Saturday, April 30, 2022

The Grace of Materialism by Mads Peter Karlsen

 "All their many differences aside, one of the most intriguing messages of both Alain Badiou’s and Slavoj Žižek’s philosophy is that, although we live in a world in which our course is fundamentally determined by our biological constitution and social arrangements, it can nevertheless occasionally happen that we are given the chance to perform an act of genuine freedom; an act, to paraphrase Badiou, in which what we do might exceed what we are."

-Mads Peter Karlsen

Thursday, April 7, 2022

A review by Namadee Shakya on The Basis

 A review by Namadee Shakya on The Basis

The Basis is indeed a masterpiece. Mathematics, quantum physics, Buddhism, fiction, it has got it all. The story takes you through an exciting experience from the very beginning to the very end. That is what I love the most about this book. It never gets boring.

The basis revolves around an amazing story that alternates between fantasy and reality. In Tarantinoland, the city in which the story takes place, is almost like a modern Sri Lanka. A dystopian society in the midst of a war, where the rule of law and social ethics deteriorate and people are unexpectedly murdered.One day, a person comes to meet Mr. Lankathilaka, who lives in this city, asking him to be a ghostwriter. to write a story about a parliament bombing. But he warns him that what he writes will exactly happen in the real world. Lankathilaka is terrified by this proposal but yet isn’t ready to let go of the 4 million dollars he has been offered to complete the book.

And meanwhile, a parallel story goes around another writer, Mr. Ghananatha. A woman comes to his house and threatens him, saying he has written her real-life story in a book without her permission. Which is a lie, according to Ghannatha, who swears he has never seen this lady before. And this lady claims she had to die in the exact way the character in the book dies while she is standing in front of Ghananatha alive! This leads to a theory of parallel universes explained by string theory.

String theory is a theoretical framework in which the point-like particles of particle physics are replaced by one-dimensional objects called strings. String theory describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other. And Mr. Dawson Preethi cleverly matches the string theory with the Buddhist theory of 31 planes of existence, including Ruupa loka, Sura Asura Loka, Deva Loka, and so on.The full story is divided into three main parts: Kama Loka, Rupa Loka, and Arupa Loka.

This is one of the best sci-fi books I have read, and it is really surprising to know that the writer is a Sri Lankan. The "inception" kind of flow makes it even better and still hasn’t failed to make it comprehensible. And the plot is mind-blowing! I think anyone who is interested in sci-fi stories would love this intellectual masterpiece.

A review by Namadee Shakya

Buy The Basis from Amazon

Thursday, March 31, 2022



ග්රන්ථ කතෘ නිමල් බණ්ඩාර Nimal Bandara මහතා ගේ ග්රන්ථ ත්රිත්වයක් අප්රියෙල් මස 6 දින සවස 3 ට නෙළුම් පොකුණ මාවතේ මහවැලි කේන්ද්රයේ පැවැත්වීමට නියමිත ය.
විදේශ රටවල රැසක ශ්රී ලංකාව නියෝජනය කරමින් විවිධාකාර රාජකාරි අත්දැකීම් ඇති කතුවරයෙකි, බණ්ඩාර මහතා. චාරිකා සටහන් (travel writings) පිළිබද ව, විශේෂයෙන් ම අප්රිකාව පිළිබද ව සිංහලෙන් ලියැවුණු ග්රන්ථ විරල බැවින්, එම ග්රන්ථය වැදගත් මං සලකුණක් වනු ඇත.
-සුනිල් ගෝවින්නගේ Sunil Govinnage

Monday, February 28, 2022

The Basis by Dawson Preethi

 The Basis is my debut novel. 

This extro-scifi is mostly recommended for young readers who are enthusiastic about mathematics, string theory, polycephaly, the 31 planes of existence, and Buddhist cosmology. 

Price 2150/=
Courier charges 300/=

Inbox a message with a delivery address and phone number in Whatsapp, +94779968572. You can obtain the bank payment details to purchase the book.

Thank you.

Alternatively, you can buy it from Vidarshana Book Store
For the rest of the world, Amazon.

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Holy shit and unholy Alborada

  Holy shit and unholy Alborada

He works with human excrement - what is rejected, what is accounted of no worth to mankind - and in it I suppose he hopes to discover something that is of worth.

- Robertson Davies, The Rebel Angels


This review attempts to investigate the film Alborada, directed by Asoka Handagama 2022, through the lens of psychoanalytic theories and interpretations of Freud, Lacan and Deleuze. It demonstrates the symbolic uses of faecal elements in the filmic text, which depicts a few of the discourses associated with social bonds. It concludes the challenging and controversial use of faecal symbols in artistic and political contexts.


The movie is positioned in a universe of faeces. This starts from the first instance of the protagonist’s arrival at the new accommodation, which is given by Lionel Wendt. The "Bucket Toilet" is located a little far from the residence outside the beach. This toilet is inspected by the protagonist, Pablo Neruda, who finds its function is awful and queries about the drainage system of the area. The answer was that this is the way of dumping excretions, and the bucket underneath would be replaced by a Sakkili woman daily. That was the whole sewer management system for the residence. The caretaker, Rathne Ayya, had got a different toilet for his use. 

Besides the fact that Pablo intervenes in his affairs, which made him leave Burma and come to Sri Lanka, his obsession with the toilet cleaner, a young woman from an untouchable caste, brings him a fantasy. This fantasy has its own obscene dimension as it ties in with excretion in the Freudian context. 

 ad nauseam of toiletry

The movie develops with the smell signifier from the beginning minutes until the end. In another perspective, it signals at the beginning that the movie does not bring you any fantasy other than misery. This bad smell starts to echo in the mind of the spectator, and it becomes an anti-catalyst to the entire artistic core of the filmic text. This would be an extension of mechanical art to the level of perversion in the observer. It should be noted that the background music also acts as a body of signifiers which revolve around the theme and has natural tones. At the beginning of the scene of Neruda’s travel from home to a nearby party location, he experiences strange music, a folklore, but he loses himself looking for it, and experiences a traumatic pain, a wound of his own mind with the immediate past memories.

All the other events are built around this faecal castle. Once, Pablo ordered the servant, Rathne not to use his toilet as he offered his excretion in the purest form to the young woman who comes daily to clean the toilet and discharge the collection bucket.

This mandate of offering his excretion to the woman is a direct follow-up to Freud’s equation between faeces and gifts, Lacan states that the formula of offering-‘everything for the other’—shows that it is a fantasy of the obsessional neurotic[1].

From this point forward, he begins his fantasy of being seduced by remotely observing her working process in the toilet. He possessed himself by watching the toilet in the early morning in a hidden gaze and became obsessed to the point of raping this young woman of low caste who had been repulsed by the caretaker of her same ethnicity but of a higher caste.

The caretaker leaves the premises by excreting in the banned toilet, which was assigned only to use by Pablo, showing him the disgust of being associated with a low-caste woman, untouchable in the background of his Hindu faith. Pablo watched his act of denying the rule over him and fell into the reality at the end of his fantasy space. His fantasy was shattered.

The woman kills herself as a true act in response to the Pablo at the sea by losing her purity, though no one cared about low-caste females’ dignity at the time of the events but portraying self-denial of the crime that happened over her.

Finally, Pablo decides to replace her service by himself and carries the sewer bucket on his head towards the Sakkili village to discharge, most sarcastically, the excretion of his caretakers contained in the bucket. In his act, he firstly dramatized his guilt for the crime of raping the woman, and secondly, he demonstrates the carrying of his caretaker’s excretion-contained bucket on his head to escape the reality of betraying his God’s resemblance, which he faked to the caretaker. This point is merely a transfiguration of the master-slave relationship inversion just to remake his destiny, which is full of guilt.

During the progression of the above events, two other major event moments took place in the main theme. The Burmese Affair and Lionel Wendt. First, Pablo undergoes a process delivered by his schizophrenic condition to the experience of his Burma affair, a former girlfriend, depicted as a devil in his fantasy space, in contrast who portrayed herself as Pablo’s "desire" or object of desire at the meeting of the second subject, Lionel Wendt, the photographer. Lionel dramatizes the locus of Pablo’s social order being threatened by the schizophrenic subject, the femme fatale, whom he encounters.

One of the best Hollywood movies that could be compared against this symbolic use of the scatological elements in the movie, i.e., faeces, toilet interior, sewer collecting buckets, women portrayed to carry sewer buckets, depiction of bad smell (Hydrogen Sulphide) etc. is the movie called “The Help” 2011. It uses the symbols of the toilets separately used by the white people and the coloured people demonstrate the issues of the society in 60s in terms of racism. This movie suggests the mere mobius of the cinematic text of Alborada in an ethnocentrically fixated universe.

Trainspotting (1996), which depicts the unrest among poor youth in Edenborough and their drug addiction by symbolically portraying disgusting images of faecal matter, literally reproducing "the worst toilet in Scotland," is another film that has used faecal symbols in a more widespread adoption.

Reawakening the social traumas through faecal elements

From a panoramic view of the cinematic text, it could be concluded that the unveiling of the obsessional neurotic and narcissistic nature of Pablo Neruda is the subject of the movie. In Lacanian context, partial drives, especially the anal drive which produces the faeces as partial object, and consequently the olfactory, the sense of smell, unveils a truth about the suppressed memory of Neruda.

The fabric of the symbolic universe is the disgust of the excretion of the human subject, in complete opposition to the Freudian anal discourse: faeces become a traumatic gift. In the meantime, how do the erotic pulses get their life through embodying the external objectivity of the same faecal universe? Oversimplified version, can shit trigger sexual arrogance?  A Lacanian perspective, rather than the idea of Deleuze, of a body without organs, BWOs, a resembling and analogical solution prevails in the core of the cinematic text. How can a smell of faeces or scatological elements create a material image of sexual desire in the psyche? In a sense, that challenge had been answered by Asoka. In this filmic context, he had become the first director to manipulate such elements into an artistic form in Sri Lankan cinema: A controversial adoption of a faecal metaphor of sexual desire. In the smell, as an anti-voyeuristic image on the screen, the whole potential to become a signifier is embedded, and he uses it to explore a wide range of human core values (here the subjects of the Alborada, especially Neruda), exploding them into a plethora of organs, by products, and faeces. The egg becomes a creature of its own traces; the cancerous dimension of BWOs. I suppose that as time passes, the Deleuzian interpretation will find its own locus.

Perhaps in the movie, the social order is being deconstructed by two main themes: first, the Tamil ethnocentrism and social hierarchy through caretakers’ point of view, and second, the feminist world view about the time of the events in question through all the characters integrated in the main story, especially the position of the woman who acts as a sewer carrier.

On the other hand, Asoka’s attempt to bring the faecal symbols to a form of cinematic art is a political expression. It could be seen as a symbol of how people might become aware of an opposing group or hegemony against the political powers in the future. Already, faecal material as a foreign body to the existing ideological atmosphere has become a trendy political expression. The end scene of the movie, the re-emergence of the dead woman from the water, could be a sign of that moment.


I took the title “Holy and unholy shit” to produce the title of this article from the book, Fecal Matters in Early Modern Literature and Art Studies in Scatology: Holy and Unholy Shit: The Pragmatic Context of Scatological Curses in Early German Reformation Satire  losef Schmidt, with Mary Simon

Dawson Preethi

[1] Jacques Lacan, Le Séminaire. Livre VIII. Le transfert, 1960–61, ed. Jacques-Alain Miller, Paris: Seuil, 1991.