Ray Wijewardene: The Vision
Ray Wijewardene was a visionary whose breadth of knowledge and wealth of practical experience created ‘bridges’ between different realms of knowledge, culture and society.
He combined the analytical precision of a Western-trained scientist and engineer with the integrated and nuanced approach of an Eastern philosopher. Because he did not allow himself to be trapped within the narrow specialisation of a single discipline, he could both ‘zoom in’ to grasp micro level details and also ‘zoom out’ to see the bigger picture.
As a farmer, Ray took the ‘toad’s eye view’ of ground level realities; as an aviator, he also had the ‘bird’s eye view’. This rare combination gave him unique perspectives, but his thinking kept evolving. He never stopped learning.
All his life, Ray asked many questions about how things worked -- and why. He wondered how things could be done better. His quest for answers took him to far corners of the world. He listened to experts and practitioners, always with an open mind. Where relevant, he adapted ancient wisdom and traditional knowledge but demanded intellectual rigour and honesty in doing so. He avoided dogmas, and did not romanticise or demonise anything.
After half a century of experimentation, exploration and reflection, he distilled everything he had learned to a simple concept of inter-connectedness of the four fundamental ‘elements’ of life – which in Eastern traditions are known as Ahpo (water/flowing), Thayjo (fire/heat), Vahyo (air/movement) and Patavi (matter/solidity).
Ray found that the equilibrium of these four elements formed an all-encompassing conceptual base for his life-long pursuits in engineering, aviation, agricultural innovation, energy and environmental sustainability. In Nature, these seemingly separate disciplines all blended together. This was the basis of his personal logo that he had designed after he turned 75.
In this section, we briefly explore his visionary views and read some of his own writings where he shared his insights.
- Sustainable agriculture
- Caring for the Land: SALT
- Renewable energy
- Conservation & climate change
For scientific/technical papers written or co-authored by Ray, see Google