was once a trade union leader fighting for social justice.

Janaka Wijayakulasooriya

Also Read:

Kafka's Dream